India is facing dearth of homegrown professional with knowledge of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, Robotics, Big Data and even UI/UX (user interface/user experience). And, due to this very fact Indian startups are looking for talents abroad as they are facing a big demand-supply mismatch in India, reported Economic Times.

While some of the startups are trying to hire talent from foreign markets such as the US, Europe and China, most are scouting for Indian professionals with an international stint or a global degree to improve cost efficiency.

According to Industry experts, roles in data science and data engineering are not typically part of the curriculum of Indian colleges.

Besides poor availability of talent in futuristic technologies such as AI, gamification, robotics and healthcare, what have triggered foreign professional hiring drive are increasing global presence of startups and the need to understand various countries' markets. Hence, these companies are either hiring foreign professionals or those Indians who wish to return to India.

A director of recruitment firm told the business daily, “With technology driving the future of startups, they have no choice but to scout for global talent (mostly Indians who want to return) or get people with global exposure or those who may have studied in schools abroad.”

The ratio of the number of people to jobs in deep learning is 0.53, while for machine learning it’s 0.63 and for NLP it’s 0.71. Only 4 per cent of AI (Artificial Intelligence) professionals in India have worked on cutting-edge technologies such as deep learning and neural networks, the key ingredients in building advanced AI-related solutions, said Rishabh Kaul, co-founder of recruitment startup Belong.

Nykaa, a Mumbai-based beauty e-tailing startup, has as many as 22 members in its 80-people business and marketing team which have come back to India from the US and Europe.

Logistics startup Rivigo, Ronnie Screwvala's online education and training service providers UpGrad and Simplilearn, are among startups looking to hire talent abroad. Rivigo, for example, looks to build “India’s best technology and AI team” this year, according to its cofounder Gazal Kalra.

But despite of the fact that there's shortage of such new-age professionals in India, Indian startups more interested in hiring Indian professionals nevertheless because the availability of such global talent is tougher and their salaries are higher. A similar talent in the US/western world coming to India would be 30-50 per cent costlier than what’s available in India.

However, there's a hope for solution to this problem in coming years as in his budget speech in February, finance minister of India had announced that the government will launch a national programme on AI and doubled the budget allocation for Digital India — the government’s main initiative for promoting AI, machine learning and other innovations — to Rs 3,073 crore for this year.

Present & Upcoming AI Institutes and Universities in India

In February, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence (Wadhwani AI) , which is said to be the first research institute in India that is dedicated towards finding artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for social good.

In the same month, it was announced that India’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) University would be set up at  Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh with the support of Finland government. The upcoming AI University will train youngsters on the latest technologies to make a mark all over the world.

In the same month, Maharashtra state government had announced that it will be setting up India's first AI centre in Mumbai. US-based software giant Adobe Systems has also announced that it will be setting up an artificial intelligence centre in Hyderabad.

In September 2017, Karnataka state government had too announced that Bengaluru will soon have India’s first multi-faceted artificial intelligence and robotics centre to established in IIIT-Bengaluru campus.

Last August, IBM has opened of its first Machine Learning (ML) Hub in India, its fifth in the world. The hub, located in Bengaluru, is a physical space for organizations to visit for hands-on training on ML. Prior to that, tech giant Google too launched AI Studio, globally to foster & nurture machine learning startups worldwide.

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