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National Quantum Mission (NQM)

Published: 18th Jan, 2024

Context

The National Quantum Mission (NQM) is poised to revolutionize India's stance in Quantum Technology (QT), as evidenced by the strategic decisions made during the 1st meeting of the Mission Governing Board (MGB) under the chairmanship of Dr. Ajai Chowdhry.

Background

  • Approved by the Union Cabinet on 19th April 2023, the NQM is under the stewardship of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) with a substantial outlay of Rs. 6003.65 Crore over eight years.
  • The primary objective of the mission is to cultivate, nurture, and scale up both scientific and industrial Research and Development (R&D) in Quantum Technology, fostering a dynamic and innovative ecosystem in the field.

Mission Governing Board (MGB) Deliberations:

Formation of Mission Coordination Cell (MCC):

  • The MGB, in its inaugural meeting, emphasized the establishment of the Mission Coordination Cell (MCC).
  • Acting as a coordinating agency, the MCC will collaborate closely with the Mission Secretariat, DST.
  • The selection of the institution hosting the MCC will be based on merit and existing infrastructure, functioning under the guidance of the Mission Technology Research Council (MTRC).

Quantum Technology Genesis in India:

  • Ajai Chowdhry, Chairman MGB, highlighted the inception of quantum technology in India.
  • Emphasizing the significance of manpower and startups, he articulated the mission's commitment to leapfrogging in this transformative area.
  • The MGB also approved a "Call for Pre-proposals," inviting proposals for setting up the four technology hubs under the NQM in consortia format.
  • This strategic move is expected to attract diverse and innovative ideas, fostering collaboration across sectors.

Human Resource Development:

  • Prof A K Sood, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, underscored the critical role of creating human resources.
  • He advocated for empowering the hubs to build human capacity, recognizing it as a pivotal factor in the success of the NQM.

Industry's Role and Collaboration:

  • Dr V K Saraswat, Member Niti Aayog, stressed the importance of industry participation in technology and fund sharing.
  • He urged a shift towards developing indigenous systems rather than relying on imports, positioning the industry as a key player in the mission's success.

Mission Hubs:

  • Prof Abhay Karandikar, Secretary DST, unveiled the plan for NQM to establish four mission hubs in Quantum Computing, Quantum Communication, Quantum Sensing & Metrology, and Quantum Materials & Devices.
  • These hubs will be collaborative efforts, involving academia, R&D labs, and industry consortia.

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