India’s largest state,Uttar Pradesh, known for its ambition and forward-looking approach, is set to revolutionise India’s technological landscape by introducing the country’s first AI city, Lucknow, to house and promote the AI ecosystem. As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to shape the global market, UP’s initiative reflects a commitment to harnessing AI’s potential for economic and technological advancement.
The Global AI Market Landscape
A report by Grand View Research pegged the global AI market size at $137 billion in 2022 and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 37.3 percent from 2023 to 2030. Against this backdrop, UP’s endeavour to establish an AI city aligns with the escalating importance of AI in various sectors.
Lucknow’s Tech Landscape and AI Centers of Excellence
Lucknow houses centers of excellence in areas like AI and MedTech and boasts significant AI integration. Notably, the AI Center of Excellence at IIIT Lucknow supports over 15 AI/ML start-ups, fostering a culture of creativity and entrepreneurship. This existing ecosystem serves as a solid foundation for the envisioned AI city.
Expression of Interest (EoI) for AI City Development
The UP Electronics Corporation Ltd., the nodal agency for the project, has issued an Expression of Interest (EoI) seeking a real estate developer to design, develop, and operate the AI city. By integrating cutting-edge technology, research centres, and educational institutions, the AI city aspires to be a hub where ideas flourish and the workforce of tomorrow is nurtured.
Government Support and Financial Incentives
To expedite the project, the government will provide 40 acres in Nadarganj Industrial Area for the project, which is free from all encumbrances and supports land acquisition, zoning regulations, and other relevant clearances. Financial incentives for the developer include a one-time capital expenditure (Capex) support of 25%, up to ₹20 crore for an IT park and ₹100 crore for an IT city. Additionally, there is a 100% stamp duty exemption in line with the IT and ITeS Policy, 2022.
Holistic Approach to Development
The AI City project envisions a mix of luxury and affordable housing complexes, embracing a walk-to-work model. Dedicated spaces for top engineering and management institutes aim to foster industry-academic collaboration. The plan also includes AI-enabled internal modes of transport, emphasising a comprehensive and forward-thinking development approach.
UP’s Economic Aspirations and IT Sector Focus
The UP government has undertaken a journey to become a $1 trillion economy in the next 5 years. UP identifies IT and ITeS as core sectors to drive economic growth. Noida, already a global IT and ITeS hub, serves as an exemplar for UP’s ambitions. The state aims to further boost the sector by promoting Tier 2 cities like Lucknow, recognized as emerging technology hubs.
Tech Ecosystem and Skilled Workforce
Lucknow’s tech ecosystem is enriched by the presence of major IT players like HCL and TCS. The city boasts a skilled workforce, including over 75,000 tech professionals, 23,000 STEM graduates, and 300+ colleges, featuring renowned institutions such as IIM-Lucknow, IIIT-Lucknow, BBDU, and Amity.
UP’s visionary step towards building India’s first AI city aligns with global trends, positioning the state as a leader in technological innovation and economic development. The project’s success holds the potential to shape India’s future in the rapidly evolving landscape of artificial intelligence.