Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led union cabinet on Wednesday (February 19) approved to set up a technology group. The group would be a 12-member body with the principal scientific adviser to the government of India as its chairperson.
This 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 government believes that the technology sector faces issues in silo-centric approaches, technology standards either not developed or applied, dual-use technologies not being optimally commercialised, R&D programs not aligned and need for mapping of technologies important for applications in society and industry.
The government said that the constitution of the technology group is an effort at addressing the above problems.
As a result, the technology group will render the best possible advice on technology to be developed for a technology supplier and the technology procurement strategy. It also separately develop in-house expertise in aspects of policy and use of emerging technologies. The group will also build up capabilities to ensure the sustainability of public sector technology being developed at PSUs, national labs and research organisations.
The technology group will 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 would also advise the government on priorities and strategies for research on emerging technologies across sectors. Further, the group will maintain an updated map of technology and technology products available, and being developed, across India. Here are its other objectives:
- To develop indigenisation roadmap for selected key technologies;
- To advise the government on technology suppliers and procurement strategy;
- To encourage governments departments and ministries to develop in-house expertise in policy, adopt emerging technologies such as data science and artificial intelligence
- To develop training and capacity building programmes for technology adoption
- To formulate policies for sustainability of public sector technology while encouraging collaborations with universities and private companies
- To formulate standards and common vocabulary for the vetting of proposals for R&D.
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.
The union budget 2020 also emphasised on the new age technologies and its capacities. Addressing the Lok Sabha during the budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented a new vision of the tech economy with patents, data centres, quantum technologies and connectivity.
“Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, drones, DNA data storage, quantum computing, etc., are rewriting the world economic order,” Sitharaman said. She also noted that India has embraced these new technologies by sharing economy with aggregators that are displacing conventional businesses.