Govt sets up panel to resolve MeitY and Niti fight over AI

The government has formed a committee to resolve differences between the Niti Aayog and the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) over who will implement its ambitious artificial intelligence mission.

The committee, formed last week, will be headed by principal scientific advisor K VijayRaghavan and represented by the secretary in the department of science and technology, the CEO of Niti Aayog and secretary of MeitY.

“The panel has been formed to resolve the overlaps between Niti Aayog’s and Meity’s plans for AI,” a top official, who did not wish to be identified, said.

The committee is tasked with rooting out duplication of work between various government arms, while clearly specifying the role of different agencies to fast-track the implementation of the AI mission, the official said.

Niti Aayog received clearance from the expenditure finance committee (EFC) for a budget of Rs 7,000 crore, while MeitY had sent a separate Rs 400 crore proposal to the EFC to set up a national AI programme.

MeitY had also announced the setting up a national AI centre in January, but there has been no clarity on its status.

While MeitY’s programme included launching a national AI portal along with developing applications and doing proofs of concepts in the areas of health and education, Niti Aayog’s roadmap includes setting up five centres of research excellence, 20 institutional centres for transformational AI and a cloud computing platform called AIRAWAT.

A senior Niti Aayog official, however, said there were no differences between MeitY and itself over the AI project. “We work together to take India forward,” the official said.


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