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Government working on ‘One Nation, One Subscription’ to promote research and innovation: Prof. Ajay Sood, Principal Scientific Advisor

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XROS Fellowship Summit
 
Researchers working in the area of science & technology often face problems in finding credible sources and scientific publications. This may change soon.  The Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India is working on an initiative called ‘One Nation, One Subscription’ to enable researchers to access all accredited publications and journals, without worrying about their credibility.
Delivering his keynote address at FICCI’s XROS Fellowship Summit on Tuesday in Delhi, Prof. Ajay Sood, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India said, “We are trying to put a program in place called One Nation, one subscription. So, we are in dialogue with the publishers and all the heads of consortia which are funding these journals to see how we can take this to a much larger population than what is currently available now. Very difficult job, but we are on it to see if we can make a difference.”
Describing Open Source technologies in sync with Indian philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam’, he informed the audience, including young XR developers, that his office is working on two more initiatives – one among them is called ICEM, to be housed in Indian Institute of Science, which aims to put together knowledge for the use of all. This project is funded by government agencies and once operationalized, users will be required to pay a nominal fee to access the vast amount of knowledge.
The 3rd project that his team has initiated envisaged open engagement of societal actors, wherein all the knowledge systems in world will have open dialogue on the pressing issues before mankind.
XR Open Source (XROS) Fellowship program for Indian developers is one of its kind initiative of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) with Meta being the Industry partner and during the summit, Graduation Day was organized to felicitate the developers. The program supported 100 developers working on XR technologies by enabling them to contribute to the open-source XR projects in collaboration with leading institutions and companies in XR who were project partners to the program.
The program’s journey began with 10,000 registrations, underscoring the eagerness of Indian developers to explore the limitless possibilities offered by XR, and through a rigorous evaluation process, 100 developers were short-listed for contributions to 38 open-source projects listed by 24 partner organizations with the commitment in accelerating India’s contribution in building the XR ecosystem and creating India-specific solutions along the way. Throughout this program, selected developers were provided with a unique platform to exchange ideas, learn, collaborate and work on cutting-edge projects in the XR (extended reality).
Over 65 per cent of the developers are from smaller cities and towns across India and about 20 per cent of the selected fellows are women developers. The Fellows worked on open source meta-verse projects across a number of use cases including spatially powered smart wearable devices, 3D atlas of human anatomy helping the medical ecosystem understand the human anatomy in a 3D world, VR accessibility toolkit to aid accessibility for specially-abled individuals in immersive experiences, an Indic meta-verse with heritage site tours and cultural experiences and viable web solutions for AR and VR to enable immersive experiences across a wide variety of hardware form factors.
Joining industry stalwarts, Mr Abhishek Singh, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and President and CEO of National E-Governance Division, Government of India said, “In the evolving open-source ecosystem of XR technology in the various sectors, Initiatives like FICCI XROS Fellowship Program equipped the young tech-savvy Indians with the skills, mentorship, and industry exposure to yield their contribution to our growing technological landscape. It’s not merely a program; it’s the key to unlocking the true potential of Indian developers in XR and meta-verse, fueling their ascent to global prominence. We are glad to be a part of this initiative.”
Mr. Ashish Kulkarni, Chair of FICCI AVGC-XR Forum said, “Empowering Indian developers through the XROS Fellowship Program has been transformative. It’s a gateway for our tech community to lead in XR. The collaboration with Meta and government partners has seeded a vibrant ecosystem, driving innovation in immersive technologies. For FICCI, fostering such programs aligns with our commitment to catalyze technological advancements. Enabling these initiatives promotes India’s tech prowess, aligning with FICCI’s vision to propel our nation as a hub of technological innovation and growth. FICCI has been championing the cause of Animation, VFX, Gaming, Comics &XR”
Mr. Shivnath Thukral, Director and Head of Public Policy – India, Meta said, “India will be at the forefront of these emerging technologies and as partners to the country’s digital transformation, we are excited by the enthusiasm of the young developers for our initiative. It is heartening to see the successful implementation of this program and an empowered set of developers who can use these technologies for innovating for India.”
The event featured engaging panel discussions around open-source and XR which are critical components of Internet 3.0, how XR technologies’ play a key role in enabling businesses and along with Metaverse showcases by partners and fellows. It also witnessed the participation of distinguished industry leaders, and they appreciated the program’s contribution to the advancement of the open-source ecosystem of XR in India.
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