Microsoft Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella, who kicked off his India visit today, said the country is uniquely positioned to make the promise of AI a reality. He says Microsoft is committed to partnering broadly across the public and private sectors to help close the nation's AI skills gap and create new opportunities throughout the country.

According to Microsoft’s recent Work Trend Index, around 90% of Indian leaders say the people they hire will need new skills to prepare them for the growth of AI. “Furthermore, 78 percent of Indian workers say they don’t have the right AI capabilities to complete their current work,” the company states.

According to the tech major, this lies in harmony with India’s aspiration to achieve self-reliance by nurturing a proficient AI workforce and empowering various sectors to undergo a transformation fueled by AI.

“Great to be in India this week meeting with changemakers like the team at Karya, who are doing the critical work of building high-quality datasets for AI—and expanding economic opportunity at the same time,” Nadella posted via X.

During the Microsoft CEO Connection event held in Mumbai on Wednesday, Nadella unveiled Microsoft's ‘ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA’ initiative, aiming to offer AI skilling opportunities to 2 million individuals in India by 2025.

Highlighting the impact of Microsoft Copilot and other AI solutions, Nadella emphasised their role in driving tangible productivity enhancements for individuals and enterprises.

Nadella particularly emphasised the adoption of Copilot, citing Axis Bank as the first bank in India to integrate Copilot for Microsoft 365 at an enterprise scale, experiencing productivity gains exceeding 30% in daily operations with 300 users and expanding. He also noted Infosys as one of the early adopters of ‘GitHub Copilot’ in India, with over 7,000 developers leveraging its capabilities.

“Organisations in India are seeing an average US$3.86 return for every US dollar spent on AI projects,” says Microsoft.

Over 150 companies are already leveraging Azure OpenAI Service across diverse sectors such as agriculture, aviation, ecommerce, and fast-moving consumer goods, it says. These organisations include ITC, which developed the innovative chatbot ‘Krishi Mitra’ to assist farmers, and Karya, an Indian social impact organisation collaborating with Microsoft to generate new datasets in local languages, thereby creating economic opportunities in rural India.

Arvind Limited, India’s denim manufacturer, anticipates saving 60% of the time spent analysing annual reports with its ‘Annual Report Copilot’, enabling better business strategies, says the release. “Moreover, Air India deployed a generative AI virtual agent named ‘AI.g,’ which has efficiently addressed over half a million customer queries since its launch in March 2023, managing over 6,000 queries daily in four languages.”

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