India Unveils Ambitious Rs 10,372 Crore AI Mission to Propel Technological Innovation

Featured & Cover India Unveils Ambitious Rs 10 372 Crore AI Mission to Propel Technological Innovation

The Cabinet has given its nod to the India AI Mission, allocating Rs 10,372 crore over five years to stimulate AI advancements within the nation, announced Union Minister Piyush Goyal. The sanctioned funds are earmarked for establishing a robust AI ecosystem through a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors. Goyal highlighted the significance of this initiative, stating, “With an outlay of Rs 10,372 crore, one very ambitious India AI Mission that will encourage AI segment and ongoing research in this field…has been approved by the cabinet.”

To oversee the implementation of the mission, an Independent Business Division (IBD) dubbed IndiaAI will operate under the auspices of the Digital India Corporation (DIC). The mission aims to democratize access to high-performance computing resources, including over 10,000 GPUs (graphics processing units), to facilitate the development of an AI ecosystem. GPUs have garnered attention for their ability to process data more rapidly than CPU-based servers, prompting increased demand.

Various stakeholders, including startups, academia, researchers, and industry players, will have access to the AI supercomputing infrastructure established under the India AI Mission, fostering innovation and collaboration. Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar emphasized the pivotal role of AI in India’s digital economy, asserting, “This program will catalyse India’s AI ecosystem and position it as a force shaping the future of AI for India and the world.”

Recognizing the potential impact of the mission, Minister Chandrasekhar highlighted its relevance for states like Kerala, which have lagged in establishing a robust tech ecosystem. An integral component of the India AI Mission is the establishment of an India AI Innovation Centre (IAIC), which will serve as a premier academic institution fostering research talent and facilitating the development and deployment of foundational AI models.

Furthermore, the approved funds will bolster the India AI Startup Financing mechanism, providing crucial support to budding AI startups and accelerating their journey from ideation to commercialization. The mission also prioritizes industry-led AI projects aimed at driving social impact and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship.

A critical aspect of the India AI Mission involves the establishment of a National Data Management Office to enhance data quality and availability for AI development and deployment. This office will collaborate with various government departments and ministries to streamline data utilization.

The government’s commitment to AI development is underscored by recommendations from working groups on Artificial Intelligence (AI), which advocate for the establishment of a robust compute infrastructure. These recommendations include the creation of a three-tier compute infrastructure comprising 24,500 Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), aimed at closing the gap with global leaders like the US and China in AI computing capacity.

Despite the strides made in AI development globally, India has lagged behind, with only three supercomputers listed in the Top 500 rankings. To address this gap, the government aims to establish best-in-class AI computing infrastructure at five locations, boasting 3,000 AI Petaflops computing power, significantly surpassing current capacities.

In pursuit of AI excellence, the government has allocated substantial resources, investing Rs 1,218.14 crore over the past eight years to bolster compute capacity under the National Supercomputing Mission. However, significant challenges persist, with companies like NVIDIA facing a backlog of 12-18 months in GPU deliveries due to overwhelming global demand.

The global race for AI dominance has seen major investments from tech giants like Microsoft and IBM. Microsoft’s billion-dollar investment in Open AI in 2019 and a subsequent $10 billion injection in 2023 underscore the company’s commitment to AI innovation. Similarly, IBM has allocated $6.5 billion for research, development, and engineering, focusing on AI, hybrid cloud, and emerging technologies like quantum computing.

The approval of the India AI Mission represents a significant step towards fostering AI development and innovation within the country. By investing in infrastructure, startups, and research, India aims to position itself as a key player in the global AI landscape, driving economic growth and societal advancement.

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