Trai set to soon come out with suggestions on AI, digital inclusion

A consultation paper to further strengthen digital inclusion looks at three key aspects - devices, connectivity and literacy. It is being given finishing touches by TRAI

Subhayan Chakraborty New Delhi
Artificial intelligence

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has initiated a consultative process on artificial intelligence (AI) and will soon come out with recommendations on the subject that will focus on how it can be converged with existing technologies.
It will also chalk out the need for AI-specific infrastructure and skilled manpower, TRAI chairman PD Vaghela has said. It will also release a consultation paper on how to further digital inclusion.

Speaking at the India Digital Summit organised by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on Monday, Vaghela said the possibilities of leveraging big data and AI in telecom and other sectors — emerging in the 6G era — is being studied by TRAI.

This is owing to the overarching role the telecom sector will play in this.
”TRAI has taken a proactive stance on examining how AI will impact the country in future. 5G and beyond networks will provide a plethora of data that will be useful for the telecom and other sectors. Edge computing in the 5G era may offer opportunities for other sectors to train, validate and run their AI models on the telecom network,” Vaghela added.
AI found a mention in the Union Budget for the second year earlier this month.
In the Budget 2023-24, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has called for realising the vision of ‘Make AI in India and Make AI work for India’. The government has announced the setting up of three centres of excellence for AI to be set up in top educational institutes.

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Quoting a PwC research, he said, AI could boost the world economy by up to $15.7 trillion by 2030.
On the other hand, Vaghela said TRAI’s focus on digital inclusion rests on the “whole of society” approach towards encouraging equitable and sustainable economic growth. This is through socio-economic inclusion of disadvantaged citizens.
A consultation paper to further strengthen digital inclusion looks at three key aspects — devices, connectivity and literacy. It is being given finishing touches by TRAI.
Focus on MSMEs

TRAI has recommended that the department of telecommunication (DoT) approach the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) ministry to carry out a study aiming to understand the level of acceptance among MSMEs of industrial automation and digital technology.
“Based on the findings, appropriate schemes such as interest subvention for upgradation of plant and machinery may be devised by the government,” Vaghela said.
MSMEs, which employ 70 per cent employees in the industrial sector, have lagged in even adopting 4G technology. The chairman pointed out challenges arising out of technological convergence and reduced investment cycles due to technology disruptions.
He insisted that various institutions dealing with standardisation, testing and electrification, training and skilling, research and development, and promotion of industries under different ministries, should be synergised to serve 5G.

On the same issue, TRAI has recently published a consultation paper that examines the challenges posed by convergence of technologies, he said.
Industry stakeholders have been asked to suggest if any legal, technical, or licensing framework would need to be changed.
The chairman outlined eight specific challenges to India's digital momentum such as the need to revamp digital governance infrastructure, identification of appropriate technologies and building a data economy.

First Published: Feb 20 2023 | 9:42 PM IST

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