Artificial Intelligence Will Prove To Be A Game Changer For The Indian Economy

We have entered the era of Big Data, Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is currently in a swift development phase and continuously making technological advances. India has been a growing hub for business and ranks among the most attractive investment destinations for technology transactions in the world. In recent times, the country has focused on technology, realising that it is a key component of economic development. The government has been extensively promoting research, business incubators and parks, and has been improving on the Global Innovation Index position since 2016. This year the Ministry of Science and Technology has been allotted its largest budget till date by the Government of India.

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What Is Artificial Intelligence All About?

To put it in very simple terms, AI is about creating and working on intelligent machines to make them act and react like humans. AI is set to transform the way humans and machines interact as it is convenient and time-saving.

Where Does The Market Stand?

The Indian cloud computing market, currently at $2.2 billion, is expected to grow to $4 billion by 2020 with an annual growth rate of more than 30% and is expected to see more than a million job roles according to a report by Great Learning.

NASSCOM: A trade association for Indian IT businesses has anticipated that the Indian analytics trade will reach $16 billion value by the year 2025, and that is said to be somewhere around 32% of the world market.

Not just the IT business, but in other industries, too, Big Data, along with Artificial Intelligence, is creating an impact. The logistics business has seen a growth with the delivery of cargo becoming faster and also trackable in real time, thereby improving the processes involved. It has also resulted in automated healthcare systems and made it more structured. Even marketers are using the data to identify the behaviour and needs of the consumers.

What Does The Microsoft-IDC Study State?

The latest study states that AI will double the rate of innovation and employee efficiency in the country.

According to Microsoft’s statement, the survey (conducted with 1,560 business decision makers in mid- and large-sized organisations across 15 economies in the region) highlights that while 77% of business leaders polled agreed that AI is instrumental for their organisation’s competitiveness, only one-third of organisations in India have embarked on their AI journeys. Those companies that have adopted AI expect it to increase their competitiveness by 2.3 times in 2021.

How Can Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Cloud Computing Benefit India And Pave The Way Forward?

Going by the above study, AI is tipped to increase the rate of innovation in India by about 230% in just two years. It might also improve customer engagement as well as create more productive employees.

As a country, India has been, in recent times, focusing on research but is still far from catching up with the world leaders. With time, the government is going to play a vital role in promoting AI and research on AI, Big Data and Cloud Computing. The government can use Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to find patterns and trends to flag accounts with sizeable black money deposits. Another area is the agricultural sector, which contributes a sizeable amount to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is a substantial workforce in the country. But recently this sector has seen a decline and AI can help come up with techniques that can be applied in real time.

The State Bank of India is another example of Big Data and houses the world’s largest data warehouse which could boost the banking sector. State governments have also begun the use of data-driven governance and state administration. This will help in transparency and help launch real-time performance systems in all departments and also help with insights of government policies.

There is also a growing need to manage huge volumes of data and make them readily accessible and available for use; this is enabled through cloud computing. The concept of Digital India has been hugely promoted, and cloud is going to play a pivotal role in the mission of expanding the digital footprint of the country. It would also help with cost reduction for infrastructure, reducing expenditure which could be invested, with better results, elsewhere.

Key Challenges:

AI is based on cutting edge technology, and one challenge it will face is software malfunctioning; another key challenge is the investment, setting it up is a very costly affair, and not everyone would be willing to set it up or invest in it. Another thing the success of AI relies on is data, and that is a concern as Big Data often contains sensitive and personal data, which makes it vulnerable to serious issues of privacy breach and data theft.

The Big Data industry needs to work on how it is going to protect the data and be transparent to the public regarding how the data will be used. The Indian government’s Aadhaar is one of the largest stakeholders in this space with a collection of data that goes well over 1.3 billion, it is not just dates of birth or addresses but extends to iris scans and fingerprints; at the moment the government doesn’t seem to have any strong strategy to protect the data. Big Data also faces challenges that, if not dealt with properly, could cause damage to data, data alteration and leakage.

One way to tackle this is to establish an information security policy, but that in itself seems to be a challenge as it involves strategical and legal aspects. However, this is the only way there can be effective managing of the data. Users should also be aware of their rights and individual privacy.  And only then can they emerge a big player in international internet governance.

Conclusion:

India is on the path to becoming a major global trading power and investment in this transformative technology has to be continuous for long-term success. And as far as the workforce is concerned, they will have to re-skill themselves as many current skills would most likely become irrelevant in the near future.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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