The Union Cabinet has approved the National Quantum Mission at a total cost of Rs 60.03 billion from 2023-24 to 2030-31, aiming to seed, nurture and scale up scientific and industrial research and development (R&D) and create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem in quantum technology. According to the government, this will accelerate quantum technology-led economic growth, nurture the ecosystem in the country and make India one of the leading nations in the development of quantum technologies and applications.

The new mission targets developing intermediate-scale quantum computers with 50-1,000 physical qubits in eight years in various platforms such as superconducting and photonic technology. Satellite-based secure quantum communications between ground stations over a range of 2,000 km within India, long-distance secure quantum communications with other countries, inter-city quantum key distribution over 2,000 km as well as multi-node quantum network with quantum memories are also some of the deliverables of the mission.

The mission will help develop magnetometers with high sensitivity in atomic systems and atomic clocks for precision timing, communications and navigation. It will also support the design and synthesis of quantum materials such as superconductors, novel semiconductor structures and topological materials for the fabrication of quantum devices. Single photon sources/detectors, and entangled photon sources will also be developed for quantum communications, sensing and metrological applications.

Further, four thematic hubs (T-Hubs) will be set up in top academic and national R&D institutes on the domains – quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum sensing and metrology and quantum materials and devices. The hubs will focus on the generation of new knowledge through basic and applied research as well as promote R&D in areas that are mandated to them.

The government believes that National Quantum Mission can take the technology development ecosystem in the country to a globally competitive level. The mission would greatly benefit communication, health, financial and energy sectors as well as drug design, and space applications. It will provide a huge boost to national priorities such as Digital India, Make in India, Skill India and Stand-up India, Start-up India, Self-reliant India and sustainable development goals (SDG).