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NITI Aayog, ABB facilitating adoption of AI technologies by MSMEs

NITI Aayog and ABB India organised a workshop, manufacturing in the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), brought together entrepreneurs, policymakers, state government functionaries and technology experts. It was the culmination of a partnership between the two organisations to work together and make key sectors of Indian economy ready for a digitalised future and realise the potential of AI, big data and digital connectivity.

Last year, NITI Aayog and ABB signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) to support the Indian government to realise its ambitious vision of “Make in India” through advanced manufacturing technologies that incorporate the latest developments in robotics and AI.

Aligned with the national objective of ‘AI for All’, a workshop was conducted to discuss various facets of AI based technology adoption across certain sectors

The workshop, held at the ABB Ability Innovation Centre (AIC) in Bengaluru featured MSME entrepreneurs from the selected sectors of pharmaceuticals, textiles, electrical and electronics, food processing and manufacturing. While technology was a common thread running through the entire workshop, working groups focused on issues faced by the MSMEs, sorted into three key areas:
Addressing sector specific issues – regulatory, financial and policy concerns relating to adoption of automation by the MSMEs.
Exploring innovative business and economic models (plug and play, cluster approach, shared manufacturing approach) to accelerate technology adoption by MSMEs, while optimizing costs
Addressing potential impacts of automation and AI on the workforce and steps that could be taken to educate, train and re-skill the workforce.

“At NITI Aayog we are no longer working on one-way policy plans, we have wide and deep interactions with those for whom the policies are intended to focus on. At ABB Ability Innovation Centre we have brought all stakeholders of MSME value chain to identify the roadblocks they face in growth, be it in business models, financing or skilled labour, and together find ways in which we can address the same using tools ranging from policy to technology,” said Anna Roy, Senior Adviser, NITI Aayog. “As India gets recognised as a global hub for AI technologies and Industry 4.0 reshapes global manufacturing in the coming decades, we look at companies like ABB with a legacy of global technology leadership to lead this revolution by enabling our vibrant MSME base,” she added.

“India can leapfrog and show the way when it comes to innovative AI applications. Working with MSMEs and the eco-system is critical for the industrial and manufacturing adoption of such technologies. With its established history of working with them for several decades and driving the change with new digital solutions, ABB would be the perfect catalyst,” said Sanjeev Sharma, Managing Director, ABB India. “Just as we have embraced AI in different formats for our regular lives from maps to voice search and its integration with other applications, we believe with the right enablement and innovative business models, it could add significant value to the MSME manufacturing sector and help them navigate a continuously evolving landscape of regulatory frameworks, quality imperatives, climate change, global commodity and business uncertainties,” he added.

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