With its allocation for the Digital India program almost doubled in the Union Budget 2018, the IT ministry plans to graduate to the second phase of its roll out with emphasis on promotion of artificial intelligence (AI) and electronic manufacturing.

The ministry has set up four committees to encourage research related to AI which will be headed by directors of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Nasscom and eminent researchers, minister of electronics and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Friday.

“These committees will research and work on development of citizen-centric use cases; data platform; skilling, re-skilling, research and development; and legal regulatory, ethical and cyber-security,” said Prasad.

According to him, a high-level meeting with around 50 participants including 5-6 directors of IITs, Nasscom and private entities was organized to lay out the road map to promote AI in the country. The IT ministry will be coordinating with NITI Aayog on this, he added.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley during his budget speech said that a national program will be undertaken by NITI Aayog in the area of artificial intelligence which will work towards national development.

“The Prime Minister has been very seriously and repeatedly conveying to us that all the ministers and the government must learn to help properly innovate new dimensions of AI and use it in the course of governance,” said Prasad.

In the Union Budget 2018, Rs3,073 crore were allocated to the Digital India program.

Prasad said that mobile and accessory manufacturing is another key focus area for the ministry. The total value of mobile and accessory production for 2014-15 was Rs18,900 crore and this figure is likely to reach Rs132,000 crore by March this year, he said.

Currently, there are 115 mobile manufacturing units, 27 charger manufacturer units, 19 battery manufacturing units and four wired headset units in the country, data from the IT ministry reveals.

Digital India campaign was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July 2015 to ensure that government services are made available to citizens electronically through improved online infrastructure and by increasing Internet connectivity or by making the country digitally empowered in the field of technology.

Digital Locker, e-education, e-health, e-sign and national scholarship portal also come under this initiative. – Live Mint 



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