India may set aside more than ₹10,000 crore ($1.2 billion) for its ambitious Artificial Intelligence (AI) Mission, minister of state for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said.
As part of the mission, India will build its own sovereign AI, and roll out compute-as-a-service to startups, while stacking up significant computational capacity.
Sovereign AI enables countries to exercise control and authority over AI technologies developed, utilized, and deployed in their jurisdiction.
For those using and developing AI, computing capacity is critical, and requires a complex stack of software, hardware, processors, memory, and networks, all engineered to support AI-specific workloads and capabilities.
Under the AI mission, startups will be allowed to access and utilize these computational resources developed by the government, which include an assembly of graphics processing units (GPUs).
Setting up GPU-based servers in public-private partnership mode is currently in the works, the minister said on the sidelines of the inauguration of the US-based Synopsys’ chip design center in Noida.
GPUs provide significant computing power, essential for tasks such as data processing, machine learning, video encoding and decoding, deep learning, and AI applications.
Chandrasekhar said computing capacity will be built in private data centers and in data centers run by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).
India is currently working on expanding its computational power by developing a capacity that includes up to 30,000 GPUs under the public-private partnership model, apart from up to 2,000 GPUs at C-DAC.
For comparison, Microsoft Corp. developed a supercomputer for Open AI, which built ChatGPT, consisting of 10,000 GPUs.
“We will take the proposal for the AI Mission to the Cabinet soon. We are still working out some contours, but the overall outlay for the initiative could be more than ₹10,000 crore,” he said
Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the AI Mission to build the computing power for using and deploying AI within India at the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence Summit (GPAI) held in New Delhi.
Modi had announced that the mission would serve startups and entrepreneurs in India and promote AI use in agriculture, healthcare, and education.
Under this mission, the government is exploring incentives such as capital expenditure subsidy models for private companies willing to set up computing centers in the country. Companies will be incentivized depending on their operational expenses.
In 2022, the information technology ministry released a draft National Data Governance Framework Policy that floated the concept of developing an India Datasets platform utilizing non-personal and anonymized datasets from central government entities that have collected data from Indian citizens or those in India.
This data would be accessible to startups and Indian researchers, as the draft proposal mentioned.
The government is also considering issuing directives to big tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon to share anonymized personal data in their possession with the India Datasets platform.
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