Merely producing engineers not enough, says Niti Aayog CEO

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January 20, 2021 3:45 AM

He said India can actually create up to $1 trillion of economic value from the digital economy by 2025, up from around $200 billion currently, and there is a huge potential in whole range of areas.

niti aayog, Niti Innovation IndexThe states and union territories have been divided into 17 'major states', 10 'North-East and hill states', and 9 'city states and Union Territories', for effectively comparing their performance.

Asserting that merely producing engineers is not enough, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Tuesday called on Indian academic institutions to restructure curriculum, so that emphasis can be given on specialised skillsets like artificial intelligence (AI) and data science, which are in huge demand.

Speaking during the India Digital Summit organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), Kant said India has a lot of engineers but there is a great shortage of product designers and data scientists, as the country needs more people with specialised background in fields like artificial intelligence.

“Indian academic institutions need to restructure their curriculum… focus needs to be laid on emerging areas of technology. Merely producing great number of electric and electronics engineers is not adequate. You need product designers… that is where great amount of value can be created and each one of our institutions need to really work around this,” Kant said.

He said India can actually create up to $1 trillion of economic value from the digital economy by 2025, up from around $200 billion currently, and there is a huge potential in whole range of areas.

“We have over half a billion internet users and the number is rising rapidly in every part of the country. This will create a huge market for a host of digital services, platforms, applications and content and solutions,” he said.

The Niti Aayog CEO highlighted the challenges faced by India in the field of healthcare, education, energy and how technology can help find solutions for them. “Our engineers and our scientists must be able to find technology solutions to these challenges and without technological leapfrogging we will not be able to find solutions,” Kant said.

He said with Bharatnet spreading to rural areas, once the optical fibre reaches all villages, technological change will happen. “I look after the aspirational districts and when I visit them, I find that more than physical infrastructure like roads, they need internet connectivity and that will help in providing healthcare and education in these areas,” he said.

Kant said digital infrastructure has emerged as more significant compared to traditional infrastructure necessities such as power and roads. This makes it crucial for India to augment digital infrastructure to utilise frontier technology in economic development. Digital is the future, Kant said, adding that if India wants to improve the social or health sectors, going digital is critical.

The Niti Aayog CEO said the global electronics market is estimated to be worth $2 trillion, and India’s share in it has grown from 1.3% in 2012 to 3% in 2018. “It is still considered to be miniscule. So, the government came up with the production-linked incentive scheme for the electronics industry,” he said.

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