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PIB Summary for UPSC

22-January -2024

1. Call for Pre-proposals for setting T-Hubs launched under National Quantum Mission

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors
GS3 – Science & Technology – Achievements of Indian S&T; Indigenization of technology This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of knowing facts about The National Quantum Mission and understanding its impact on science, innovation, economic growth and national security.
  • The National Quantum Mission (NQM) achieved a noteworthy milestone with the announcement of a call for pre-proposals to establish Thematic Hubs (T-Hubs).
  • Professor Abhay Karandikar, Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), inaugurated this initiative during the 9th India International Science Festival on January 20, 2024.
More about the news: Objectives of the Pre-proposals:
  • The call invites academic institutions and research labs to submit innovative pre-proposals in consortia mode, aligning with NQM’s objectives.
  • The proposed T-Hubs will be dedicated to Quantum Computing, Quantum Communication, Quantum Sensing & Metrology, and Quantum Materials & Devices.
Government’s Vision:
  • Professor Abhay Karandikar emphasized the strategic importance of the pre-proposal launch in advancing the NQM, a mission approved by the Cabinet in the previous year.
  • The NQM aims to accelerate Quantum Technology (QT)-led economic growth and make India a prominent player in Quantum Technologies & Applications (QTA).
Collaboration and Progress:
  • The launch signals a commitment to collaboration, with a scheduled brainstorming session to identify expertise, strengths, and opportunities.
  • The NQM envisions substantial progress in the coming months, emphasizing collaboration with industry and startups to translate research into deployable technologies.
Financial Outlay and Approval:
  • The Union Cabinet approved the NQM with a total outlay of Rs. 6003.65 Crore for eight years.
  • The recent approval by the Mission Governing Board (MGB) to invite pre-proposals for technology hubs underlines the mission’s centrality and strategic importance.
Application of Quantum Technologies:
  • Pre-proposals are expected to demonstrate the practical application of quantum technologies, showcasing advancements in Quantum Science and Technology.
Vision for the Future:
  • The NQM’s vision extends beyond academic and research realms, aiming to position India as a leading nation in Quantum Technologies.
  • It envisions collaboration with industry, startups, and researchers to foster competitiveness at the international level. 
  • The call for pre-proposals marks a pivotal step in realizing the goals of the National Quantum Mission, reflecting India’s commitment to advancing in the field of quantum technologies.
  • The mission encompasses collaboration, innovation, and strategic planning to propel India to the forefront of the global quantum landscape.
About National Quantum Mission
  Goal: Make India a global leader in quantum technologies (QT) like quantum computing, communication, sensing, and materials. Timeline: 8 years (2023-2031) with a budget of over ₹6000 crore. Key Highlights:
  • Developing intermediate-scale quantum computers (50-1000 qubits) across platforms like superconducting and photonic.
  • Building highly sensitive quantum sensors like magnetometers and atomic clocks for precision navigation, communication, and research.
  • Designing and synthesizing advanced quantum materials for quantum devices.
  • Creating a vibrant QT ecosystem through R&D funding, incubation centres, and talent development.
Potential Impact:
  • Revolutionize diverse fields like medicine, materials science, finance, and cryptography.
  • Drive economic growth and innovation in India.
  • Enhance national security and strategic advantage.
PYQ: 2021 UPSC CSE Prelims: Which one of the following is the context in which the term “qubit” is mentioned? (a) Cloud Services (b) Quantum Computing (c) Visible Light Communication Technologies (d) Wireless Communication Technologies   Answer: (b) Quantum Computing
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of the National Quantum Mission (NQM) in the context of India’s technological advancements. Highlight its objectives, potential impact on economic growth, and the role it plays in positioning India globally in the field of Quantum Technologies. Also, explain the collaborative approach involving academia, industry, and startups in the implementation of NQM. (250 words/15 m)

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