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View from India: Bangalore to get Data Sciences and Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence

The Government of Karnataka (GoK) is set to launch an exclusive Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Data Sciences and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Bangalore.

These centres have been envisioned to establish Karnataka as a vibrant manufacturing hub by leveraging the strength of knowledge-based institutions and skilled human resource of the state.

“Karnataka occupies top slot in the country when it comes to total investment intentions and this amounts to Rs 1,52,118 crore. GoK aims to transform Karnataka’s manufacturing economy from a factor-driven one to an efficiency-driven one and ultimately to an innovation-driven economy by focusing on productivity, technology, healthy enterprises and market linkages,” said K.J. George, minister of large and medium industries and IT&BT, Government of Karnataka. K.J. George was speaking at Pro-Econ, a conference organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on innovative procurement and supply chain. That’s understandable because Karnataka accounts for 18.7 per cent of the country’s exports and one-third of the country’s electronics and software is attributed to the state.

This line of thinking indicates that a lot of hope is pinned on Karnataka. Economic opportunities are estimated to unfold as Bangalore, its capital city, is preparing to connect to other metros like Chennai and Mumbai through industrial corridors proposed by the Government of India (GoI). “The proposed industrial corridor projects and upcoming CoEs are expected to open up avenues in digitized manufacturing, 3D printing and AI, which will be central to economic growth,” George said.

Obviously, industry is the backbone of economic development. The Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor (CBIC) will cover the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The nodes namely Ponneri in Tamil Nadu, Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Tumkur in Karnataka have been identified during the perspective planning. GoK has planned to establish a National Investment and Manufacturing Zone near Tumkur on the corridor.

Then, the Bangalore Mumbai Economic Corridor (BMEC) will cover the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Dharwad has been identified by GoK for further development. The Government of Maharashtra has given in-principle approval for the development of Sangli/ Solapur.

It is hoped that the industrial corridors will boost the Make in India vision, whereby the domestic manufacturing industry will get a thrust. However for manufacturing to be successful, it’s important to create an ecosystem for the smooth flow of the supply chain and logistics. An ecosystem is required because the supply chain and logistics should have a strong collaboration with the industry in order to respond to market demands. This is when digitisation comes in, where it becomes crucial to integrate software tools and solutions for improving productivity in the supply chain.

Technology needs to be leveraged for driving growth and tech solutions need to be tapped for linking performance to purpose. A case in point is smart farming. “It’s a known fact that vendors and large scale users buy vegetables from contract farmers, but the quality of vegetables is dependent on variables like climate change. Considering India has a huge farmer community, it becomes important to provide the necessary linkages along the supply chain in order to predict yield despite weather variability and thereby improve the output,” pointed out Dilip Kumar, director, CPG, retail and logistics, Infosys Limited. 

A digitally connected logistics and supply chain is key to manufacturing, which also includes verticals like agriculture. The digital ecosystem will be supported by the Internet of Things (IoT) data analytics, metrics and technology transfers. That’s because technology helps to plan for uncertainties and ensures last-mile connectivity. A tech-led platform enables partner engagement with product lifecycle from the early stages. We need to work towards this.

“At a global level, India is the fifth largest economy. The country’s logistics industry is estimated to have an annual growth rate of 10-15 per cent and this will open out newer employment opportunities,” explained Dr N Muthukumar, Chairman, CII Karnataka State Council.   

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