India’s AI journey gains momentum with AI Centers of Excellence (CoEs). The new initiative aims to uplift the lives of its 1.4 billion citizens. To expand AI research beyond traditional institutions, India acknowledges the need highlighted in Niti Aayog’s 2018 Discussion Paper. It revealed that substantial AI research was limited to a few prestigious institutions.
Expanding AI Centers of Excellence geographically brings several advantages. It fosters local talent for customized AI solutions and simultaneously drives entrepreneurship as well as job creation in smaller areas, aligning with India’s goal of using AI for the benefit of all citizens.
Supporting the establishment of AI CoEs in newly-founded educational and research institutions, including those from the private sector, through grants or soft loans, can have far-reaching effects. It can elevate India’s global position in AI and strengthen its standing in the Global Innovation Index. Additionally, it can bolster flagship national initiatives such as Digital India, Make in India, and Atmanirbhar Bharat.
In the endeavor for self-reliance, India identifies technology as a key pillar alongside a vibrant demography, demand, infrastructure, and a strong economy. While India has made progress in its Global Innovation Index ranking (40th out of 132 economies in 2022), it still lags behind several Asian counterparts. Notably, India’s performance in the “Researchers, FTE/mn pop” category, which measures researchers per million population, has room for improvement.
To identify institutions suitable for establishing AI CoEs, authorities could consider the Ministry of Education’s National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). This can extend support to institutions beyond the renowned IITs and IISc if they demonstrate expertise in conducting high-quality AI research.
India has set ambitious goals for its development by 2047. It aims to improve the living standards of its citizens. Leveraging AI technologies can significantly contribute to these objectives. It is hoped that India will embrace this opportunity and position itself as a leader in the AI revolution.