|Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual introduction.
Body. Discuss why Indian should build their own technology capability and how to ensure the technology available is inclusive in nature.
Conclusion. Way forward.
Any nation’s progress and growth relies on technological superiority. With India’s aspiration to become a major global power, it is said that India needs to build its own technological capacity. India cannot become a leading power without its own technological and production capability in conventional arms, in cyberspace and biotechnology.
Significance of building India’s own technology capability:
- Economic development: Growing adoption of technology will play a crucial role in India’s economic development. Inventions and innovations boost economic growth as was seen most of the developed countries.
- Reduce dependence: At present India’s technological needs are mostly fulfilled from imports which put it at a disadvantaged strategic position. For instance major defence technology including missiles, guns etc. are being imported from Russia, Israel etc. India should gradually move from Make in India to Made in India.
- Poverty alleviation: Technology helps lift millions from poverty through technology driven economic growth. For instance, new technologies, such as solar power can provide access to energy. Access to energy enables people to work their way out of poverty, access education and improve their own health.
- Agriculture: Half of India’s population is employed in agriculture. Mechanisation in agriculture has not been incentivised as pointed in Economic survey 2020. For instance, high yield varieties are must to ensure agricultural productivity for which technological capabilities must be developed.
- Employment: Building technological abilities would help create employment and reap India’s demographic dividend. According to a World Economic Forum’s ‘The Future of Jobs 2018’ report, machines and algorithms in the workplace are expected to create 133 million new roles and jobs by 2022.
- Security: With technology being outsourced, there is always a threat to security and data of the nation. For instance, increasing cyber-threats calls for building India’s own capabilities.
How can technologies ensure inclusivity?
- Good governance: Technology helps in good governance by connecting people to the government. For instance, e-governance allows the government to reduce inefficiencies and grievance redressal in various departments.
- Education: Technology enables better and inclusive education. It helps especially people of rural areas through tele-education. For instance, the government has launched Swayam platform to boost online learning in India.
- Healthcare: Technology made healthcare affordable and accessible. Tele-medicine allows doctors to treat patients in rural areas where doctors are not available. Further, enhancing technological capabilities would make health infrastructure affordable and cheap.
- Bridge gaps: There is disparity between urban and rural areas and rich and poor that lead to exclusion and marginalization of certain groups. Technology is crucial towards eliminating these disparities and differences. For instance, it allows rural youth to learn and innovate.
- Income generation: Technology plays an important role in diversifying income. For example, internet penetration helps tribal people to sell their products online through e-commerce platforms and earn for their family.
- R&D: The capability to undertake basic and applied research across a wide-ranging area is essential to generate applications and technologies of tomorrow. The development of a strong technology base is critical to focus such research towards opening up options for the long-term, focused towards meeting the needs of the future.
- Technology ecosystem: India should aggressively work towards the process of accelerating new technologies by tapping into what has already been invented elsewhere for creating an ecosystem of technology know-how, demand and skill creation.
- Domestic infrastructure: The missing piece in achieving overall technology leadership and domestic capabilities is India’s hardware and system design capabilities. India needs to seriously undertake development of domestic infrastructure for technologies crucial for its security and economy.
- Cashing US-China dispute: The recent US-China Trade spat has opened up a strategic window of opportunity for becoming part of a Global Value Chain of electronics hardware. India should rapidly capitalize it to fill the gap. India has an edge over China as it is considered as a safer country to share Intellectual property due to its respect for IP and laws to protect it.
- Incentives: India should provide lucrative incentives like subsidized electricity, tax breaks etc. to lure technology giants to set up business in India for building hardware and system software, for both meeting domestic needs and producing cost-effective exports for the rest of the world.
- Preventing brain drain: US government is reportedly considering restricting H1B visa grant for Indians to 15%. India should use this change as an opportunity to retain the top talent from fleeing the country and incentivize them to stay home for developing technology companies with private-public partnerships.
With Digital India and Make in India, India has taken a first step towards building its technological capabilities. A strategy must be further developed to strengthen the domestic market, especially hardware. Government must incentivise industry to develop their technological capabilities.