As part of his current visit to Dubai, Canada and the United States, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis is hosting a series of meetings in Quebec with the intent on promoting emerging technologies, especially artificial intelligence (AI). Key among them are the meetings with IVADO and AI Next.
Fadnavis met Vice Premier of Quebec Dominique Anglade, and both agreed to a collaboration between Maharashtra and Quebec to increase increments in AI and Aero, as also promoting AI accelerators like AI Next and IVADO.
IVADO has signed a collaboration agreement with the Department of IT, Maharashtra for setting up an AI accelerator in the state. They also signed a Letter of Intent to become part of the World Organization on AI (Artificial Intelligence – Quebec expertise). Additionally, AI Next has signed an agreement with the Government of Maharashtra’s Department of Information Technology to set up a joint AI accelerator to promote 50 start-up AI units in Maharashtra. It has also been agreed that IVADO and Applied AI Research Institute focused on social good in Mumbai, which was launched in February, will work together to set up AI clusters in Maharashtra in conjunction with IIT Mumbai.
Speaking at a panel discussion on the topic, Fadnavis said, “There is a great deal of uncertainty around AI. However, as representatives of the people, if we begin to embrace it, it will give a great deal of confidence to the citizens and enable us to demystify the technology. With effective use of AI, we hope to bring basic services to the doorsteps of the people, be able to save lives through improved healthcare as also create about 230 million jobs in the country by year 2025 under WEF Industry 4.0.”
Maharashtra was the first state in India to come out with a comprehensive cloud policy that has enabled the entire government to take steps to shift its operations to cloud and take advantage of the capabilities of cloud computing. Providing boost to this direction, the government has come out with the first fintech policy in India that includes incentives to start ups, Mumbai fintech sandbox, fintech registry etc. Additionally, the IT department of the state government has also embarked on use of blockchain in some key areas such as land registry, health care, transport etc.
The vision of Fadnavis is to smartly deploy AI to bring about improvement in a few fields of governance and welfare:
Agriculture: To provide farmers with information on (a) what to sow to maximise their profit (not just yield) (b) when to sow it (c) when to fertilise, irrigate and harvest it; provide the agriculture department insights into what water storage mechanisms to build on farms and in villages, based on climatic zone, soil type, soil health, weather patterns / history, land topography; use satellite or drone or mobile phone images (or combinations thereof) to predict pests, growth rates, yields, harvest dates, and arrival dates and prices in vegetables.
Health: Assist hospitals in diagnosis of common cancers from images and blood samples using Electronic Health Records (EHRs) of a large population; assist ASHA workers to provide pre-diagnosis in remote villages for simple diseases, and generate recommendations for escalations to doctors for more complex diseases.
Home: Detection of number plates from moving cars through CCTV images; detection of criminals using face detection algorithms.
Revenue and Finance: Detection of fraud and evasion of taxes by using analytics techniques coupled with AI.
Power: Forecasting power prices based on weather patterns and weather forecasts.
IT: Detection of cyberattacks using Advanced Persistent Threat monitoring systems.
Social Justice – Disabilities: Speech synthesis for the speech impaired, and speech recognition and transcription for the deaf.
Industries or textiles: Assisting in scoring / making recommendations on applications to various government benefits schemes, e.g., for loans, grants for technology upgradation, etc.