Indian Govt Mulls Working With TCS, HCL and Tech Mahindra to Develop Quantum Tech Software Under Rs 6,000 Crore Scheme

The Indian Government has taken a significant step towards advancing quantum technologies. The National Quantum Mission (NQM), approved on 19th April 2023, is a comprehensive initiative with a budget of Rs.6003.65 crore allocated from 2023-24 to 2030-31. The mission's objectives are to develop intermediate-scale quantum computers with 50-1000 physical qubits in various platforms like superconducting and photonic technology within 8 years.

The NQM aims to create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem for Quantum Technology (QT) in India, which will include the development of high-sensitivity magnetometers, atomic clocks for precision timing, communications, navigation, and quantum materials for device fabrication¹. It also plans to establish secure quantum communications over long distances and multi-node quantum networks with quantum memories.

In a latest now, the government is looking to work with Information Technology (IT) services majors like Tata Consultancy Services, HCL and Tech Mahindra to develop software for quantum technologies under the NQM, which will support Indian startups and scientists working in the emerging area.

Collaborating with leading technology companies like Tata Consultancy Services, HCL, and Tech Mahindra could significantly contribute to the mission's success by leveraging their expertise in software development and IT services. This partnership would potentially accelerate the R&D efforts and help India become one of the leading nations in the development of Quantum Technologies & Applications (QTA).

The NQM is expected to benefit various sectors including communication, health, finance, and energy, with applications in drug design, space, banking, security, and more. It aligns with national priorities such as Digital India, Make in India, Skill India, Stand-up India, Start-up India, Self-reliant India, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

"We are going to involve our software companies like TCS, HCL, Tech Mahindra etc., into this effort. We want them to do research on quantum technologies because there's a huge amount of algorithms required for quantum,” Ajai Chowdhry, co-founder of HCL and chairman of the mission governing board of the National Quantum Mission said in a statement to a media outlet.

Mr Chowdhry further said that while the mission is cementing up plans to set up four separate hubs for — 1) quantum hardware, 2) quantum encryption, 3) sensors, and 4) materials — by August, these centres are then expected to start the disbursal of onward funding to startups and researchers by September.

Each of these four hubs will be created at a top research institute like Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) or Indian Institute of Science (IISc), and be set up as a non-profit company.

The scheme will likely involve creating a robust infrastructure for quantum research, developing quantum-resistant encryption methods, and training a skilled workforce to meet the demands of this emerging technology. It's a significant investment in the future of India's technological landscape, positioning the country as a global contender in the quantum race.

The NQM is expected to benefit various sectors including communication, health, finance, and energy, with applications in drug design, space, banking, security, and more. It aligns with national priorities such as Digital India, Make in India, Skill India, Stand-up India, Start-up India, Self-reliant India, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

In the global arena, the U.S. has been a major player in quantum research, with significant investments and the development of quantum computers. China has announced a substantial investment of $15 billion in quantum technology, positioning itself as a leader in the field.

The EU plans to spend $7.2 billion in public funding on quantum initiatives, with Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden being among the top investors.

Although lacking a national strategy, Australia too has several R&D initiatives, including the Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence and the Sydney Quantum Academy.
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