Industry players on Thursday welcomed the government’s move to double the allocation on the Digital India programme to Rs 3,073 crore — a decision that will help research and skilling in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), among others. Presenting the Union Budget for 2018-19, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that NITI Aayog will initiate a national programme to direct efforts in AI and the Department of Science and Technology will launch a Mission on Cyber-Physical Systems.

“The National Programme on Artificial Intelligence to be set up by Niti Aayog, the 5G test-bed in IIT Chennai and the mission to encourage Big Data, cybersecurity and Robotics are some of the initiatives that will help promote Industry 4.0,” said Dr Subho Ray, President, the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).  “This will create new skills and jobs and help usher in the next phase of the IT-BPM sector in India,” he added. Welcoming the focus on disruptive technologies, Priya Mahajan, Head of ASPAC Public Policy & Regulatory Counsel, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, said that “we hope that the government will also consider additional reforms in the telecom sector to create a predictable, flexible, lightly regulated policy framework that incentivises the businesses to invest, reinvest and to compete on a level playing field basis”.

The aim of the government is to support the establishment of centres of excellence for research, training and skilling in Robotics, AI, digital manufacturing, Big Data Analytics, quantum communication and IoT.  “It is great to see the government’s continued efforts towards ‘Digital India’ by increasing investment for digital initiatives and enabling the NITI Aayog to direct efforts towards Artificial Intelligence. We look forward to partnering with the public and private sector to create a technology-driven ecosystem which fosters local innovation and research,” said Mahesh Nayak, Chief Operating Officer, SAP Labs India.

According to Arun Gupta, CEO and Founder of MoMagic Technologies, the budget has recognised the importance of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics as tools to further growth at national level. “Niti Aayog’s plan is a welcome move which will push investments and research in this space and will put India on the right path for innovation,” Gupta added.

This is in regard to the Union Budget 2018-19. Enclosed is the quote on the budget reaction on Cybersecurity from PwC, for your reference. Sivarama Krishnan, Partner and Leader Cyber Security, PwC India, said: “The CoEs (Center of Excellence) will be a key step in building solutions which embed security by design and privacy by design”. “It’s great to see that government is recognising future technology for building the future. Not only this helps in job creation but also advances the nation in competitive global space,” added Prabhakar Chaudhary, MD-HAL Robotics.

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