Artificial intelligence (AI) has finally caught the Indian government’s attention. On Feb.

01, delivering his budget speech, finance minister Arun Jaitley told parliament that the government think-tank, Niti Aayog, will spearhead a national programme on AI, including research and development. The intent showed in the numbers: Budget allocation for Digital India, the government’s umbrella initiative to promote AI, machine learning, 3D printing, and other technologies, was almost doubled to Rs3,073 crore ($477 million) this year.

“It’s extremely encouraging to see the government recognise the need for research in cutting-edge technologies,” Subrat Kar, CEO and co-founder of Noida-based video intelligence platform Vidooly, told Quartz. Niti Aayog’s support will “allow us to indigenously develop technologies on par with our Silicon Valley counterparts, and reduce dependency on them,” Kar said.

Niti Aayog, led by CEO Amitabh Kant, has been a key promoter of various digital campaigns in the country, including the massive biometric programme, Aadhaar, and the India chain project, which is creating blockchain infrastructure to support IndiaStack, a set of codes developed around Aadhaar. That’s why the AI initiative has charged up tech companies.

Meanwhile, the department of science is also set to launch centres of excellence (CoEs), investing in research, training, and skilling in digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication, and internet of things (IoT). Yet, all this may have come a little too late. Read more from qz.com…

thumbnail courtesy of qz.com