Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

Age of AI: PM Narendra Modi’s Vision for Ethical Use of AI and Inclusive Global Progress

In an era defined by interconnectedness and rapid technological advancements, global leaders find themselves at the intersection of unprecedented challenges that defy conventional boundaries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s compelling address at the B20 Summit India 2023, and later on, his warning at the G20 Virtual Summit, on the dangers posed by deep fakes to individuals as well as societies, has emerged as a clarion call for transformative action on the international stage. Chief among the addressed issues is the ethical utilisation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), coupled with an insistence on integrated approaches to tackle the challenges that characterise our contemporary world. This article undertakes a comprehensive exploration of the pivotal themes articulated by PM Modi. In a world where most content can be generated by AI (including this article itself), in which key areas and where all should we be mindful of the ethical dilemma that surrounds AI?

Calling for a “global framework on cryptocurrency” and ethical AI usage, PM Shri Narendra Modi has time and again underscored India’s commitment to navigating the evolving technological frontier responsibly. The emphasis on ethical considerations in AI reflects a recognition of the potential societal impacts of rapid technological advancements. The plea for a global framework on cryptocurrencies aligns with the interconnected nature of the digital economy, emphasising the need for collaborative approaches to address the challenges posed by these emerging technologies. India, under PM Narendra Modi’s leadership, positions itself as a proponent of responsible and inclusive technology deployment on the global stage.

It is integral to understand the importance of AI and why we stress so much on its ethical usage in today’s day and age. AI is estimated to contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. The Indian AI market is projected to be worth $7.8 billion by 2025. India itself possesses the third-largest talent pool for AI globally. Investments in India’s AI capabilities are growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 30.8%, expected to reach $881 million in 2023. 

Government of India plans to establish three Centres of Excellence for AI at prominent educational institutes. The India Budget 2023-24 emphasises the development of the AI ecosystem, with a $100 million venture fund for AI and robotics start-ups. The government has also set up an AI portal in collaboration with NASSCOM, conducting initiatives like RAISE to support AI start-ups. Prime Minister Modi uses a strategy that encourages the identification of societal problems that AI can solve, promoting both social and financial value.

The Prime Minister, at the B20 Summit, had also proposed an “International Consumer Care Day”, signifying a shift towards a more holistic and consumer-centric business philosophy. The Prime Minister’s call for businesses to move beyond traditional metrics and focus on creating ecosystems that benefits all in the long run, aligns with the global trend towards sustainable and socially responsible business practices. By urging industry giants to pledge for the good of the consumer and observe a consumer care day, PM Narendra Modi advocates for a more inclusive and ethical business environment that considers the well-being of consumers as a central tenet.

Another very important factor discussed by the Prime Minister in the B20 summit was the green credit system, which was a huge comment on his stance towards not just a developed but a sustainably developed India. To advance the ‘LiFE’ – ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ initiative introduced by the Honourable Prime Minister in 2021, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has launched two innovative programs that signal the nation’s proactive stance toward climate change, sustainability, and the promotion of eco-conscious behaviours. These initiatives, namely the Green Credit Program (GCP) and the Ecomark Scheme, aim to promote environment friendly practices deeply rooted in tradition and conservation, aligning with the principles of the LiFE concept. 

Green Credit serves as a reward system granted to individuals and entities actively participating in environment friendly initiatives. This voluntary program, initiated by the government, seeks to inspire a wide range of stakeholders to adopt practices that advance environmental conservation and sustainability. To accumulate Green Credits, participants are required to log their eco-conscious activities on a designated platform, undergo verification by an authorised agency, and, upon a favourable evaluation, obtain a Green Credit certificate. The assessment of Green Credits considers factors such as resource requirements, project scale, scope, size, and other relevant parameters essential for realising favourable environmental outcomes.

The EcoMark Scheme, which was initially issued by the Indian Government in 1991 and overseen by the Bureau of Indian Standards, is crafted to designate products that contribute positively to the environment. This initiative functions entirely on a voluntary basis, providing a mechanism to recognize eco-friendly products within the market. In India, the EcoMark is symbolised by the ‘Matka’ or earthen pot emblem. It is conferred on various Indian products across diverse categories, including food, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electrical goods, paper, lubricating oils, and packaging materials.

The pro-planet approach reflected in the Green Credit initiative sets India on a path to balance economic growth with environmental stewardship. The Prime Minister’s assertion that India will replicate the success of solar energy in the green hydrogen sector, demonstrates a forward-looking commitment to renewable energy. By integrating sustainability into the global supply chain, India, as PM Modi envisions, can play a pivotal and efficient role in addressing environmental challenges.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s has consistently emphasised on the necessity of collaboration between industry and science, illustrated by the success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, that facilitates the symbiotic relationship between technological innovation and industrial prowess. The triumphant achievements in India’s space exploration endeavours, where both large industries and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) played pivotal roles, highlight the significance of public-private collaboration in advancing scientific frontiers. This resonates seamlessly with the Prime Minister’s vision of positioning India as a global leader in the “Industry 4.0 Revolution”, embracing cutting-edge technologies and contributing significantly to the international scientific community. The successful execution of the Chandrayaan-3 mission exemplifies the collaborative efforts between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and various industrial other groups, including MSMEs. India has witnessed a growing trend of collaboration between governmental agencies like ISRO and private industries, fostering innovation and expertise exchange. 

The final point worth mentioning is the Prime Minister’s vision for the future of global growth being inclusive, not limited to the West or even to the fast-developing Asian nations.  India’s invitation to the African Union to be part of the G-20 aligns with India’s inclusive vision and commitment to fostering mutual trust and collaboration on the international stage.

Herein, it is also important to mention what PM Modi stated at the second Voice of Global South Summit that took place virtually on November 17th. He said that the recent developments, especially in the realm of Artificial Intelligence, must not widen the gap between Global North and Global South. He further stated, “During the times of Artificial Intelligence, it is important that technology should be used responsibly. To further promote this, next month, India will organise the Artificial Global Partnership Summit,”. 

Therefore, as a nation, it is time for us to work towards placing India at the forefront, emphasising its role in forming a resilient and trusted global supply chain, be it in the realm of technology, commodity or otherwise. The call for sustainability to become a part of daily life reflects a broader shift in consciousness, urging individuals and nations to consider the planet’s health alongside personal well-being.

(Ananya Agarwal is a student of Economics and Finance of Ashoka University interning at Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation. Views expressed are personal.)