Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella has announced plans to train over 2 million individuals in artificial intelligence (AI) skills by 2025, targeting Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities as well as rural areas to promote inclusive socio-economic progress.
The initiative, named ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA, is part of Microsoft’s Skills for Jobs program and seeks to empower India’s workforce with future-ready skills. Partnerships with governments, non-profit organizations, and corporate entities will facilitate the execution of the plan.
Microsoft will collaborate with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and 10 state governments to provide basic and advanced AI training to 500,000 students and job seekers. Additionally, 100,000 women will receive in-depth AI technical skills training in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.
Moreover, the company aims to train an additional 400,000 students in remote and tribal regions to raise awareness about responsible AI use and AI-enabled careers. As part of its partnership with the National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building, Microsoft will train 250,000 government officers on essential AI knowledge.
Furthermore, during the upcoming Nonprofit Leaders Summit in April 2024, Microsoft will train 750,000 individuals in AI fluency and technical skills.
Satya Nadella also urged authorities in India and the US to collaborate on framing norms to regulate the AI space, emphasizing the importance of consensus in facilitating the global diffusion of AI and ensuring equal distribution of economic growth.
Addressing concerns about job displacement due to AI-led automation, Nadella expressed confidence in India's ability to effectively manage the transition to AI in a positive manner, citing both policy frameworks and available tools.
This announcement aligns with the growing interest in AI, particularly generative AI, among investors. India has seen a surge in generative AI startups, with over 70 such startups raising more than $440 million since 2019. The country's growing AI talent pool is expected to drive significant job creation, with AI projected to necessitate reskilling and upskilling of 16.2 million workers and potentially create 4.7 million new tech jobs in India by 2027.
The initiative reflects Microsoft's commitment to fostering AI expertise and promoting digital skills development in India to harness the potential of emerging technologies for socio-economic advancement.