Happy Independence Day 2023: India's tech journey over the last 23 years

On the 77th Independence Day of India, we take a look at the key tech milestones India has reached in the 21st century.

| Updated on: Aug 15 2023, 16:32 IST
Know all the major technology milestones of India since the year 2000. (PTI)
Know all the major technology milestones of India since the year 2000. (PTI)

“In the 21st century of India, we have two things in plenty: Data and Technology. These can take India's science to new heights. Data analysis is rapidly moving ahead. It helps in converting information into insight and analysis into actionable knowledge,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the 108th Indian Science Congress on January 3, 2023. And while the statement looks forward to the future at the things the nation can achieve, it also acknowledges the foundation India has built since the year 2000 to come to this stage today. In fact, India reached some of its biggest milestones in this period. On the 77th Independence Day, we take a look at India's journey of tech advancement in the 21st century.

But before we get into the list, one particularly important date, shortly before 2000 has to be mentioned. The date was May 11, 1998, when India successfully tested five nuclear bombs underground in Pokhran, Rajasthan. These tests, titled ‘Pokhran-II', established India as a nuclear power and later, this date was observed as National Technology Day.


Chandrayaan-I was India's first-ever mission to the moon, and it highlighted an ambition the country had not shown earlier — to explore space. On October 22, 2008, the mission was launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. With this mission, the aim was not to land on Moon, but rather hover around it to deliver chemical, photogeologic, and mineralogical mapping to ISRO.

The original mission was planned for 2 years but after 312 days, ISRO lost contact with the spacecraft due to multiple technical issues. However, since the mission achieved 95 percent of its planned objectives, it was declared a success.

The arrival of 4G

In the world of 5G, we don't really think too much about 4G internet, however, on April 10, 2012, when the 4G spectrum was first launched, it was a massively big deal. Prior to its launch, 3G limited the way people used the internet. While it was still sufficient for sending emails, normal web browsing, and low-resolution video streaming, there wasn't much else to do. But once 4G arrived at the scene, it quickly changed how we used this technology.

Internet-based phone calls became a reality, a wide range of smartphone apps started coming out, online delivery, booking a cab, making a reservation, and real-time tracking of your packages were possible, and in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic came, it also helped students stay connected to the classrooms and allowed professionals to be able to work from home.

Mars Orbiter Mission (also known as Mangalyaan)

With Chandrayaan-I, India displayed its capabilities in space exploration, but it was the Mangalyaan mission that made the world acknowledge the nation's capabilities when it came to space tech. India launched its first-ever interplanetary mission on November 5, 2013, to study Mars' topography, morphology, mineralogy, and atmosphere. The mission made many scientific breakthroughs, but it was also lauded for its cost-effectiveness as the entire mission budget was just Rs. 450 crores (roughly $73 million back then).

Startup India Program

The government was taking major strides in tech advancement followed by big corporations that came and established its legacy in the 1900s. However, to truly democratize technology and accelerate its growth, it was important to foster a system that allowed anyone to enter and innovate with the help of existing infrastructure. And that is exactly what the government did with the Startup India Program which was launched on January 16, 2016. Its aim was to develop an ecosystem to encourage indigenous scientific, technological and innovative development in India.

According to information by PIB, India has as many as 52,391 startups in the country as of 2021. And we have reaped big benefits from it. In 2015, India ranked at 81st position in the Global Innovation Index of 130 countries. But in 2022, India climbed to the 40th position.


The year 2016 was not only important for the startup ecosystem but also for a massive digital transformation of how Indian citizens transacted financially. UPI, or Unified Payment Interface, was launched on April 11, 2016, under the guidance of RBI, and NCPI was made the primary body to both develop it and enforce its regulations.

This greatly reduced the reliance on carrying cash for transactions everywhere, as well as secured small transactions that were now taking place through digital infrastructure. According to Statista, UPI transactions in India were calculated to be worth over 14.7 trillion Indian rupees as of June 2023.

But the journey is far from over. As India heads into the second half of 2023, we are entering a world of artificial intelligence, 5G, and even 6G, internet connectivity, and optimism to successfully land on the Moon through the Chandrayaan-3 mission. The nation is just getting started.

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First Published Date: 15 Aug, 16:06 IST