Ease of doing business, AI should be focus areas for Digital India: Nandan Nilekani

A lot of the investments done in the early days are now paying off, such as enabling direct benefit transfers during the Covid-19 pandemic, he said. One big area would be using technology for ease of doing business and allowing enterprises to flou...

PTI
PUNE: Ease of doing business and artificial intelligence (AI) should be the two big thrust areas in the next few years of the government’s Digital India initiative, according to Nandan Nilekani, non-executive chairman of IT services provider Infosys.

Nilekani, the former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), was speaking at an event on the fifth anniversary of Digital India.

“We have completed one part of the journey, but we have to continue applying technology to governance,” he said.


A lot of the investments done in the early days are now paying off, such as enabling direct benefit transfers during the Covid-19 pandemic, he said. One big area would be using technology for ease of doing business and allowing enterprises to flourish with minimal human interface in government services, he added.

The other thrust area, Nilekani said, would be AI.

“In the last few years, our focus has been on transactional efficiency, but with the kind of digitisation we are doing means that we will create massive amounts of data in the public space. The time has come to apply AI in a big way to drive insights from this, which will enable India to progress further,” he said.
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Some areas where AI could be applied is in helping farmers take better decisions, improve tax collections and healthcare.

The Supreme Court is already using an AI-driven system to translate judicial documents from English to nine Indian languages and vice versa.

“In a country with so many languages, need to use it (AI) for speech recognition…speech to text, all of which will directly provide benefits for the common man. If we want to make the government inclusive, we should be able to talk to people in their language of choice and we can do that through AI,” Nilekani said.

Talking on the scope of public-private partnerships, Nilekani said the government has played multiple roles, as an enabler, a customer, a platform provider and a collaborator of solutions.
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For instance, several government initiatives like the Passport Seva Kendra, have been implemented by private enterprises and this has led to a huge growth in projects as well as the ability to use latest technologies to implement them.
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