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India is building its own ‘sovereign AI’. What does it mean?

With sovereign AI and an AI compute infrastructure (the software and hardware needed to build AI-powered systems), the government is not looking to just compete with the Generative AI type of model. It has said it also wants to focuson real-life use cases in healthcare, agriculture, governance, language translation, etc, to maximise economic development. 


Union Cabinet approves India AI Mission with 10,372 crore outlay : How it could help domestic private players.


On Thursday (March 7), the Union Cabinet approved the India AI Mission with an outlay of Rs 10,372 crore for the next five years.Under it, the government will allocate funds towards subsidising private companies that are looking to set up AI computing capacity in the country, among other things.While, it is still a blueprint, the approval could spur investments in the space, with private companies setting up data centres in the country and allowing start-ups access to it so that they can test and build their Generative AI models.


What is India’s plan for setting up AI computing capacity?


Under the India AI Mission, the government will look to establish a computing capacity of more than 10,000 GPUs (Graphics Processing Units). It will also help in developing foundational models with a capacity of more than 100 billion parameters, trained on datasets covering major Indian Languages for priority sectors like healthcare, agriculture and governance.

This AI compute infrastructure will be implemented through a public-private partnership model with 50% viability gap funding.

If the compute prices come down, the private entity will have to add more compute capacity within the same budgeted amount to meet increased demand. Of the total outlay, Rs 4,564 crore has been earmarked for building computing infrastructure.

“Basically, there will be a tender inviting companies to set up data centres. When a company applies for, let’s say a centre which may cost Rs 10,000 crore, they can seek a viability gap funding from the government for a certain amount of that,” a senior government official said.Start-ups, academia, researchers and industry will be given access to the AI supercomputing infrastructure established under the India AI Mission, Goyal said, as per news agency PTI.


Are there proposals beyond hardware too?


The government will also finance deep tech start-ups at various levels of growth, as per the Cabinet approval. Of the total outlay, roughly Rs 2,000 crore has been earmarked towards this. An India AI Datasets Platform will also be set up as part of the programme which will look at leveraging the quality, access, and use of non-personal datasets for AI innovation.

The Indian government, as per the India AI Mission, would also help mitigate barriers to entry into AI programs and will increase courses related to technology at undergraduate, masters-level, and PhD programs.



  • The Indian Express
  • WION News