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NITI Aayog ties-up with Microsoft to boost AI technology in several sectors

IANS/New Delhi 12 Oct 18 | 06:56 PM

The National Institution for Transforming India, also called the NITI Aayog, on Friday said it entered into a partnership with Microsoft to deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in areas such as agriculture, healthcare, natural language computing and sustainable environment.

As part of the agreement, Microsoft India will support NITI Aayog by combining the Cloud, AI, research and its vertical expertise for new initiatives and solutions.

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Microsoft will also accelerate the use of AI for the development and adoption of local language computing, in addition to building capacity for AI among the workforce through education.

"For our country, the power of AI needs to be brought to bear in sectors like healthcare, education, environment and agriculture, which are important for the inclusive development of India," Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, said in a statement.

"Simultaneously, we should utilise the power of AI to build understanding of the different regional languages prevalent in India," he added.

As part of the collaboration, Microsoft Research India (MSRI) will set up a "Microsoft-NITI Aayog Problem to Solution Incubation Test Bed" within its premises in Bengaluru to develop AI driven solutions for societal problems mutually identified with the policy think tank, the statement added.

Under the agreement, Microsoft will develop farm advisory services to help increase crop yield, pest detection and pest incident predictions as part of projects across locations identified by NITI Aayog.

This will involve applying data science, remote sensing and image processing apps to crop maps, yield data and weather data collected over five years.

The pest risk detection model will provide information five days in advance of expected attacks, NITI Aayog Said.

As part of the new partnership, Microsoft will also build AI assisted models for diabetic retinopathy screening models to support early risk detection, risk assessment and timely medical intervention.

These models will be deployed as Proof of Concepts (POCs) across primary health centres identified by NITI Aayog.

The collaboration is also aimed at helping skill/reskill developers, academic institutions and students across the country in the areas of AI and Data Sciences.

Additionally, Microsoft will promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in the areas of AI studies and Data Sciences for young women in institutes identified by NITI Aayog.

"We are very proud to support NITI Aayog in driving the next leg of India's transformational journey," said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.

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