The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has released the Draft National Strategy on Robotics for public consultation.

According to the draft, India has taken measures to promote the responsible adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and develop public trust around it, by emphasising the idea of ‘AI for All’. The government’s India AI is an umbrella program that takes into account current AI initiatives, from developing language models such as Digital India Bhashini to enhance digital accessibility for citizens to skilling programs such as YUVAi to provide AI understanding for school students. The draft states that AI is expected to have a significant impact in the realm of cyber-physical systems (CPS), which is the common appellation for systems that combine physical and cyber components to perform complex tasks. The interaction of the virtual world with components of physical systems over distributed networks has presented the generational opportunity to power social and economic outcomes for our future. Robotics is a key CPS technology that relies on AI algorithms to process and interpret sensory data, make decisions, and execute actions in the physical world.

As per the draft, India has made progress in the area of robotics by emphasising the potential of cutting-edge technologies to promote innovation across the economy. This was evidenced by robotics installations in the country surging by 54 per cent to 4,945 units in 2021 ranking India 10th for the highest annual installation of industrial robots in the world. However, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and geopolitical instabilities continue to persist in compromising global supply chains, prolonging the scarcity of critical components and further exacerbating the need for India to achieve self-reliance in robotics, the draft added.

The draft states that the National Strategy for Robotics aims to position India as a global leader in robotics to actualise its transformative potential. It also builds upon Make in India 2.0 which has identified robotics as one of the 27 sub-sectors to further enhance India’s integration in the global value chain. A holistic and coordinated mechanism is envisioned to strengthen India’s industrial capabilities, the need for domestic value addition, augmenting employability, and helping India emerge as a robotics hub for the world. The strategy also aims to fully maximise the benefits of an AI-integrated society by leveraging the momentum of the government’s AI initiatives to drive advancements in robotic technology in India.

Commenting on the release, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said, “We have put out for public consultation the draft national strategy on robotics and we seek inputs from startups, manufacturing companies and those at the demand side of industry 4.0. This is in line with our strategic planning and thinking for India AI. I invite all those in the robotics and AI ecosystem to contribute and make this a successful policy.”

MeitY has invited feedback on the draft through the MyGov platform by October 31, 2023.