Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured that fears about artificial intelligence causing unemployment are alleviated, saying that AI technology also relies on human intervention.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman during the Post Budget Press Conference at National Media Centre, in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, February 1, 2024. (Photo by Raj K Raj/ Hindustan Times)(Hindustan Times)

FM Nirmala Sitharaman, in an interview with Hindustan Times on Saturday, discussed various aspects of the budget and the state of the economy.

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Investments also bring job indirectly: FM

On being asked about addressing the issue of unemployment, especially with investments primarily flowing into highly efficient and technology-driven industries like AI that might lead to a reduction in job opportunities, Nirmala Sitharaman said, “You have to address the unemployment issue, no doubt. But, do you think jobs are only there? AI also requires human intervention. It is not going to operate on its own.”

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She said we need investments, and if they create jobs, that’s good. Even if investments don’t bring many jobs directly, having businesses in an area can lead to other jobs.

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Unlike economies elsewhere, Indian economy is seeing sustained growth

“It’s a layered debate. You want investment, you want jobs, and then you want meaningful jobs, and then you want rewarding, highly rewarding jobs. These are layers to be addressed,” Sitharaman said.

FM Sitharaman praised the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-reliant India) announcements made during 2020, a crucial period marked by ongoing lockdowns.

“We continued with reforms during Covid-19. Today, unlike economies elsewhere, it [the Indian economy] is seeing sustained growth. We are on the top of the growth curve,” she said.

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Are new PLIs coming?

When asked if Centre will launch more new Production Linked Incentives (PLIs), FM said that the government is yet to take a decision. “We don’t know yet. Some people want [it], some people have not asked. The government has not taken a call. Let’s see.”

“Of the given PLIs, I think some of them have performed very well. Some others are alright. A few are yet to take off,” she added.

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