Citizens' Issues
India bets on technology to overcome challenges
Bengaluru : Racing against time to realise the 'Vision 2020' former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam conceived in 1996, India has embarked on a similar exercise for 2035, betting on emerging technologies to overcome major challenges it faces in ensuring inclusive growth and improving quality of life in the country.
 
"Technology is a key driver to empower individuals, societies and countries, facilitate development and enhance capabilities, while taking advantage of the democratic dividend," says an official document on 'Technology Vision 2035'.
 
The 100-page document, released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 103rd Indian Science Congress last week in Mysuru, about 140 km from here, attempts to envision the country's technology future, using as analogy of four gaits of a horse - galloping, cantering, trotting and walking India.
 
The document articulates a vision for all Indians in 2035 and how technology will bring it to fruition, keeping in view basic needs of security, prosperity and identity of the population, projected to be 153 crore from 120 crore in 2012.
 
"No other country will be able to match India in terms of diversity, which is its core strength. Besides diversity in culture, the country is blessed with socio-economic, demographic, topographical and agro-climatic diversities," the report by the Technology information, forecasting and assessment council (Tifac) asserted.
 
As an autonomous body, Tifac is a think tank under the science and technology department of the central government. It identified 10 major challenges requiring attention, resources and solutions in the next two decades for the benefit of people.
 
The key challenges are development, empowerment, inclusiveness, sustainability, environment, education, health, urban infrastructure, resources, socio-economic policies, solutions, electronic communication and quality research.
 
The council, under the chairmanship of top nuclear scientist-cum-technocrat Anil Kakodkar, identified 12 sectors to realise the grand vision in the next 20 years, spanning education, medical sciences and healthcare, food and agriculture, water, energy, environment, habitat, transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing, materials and information and communication technology (ICT).
 
"The vision 2020 was envisaged in the backdrop of liberal reforms since the early 1990s, when the country was emerging from economic bankruptcy. It, however, provided directions for national initiatives in science and technology to make India a developed country by 2020 through affirmative action in 16 sectors across the spectrum," Tifac executive director Prabhat Rajan noted in the report.
 
Admitting that the 'Technology Vision 2020' was a prisoner to the imagination of its own times, Rajan said the document was from the viewpoint of 1996 while that of 2035 was from the standpoint of 2014.
 
"Post-independent India has never been more different in any two decades than between 1996 and 2014, as the country's GDP (gross domestic product) multiplied six times. If the 1996 document was an aspiration of a developed India in 2020, this speaks to the realisation of a developed India by 2035," Rajan asserted.
 
Though the country galloped in some areas and cantered to keep pace in others, it trotted in a few but could not walk the talk in many areas in time for various reasons, internal and external.
 
"While technological advancements in other countries and embargoes have helped or impeded our growth, our prowess has made us confident gainers in some sectors. Lack of indigenous technologies in other sectors has left us behind," Rajan noted.
 
For instance, the country galloped in the services sector, led by IT, but not so in the manufacturing sector, where the country's expertise remained at the basic or intermediate level of technology due to lack of adoption in design and execution.
 
In the past two decades, India galloped in space, nuclear and missile technologies, life sciences and biotechnology, cantered in civil aviation, services and road transportation but trotted in food and agriculture, manufacturing and electronics.
 
"On the flip side, in healthcare, life span increased by 10 years to 65 years from 1988 to 2013, while infant mortality declined to 41 per 1,000 from 94 per 1,000 in the same period (25 years) and maternal mortality slumped to 190 per 100,000 births in 2013 from a high of 560 in 1990," the document pointed out.
 
Flagging of the five-day science event on January 3, Modi told about 12,500 stakeholders that the biggest challenge would be pressure on resources as they were limited and non-renewable like fossil fuels.
 
"I am confident that emerging technologies like nano, bio, robotics, sensors, artificial intelligence and cognitive sciences hold the potential to provide solutions to the challenge of limited resources," Modi said on the occasion.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Zomato shuts down operations in four cities
New Delhi : Food ordering app company Zomato announced on Monday it will be shutting down its online ordering service in Lucknow, Kochi, Indore, and Coimbatore, as the size of the markets are small in these cities now.
 
"We are shutting down the ordering business in Lucknow, Kochi, Indore, and Coimbatore. The size of the market is in these cities is small right now and is growing with time. We will re-launch when the time is right," co-founder Pankaj Chaddah said in a statement.
 
Zomato launched its online food ordering business in April 2015, which allows its users to order food online from restaurants using its app, and had since expanded this offering to 14 cities across India.
 
The company said despite its recent marketing efforts, including television ads, it didn't see a significant increase in the order volumes in these few cities. 
 
"These smaller cities are not yet entirely ready for the online food ordering business, but once they are, Zomato will reconsider its strategy," it added.
 
It said the combined order volume in these four cities accounted for less than 2 percent of its total order volumes. Overall, Zomato's online order volume is growing at 40 percent month-on-month.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Buyback of inflation indexed bonds announced
New Delhi : The government on Monday announced the buyback of its inflation indexed bonds (IIBs) linked to the wholesale price index (WPI).
 
The government will repurchase "1.44 percent Inflation Indexed Government Stock-2023" through reverse auction for an aggregate amount of Rs.6,500 crore (face value)," a finance ministry statement said here.
 
"The repurchase of the government stocks is purely ad hoc in nature." 
 
"Auction for securities will be on price-based auction format. The auctions will be conducted using multiple price method," the statement said. 
 
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has adopted the consumer price index (CPI) as the key measure of inflation in April 2014, while WPI-based securities have not been reissued since then.
 
Though WPI-based inflation has been in the negative for the last 13 months, the rate has been rising for three months in succession and was minus 1.99 percent in November.
 
As per market data, IIBs worth Rs.6,500 crore have been issued since 2013, while major holders of the WPI-linked inflation bonds include mutual funds like ICICI Prudential, HDFC, SBI, Kotak Mahindra, Reliance and Deutsche.
 
Bids for the auction should be submitted in electronic format on the RBI's Core Banking Solution (E-Kuber) system on January 14 between 10.30 a.m. and 12.00 noon. The result of the auctions will be announced on the same day, the statement said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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