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Cabinet gives nod for National Quantum Mission

The Union Cabinet has approved the National Quantum Mission at a total outlay of Rs 6,003 crore over this decade, to make India a global powerhouse in the quantum computing space.

The aim is to “seed, nurture and scale” scientific and industrial research and development to create a quantum computing ecosystem in India, said Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur at a press briefing, following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Quantum computing will be at the centre of growth and expansion in India’s “techade” and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision is to create an India-centric tech ecosystem, the Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar had said in January.

“We are working together to build an ecosystem of innovation, along with startups, R&D laboratories, and higher education institutions,” the minister had said. “Quantum computing will be at the core of the growth and expansion in India’s techade.”

The National Quantum Mission seeks to develop quantum computers with 50-1,000 physical qubits by the end of this decade. It will also support the design and synthesis of quantum materials—superconductors, semiconductors and topological materials—for fabrication of quantum devices, and magnetometers for precision timing, communications and navigation.

“The mission would greatly benefit communication, health, financial and energy sectors, as well as drug design, and space applications,” according to a statement. “It will provide a huge boost to national priorities like Digital India, Make in India, Skill India and Standup India, Startup India, Atmanirbhar Bharat and sustainable development goals.”

The cabinet has also approved the National Highways Authority of India’s plan to install 10,000-km of optic fibre cables by 2024-25.

The National Highways Logistics Management Ltd., a subsidiary of the NHAI, will develop utility corridors along national highways for developing the optic-fibre network, according to a press statement released on Wednesday. This will allow direct plug-and-play, or “fibre on demand”, model for telecom and internet services on the road.

The Department of Telecommunications and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India are involved in finalising the allotment policy of the project, which will be piloted along the upcoming Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and the Hyderabad-Bengaluru Highway. Bloomberg

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