Policy Update: Cabinet approves the constitution of a 12-member Technology Group

On 19 February 2020, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the constitution of a 12-Member Technology Group (TG) chaired by Principal Scientific Adviser. The members of the Group includes, six Secretaries from Technology and Science Departments (other Secretaries might also be invited by TG) and five experts from industry and academia.

The TG will examine technologies valuable for the economy and society, and advice on their procurement and deployment in the most efficient manner. On this, the TG will get inputs from the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC), and act in a complementary manner.

The Group will develop a road map for the commercialization of technologies developed in our national laboratories and universities and link research and development (R&D) to technologies and their commercialization.

Each Ministry/Department will have a ‘Technology Officer’. The TG will develop collegial and collaborative structures that will generally enhance the already shared purpose for sustainable economic and social growth.

Major Objectives of the Group:

  1. Render the best possible advice on technology to be developed for a technology supplier and the technology procurement strategy;
  1. Develop in-house expertise in aspects of policy and use of emerging technologies; and
  2. Ensure sustainability of public sector technology developed/being developed at PSUs, national labs and research organisations.

Concerns identified by the Group:

  1. Technology development is often in ‘silos’
  2. Standards not well-developed or poorly-applied
  3. Dual-use technologies developed in India not being optimally commercialized
  4. R&D programs need a better link to technology development
  5. Need for mapping of tech important for applications in society and industry

Implementation strategy and targets:

The three pillars of the TG include:

  1. Policy Support
  2. Procurement Support
  3. Support on Research and Development proposals

The Technology Group intends to ensure:

  1. that India has appropriate policies and strategies for effective, secure and context-sensitive exploitation of the latest technologies for economic growth and sustainable development of Indian Industry, in all sectors;
  2. to advise the Government on priorities and strategies for research on emerging technologies across sectors;
  3. to maintain an updated map of technology and technology products available, and being developed, across India;
  4. to develop indigenization roadmap for selected key technologies;
  5. to advise the Government on its technology supplier and procurement strategy;
  6. to encourage all Ministries and Departments as well as State Governments to develop in-house expertise in policy and use aspects of emerging technologies such as data science and artificial intelligence, and to this end develop an approach to training and capacity building
  7. to formulate policies for sustainability of public sector technology at PSUs/Labs while encouraging cross-sector collaborations and research alliances with Universities and Private Companies; and
  8. to formulate standards and common vocabulary to apply in vetting of proposals for R&D.

We welcome the move by the Government. This will provide the much needed impetus to the development of IT and tech industry. We look forward to working with the Government and the Technology Group to ensure that the policies/standards created are in line with the needs of the industry.

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