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Blueprint on digital platform for farmers soon, says MEITY secretary

The Indian government will soon release a blueprint on a farmers digital platform which can be used for artificial intelligence purposes. Ajay Prakash Sawhney, secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) on Tuesday said that work on the blueprint — or ‘greenprint’ as it is being characterised — is at an “advanced stage”. He was  speaking at a session of the Indian government’s Raise 2020 Summit (Responsible AI for Social Empowerment, 2020).

Sawhney said that the farmers’ database had been put together well. “But unifying things around a farm record and then building a large platform around that concept, I think, that is something that will come in through this nationwide blueprint. We should see this getting unveiled this quarter itself, hopefully in the earlier part of the quarter,” he said.

Sawhney was likely referring to the blueprint for the Agri Stack or Kisan Stack, as mentioned in the Agriculture ministry’s report on “Doubling Farmers’ Income” from 2018. The report had envisioned the use of Aadhaar India Stack and Kisan Stack to help the government better target schemes and subsidies for farmers based on data about ecology, soil requirements, market requirements and so on. This, the report had said, could help with the vision of doubling farmers’ incomes.

The MEITY secretary emphasised that platforms using AI would be designed to be inclusive in nature. He took the example of how AI could be used to break language barriers, wherein realtime speech translation would aid in communication between people from all over the country.

J Satyanarayana, who has served as MEITY secretary and UIDAI chairman in the past and was moderating the discussion, asked Sawhney about a similar database for the chemical industry. Sawhney replied that there was still work to be done there, and the MSME Ministry was leading the effort. “We are yet to sort of give it the shape of a nationwide digital platform. There’s work to be done in that direction,” he said.

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