Maharashtra has been carving out a niche for itself in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The state is banking on emerging technologies to resolve some of society’s biggest challenges. Speaking at a panel discussion in Quebec, Hon. CM Devendra Fadnavis said, “There is a great deal of uncertainty around AI. However, if we embrace it, it will give a great deal of confidence to the citizens and enable them to demystify the technology.” He continued, “With the effective use of AI, we hope to bring basic services to the doorsteps of people, save lives through improved health care and create about 230 million jobs in the country by 2025.”
In the recent years, the government has taken several initiatives like launching the Maha-AgriTech programme to bring more predictability in farming, and collaborating with the World Economic Forum to focus on emerging technologies including drones, IoT, Blockchain, and AI. The recent Maharashtra Startup Week was one such platform where the state government provided startups the chance to showcase their products and services in exchange for government work orders, and gave them an opportunity to demonstrate “proof of concept” (PoC). These efforts also include partnering with startups and organisations whose AI-based solutions could be used to solve social challenges.
NITI Aayog and the Government of Maharashtra have been working closely to ensure that best practices from Maharashtra’s AI initiatives are scaled across the country. Last year, a Statement of Intent was signed between the two to collaborate on emerging technologies. Through the partnership, they launched an International Centre for Transformative AI in Healthcare with support from Wadhwani AI, Tata Trusts, IIT Madras, Stanford University, and others. This Centre will work on developing unique solutions in the areas of tuberculosis and cancer to improve the lives of the citizens of Maharashtra and India as a whole.
The Government of Maharashtra's AI Innovation Challenge 2019, in partnership with NITI Aayog, is a step in this direction and aims to identify enthusiastic and passionate startups, MSMEs and organisations from all across India that have developed AI-based solutions for social problems.
“What is almost an impossible feat for startups is what the AI Innovation Challenge offers - a chance to work with the Maharashtra Government to address pressing challenges in the state. I encourage organisations with unique AI-based solutions to apply for this one-of-a-kind collaboration opportunity that will help the state grow," says Kaustubh Dhavse, Officer on Special Duty to the Hon. CM, Government of Maharashtra.
If you’re a startup, MSME or enterprise working in India, and you have a unique AI-based solution that could solve social problems, this is the right time to apply. The challenge will focus on areas that include, but are not limited to smart mobility and transport, healthcare, water management, agriculture, among others. Organisations from other domains with innovative solutions can also apply.
To participate, all you need to do is submit a proposal detailing the solution and the feasibility of implementation, along with the registration form. Shortlisted applicants will be given a chance to pitch their ideas to the Government of Maharashtra during the grand finale.
So, what’s in it for you if you win? You will be given an opportunity to partner with the Government of Maharashtra and NITI Aayog to conduct a PoC in the state. This will help applicants showcase their AI ability and get a chance to explore opportunities in other government-led projects.
Wadhwani AI, a not-for-profit AI institute for social good is offering a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh each to two organisations whose ideas have the most potential to create a positive social impact. They will also get an opportunity to collaborate with the Hub at Wadhwani AI.
That’s not all. AWS is offering cloud credit and Intel will be providing access to tools and software required by the winners to do a PoC with the government.
This is a great opportunity for startups, MSMEs, expert organisations and the government to collectively develop an ecosystem where they can work together to solve critical social problems using AI.
On March 2, 2019, more than 350 attendees and a diverse set of speakers will gather under a single roof to share insights across sectors from technology to social challenges to fintech. The grand finale of the AI Innovation Challenge 2019 in Mumbai will have talks by leading global speakers including Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Amitabh Kant (CEO, NITI Aayog), Rahul Sharma (President, Amazon Internet Services WWPS, India and South Asia), Beena Ammanath (Global VP – AI, Data and Innovation, HP Enterprises), P. Anandan (CEO, Wadhwani AI), among others.
“For India to take a lead in technology-led innovation, disruptive entrepreneurship targeted at challenges in focus sectors such as healthcare, agriculture, education, etc. is needed. AI Innovation Challenge is a wonderful attempt to bring the brightest minds in the State and the government together to solve key challenges in Maharashtra. I’m looking forward to the innovative solutions that we’ll witness during the grand finale,” says Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog.
Apart from the pitching sessions from the 50 finalists, there are exciting keynotes and panels to look forward to. At the end of the event, winners will be awarded and will receive the letter of intent from the Government of Maharashtra to work with them on a PoC.
This is just a small glimpse of what’s in store at the AI Innovation Challenge grand finale 2019. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to meet experts, interact with innovative entrepreneurs and industry peers, and explore new partnership opportunities.