Highlighting the importance of 'data as the new oil', Sitharaman stated that Analytics, Fintech and IoT are changing the way we deal with our lives.
She proposed several measures to take advantage of this power of data which include linking 100,000 Gram Panchayats this year with Fibre to the Home (FTTH) connections through Bharatnet. This will fulfil the vision of providing digital connectivity to all 'public institutions' like Anganwadis, health and wellness centres, government schools, etc., at the Gram Panchayat level. It is proposed to provide Rs 6000 crore to Bharatnet programme in 2020-21, the minister said.
Emphasising on the disruptive innovations of the 'New Economy' like Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman proposed further measures by the Government to take advantage of these new technologies.
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.
With a view to expanding 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 biodiversity management.
It is also proposed to provide early life funding, including a seed fund, to support ideation and development of early-stage Start-ups.
The Finance Minister also noted that quantum technology is opening up new frontiers in computing, communications, cybersecurity 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. (ANI)