Digital India Future Labs Initiative by the Government of India

India’s digital leap forward has been led by both the private and public sectors. Both work in tandem to support each other via disruptive innovations and policy frameworks. From a government viewpoint, there have been significant and bold transformations on the digital front. New acts, initiatives and interactions are launched like Digital India that aim to build digital public infrastructure, digital IDs, digital payment support systems, and more.

From a private sector viewpoint, the significant growth in start-up culture is revolutionizing our digital infrastructure. Let’s take Paytm for instance, the leading Indian start-up is working aggressively to bridge the digital divide in the financial market in India. It’s currently focusing on reaching tier 3,4 and rural sections of the Indian society. To empower them with digital connectivity to make payments and manage their finances. Paytm is closely working with the government to build the digital infrastructure for foreign government bodies as well as launching new initiatives to allow small entrepreneurs tap into markets like never before.

The Digital India initiative

It’s the flagship programme of the Government of India that has the vision to transform India into a digitally empowered country and a knowledge economy. It was launched in 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the objective ‘Power to empower’. It has three core components namely:

a. Digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen,
b. Governance and services on demand, and
c. Digital empowerment of citizens.

Its aim is inclusive growth across electronic services, products, manufacturing, and work opportunities. The initiative is divided into nine pillars of growth that include Broadband Highways, Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity, Public Internet Access, e-governance, Ekranti, Information for All, Electronics Manufacturing, IT for Jobs, and the Early Harvest Programme.

The mission is to bridge the digital divide and make connectivity the underpinning of a thriving Indian economy. An economy that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship.

What is Digital India futureLABS?

Digital India futureLABS is a pioneering initiative by the Government of India that aims to ascend the value chain, build a powerhouse R&D centre and foster a collaborative culture in the country. It has a keen focus on IP, standards, and next-generation electronics system design.

The Digital India futureLABS was launched by Rajeev Chandersekhar, Union Minister for Electronics, and IT during the Digital India futureLABS 2024 Summit in February 2024. He was one of the keynote speakers who addressed senior leadership of major industry companies, leading start-ups, academicians, researchers, and young Indians. The summit was organized to ‘Catalyse the next-generation Electronics System Design through Digital India futureLABS.’

It’s a fresh off-the-pan initiative that aims to ‘fortify domestic R&D by creating a collaborative ecosystem for the development of IPs, Standards and catalyzing next-generation Electronics System Design ecosystem in the country by enabling co-development opportunities & partnerships amongst Government, Startups, R&D organizations, and large enterprises.’ as per the ministry’s official statement.

The Union Minister said “India’s tech and innovation ecosystem is expanding and growing while catalyzing the next wave of startups. The Digital India futureLABS is the final piece in architecture for innovation in the Digital India programme. It represents an opportunity for an Indian startup at the forefront of developing NextGen Electronics in Automotive, Compute, Telecom, Industrial, and Strategic Electronics,”

He added that ‘Digital India futureLABS will act as a catalyst for this and in rounding off our ambitions of ensuring the Indian flag on every segment of emerging Tech Innovation.

Here are some of the key aspects of the newly launched futureLABS


Union Minister Rajeev Chandersekhar mentioned that the funding for the platform will come from the R&D budget of the Electronics and IT Ministry and of various other labs. The lab is also funded by a larger 1 lakh crore that the Government of India has provided.

2.C-DAC Coordination

The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing in India (C-DAC) is directly coordinating the futureLABS project. They are tapping into a trillion-dollar opportunity presented by the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector.

3.R&D focus

FutureLABS is strategically launched to leverage futuristic technologies like AI, Big Data,IoT, Quantum Computing, etc. Marking a transformative phase in Indian R&D.

Sectors under focus in Digital India futureLABS

During the summit, it was announced that 22 MoUs with industry were signed for implementation of futureLABS. This includes companies like Qualcomm India, Tenstorrent, etc. in areas like Design and Innovation in Compute Space, Indian Telecom Stack, High-performance computing stack, and more.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT announced that these signed MoUs will be managed by The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing in India (C-DAC). Which will act as the nodal agency to develop plans, processes, procedures, and guidelines for the private sector and start-ups working with futureLABS. The futureLABS will strengthen domestic R&D and innovation in sectors like Automation, Industrial Electronics, Internet of things (IoT), Communication, Strategic Electronics, Computing, and more.

i. For the automotive sector

There is a specific focus. The futureLABS will have a keen focus on R&D and industry-government partnerships to develop and grow the EV sector, onboard sensors, and autonomous connected devices.

ii. In the Computing sector

The futureLABS focus is on R&D in high-performance, quantum and exascale computers, indigenous microprocessors, blockchain, and more.

iii. Communication sector

The focus is on next-generation wireless networks and IoT solutions. Catering to the needs of a fully connected nation and global connections. The research in this sector for futureLABS is in areas such as RFIC technology, 5G/6G cellular technology, India-specific communication architecture and more.

iv. Strategic Electronics sector

Is one that ensures national security. The futureLABS roadmap for this sector highlights plans for development of underwater vessels, anti-drone systems, semiconductor, advanced communication technology tailored for military applications and more.

v. IoT sector

The focus in on industrial IoT to develop deterministic response systems for manufacturing and other industrial control applications. R&D efforts under this will work towards system-on-chips (SoCs), IoT sensing and actuation solutions, etc.

Each sector has detailed roadmap which offers a comprehensive overview of the next few fiscal years with key projections and milestones. Each milestone achievement aims to foster innovation in the country and position India as a global leader in the IT and technology domain.

This collaborative expansion of the Digital India Skills programmes offers young Indians a platform of international standards to learn and upskill their knowledge. It will bring new career opportunities to grow within Indian ecosystem. The collaborative industry partners and start-ups will seek new employees to work in the R&D space with the government. Raising demand for digital progression across technology, IP, marketing, management, and business operations. The futureLABS offers inspiration for students to learn new skills in technology sector to innovate, lead and get ready to shape the future of India’s digital landscape.

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