National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications

Context: The government in its Budget 2020 has announced a National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA).

National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications

Implementation Period: 5 years from 2020-21 to 2024-25.

Estimated Outlay:  Rs. 8000 crore.

Implementing Agency:  Department of Science & Technology (DST).

About Quantum Technologies

Quantum Technology is based primarily on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the nature of energy and matter on the atomic and subatomic level. It concerns the control and manipulation of quantum systems, with the goal of achieving information processing beyond the limits of the classical world. 

Quantum principles can be used for engineering solutions to extremely complex problems in computingcommunicationssensingchemistrycryptographyimaging and mechanics. But, it is to be kept in mind that the Quantum field has not yet matured for commercialization, due to the extreme scientific challenges involved.

How does a quantum computer work and what is its significance?

Quantum computers store and process information using quantum two level systems (quantum bits or qubits) which unlike classical bits, can be prepared in superposition states. This key ability makes quantum computers extremely powerful compared to conventional computers when solving certain kinds of problems like finding prime factors of large numbers and searching large databases. 

The prime factorization quantum algorithm has important implications for security as it can be used to break RSA encryption, a popular method for secure communication.

Key highlights of the Mission

Under this Mission, the next generation transformative technologies that will receive a push include quantum computers and computing, quantum communication, quantum key distribution, encryption, crypt analysis, quantum devices, quantum sensing, quantum materials, quantum clock and so on. 

Major focus areas of the Mission: Mission will be focusing in 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 predictionsimulationssecuring the communications & financial transactionscyber securityadvanced manufacturinghealthagriculture, 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 e.g., QT research, operational implementations, Human resource availability and technology development are in their initial stage of evolution.

Benefits of Implementation: It 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.

Further, the Mission will also help in preparing next generation skilled manpowerboost translational research and also encourage entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem development

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