India eyes $1.1-billion layout for quantum technologies

The government of India has earmarked in its 2020 budget 8,000 crore rupees or about US$1.1 billion for a National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA),  a five-year mission to be implemented by the Department of Science & Technology (DST).

“Quantum technology is opening up new frontiers in computing, communications, cyber security with wide-spread applications,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a speech proposing the budget. “It is expected that lots of commercial applications would emerge from theoretical constructs which are developing in this area.

As proposed, the NM-QTA will focus on fundamental science, translation, technology development, human and infrastructural resource generation, innovation and start-ups to address issues concerning national priorities.

Their applications which will receive boost include those in aero-space engineering, numerical weather prediction, simulations, securing the communications & financial transactions, cyber security, advanced manufacturing, health, agriculture, education and other important sectors with focus on creation of high skilled jobs, human resources development, start-ups & entrepreneurship leading to technology lead economic growth.

The mission draws upon the existing deep strengths within academic institutes across India to support interdisciplinary research projects in key verticals involving quantum technology, while simultaneously developing key foundational strengths in important core areas.

Also, the Mission is expected to address the ever increasing technological requirements of the society, and take into account the international technology trends and road maps of leading countries for development of next generation technologies.

Implementation of the mission would help develop and bring quantum computers, secured communications through fibre and free space, quantum encryption and crypt-analysis and associated technologies within reach in the country and help address India specific national and regional issues.

The mission will help prepare next-generation skilled manpower, boost translational research and also encourage entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem development.