Interim Budget 2019: Govt to start national programme on Artificial Intelligence, eyes 1 lakh digital villages

A national programme on AI has been envisaged by the government, FM Piyush Goyal said on Friday.

Interim Budget 2019: Govt to start national programme on Artificial Intelligence, eyes 1 lakh digital villages

NEW DELHI: The government will start a national centre for artificial intelligence (AI) and turn one lakh villages into 'digital villages' in a bid to harness new age-technologies for citizens' benefit, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said Friday.

Presenting the Interim Budget for 2019-20 in the Lok Sabha, Goyal highlighted that India has become the second largest hub for startups and offers possibly the lowest rates for data and voice calls globally.

"Digital Infrastructure and digital economy of 2030 will be built upon the successes achieved in recent years in digitisation of Government processes and private transactions. Our youth will lead us in this endeavour with innumerable start-ups creating digital India, and millions of jobs in this eco-system," he said.

The minister said in order to reap the benefits of AI and advanced technologies, a national programme on AI has been envisaged by the government.

"This would be catalysed by the establishment of the National Centre on AI as a hub along with Centres of Excellence. Nine priority areas have been identified. A national AI portal will also be developed soon," he promised.

AI technology helps in analysing data in various technologies to improve the efficiency of the system like power management in cars, mobile devices, weather predictions, video and image analysis etc.

"India is now leading the world in the consumption of mobile data. Monthly consumption of mobile data increased by over 50 times in the last five years. The cost of data and voice calls in India is now possibly the lowest in the world," he said.

Goyal added that under the 'Make in India' programme, the number of mobile and parts manufacturing companies have increased from 2 to over 268, providing huge job opportunities.

"India is now on the way to becoming a global manufacturing hub in various sectors, including automobiles and electronics, defence and medical devices," he added.

Over three lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) employing about 12 lakh people, are digitally delivering several services to the citizens, he noted.

"The CSCs are expanding their services and also creating digital infrastructure in the villages, including connectivity, to convert the villages into Digital Villages. The Government will make one lakh villages into Digital Villages over next five years," he said.

Stating that the concept of employment is changing globally, Goyal said job creation is no more confined merely to government services or factories.

"With job seekers becoming job creators, India has become the world's second largest start-up hub," he added. 

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