Maharashtra signs MoU with Google for harnessing Artificial Intelligence

The Maharashtra government on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with search engine giant Google to utilize Artificial Intelligence for solutions in sectors like agriculture, healthcare and education.

The MoU was signed at the company’s office here in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Sanjay Gupta, country head and vice president, Google India; and State Chief Secretary Nitin Kareer.

“Few weeks back, I met Gupta ji and we had a small talk on how AI is affecting our lives and he informed me that their different centres of excellence are creating different platforms and applications which are not only changing the businesses but the lives of people. I told him about the government’s plan to set up a centre of excellence in Nagpur. Here we both thought that this can be a mutually beneficial partnership,” Mr Fadnavis said on this occasion.

Technology should be used to “positively affect” governance and power its delivery systems as this can change the people’s lives, the deputy CM added.

Google and the state government will work together on seven areas, he said, adding that one of them is “agricultural sustainability.” “Today we are talking about sustainability in every sphere of life but the sustainability issues are much more vital in agriculture. Half our worries in government are about agriculture sustainability. With climate change issues, we have unseasonal rains, we have droughts in same year. It has become a localised phenomena that we need more predictability and sustainability in the field of agriculture,” Mr Fadnavis said.

With the platforms and applications that Google is going to create, sustainability and predictability can be brought in agriculture and agricultural distress can be reduced, he added.

“In the field of start-ups, the collaboration will bring Pune on the global map. With the start-up ecosystem increasing, a lot of technology start-ups are coming up. A lot of start-ups are working in the field of agriculture and they are changing the lives of farmers,” Mr Fadnavis said.

The government will also collaborate with Google for taking healthcare to “the last man of society,” he further said.

“We can create infrastructure but the issue is with human resources. I do not blame the doctors but trained doctors have ample opportunities in cities and they are not ready to go to the interior places, and it is the technology which can bridge the gap. With AI, we can take the quality healthcare to the last man of the society and apply it,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi created a technology-based delivery system and now government schemes are reaching the last person in society and 25 crore people have been brought above the poverty line, Mr Fadnavis said, adding that AI applications “will help create an ecosystem.” A release from the company said the Maharashtra government will be able to leverage Google’s AI expertise to “unlock new possibilities in land record management, disease detection, urban environment resilience and AI upskilling, among others”.

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