Arundhati Bhattacharya: Indian Women Empowered to Excel in AI, Driving Future Success


New Delhi, March 8: As skilling becomes top priority for the government in creating a talent pool for new and emerging technologies like AI in India, women in the country need to be at the forefront of learning generative AI and play a key role in shaping up new industries, Arundhati Bhattacharya, CEO and Chairperson of Salesforce India, said on Friday.

Speaking to the media, Bhattacharya who served as former chairperson of the State Bank of India (SBI), said that her advice to women professionals is that they must be at the forefront of whatever industry they are in.

“In the technology industry, generative AI and AI in general are evolving very quickly. Women are very capable of learning as they grow. You have to think on your feet, you have to multitask because it gives women a big advantage,” she said on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

“As long as you are open to doing that, as long as you are sort of conscious of the fact that you need to keep learning, you need to keep evolving, and there is barely any reason why in the new tech areas that are emerging, women should not be playing a far better role”.

At the New Delhi declaration of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) last December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised that the government’s endeavour is to take full advantage of the capabilities of AI for social development and inclusive growth.

“India is also fully committed to the responsible and ethical use of AI. We have started the ‘National Programme on Artificial Intelligence’. We are also going to launch an AI mission in Bharat,” PM Modi had told the gathering.

Bhattacharya said there was a lot of excitement about GenAI but it is still an evolving technology.

“The early excitement has somewhat gone down as people have realised that there are a lot of other concerns with GenAI. Therefore, they want to understand how those concerns are being addressed. Very few have actually put AI for complete use cases and skilling would the key going forward,” she informed.

One of the primary objectives of the ‘India AI Mission’ is to democratise AI skills by taking them to tier 2 and 3 cities.

Skilling for new technologies is one of the top agenda for the government, as it recognizes that there is an urgent need for the tech industry and academic institutions to work along with the governments globally in shaping the future pipeline of talent for AI-related jobs.

“It is clear that there is going to be a huge talent deficit in the field of AI. There is an urgent need for our academic institutions, whether in the UK, Japan or India, to really understand this and start delivering the talent that this AI ecosystem will require,” Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said during the GPAI summit.

According to the minister, the AI industry needs cutting-edge talent, architects and designers of large-language models (LLMs).

Nasscom said recently that India currently ranks first in terms of AI skill penetration and AI talent concentration, and the AI skill shortage is now being felt across the spectrum.