Three high tech missions worth Rs 5,000 cr each in pipeline, likely to get govt nod soon: Official

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KOLKATA: The Union Ministry of Science and Technology is currently working on three missions of quantum technology, methanol and electric mobility at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore each and expects government approval for it in the next three months, a senior official has said.

The ministry had recently launched two other missions on railway technology and cyber security systems, Department of Science and Technology Secretary, Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, said.

“The cost of the three missions will be in the order of Rs 5,000 crore each. The government approval may be obtained in the next three months,” Sharma told PTI on the sidelines of the India International Science Festival, 2019 here.

The Science and Technology Department, in partnership with the Ministry of Railways, has rolled out a Rs 700 crore ‘Railway Technology Mission’ with a focus on driving new technologies of monitoring, design, materials.

The mission is aimed at finding solution to fog vision, carrying capacity of wagons and other areas, the official said.

“Under the mission, the first project, which has been sanctioned, is to bring in tools or elements of Industry 4.0 for manufacturing at Rae Bareli coach factory. The project will be implemented in a period of two years at an estimated cost Rs 70 crore,” Sharma said.

Industry 4.0 commonly referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, is a name given to the current trend of automation, inter-connectivity and data exchange in manufacturing technologies to increase productivity.

The ministry has also launched a mission on cyber physical systems with a budget of Rs 3,660 crore for the next five years, he said.

“The mission will enhance the capacity from research and development, create human resource, commercialise technologies in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning etc,” he said.

It will be implemented through hubs with equal participation of academia, government and industry, the official said.

Speaking on the ‘Vajra’ (Visiting Advanced Joint Research) scheme to invite overseas scientists and academicians with emphasis on non-resident Indians to work as adjunct or visiting faculty for a specific period in the country’s academic and research institutions, he said, “About 500 scientists from abroad have so far applied and we have selected about 60 professors.”

He further said, “We want top scientists to spend time here and impart their knowledge to our students as co-guides. The programme has started one and a half years ago,” he said.

In another five years, the target is to have 1,000 top scientists, he added.

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