Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off the new year with a bang as he announced that the BJP-led Union Government had approved a National Mission on setting up 20 Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical Systems with an investment of over ₹3,600 crore. Delivering the inaugural speech at the 106th session of the Indian Science Congress, PM Modi said that these funds would be used for R&D, technology development, human resources and skills, innovation, startup ecosystem and strong industry and international collaborations.
These 20 centres are to be established in the existing institute of excellence like IITs and IISc.
Ashutosh Sharma, secretary of the department of science and technology at the 106th Indian Science Congress, told a leading daily, “There will be a rise of the intelligent machines… There will be Cyber Physical Systems that will have the ability of perception, decision making, and action. There will also be greater linkages, for example, a network of driverless car will learn from the mistakes of one another.”
Reports have suggested that these work on these centres will begin by the next financial year. This research would be focussed on artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things and Quantum Computing under the national mission.
Reflecting on the theme of the event this year — ‘Future India: Science and Technology’ — PM Modi also said that India’s true strength will be in connecting its science, technology and innovation with its people.
Throughout his tenure, PM Modi, as well as the NDA-led government, is proactive in adopting new technologies. It has been showcased by their marked preference in taking proactive steps towards helping the private sector, as well as updating the public sector and government entities with new technologies.
Artificial intelligence and big data have been of keen interest to PM Modi. Through a series of events and speeches from the last few years, he has been deliberately showcasing India as well as his government as technologically forward. And it has worked out very well for them, as reports suggest that industry insiders are happy to see that the government is working towards supporting a tech-driven future.
Some of PM Modi and the BJP government’s past initiatives include Atal Innovation Mission’s Atal Tinkering Labs, Atal Incubation Centers, Scale-up support to Established Incubators, several programmes and associations with industry leaders such as SAP and Google, among others. The Government has also set up an AI Task Force to prepare India for the upcoming Industrial Revolution 4.0 and the resulting economic transformation.