Centre’s Rs 15 k crore boost to AI, Cybersecurity


Rama Krishna Sangem

The Union Cabinet on  August 16, Wednesday approved the expansion of the Digital India Programme, with a Rs 14,903 crore booster to scale up digital skilling, cybersecurity, e-governance services, and the development of artificial intelligence (AI).

Cybersecurity is set to be at the forefront of initiatives under the extended Digital India scheme. Around 265,000 citizens will be trained in information security under the Information Security & Education Awareness Phase (ISEA) Programme.

Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister for communication, electronics and information technology, said Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In)  — the government’s nodal agency for cyber forensics, emergency response and cyber diagnosis — will be massively expanded. The programme will also include the development of cybersecurity tools and the integration of more than 200 sites with the National Cyber Coordination Centre.


3 Centres of Excellence

As announced earlier, the government plans to build three Centres of Excellence (CoE) for the development of AI research and innovation ecosystem in the country. These centres will focus on health, agriculture, and sustainable cities. The AI-enabled multi-language translation tool Bhashini, which is currently available in 10 languages, will be rolled out in all 22 official languages of the country.

The government will also add nine more supercomputers for AI modelling and weather forecasting under the National Super Computer Mission. This will be in addition to 18 supercomputers already deployed.

The Digital India programme was launched in July 2015 to enable the digital delivery of services to citizens. The programme is now extended to a period of five years starting from 2021-2022 to 2025-2026. The government will support over 1,200 startups from Tier-II, and –III cities during the extended period.

The extended scheme is also directed at implementing several announcements made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her budget speech for FY24. This includes the revamp of DigiLocker, and allowing Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and other small organisations to access digital document verification facility. This may open up a new model for digital credit for small businesses, Vaishnaw said.


6.25 lakh IT people to be re-skilled

Under the next phase of the government’s digital push, around 625,000 IT professionals will be re-skilled and up-skilled for next-generation technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), AI-ML (machine learning), data analytics, etc. The training will be provided under the FutureSkills Prime Programme. The National Knowledge Network (NKN), which connects 1,787 educational institutions, will also be modernised




Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

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