Govt plans AI push with na­tional cen­tre

Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - - Intern Budget 2019 - Aman­deep Shukla aman­[email protected]

A Na­tional Cen­tre on Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence that will, with other top re­search bod­ies, seek to har­ness the po­ten­tial of cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies was the new ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor project in fi­nance min­is­ter Piyush Goyal’s in­terim bud­get on Fri­day that also in­creased fund­ing for the cre­ation of 20 In­sti­tutes of Emi­nence as well as for re­search and in­no­va­tion.

To take the ben­e­fits of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and re­lated tech­nolo­gies to the peo­ple, a Na­tional Pro­gramme on Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence has been en­vis­aged by the govern­ment. This would be catal­ysed by the es­tab­lish­ment of the Na­tional Cen­tre on Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence as a hub along with cen­tres of ex­cel­lence, Goyal said.

“Nine pri­or­ity ar­eas have been iden­ti­fied. A na­tional ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence por­tal will also be de­vel­oped soon,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to a govern­ment of­fi­cial who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, the project will be steered by NITI Aayog, the govern­ment’s pol­icy think tank.

The hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment min­istry’s am­bi­tious project to cre­ate 20 world-class in­sti­tu­tions re­ceived a boost in the bud­get. The project re­ceived al­lo­ca­tion of ~400 crore, up from ~128.90 crore last year.

Re­search and in­no­va­tion is an­other area which re­ceived the govern­ment’s at­ten­tion. Form the ~243 crore in the re­vised bud­get for 2018-19, the amount ear­marked un­der the head was raised to ~608 crore.

The In­dian In­sti­tutes of Tech­nol­ogy (IITs) and In­dian In­sti­tutes of Man­age­ment also saw an in­crease in the funds al­lo­cated to them.

Com­pared with ~5,714 crore in 2018-19, the IITs will get ~6223 crore in 2019-20. For the IIMs, the fig­ure has climbed from ~372 crore to ~415 crore. The bud­get for 40 cen­tral var­si­ties saw a mar­ginal in­crease from ~6,498 crore to ~6,604 crore.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, these are among the in­sti­tu­tions which will in the com­ing two aca­demic years have to in­crease their seats by 25 %.

“The poor have the first right on the re­sources of the na­tion”, Goyal said in his bud­get speech, adding that around 200,000, or 25% ad­di­tional seats, will be of­fered to im­ple­ment the 10% quota for the eco­nom­i­cally weaker sec­tions.

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