- This indeed is the premise one sees embedded in India’s Technology Vision 2035 (TV 2035), a vision produced by the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), an autonomous organisation under the Department of Science and Technology.
- The vision is both an account of a future and a route to that future where technology delivers, provides and secures. TV 2035 sees people opposed to certain technologies like nuclear and big dams as a barrier to their dreams.
About TV 2035
The 12 identified sectors of Vision Document are:
- Medical Sciences & Healthcare
- Food and Agriculture
- Information and Communication Technology
The Aim of this ‘Technology Vision Document 2035’ is to ensure the Security, Enhancing of Prosperity, and Enhancing Identity of every Indian, which is stated in the document as “Our Aspiration” or “Vision Statement” in all languages of the 8th Schedule of the Constitution. The Vision documents also identifies twelve (12) prerogatives- (six for meeting individual needs and six for the collective needs) that should be available to each and every Indian. These are:
Assurance of these prerogatives, according to the Vision document, is the core of technology vision for India. For assuring these prerogatives, technologies are mapped as: 1) those readily deployable, 2) those that needs to be moved from Lab to Field, 3) those that require targeted Research and 4) those that are still in Imagination.
The vision document also makes a mention of three critical essential prerequisites or Transversal Technologies i.e., materials, manufacturing, and Information and Communication technology (ICT) to provide the foundation upon which all other technologies would be constructed.
The document also talks of required infrastructure which it says primarily include relevant knowledge institutions besides ports, highways, airports, railways, cold chains, etc. Among the essential prerequisites, it also mentions fundamental research in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology and other allied sciences.
The document dwells upon the grand challenges in the field of Technologies which, it says, we should resolve as a nation. The challenges are:
- Guaranteeing nutritional security and eliminating female and child anaemia
- Ensuring quantity and quality of water in all rivers and aquatic bodies
- Providing learner centric, language neutral and holistic education to all
- Developing commercially viable decentralized and distributed energy for all
- Making India non-fossil fuel based
- Securing critical resources commensurate with the size of our country
- Ensuring universal eco-friendly waste management
- Taking the railway to Leh and Tawang
- Understanding national climate patterns and adapting to them
- Ensuring location independent electoral and financial empowerment
In order to overcome these challenges, the Vision Document 2035 envisages a rational assessment of the capabilities and constraints of the Indian Technological Landscape. It categorizes technologies into a six-fold classification from an Indian perspective which is as follows:
- Technology Leadership – niche technologies in which we have core competencies, skilled manpower, infrastructure and a traditional knowledge base eg., Nuclear Energy, Space Science.
- Technology Independence – strategic technologies that we would have to develop on our own as they may not be obtainable from elsewhere eg., Defence sector.
- Technology Innovation – linking disparate technologies together or making a breakthrough in one technology and applying it to another eg., solar cells patterned on chlorophyll based synthetic pathway are a potent future source of renewable energy.
- Technology Adoption – obtain technologies from elsewhere, modify them according to local needs and reduce dependence on other sources eg., foreign collaboration in the sectors of rainwater harvesting, agri-biotech, desalination, energy efficient buildings.
- Technology Constraints – areas where technology is threatening and problematic i.e. having a negative social or environmental impact because of serious legal and ethical issues eg., Genetically Modified(GM) Crops.
The Vision Document, in a separate section, gives a ‘Call to Action’ to all the key stakeholders. It brings to notice that for long term sustainability of India’s technological prowess, it is important that
- Technical Education Institutions engage in advanced research on a large scale leading to path-breaking innovations.
- Government enhances its financial support from the current 1% to the long-envisaged 2% of the GDP.
- The number of full-time equivalent Scientists in the core research sector should increase.
- Private Sector Participation and Investment in evolving technologies that is readily deployable and is translatable from lab to field thereby increasing efficiency in terms of technology and economic returns.
- Academia-Intelligentsia-Industry connects is established via idea exchange, innovative curricula design, based on the needs of the industry, industry-sponsored student internships and research fellowships inter alia.
- Creation of a Research Ecosystem, so as to achieve the translation of research to technology product/process by integrating students, researchers and entrepreneurs.
The document also identifies three key activities as a part of the ‘Call to Action’.
- The first being knowledge creation. It says that India cannot afford not to be in the forefront of the knowledge revolution, either applied or pure.
- The second activity that cannot be reflected, it says is ecosystem design for innovation and development. The document again interestingly says that the primary responsibility for ecosystem design must necessarily rests with government authorities.
A third key activity that it mentions is technology deployment with launching certain national missions involving specific targets, defined timelines requiring only a few carefully defined identified players.