Bud­get 2018: Fu­el­ing The In­dian Dig­i­tal econ­omy

Bud­get 2018 brought forth many an­nounce­ments, but one of the most sig­nif­i­cant and wel­come ini­tia­tives was prob­a­bly the an­nounce­ment of es­tab­lish­ing na­tional pro­gramme di­rect­ing ef­forts in the area of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies such as Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence,

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Keep­ing to this theme, tech­nol­ogy formed one of the chief fo­cusses in the Union Bud­get 2018 with Fi­nance Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley giv­ing pri­macy to the “tech­nolo­gies of the fu­ture” like ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI), ma­chine learn­ing (ML), In­ter­net of Things (IoT) and 3D print­ing.

In a bid to strengthen its com­mit­ment to­wards the digi­ti­sa­tion drive, the govern­ment has also dou­bled al­lo­ca­tion to this pro­gramme to $480 mil­lion (INR 3,073 Cr) in 2018-19, de­cid­ing to in­vest heav­ily in R&D in tech­nolo­gies such as AI, dig­i­tal man­u­fac­tur­ing, ro­bot­ics, Big Data in­tel­li­gence and 3D print­ing. To help har­ness the po­ten­tial of th­ese tech­nolo­gies, NITI Aayog will es­tab­lish a na­tional pro­gramme to con­duct re­search and de­vel­op­ment in th­ese ar­eas.

With the global econ­omy now trans­form­ing into a dig­i­tal econ­omy, it is good to see the In­dian govern­ment re­flect­ing deeply on de­vel­op­ing cut­ting edge tech­nolo­gies in the dig­i­tal space that would help In­dia in mak­ing its foot­print in the dig­i­tal econ­omy space. Th­ese tech­nolo­gies will play

a big role in driv­ing cost ef­fi­cien­cies and, in turn, in­crease rev­enue for BFSI and fin­tech play­ers.

With China, the US and South Korea mak­ing tremen­dous ad­vances in AI re­search, it was time In­dia had a strong pol­icy in place to ben­e­fit from the AI revo­lu­tion. Re­cent ini­tia­tives speak about the In­dian govern­ment’s fo­cus on im­prov­ing the ease of do­ing busi­ness, as well as mak­ing the lives of peo­ple sim­ple.

Let’s take a look at why In­dia needs a strate­gic Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence vi­sion and how it can lever­age the po­ten­tial of AI in dif­fer­ent sec­tors:-

TELE­COM

In the tele­com sec­tor, ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence will play a big role in smooth in­te­gra­tion of tech­nolo­gies like vir­tu­al­iza­tion and SDN-NFV and will also as­sist in au­tomat­ing the net­works. Use of AI in tele­com in­dus­try will un­leash a wide range of op­por­tu­ni­ties for tele­com op­er­a­tors in sub­scriber pro­fil­ing, con­tent us­age trends and net­work ac­tiv­ity. Us­ing AI and data an­a­lyt­ics will also help them to iden­tify and ac­cu­rately pin point when to push var­i­ous ser­vices to the cus­tomers at the right time, for e.g. – in case of pre-paid cus­tomers, op­er­a­tors with help of AI can no­tify sub­scribers when they are run­ning low on data.

In a big boost to the eco­nom­i­cally stag­nant Tele­com In­dus­try, the govern­ment has show­cased sup­port for the tele­com in­dus­try by al­lo­cat­ing 10,000CR for the cre­ation and aug­men­ta­tion of the coun­try’s tele­com in­fras­truc­ture. In­dia’s Depart­ment of Tele­com will also help set up an “in­dige­nous 5G Test Bed” at the In­dian In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy in Chennai. Star­tups will be able to build ser­vices on a high-speed net­work in­stead of fo­cus­ing on low-end spec­trum. In this era, com­pa­nies will more and more de­pend upon data and ma­chine learn­ing to an­a­lyze pat­terns and net­works and ex­pand their busi­nesses.

FIN­TECH

We are en­ter­ing a golden age for AI and with that are­nas like fin­tech are also wit­ness­ing the im­pact of dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion on mul­ti­ple lev­els. Var­i­ous so­lu­tions have ap­peared re­cently to fa­cil­i­tate ac­cu­rate style of func­tion­ing for fin­tech firms like ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, chat­bots (chat­ting ro­bots), ma­chine learn­ing, mo­bile apps fa­cil­i­tat­ing eas­ier and faster trans­ac­tions, blockchains etc.

The fin­tech sec­tor is wit­ness­ing dras­tic changes with AI be­ing used as ei­ther a fa­cil­i­tat­ing tech­nol­ogy or as a part of reg­u­la­tory sys­tem or be­ing used for bit­coin man­age­ment in the case of blockchain tech­nol­ogy. Use of tech­no­log­i­cal in­ter­ven­tions like AI in the fin­tech space will help the in­dus­try to ad­dress pre­vail­ing prob­lems like easy mon­i­tor­ing of data en­try tasks and re­duc­ing the risk of fraud­u­lent ac­tiv­i­ties.

JOB MAR­KET

Most pre­dic­tions about the job mar­ket in­volve emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies such as Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (AI), au­to­ma­tion and ma­chine learn­ing. Peo­ple with strong back­grounds in fields of Big Data and An­a­lyt­ics will also con­tinue to be the most sought af­ter by com­pa­nies across sec­tors, say sources in the re­cruit­ment in­dus­try.

How­ever con­trary to the be­lief that AI will lead to lay­offs, in­dus­try ex­perts are now stat­ing that AI will ac­tu­ally rev­o­lu­tion­ize sec­tors and will cre­ate greater level of ef­fi­ciency through sim­pli­fi­ca­tions of tasks . This will lead to im­proved sys­tems and will fur­ther pro­pel the abil­ity of cur­rent and fu­ture work­force to do so much more.

Ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try re­ports, The In­dian IT in­dus­try is ex­pected to add around 1.80 lakh to 2 lakh new jobs in 2018. With a strong fo­cus on Dig­i­tal In­dia, the in­dus­try re­quires 50 per cent more work­force. AI alone will cre­ate 2.3 mil­lion jobs glob­ally by 2020. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, one in five com­pa­nies will use AI to make de­ci­sions in 2018. This will help com­pa­nies of­fer cus­tom­ized so­lu­tions and in­struc­tions to em­ploy­ees in real-time.

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