News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » Business » Nilekani-backed people+ai rolls out AI strategy...

Nilekani-backed people+ai rolls out AI strategy...

By Peerzada Abrar
May 08, 2024 19:37 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

An initiative of Nandan Nilekani’s EkStep Foundation, people+ai on Tuesday unveiled its vision for the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in India, dubbed ‘Adbhut India’ (Amazing India).

IMAGE: A still from the sci-fi movie Ex Machina, about artificial intelligence. Photograph: Kind courtesy, Movie Ex Machina

It aims to harness AI as a powerful tool to enhance the lives of all Indians.

The event marked the rollout of several initiatives by people+ai that are focused on discovering, demonstrating, and disseminating population-scale AI use cases for India.


In line with its commitment to open and accessible solutions, the Open Cloud Compute (OCC) initiative was also launched on the same day.

The OCC aims to establish an open network for computing resources, addressing the growing demand for AI infrastructure while encouraging healthy competition in the market.

The co-founder of Infosys, Nilekani has also spearheaded the country’s massive unique identification project.

Speaking at the event, he expanded this vision on AI predicting how it would change the course of the industry.

“India’s approach to building technology at scale is unique.

"We have successfully unbundled the building blocks to create population-scale digital public infrastructure for identity, payments, and education,” said Nilekani at the launch of Adbhut India.

“We see that India’s ideas for technology are being recognised globally. I believe it is now time to rebundle and make AI work to empower every individual and identify AI use cases unique to India.

"AI will help reduce barriers and personalise at scale,” Nilekani said.

Tanuj Bhojwani, head of people+ai, advocated for a use-case-driven approach to develop and implement AI in India.

He emphasised India’s unique strengths – a large digitally-connected young population and robust public digital infrastructure – as a springboard for impactful AI solutions.

Bhojwani emphasised India’s need for AI more than any other country due to its diverse population using Digital Public Infrastructures (DPIs) in their daily lives.

With a young demographic, AI will play a crucial role in entertainment and education.

“We are already the world’s largest consumers of mobile data, and will be the same on AI, making India the AI use case capital of the world.

"This sets the stage for an Adbhut India powered by AI, where people and AI work together to drive progress, and people+ai wants to be the enabler of an Adbhut India,” Bhojwani said.

Shankar Maruwada, co-founder and chief executive of EkStep Foundation, said bringing the positive power of AI to solve challenges unique to India’s diversity is an urgent opportunity for transformation that cannot and must not be lost.

“India is uniquely placed to make a meaningful difference by ensuring that the latest technology and innovation are accessible and equitable for all,” Maruwada said.

AI’s real-world applications

The event also featured a display of AI-powered community initiatives led by prominent figures including Nikhil Kumar (Setu), Jagadish Babu (EkStep Foundation), Charu Chadha (Rockefeller Foundation), Sunayana Sitaram (Microsoft Research), and Rahul Deora (Fynd).

These initiatives highlighted the diverse applications of AI in tackling real-world problems.

Leaders from the AI-powered community announced solutions that align with the vision of ‘Making an Adbhut India’.

Nikhil Kumar, co-founder of Indian fintech company Setu, unveiled Sesame – India’s first Large Language Model (LLM) designed for the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector.

Developed in collaboration with the indigenous AI research firm Sarvam AI, the breakthrough marks a “ChatGPT moment” in financial services, according to Kumar.

Rahul Deora, machine learning lead at Fynd, showcased the launch of BharatDiffusion v2.

BharatDiffusion is a diffusion-based AI model designed to create images that reflect India's rich culture.

It’s trained on a large collection of Indian photos to produce high-quality and realistic pictures that showcase the country's diversity.

Sasank Chilamkurthy, founder of Von Neumann AI and former chief technology officer (CTO) of, presented his new product JOHNAIC, your personal AI server.

This one-time investment “cloud in a box” solution will cut down AI costs by 85 per cent.

It also comes with in-built Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and AI tools to run small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, thus democratising AI access.

EkStep Foundation’s people+ai is the first customer of this product and is using it for its own AI requirements while keeping data private.

Startups leveraging AI

Pratyush Kumar, co-founder of, a start-up focused on foundational AI in India, showcased its platform which enables companies to build voice-enabled agentic AI systems in Indian languages.

Harsh Parikh, founder of DRiefcase, India’s largest personal health records app under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), spoke about the findings of a pilot survey conducted to demonstrate how they use the Jan Ki Baat AI framework to collect qualitative feedback from patients at the M Kashiram Hospital in Kanpur.

The survey focused on the ABDM Scan and Share module and aims to reduce patient wait times at hospitals.

In the future, it could potentially convey public feedback directly from hospitals to health ministries.

Harsh Mani Tripathi, co-founder of STAGE, presented India's first Haryanvi-dialect-based AI voice agent on their OTT platform.

This AI agent connects with users in Haryanvi, offering not just technical support but also forging an emotional connection.

STAGE, an entertainment platform for India's regional cultures, which serves the Haryanvi and Rajasthani cultures, recently turned profitable with over 1.2 million paying subscribers.

STAGE is leading a new era of customer engagement that validates, reinforces, and celebrates regional identities while making cultural preservation its core mission.

EkStep Foundation was founded by Nandan Nilekani, Rohini Nilekani, and Shankar Maruwada.

The foundation aims to champion ecosystems that build digital public goods, deliver large-scale impact for billions of people, and innovate beyond boundaries.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Peerzada Abrar
Source: source

Moneywiz Live!