IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday asked Indian start-ups to leverage new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine-to-machine communication to create innovative solutions in healthcare and education, particularly for rural areas. Terming India as being “innovative by temperament”, the minister said start-ups should look at new “out-of-the-box” solutions in demand-driven areas like cyber security and data analytics that are increasingly relevant in the digital economy.
“How can you leverage artificial intelligence, machine to machine communication and internet of things for healthcare, agriculture and education in rural areas…that is the challenge for you,” he said after presenting the ‘ICT start-ups awards by Meity ASSOCHAM Ericsson’.
The minister said that start-up companies should utilise the existing network of Common Services Centres (digital kiosks that deliver digital services) as also BPOs that are coming up in smaller towns. “The digital aspiration of India is waiting to be explored,” he said adding that India is well on its way to become USD 1 trillion digital economy over the coming years, generating 50 lakh to 75 lakh jobs.
On the issue of data privacy, Prasad reiterated that while data is important for analysis and policy making, there has to be balance between data availability, its utility, innovation, anonymity and privacy aspects. “Data most be anonymous…It means data availability minus income details, medical profile and other such information,” he said citing an example.
The minister outlined increasing adoption of the UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) app and Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app that enables secure cashless payments through mobile phones, and said India’s digital clout is on the rise globally too given the large market it offers to businesses.