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India Deploys AI in Power Distribution Sector

The Union Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister, recently approved the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme. This reforms-based and result-linked scheme will provide conditional financial assistance to improve all power distributions companies and department (DISCOMs) operations by strengthening the supply infrastructure. It excludes private sector DISCOMs.

Under the scheme, the government will deploy artificial intelligence (AI)-based solutions in the power sector to modernise the DISCOMs. With the help of AI, the government aims to analyse data generated through IT/OT devices such as system metres, demand forecasting, Time of Day (ToD) tariff, renewable energy (RE) integration, and other predictive analyses. Also, for prepaid smart metres to prepare system-generated energy accounting reports every month, enabling DISCOMs to make informed decisions on loss reduction. Funds under the scheme would also be used for the development of AI-driven applications. The government expects this to promote the development of start-ups in the distribution sector across the country.

According to a news report, the implementation of the scheme would be based on the action plan worked out for each state rather than a one-size-fits-all approach for the country. Funds are available for the identified projects under IPDS and the approved ongoing projects under the Prime Minister’s development programme (PMDP) for the union territories in Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh till 31 March 2023. The scheme’s objectives are to enhance the overall efficiencies and financial sustainability of DISCOMs. Under this, there are multiple objectives like reducing aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses to pan-India levels of 12-15% by 2025.

The government has been implementing technologies in public service delivery systems. Recently, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) launched an AI-powered grievance management application. It was developed by MoD and the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur (IIT-Kanpur). The application automatically handles and analyses complaints, reducing human errors, saving time, and enhancing transparency.

As OpenGov Asia had reported, this is the first AI-based system to improve grievance redressal for government operations. The tool can understand the content of the complaint and automatically identify repeat complaints or spam. Based on the meaning of the complaint, it can categorise complaints into different categories even when keywords normally used for such a search are not present in the complaint.

The tool enables the geographical analysis of complaints in a category including the analysis of whether the complaint was adequately addressed or not by the concerned office. The user-friendly search enables users to formulate their own queries/categories depending on management requirements and seek performance results based on the query. Thousands of complaints are received on the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances’ (DARPG) Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS). The application will aid in understanding the nature of complaints, geographies from where they emanate, and policy changes that can be introduced to create systemic improvements to address these grievances.

The government has been collaborating with several educational institutes to deploy technology-based solutions for public service delivery. Areas like AI, machine learning, and deep learning are quickly developing traction. In fact, machine learning, AI, computer programming, and deep learning have become the top online courses taken up by Indians, according to a report by an online learning platform, Coursera. About 10.6 million Indians have registered on the platform to date, falling behind only the United States.

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