Directing AI for better and smarter legislation – Potential applications of AI in policy formulation | 10th April 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about the potential use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in policy formulation and better governance.


  • GS2: E-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential;
  • GS3: Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life;
  • Prelims


  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is attracting the attention of entrepreneurs, political leaders, and policymakers the world over.
  • Most mature democracies are now using AI tools for better pieces of legislation and parliamentary procedures.
  • For instance, AI tools can assist parliamentarians in preparing responses for legislators, enhancing research quality, obtaining information about any Bill, preparing briefs, providing information on particular House rules, legislative drafting, amendments, interventions, etc.
  • They can also empower legislators to make informed decisions by having access to insights into citizen grievances, media opinions, and voices of citizen-centric associations.

Artificial Intelligence (AI):

  • It is a branch of computer science that deals with creating computers or machines as intelligent as human beings.
  • It refers to the ability of the machines to perform human intelligence processes like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem-solving and decision making.
  • The term Artificial Intelligence was coined by John McCarthy in 1956 at the Dartmouth conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
  • There are two subsets under the Umbrella term AI, they are – Machine Learning and Deep Learning.

Government initiatives for artificial intelligence in India:

  • National Programme on Artificial Intelligence:
    • It was announced in the Interim Budget 2019.
    • The programme would be catalysed by the establishment of the National Centre on Artificial Intelligence as a hub along with 6 centres of excellence.
  • National strategy for AI:
    • NITI Aayog came up with a National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence in India focusing on economic growth and social inclusion.
    • It provides over 30 policy recommendations to invest in scientific research, encourages reskilling and training, accelerates the adoption of AI across the value chains, and promotes ethics, privacy, and security in AI.
  • AI 4 All Global Hackathon:
    • NITI Aayog launched AI 4 All Global Hackathon to promote awareness and develop solutions to address the infrastructure challenges, without compromising on the data privacy while training the AI algorithms.
  • National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS):
    • It is a programme led by the Union Ministry of Science & Technology to enhance capabilities of cyber-physical systems. Budget 2019 allotted Rs. 5 crore for the mission.
  • INDIAai is the National AI Portal of India:
    • a central hub for everything AI in India and beyond. A joint initiative of MeitY, NeGD and NASSCOM, the website aims to be the trusted content powerhouse in the backdrop of India's journey to global prominence in Artificial Intelligence.

Challenges to potential use of AI India:

  • To activate the use of AI in the legislative process, we must first consolidate and codify our existing laws.
  • Current laws are opaque, complex and there is a huge translation gap between law-making, law-implementing and law-interpreting organisations.
  • The India Code portal is a good step, but it needs to be complemented by other valid sources.
  • We have to prepare hierarchical data structures and an easy-to-access interface in order to give a complete 360° view.

What is India code portal?

  • The India Code Information System contains all the Central legislations.
  • Users can find cause lists and orders. One can also check the status of court cases, cause lists, daily orders and judgements.
  • Websites links of the Supreme Court, High Courts, district courts, tribunals and ministries etc.
  • We need to rationalise our existing laws in order to make them machine friendly.

The use of AI will surely ease doing business in India as well as improve governance:

  • For example, AI can tell us if an entrepreneur wants to open a manufacturing unit in Maharashtra and what acts and compliances are applicable.
  • If a citizen wants to check the eligibility for welfare schemes, AI can recommend which schemes are eligible, based on details provided by citizens.


  • AI and Legislative bodies:
    • Compared to western democratic nations, in India, parliamentarians manage constituencies with a huge population.
    • AI can analyse citizens’ grievances and social media responses, and flag issues and priorities that need immediate attention.
    • It can also assist parliamentarians in seeking citizen inputs for public consultation of laws and preparing a manifesto.
    • Many Parliaments across the world are now actively experimenting with AI-powered assistants.
      • The House of Representatives in the United States has introduced an AI tool to automate the process of analysing differences between Bills, amendments and current laws. This is of immense help to legislative staff to readily see the impact of amendatory provisions in Bills that they move through the legislative process.
      • The Netherlands House of Representatives, for instance, has implemented the “Speech2Write” system which converts voice to text and also “translates” voice into written reports.
        • As per the Inter-Parliamentary Union (an international organisation of national parliaments), “Speech2Write comprises automatic speech recognition and automated editing capabilities that can remove filler words, make grammatical corrections and propose editing decisions.”
      • Japan’s AI tool assists in the preparation of responses for its legislature and also helps in the automatic selection of relevant highlights in parliamentary debates.
      • Brazil has developed an AI system called Ulysses which supports transparency and citizen participation.
    • The good news is that India is also innovating and working towards making parliamentary activities digital such as the ‘One Nation, One Application’ and the National e-Vidhan (NeVA) portal.

AI and effective policy formulation and improved decisions making:

  • AI can also simulate the potential effects of laws.
  • For example, various datasets such as the Census, data on household consumption, taxpayers, beneficiaries from various schemes, and public infrastructure can be modelled.
  • In that case, AI can uncover potential outcomes of a policy.
  • At the same time, it can also help in flagging laws that are outdated in the present circumstances and which require amendment.
  • For example, we all saw how ‘The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897’ failed to address the COVID-19 pandemic situation when the virus seemed to have overwhelmed the country.

Way Forward:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has given a strong thrust to the Digital India initiative and a digitisation of services.
  • This momentum needs to be kept up and utilised in the field of law, policy-making, and parliamentary activities, harnessing the power of AI.
  • While doing all this, it needs to be ensured that the use of AI must be encouraged in an open, transparent, and citizen-friendly manner.
  • AI is a powerful tool, but at the end of the day, we should be mindful of the fact that it is a means to an end and not an end in itself.

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