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Finance Ministry and software major Microsoft have entered a a strategic partnership to build an AI and emerging technologies Centre of Excellence at Arun Jaitley National Institute of Financial Management (AJNIFM).

AJNIFM, set up under Ministry of Finance, specialises in capacity building of professionals in the fields of public policy, financial management and other governance issues.

The collaboration between AJNIFM and Microsoft is meant to explore the role of cloud, AI and emerging technologies in transforming and shaping the future of public finance management in India, the Finance Ministry said.

The proposed centre of excellence will serve as a central body for research, AI scenario envisioning and technology-led innovation. AJNIFM and Microsoft will jointly explore use cases of emerging technologies in finance and related areas, across central and state ministries and public sector enterprises.

"Microsoft will partner closely with AJNIFM to define the future of public finance management in India, providing the technology, tools and resources to build a strong ecosystem of partners, upskill government officials and build thought leadership," the Finance Ministry added.

Both AJNIFM and Microsoft will also work closely on a capacity building program for senior government officials working with ministries, government departments and financial institutions. As part of this skilling effort, public sector officials will be trained on the application of emerging technologies in finance management to address potential risks like money laundering, use of machine learning models for decision making, role of responsible tech in finance, etc.

Microsoft will also work closely with its partners, MSMEs and ISVs to build customised solutions that address the challenges of the sector.

"The Steering Committee on fintech-related issues under the chairmanship of Secretary, Economic Affairs, had recommended setting up centres of excellence on fintech in key premier national institutions like AJNIFM. The ambit of research studies will seek to address key challenges in public financial management, particularly expenditure management, revenue leakages, use of emerging technologies in preventing money laundering, studying existing DBT system and potential of application of emerging technologies including machine learning models in decision making, etc," Prabhat Ranjan Acharya, Director, AJNIFM, said.

"With continuous technological support from Microsoft, AJNIFM will be the only institution in the country equipped with high pedigree of financial analytical tools in the financial sector research domain," he added.

"This collaboration brings together AJNIFM’s rich experience in the public sector with Microsoft’s cloud and AI capabilities, paving the way for data and AI-led governance and fintech transformation. We are excited to work together to accelerate research, enable skilling in emerging tech and invest in building a strong industry ecosystem for public finance management in the country," said Navtez Bal, Executive Director, Public Sector, Microsoft India.

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