Leveraging AI for Tackling Corruption : Daily Current Affairs

Date: 20/09/2022

Relevance: GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Key Phrases: Artificial Intelligence, Digital revolution, Emerging technologies, Government administration, Transparency, Mitigate corruption, Public procurement, GeM platform, Health sector, Blockchain, Land Record, Financial institutions, Factual information, Complex rules and regulations, Privacy concerns, Ethical guidelines.

Why in News?

  • India having witnessed a great leap in digital revolution, emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be explored to reduce corruption at various layers and departments of government.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

  • Artificial Intelligence is an emerging technology that facilitates intelligence and human capabilities of sense, comprehend, and act with the use of machines.
  • The historical evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) dates back to the year 1996 when Deep Blue AI defeated the then world chess champion, Garry Kasparov.
  • The year 2019 witnessed geopolitical paradigm where there was a race for technological supremacy between superpowers. It is estimated that by 2034-40, 50 per cent of the jobs would be automated in United States i.e.; within the next 15 years.

Area of application:

  • Government administration:
    • Artificial intelligence (AI) can help us harness the power of technology to promote transparency in all aspects of government administration.
    • AI could help prevent and mitigate corruption risks as early as possible.
    • AI could be explored for analysing risk of corrupt behaviour of civil servants.
    • AI could also be explored for simplifying procedures, increase integrity and reduce interaction points ultimately reducing corruption.
  • Public procurement:
    • Public procurement is a key area where AI could be explored for which digitisation of data on procurement is mandatory.
    • The data on companies applying for bid, the procedures involved in bidding process till the award of tender could be effectively analysed for getting logical conclusion on malpractices prevalent in the system.
    • India too had implemented GeM platform which could be further replicated across India integrating it with AI and data analytics tools.
  • Health sector:
    • AI and blockchain technology can be used to combat corruption in the health sector. Pharma companies sometimes bribe doctors to get their medicine prescribed.
    • This can be reduced through employment of AI and blockchain to facilitate information availability to patients on effectiveness of medicines.
    • Digitisation of database of patients is key in this context with necessary inbuilt privacy tools through which patient can log in to understand the effectiveness of medicines of specific companies.
  • Land Record:
    • Real estate sector is another area where AI and data mining tools could be explored to identify outliers in the market, especially sudden and dramatic increase in housing prices, tax evasion etc.
    • This requires digitisation of revenue records available with state governments coupled with simultaneous implementation of AI tools.
    • Linking of revenue records across India may also facilitate detection of frauds as also ownership of benami property/transaction across States.
  • Banks and financial institutions:
    • Application of AI across banks and financial institutions for fraud detection, suspicious transactions and financial crimes is key.
  • Public distribution system:
    • The public distribution system is another vast area where AI could be explored to prevent leakages and identify suspicious transactions.

Challenges related to Artificial Intelligence:

  • The challenges in this regard include getting the factual information from various sources and uniform maintenance of database structure across various states.
  • Most of the procedures related to day-to-day transactions are explained with the help of complex rules and regulations which could indeed be interpreted to suit various circumstances which ultimately ends in litigation, bribe and undue interference of courts.
  • For application of AI, quality of data sets, coupled with skill to explain the datasets is imperative, which requires training for those involved in collecting and interpreting of data.
  • Digitisation is another requirement with well-established and well-equipped software for maintenance, storage and interpretation of database.
  • Privacy concerns also need to be addressed with necessary data protection laws.
  • Developing ethical guidelines for the design, application and promotion of trust in AI is equally important as technology develops faster than legislation in most of the cases.

Key AI Initiatives of Indian Government

  • US-India AI Initiative: On 18th March 2021, the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) launched its flagship program, the US-India Artificial Intelligence Initiative. The activity will bring together key stakeholders from India and the USA to foster AI innovation by sharing ideas and experiences, identifying new opportunities in research and development, and bilateral collaboration.
  • MCA 3.0: In May 2021, The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) recently launched a new version of its portal, MCA 21, version 3.0. It will leverage the use of the latest technologies like data analytics, AI, and ML, to simplify regulatory filings for companies.
  • Responsible AI for Youth: Responsible AI for Youth is a national programme for government schools to empower the young generation to become AI-ready and reduce the skill gap in India. Established by the National e-Governance Division of MeitY, the platform aims to help the students develop a new-age tech mind-set and relevant skill-sets.
  • AI portal: Jointly developed by MeitY and NASSCOM in June 2020, the Indian government launched a dedicated artificial intelligence (AI) portal, India AI is slated as a central hub for everything. The portal will act as a one-stop-shop for all AI-related developments and initiatives in India.
  • RAISE 2020 – ‘Responsible AI for Social Empowerment 2020’ was jointly organised by the NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • National Research Foundation: NRF, an autonomous body under the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, has been established to boost research across segments, including AI.

Way forward:

  • AI with the help of blockchain tools could simplify those with transparent procedures which are citizen friendly.
  • India’s unique challenges and aspirations, combined with the advancement in AI and a desire to assume leadership in this nascent technology means India’s approach towards AI strategy has to be balanced for both local needs and greater good.
  • AI could be used for anti-corruption efforts adopting both top-down or bottom-up approaches. While top-down approach is based on the view that institutions are shaped by the existing laws, bottom approach views institutions as emerging though customs, beliefs, traditions etc.
  • Thus, while the former requires serious involvement and efforts of the political leadership, latter is to be evolved and developed by civil society organisations, journalists and cultural organisations.
  • There is a need to cooperation between government and private companies to effective utilisation of AI.

Source: The Hindu BL

Mains Question:

Q. Discuss the role of Artificial Intelligence in tackling corruption in the upcoming digital era. (250 words).