Govt must think of ways to sustain support for future technologies like AI, blockchain

By: |
September 22, 2020 6:00 AM

Encouraging innovation through cash-rewards is one part of getting future-tech ready, the other is sustaining this.

the government announcing a challenge for AI solutions is a signal that it is on a track where it will actively encourage indigenous development of future technologies.

The government—through its different departments—and statutory bodies like the Election Commission have engaged with start-ups for specific solutions in the past. But, it is only during the coronavirus pandemic that the government has shown a commitment to crowdsource innovations. It even held challenges to encourage indigenous app-development—giving a Kerala-based company a Rs 1-crore award for developing a video-conferencing solution that could rival the likes of Zoom.

Thus, the government announcing a challenge for AI solutions is a signal that it is on a track where it will actively encourage indigenous development of future technologies.

Last week, the government announced a Rs 20 lakh reward for developing AI solutions for healthcare, education, agriculture, smart mobility, transportation and natural language processing. The top 15 start-ups will be supported at the virtual global summit on AI, AI-RAISE. India needs to invest more in such solutions, and focus on other upcoming fields, like blockchain, augmented reality, virtual reality, internet of things as well.

It can learn from the US, which has even crowdsourced tech solutions for strategic sectors such as defence and space. Encouraging innovation through cash-rewards is one part of getting future-tech ready, the other is sustaining this. One way can be to have special terms of engagement for start-ups in government tenders. That is where the government—states and urban local bodies—can really benefit while creating a nurturing ecosystem.

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