India AI Mission gets Rs 2,000 Crore Fr Start-Ups: Meity Start-Up Hub CEO

The cabinet has approved India AI Mission where more than Rs 10,000 crore is being allocated in supporting AI ecosystem in India

The government has earmarked over Rs 2,000 crore for funding and supporting AI-related startups, and the scheme will be rolled in the next fiscal, beginning April 1, a senior government official said on Tuesday. 

While speaking on the sidelines of Startup Mahakumbh, Meity Startup Hub CEO Jitendra Vijay said the government is providing a larger funding programme for the priority sector through various plans like a design-linked incentive scheme for semiconductor design, among others. 

"(The) Cabinet has approved India AI Mission where more than Rs 10,000 crore is being allocated in supporting AI ecosystem in India. More than Rs 2,000 crore is allocated for funding and supporting AI-related start-ups. We are looking more at figuring out mechanisms for the deployment of these programmes and schemes on both sides. This should be operationalised within the coming (fiscal) year," Vijay told PTI. 

The Cabinet approved the India AI Mission in the first week of March with an outlay of Rs 10,372 crore for five years to encourage AI development in the country. 

Under the mission, supercomputing capacity, comprising over 10,000 GPUs (graphics processing units) will be made available to various stakeholders for creating an AI ecosystem. 

Vijay said that Meity Startup Hub (MSH) is currently supporting and funding 143 incubators and centres of excellence (CoE) across India as well as providing funding to all start-ups from the idea level to the growth stage through funds of funds. So, we can be part of their journey whenever they need and whatever geography they need. 

When asked about the way MSH is providing support to start-ups amid funding winter and the cost of funds going up, Vijay said that the government cannot replace funding that the private and the investment community can provide to the start-up. 

"The government is not there to distort the private funding market, but we need to ensure the development of the ecosystem. We will be funding startups in smaller towns in India. We are working very closely with the investment community to figure out how we unlock rupee capital in India and have them invest in Indian start-ups. If the money is coming mainly from the developed world then it becomes difficult for us to project the growth of the start-up world," Vijay said. 

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