The ?like-to be? Technology Vision dreams to make almost every services virtual in India by 2035

Technology VisionNB Nair

Mysuru (ISJ) - Virtual schools and universities, virtual courts and public services delivered online are some of the ?like-to be? Technology Vision for India by 2035, released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the opening of Indian Science Congress, currently on at Mysuru University, Mysuru. �

The ambitious Vision, drawn up by India?s technology think-tank, headed by former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Dr. Ani Kakodkar allows all Indians to dream about clean air and water; assured and adequate food intake; a primary health centre in every village with telemedicine access and multi-speciality hospital with air ambulances in every district; 24x7 power availability; public transportation within one kilometre from every settlement, access to the national capital in just eight hours, every settlement connected with all-weather roads, a helipad in every village for emergency healthcare; technology intervention to maintain general law and order, information and communication security, infrastructure and physical security, financial and economic security and natural resources and environmental security. While the country would be as advanced as possible technologically, it will be rooted as far as possible culturally.

The Technology Vision 2035 is a precursor to the existing Technology Vision 2020. Broadly, the new document focuses on key challenges before India ? Development, Empowerment, Inclusiveness, Sustainability and Environment, said Dr. Anil Kakodkar in its preamble. The first Technology Vision prepared in 1996 under the leadership of late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam aimed at providing directions for national initiatives in science and technology to make India a developed country by 2020, the latest one is a ?vision of where the country and compatriots should be in 2035 and how technology would bring this vision to fruition? with the population of the country expected to touch between 1.41 and 1.64 billion according to the United Nations.

While India galloped in certain sectors such as information technology, communications, computing capabilities, developing satellite communications, it continues to remain at the bottom half of most of the HDI indicators, noted the document.� In most of the industries, Indian expertise still remains at the basic or intermediate level of technology and we have not adopted global standards of design and performance.

Telecommunications ? 969 million mobile users (2014) and 15.1 internet users per 100 people (2013)

Civil Aviation ? The largest civil aviation market in the world has still no indigenous aircraft manufacturing capability

Food & Agriculture ? Wastage of one-third of the produce hinders growth, but still manages to contribute 10.3% of India?s exports in 2013-14

Healthcare ? Lack of affordable healthcare systems, inadequate infrastructure and expensive diagnostics.

India is still heavily dependent on foreign advanced technologies. The document says, the R&D institutions should be blamed for this technological dependence. At the same time, with less than 1% of the GDP spent on R&D, most of which is from public funds, the translation of research to commercialisation remains forever strapped for funds.� Despite having a huge pool of human resources, India has not invested enough in creating skilled manpower.

Bureaucratic bottlenecks, lack of inter-departmental synergies, prioritisation of continuity over innovation, and a laidback management style are some of the issues that plague implementation of various schemes.� Furthermore, in the past few years, environmental and public concerns have become central to any development-related policy planning and impose additional constraints.

The document says, it emphasises Indians rather than India, on the assumption that the technologies that are beneficial to the vast majority of Indians would necessarily be advantageous to India as well.

?The consequence of technological underdevelopment can be the loss of our freedom and autonomy,? concludes the document. ?Since independence, India has sought to maintain its strategic independence at all costs. The world powers forced India to pay a price for its strategic autonomy by setting up extensive global technology denial regimes.?

?However, technology denial by foreign governments and multilateral treaties is yesterday?s story: the game will now be played by multinational corporations and patent offices. To counter this technology denial in the future, India will have to become a major player in the technology production game and suitably leverage its market attractiveness.?

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