India steps up AI and cybersecurity training offering

The Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) says its MTech programmes aim to bridge the urgent needs for highly skilled manpower in the country.

The Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT Sri City) has launched much-awaited MTech programmes in artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning and cyber security.

The courses come off the back of a new AI plan for the country put together by Niti Ayog, a public policy think tank of the Government of India, in response to the widespread discussion initiated by the Union government on the role of AI in India. 

“The two-year MTech aims to bridge the requirement gaps and meet the urgent needs of the industry, besides producing high-end AI scientists and engineers for society,” IIIT-S Director G. Kannabiran, told The Hindu newspaper. 

India is also actively seeking skilled cyber security people with related sophisticated knowledge and tools to keep the government secure from any threats. Cyber security attacks in India grew 194% in 2020 according to information tracked by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) which showed that such attacks saw a four-fold jump in 2018 and recorded an 89 per cent growth in 2019.

India also saw an exponential rise in the cyber security incidents amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cyber security incidents jumped from 3,94,499 in 2019 to 11,58,208 in 2020, according to the data shared by the government. Research firms and experts have predicted cases are likely to increase in 2021 and all sectors, including manufacturing, services, education, and healthcare, are likely to be affected.

The government has taken several measures to enhance cyber security systems, the home ministry said. CERT-In has also issued “alerts and advisories regarding cyber threats and vulnerabilities and countermeasures to protect computers and networks on a regular basis", it said.

The government has issued guidelines for chief information security officers regarding their key roles and responsibilities for securing applications and infrastructure, and compliance. It has also mandated regular cyber security audits and mock drills. The National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) has started to generate situational awareness of existing and potential cyber security threats. Phase 1 of the programme is already operational, the ministry said.

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