The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved to release an additional instalment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to central government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners with effect from January 1, 2024.

This represents an increase of 4% over the existing rate of 46% of the basic pay or pension, to compensate against price rise, the government says.

The combined impact on the exchequer on account of both Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief would be ₹12,868.72 crore per annum. This will benefit about 49.18 lakh central government employees and 67.95 lakh pensioners, the Centre says.

The increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission, the government says.

The Union Cabinet also approved the ‘IndiaAI Mission’ with a budget outlay of ₹10,371.92 crore.

The IndiaAI mission aims to establish a comprehensive ecosystem catalysing AI innovation through strategic programmes and partnerships across the public and private sectors.

The Mission will be implemented by 'IndiaAI' Independent Business Division (IBD) under Digital India Corporation (DIC). It has the following components:

1. IndiaAI Compute Capacity: The IndiaAI compute pillar will build a high-end scalable AI computing ecosystem to cater to the increasing demands from India’s rapidly expanding AI start-ups and research ecosystem. The ecosystem will comprise AI compute infrastructure of 10,000 or more Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), built through public-private partnership. Further, an AI marketplace will be designed to offer AI as a service and pre-trained models to AI innovators. It will act as a one-stop solution for resources critical for AI innovation.

2. IndiaAI Innovation Centre: The IndiaAI Innovation Centre will undertake the development and deployment of indigenous Large Multimodal Models (LMMs) and domain-specific foundational models in critical sectors.

3. IndiaAI Datasets Platform: The IndiaAI Datasets Platform will streamline access to quality non-personal datasets for AI Innovation. A unified data platform will be developed to provide a one-stop solution for seamless access to non-personal datasets to Indian Startups and Researchers.

4. IndiaAI Application Development Initiative: The IndiaAI Application Development Initiative will promote the AI applications in critical sectors for the problem statements sourced from Central Ministries, State Departments, and other institutions. The initiative will focus on developing/scaling/promoting adoption of impactful AI solutions with potential for catalysing large-scale socio-economic transformation.

5. IndiaAI FutureSkills: IndiaAI FutureSkills is conceptualised to mitigate barriers to entry into AI programs and will increase AI courses in undergraduate, masters-level, and Ph.D. programs. Data and AI Labs will be set up in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities across India to impart foundational-level courses.

6. IndiaAI Startup Financing: The IndiaAI Startup Financing pillar is conceptualised to support and accelerate deep-tech AI startups and provide them streamlined access to funding to enable futuristic AI Projects.

7. Safe & Trusted AI: Recognising the need for adequate guardrails to advance the responsible development, deployment, and adoption of AI, the Safe & Trusted AI pillar will enable the implementation of Responsible AI projects including the development of indigenous tools and frameworks, self-assessment checklists for innovators, and other guidelines and governance frameworks.

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