Tech Mahindra Developed a ChatGPT Alternative under $5 Million for India, But It is Not for English Speakers

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CP Gurnani, the former CEO of Tech Mahindra, has successfully risen to a challenge posed by OpenAI’s Sam Altman. Speaking at the fifth annual MachineCon GCC Summit in Bangalore, CP Gurnani announced the development of “Project Indus.” Project Indus is a large-language model (LLM) that was built in just five months for under $5 million. This model supports communication in approximately 40 different local languages and dialects, marking a noteworthy milestone for India’s AI capabilities.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tech Mahindra developed “Project Indus,” an LLM supporting 40 local languages, for under $5 million.
  • The project responded to Sam Altman’s doubt about India’s AI capabilities on a limited budget.
  • “Project Indus” uses Dell Technologies’ framework for easy enterprise deployment and aims to revolutionize AI solutions in India.
  • Plans include extending the model to support Bahasa Indonesia, showcasing its versatility and global impact.

The challenge originated from Altman’s visit to India last year, where he expressed skepticism about India’s potential to compete in the LLM space within a $10 million budget. Altman’s statements at an Economic Times event were perceived as a catalyst for Indian tech leaders. That catalyst propelled CP Gurnani to take immediate action. “I spoke to my chief innovation officer at that time, and within six hours, he had a plan,” CP Gurnani stated. “I am happy to share that we spent less than $5 million on what Sam Altman said India would never be able to deliver.”

Altman later clarified his comments, highlighting the need for startups to innovate uniquely, as a $10 million budget would be insufficient to compete directly with OpenAI.

Project Indus uses Dell Technologies’ “GenAI in a box” framework to highlight India’s growing AI skills. It is trying to transform various sectors by providing scalable and accessible AI solutions. The initiative extends beyond India, with plans to support Bahasa Indonesia, highlighting the model’s versatility and broader impact.



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