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IoT, AI to create over 2.8 million jobs in rural India

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based applications could create over 2.8 million jobs in rural India over a period of 8 to 10 years with an annual value of IN ₹60,000 crores (about US $8.9 billion).

Out of the 2.8 million jobs, at least 2.1 million will be created for the agriculture sector and another 700,000 jobs will be created for the rural healthcare sector.

The study was conducted by the Broadband India Forum (BIF), a think tank for Digital Transformation in consultation with the Electronics Skill Council of India, Agriculture Skill Council of India and the Healthcare Sector Skill Council.

OpenGov reported earlier that AI is likely to more than double the rate of innovation and employee productivity in India by 2021. Although only one-third of organisations in India have adopted AI tech, these companies expect it to increase their competitiveness by 2.3 times in 2021. This is according to the study that surveyed 200 business leaders and 202 workers in the country.

For organisations in India, the top reasons for adopting AI were higher competitiveness (24% of respondent chose it as number one driver), accelerated innovation (21%), better customer engagement (15%), higher margins (14%) as well as more productive employees (9%).

BIF held a seminar on ‘The Impact of IoT on Jobs in Rural India’ to highlight the positive impact of AI and IoT on job creation in the agriculture and healthcare sectors in India.

Agriculture

The study showed that the percentage of employment in the country’s agriculture sector has consistently reduced from 52% in 2010 to 42% in 2018. IoT-based applications have the potential to reverse this trend.

It also highlighted that key applications like satellite mapping, electronic marketplace, livestock traceability, climate sensing stations, product traceability, and agriculture drones have the potential to transform the ailing agriculture sector.

Healthcare

The report explored the positive impact IoT has had on job creation in the rural healthcare sector.

Currently, as much as 60% of India’s healthcare professionals serve 30% of the population (residing in urban India). This trend is likely to change as leading healthcare service providers to open new specialty hospitals in Tier 3 and Tier 4 towns.

The government’s Ayushman Bharat initiative is also expected to transform the primary healthcare sector in the country and will help introduce IoT based applications to a rural patient ecosystem.

The study said that applications like remote medical assistance and surgery, smart diagnosis, cloud-based Eye Screening, pre-emptive oncology diagnosis, smart ambulance, and emergency care, medical record digitisation, and smart consulting can help bridge the gap between rural healthcare centres and urban hospitals.

Furthermore, using machine learning, a form of AI, healthcare experts were able to identify bat species with the potential to host the Nipah virus. There was a recent outbreak of this virus in Kerala.

According to reports, based on traits of bats to carry the virus, researchers have pointed out that more bat species in India may be reservoirs of Nipah than the only one confirmed so far.

The Head at the Centre for Wildlife Studies, College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, and a member of the research team, told reporters that one of their major findings is that until now the Nipah virus presence in India was known from only one species of fruit bats – the Indian Flying Fox. However, analysis reveals that at least 11 species of bats in India could be carriers of Nipah.

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