Budget 2020 : Data Centre Parks Policy, Rs 8000 crore for National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications

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New Delhi, Feb 1, 2020 : Emphasizing on the disruptive innovations of the ‘New Economy’ like Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman proposed further measures by the Government to take advantage of these new technologies. These were stated in her Union Budget Speech 2020-21, presented in the Parliament today.

The Finance Minister observed that technologies like AI, Internet-of-Things (IoT), 3D printing, drones, DNA data storage, quantum computing, etc., are re-writing the world economic order. She noted that India has already embraced new paradigms such as the sharing economy with aggregator platforms displacing conventional businesses. The Minister added that the Government has also harnessed these new technologies to enable direct benefit transfers and financial inclusion on a scale never imagined before.

Proposals for Leveraging Data

Highlighting the importance of ‘data as the new oil’, the Minister asserted that Analytics, Fintech and IoT are changing the way we deal with our lives. Smt. Sitharaman proposed the following measures to take advantage of this power of data:

  • To soon bring out a policy to enable private sector in building Data Centre Parks throughout the country, thus enabling firms to incorporate data in every step of their value chains.
  • To link 100,000 gram panchayats this year with Fibre to the Home (FTTH) connections through Bharatnet. This will fulfill the vision of providing digital connectivity to all ‘public institutions’ like Anganwadis, health and wellness centres, government schools, etc. at Gram Panchayat level. It is proposed to provided Rs. 6000 crore to Bharatnet programme in 2020-21, the Minister said.

Proposals for Start-ups

With a view to expand the base for knowledge-driven enterprises, the Finance Minister underscored the importance of intellectual property creation and protection. In this regard, she proposed several measures to benefit Start-ups:

  • To promote a digital platform that would facilitate seamless application and capture of IPRs. A Centre is also proposed to be established in an Institute of Eminence for working on innovation in the field of Intellectual Property.
  • Knowledge Translation Clusters to be set up across different technology sectors including new and emerging areas.
  • Technology Clusters, with test beds and small scale manufacturing facilities for designing, fabrication and validation of proof of concept to be established.
  • Two National-level Science Schemes are to be initiated to create a comprehensive database of mapping India’s genetic landscape, given its criticality for next generation medicine, agriculture and bio-diversity management.
  • It is also proposed to provide early life funding, including a seed fund, to support ideation and development of early stage Start-ups.

Proposals for Quantum Technology

The Finance Minister noted that quantum technology is opening up new frontiers in computing, communications, cyber security with wide-spread applications. She pointed out that a lot of commercial applications are expected to emerge from theoretical constructs developing in this area. Thus, the Minister proposed to provide an outlay of Rs. 8000 crore over a period of five years for the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications.