The government’s newly set up Technology Group is looking to get ministries to include technological implications of policy and scheme proposals in their cabinet notes.
An ET report said that in a direction by Technology Group’s secretariat on February 29, the ministries were told that the group will vet all department proposals exceeding INR 500 Cr for the procurement of technology or products before they are submitted to the expenditure finance commission.
“In cases where such proposals are placed before Cabinet or Cabinet Committees, the draft Cabinet/Cabinet Committee notes, along with interministerial comments, shall be shared with the Empowered Technology Group,” the secretariat said.
The cabinet notes should “separately and clearly reflect the technology implications” of the proposal in the main body of the note in a paragraph immediately following the section on financial implications.
The group has also asked for strict compliance with the change on an immediate basis.
Approved by the union cabinet on February 19, the technology group is mandated to render timely policy advice on latest technologies, mapping of technology and technology products, commercialisation of dual-use technologies developed in national laboratories and government R&D organisations, developing an indigenisation road map for selected key technologies, and selection of appropriate R&D programs leading to technology development.
The group is a 12-member body with the principal scientific adviser to the government of India as its chairperson. The technology group is to enable support for policymaking, procurement and research and development proposals. The group will be ensuring that the country has appropriate policies and strategies for effective, secure and context-sensitive exploitation of the latest technologies for economic growth and sustainable development in all sectors.
It was also supposed to advise the government on priorities and strategies for research on emerging technologies across sectors. Further, the group was to maintain an updated map of technology and technology products available and being developed, across India.
The government’s readiness to adopt technology comes on the back of reports that Indians are among the world’s most optimistic about technology. According to an opinion poll by the World Economic Forum (WEF), compared to global averages, Indian respondents more often say that technology makes personal relationships, society and jobs better. They also show greater trust in climate scientists and international organisations than people in other regions.