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What National Quantum Mission means for Science in India

The Union Cabinet authorized the National Quantum Mission (NQM) on April 19th, putting India among the top six major nations engaging in quantum technology research and development.

NQM, which is scheduled to run from 2023 to 2031, will primarily focus on strengthening India’s research and development in the quantum arena, as well as indigenously building quantum-based (physical qubit) computers that are far more powerful to perform the most complex problems in a highly secure manner.

It is worth Rs. 6,003.65 crores. The development of homegrown quantum computers is one of the major objectives of the mission.

Quantum computers are more than just quicker and more efficient computers. Conventional computers become supercomputers when they are more powerful and have considerably higher capabilities. However, they perform the same functions as standard home computers or mobile phones. The way quantum computers handle and interpret information is radically different. They are intended to be beneficial in very specific situations where traditional computer methods are insufficient.

Quantum computers would not provide a considerable advantage over conventional computers for more everyday tasks such as watching a video or browsing the internet.

What precisely is the National Quantum Mission?

As part of the National Quantum Mission, the center announced the establishment of four thematic hubs in various institutions around the country to boost research and development in the sector. The mission will be led by the Department of Science and Technology, who will be assisted by a mission director.

The Centre will establish a mission secretariat with a governing committee to supervise the effort under the guidance of quantum physicists. The Mission Technology Research Council will serve as the governing body’s scientific advisory body.

Over the following eight years, the mission will focus on constructing quantum computers (qubits) with physical qubit capabilities ranging from 50 to 1000 qubits.

Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister, of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), said, “The effort is to work towards building an ecosystem favoring quantum technology in the country.”

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