The Finance Minister in budget 2020 has announced a National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA).

What is Quantum Technology?

  • Quantum Technology is based 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.
  • Its principles will be used for engineering solutions to extremely complex problems in computing, communications, sensing, chemistry, cryptography, imaging and mechanics.
  • 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.

What is Quantum Mechanics?

  • It is a fundamental theory in physics which describes nature at the smallest – including atomic and subatomic – scales.
  • At the scale of atoms and electrons, many of the equations of classical mechanics, which describe how things move at everyday sizes and speeds, cease to be useful.
  • In classical mechanics, objects exist in a specific place at a specific time.
  • However, in quantum mechanics, objects instead exist in a haze of probability; they have a certain chance of being at point A, another chance of being at point B and so on.

About NM-QTA

  • The mission will function under the Department of Science & Technology (DST).
  • It will be able address the ever increasing technological requirements of the society, and take into account the international technology trends.
  • The mission will help prepare next generation skilled manpower, boost translational research and also encourage entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem development.

Why such mission?

  • Quantum technologies are rapidly developing globally with a huge disruptive potential.
  • The range of quantum technologies is expected to be one of the major technology disruptions that will change entire paradigm of computation, communication and encryption.
  • It is perceived that the countries who achieve an edge in this emerging field will have a greater advantage in garnering multifold economic growth and dominant leadership role.
  • It has become imperative both for government and industries to be prepared to develop these emerging and disruptive changes.

It will establish standards to be applied to all research and help stimulate a pipeline to support research and applications well into the future.

National Logistics Policy

India’s logistics sector is highly defragmented and the aim is to reduce the logistics cost from the present 14% of GDP to less than 10% by 2022.

The sector is very complex with more than 20 government agencies, 40 PGAs, 37 export promotion councils, 500 certifications, 10000 commodities, 160 billion market sizes along with 12 million employment bases.

The Indian logistics sector provides livelihood to more than 22 million people and improving the sector will facilitate 10 % decrease in indirect logistics cost leading to the growth of 5 to 8% in exports.

Further, it is estimated that the worth of Indian logistics market will be around USD 215 billion in next two years compared to about USD 160 billion at present.

About National Logistics Policy

It will clarify the roles of the Union Government, State Governments and key regulators.

It will create a single window e-Logistics Market place and focus on generation of employment, skills and making MSMEs competitive.

It will improve India’s performance in global rankings and pave the way for India to become a logistics hub.

The following announcements in FM’s Budget Speech will make the National Logistics Policy more robust:

Geo-tagging of all warehousing

Village Storage Scheme through Women Self-help groups shall provide backward linkages for seeds thereby reducing logistics costs.

Cold chains for fish and perishables shall be promoted.

Refrigerated vans shall be attached to passenger trains to promote movement of perishables quickly.

Krishi trains shall also be run on PPP mode

Krishi Udan Scheme shall be promoted / launched for horticulture and perishable commodities shall be transported through the air-route that will especially benefit the North-East region and tribal area.

Cluster approach shall be adopted for promoting horticulture.  One Product One District will be encouraged.

National Organic e-Market will be developed for organic products.

Accelerated development of highways will be undertaken.

Delhi – Mumbai and Chennai – Bengaluru express highways to be made operational by 2023.

Inland Waterways shall be promoted under the Programme called Arth-Ganga i.e., promoting economic activities along with banks of the river.

100 more airports shall be established under the UDAN scheme.

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