2019 Budget Speech: Narendra Modi govt to set up National Centre for Artificial Intelligence

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With emerging technologies like , blockchain, machine learning and robotics among others becoming the differentiators for nations, Prime Minister government has decided to set up a full-fledged National Centre for Artificial Intelligence, said Finance Minister Piyush Goyal in his 2019 budget speech.

The National Centre for Artificial Intelligence is likely to be made operational by July. The government has allocated Rs 400-450 crore. The centre will be part of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), and will work in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).

According to Goyal, the AI centre will focus on improving India’s technology landscape by setting up data platform, skilling, reskilling and research platforms. The centre will work on to create use cases of AI in different sectors including health care, education, and agriculture, said the minister.

This announcement comes months after central government’s policy think-tank NITI Aayog published a discussion paper in June last year on the “National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence” in which it had pushed five key areas — health care, agriculture, smart cities, education and transportation — for AI intervention.

In the report, the Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had asserted that India being the fastest growing economy with the second largest population in the world, has a significant stake in the AI revolution.

Niti Aayog had took this exercises after then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his 2018 budget speech mandated it to establish the National Program on AI, with a view to guiding the research and development in new and emerging technologies.

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