(EconomicTimes) Editorial explains that launching satellites for next generation telecom technology such as needed for quantum communications is is beyond India’s private sector capability. India still needs State agencies for these tasks. At present, India is wholly reliant on external technology for its communications infrastructure, making for vulnerability that could prove crippling in some emergent situations. Some IITs are working on developing telecom technology, true. But this is not enough.
India must have an enterprise capable of hiring and deploying tens of thousands of engineers to carry out research and development in sixth-generation telecom technology, in quantum communications, in quantum computing, material sciences (particularly nanotechnology).
Robotics and artificial intelligence will soon change the face of industry. The private sector can pull its weight in some of these emerging areas. Where it cannot, well-funded public enterprises with autonomy and best-of-breed incentives for its managers and employees, should step in. India’s quest for strategic autonomy has to be backed up with intelligent effort and fiscal support. These would take the form of, but not be limited to, new public enterprises.