The need for innovation in Technology Policy
Emerging technologies are redefining every aspect of our lives much faster than what can be conjectured. Technology is the single most important factor that is driving global competition and policy regarding sustaining competitiveness and the government’s role in improving it is increasingly gaining traction and a debate conjuring multiple stakeholders. A nation’s capacity for innovation is crucial to its social, economic and military well-being.
Making sense for futuristic policies capturing the nuances of the evolving scenarios is really at stake and Tech policy in India will have to be driven in that nature. In an era of non-stop innovation simply funding R&D -whether civilian or military and boosting basic research in Public R&D labs and state institutions is not good enough. The simulation of ‘demand’ for innovation and ideas that drive remain to be met.
New technologies whether AI, ML, Blockchain, Quantum Tech have found voice in the vision of India’s next set of policies. Much of it in terms of vision statements framed to position and strengthen India’s technological prowess and for it to emerge as a leader in the years ahead. The time is ripe to develop frameworks and put policies including action items in place that define standardised framework for design, development, and implementation. Most importantly the flexibility to link public welfare which is at the heart of policy making along with the evolving nature of tech needs to be combined. While the fourth industrial revolution is underway and innovations that seek to disrupt our way of life becoming common place, achieving technological sovereignty must be a priority.
With tech like meta-verse redefining our existence and quantum tech supremacy being achieved by private players, policy makers need to make sure that India’s economic competitiveness, the need for ground level development is kept supreme while ensuring overall technological ascendency is not compromised. Private- public collaboration, academia-industry linkage and global cooperation have an important role in the present scenario. Design thinking, Systems thinking, Change management, Game theory are concepts well illustrated on paper, however it remains critical to see these play out in the realm of technology policy and its implementation. For the latter to be superior and worthy of the future, India must leverage its developed expertise in a manner of cooperation and inter-dependence and not designing and operating in silos independent of the realities of socio- economic and security policies. More deliberations and debate about regulation and the involvement of government in adoption of new tech must be encouraged within all groups of the society. The time has come for a multi-stakeholder review on how tech policy needs to be evolved in India and with the consensus of those on whom it will impact most.
As we move towards specialisation, the government needs to build a cadre of tech-policy managers who not only are adept at tech management and its application but crucially understand the social, economic, cultural, behavioural and security impact of their applications. Achieving technological sovereignty is not a flash in the pan action but a series of nuanced decisions and effective implementation carrying multiple aspects together. This will aid and reinforce the government’s core vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat.’
This has been authored by Anagh Singh.