wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

What remains unclear about Indian Government’s advisory on AI models

While Chandrasekhar said the advisory doesn’t include startups, the advisory itself does not make any such classification based on platform sizes.

Minister of State for IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, on March 4 spoke about the artificial intelligence (AI) advisory that the government has issued clarifying who the advisory would apply to and who it wouldn’t. It is important to remember that the advisory has neither been revoked nor has it been updated to reflect the clarifications made by the minister. As such, the clarifications made are at odds with the advisory itself. Here is our assessment of the situation:

Who does the advisory apply to?

One of the first questions that emerged after the advisory’s rollout was who it applied to. The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 doesn’t explicitly include AI models under the definition of an intermediary or a content publisher, as such, would it be fair to interpret the rules to include them?

Speaking to the Economic Times, AI startup founders in India said that the directions prescribed under the advisory would kill startups, allowing only bigger corporations who have the resources for testing and government approval. Responding to this Chandrasekhar said on X (formerly Twitter) that the advisory doesn’t apply to startups but only to significant platforms.

This post gave rise to more questions than it answered. While Chandrasekhar said the advisory doesn’t include startups, the advisory itself does not make any such classification based on platform sizes.

It must also be noted here that IT Rules 2021 don’t define the word “platform” either, again leading to uncertainty about what the advisory means when it says that platforms must ensure that they don’t allow for any bias or discrimination and do not “threaten the integrity of the electoral process” including through the use of AI models. Chandrasekhar released a second clarification about the advisory. However, even this clarification did not shed any light on how AI models are covered under the IT Rules.

What is an untested/ undertested platform?

MediaNama’s editor Nikhil Pahwa asked this question on X after Chandrasekhar’s first clarification. The advisory says that any under-tested or unreliable artificial intelligence (AI) model can only be made available to Indian users after receiving explicit permission from the government but doesn’t explain how the government would classify which AI model is adequately tested and which isn’t. Neither the first clarification nor the second one shed light on this.

How can AI companies be held responsible for the results their models generate?


Pahwa pointed out that the output of AI models is dependent on factors like the data input into them and their training weights. He further mentioned that the outputs are probabilistic as opposed to being deterministic and cannot be relied on for accuracy.

Notably, in his second clarification, Chandrasekhar said that the advisory stating that it was meant to make AI companies deploying lab-level/ undertested AI platforms aware of the fact that platforms have clear existing obligations to not enable or directly output under the Information Technology (IT) and criminal laws in India. However, based on the advisory, the unlawful content in question is the kind outlined under 3(1) (b) of the IT Rules. If that is the case, is Chandrasekhar suggesting that AI Companies are intermediaries?

Pahwa questioned this liability for unlawful content pointing to the Delhi High Court’s verdict on the Shreya Singal case. This verdict suggests that social media platforms need to have actual knowledge of their service being used for committing an unlawful act to be held liable for it. As such, even if we consider that AI platforms are intermediaries, should they really be held liable for the output when they have no actual knowledge that a user is generating a deep fake or misinformation using their service?

Is this advisory even legal?

As pointed out by Pahwa, the legality of the IT Rules, 2021 has had  17 different challenges to the constitutionality of the IT Rules have been filed before various High Courts of India by individuals, associations, and organizations. As such, it makes one wonder whether these should even be used as a means to regulate AI. Even if the advisory is considered legal, it is also worth pointing out here that it would not be legally binding.

Also read:

STAY ON TOP OF TECH NEWS: Our daily newsletter with the top story of the day from MediaNama, delivered to your inbox before 9 AM. Click here to sign up today!


Written By

Free Reads


The ‘Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act’ (RISAA) is a legislation to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).


In its submission, the Interior Ministry said the decision to impose a ban was "made in the interest of upholding national security, maintaining public...


Among other things, the security requirements include data encryption and regular review and updated access permissions to reflect personnel changes.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



NPCI CEO Dilip Asbe recently said that what is not written in regulations is a no-go for fintech entities. But following this advice could...


Notably, Indus Appstore will allow app developers to use third-party billing systems for in-app billing without having to pay any commission to Indus, a...


The existing commission-based model, which companies like Uber and Ola have used for a long time and still stick to, has received criticism from...


Factors like Indus not charging developers any commission for in-app payments and antitrust orders issued by India's competition regulator against Google could contribute to...


Is open-sourcing of AI, and the use cases that come with it, a good starting point to discuss the responsibility and liability of AI?...

You May Also Like


Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...


135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...


By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...


Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ