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Rajya Sabha TV In Depth Industrial Revolution 4.0

Rajya Sabha TV In Depth Industrial Revolution 4.0

(Topics covered: General Studies III – Science and Technology)

The fourth Industrial Revolution describes the present technological age ongoing in 21st century that has come up since the first such revolution took place in 18th century. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an initiative of the World Economic Forum. The fourth Industrial Revolution describes the huge changes brought about by smart technologies.



First to Fourth Industrial Revolution

Industrial Revolution involves introduction and uses of new manufacturing processes and technologies during a time period. The transitions, thus, gives improved and faster means of production. Four such revolutions that have occurred are TABULATED BELOW.


Serial number Time period Remarks
FIRST 18th to 19th centuries Iron and textile industries, and steam engines developed in Europe and America. People moved from farm to factories. Spinning jenny, spinning mule, etc were used.
SECOND 1870 – 1914 (before WW I) Growth of pre-existing industries and expansion of new ones (steel, oil and electricity) took place. Telephone, light bulb and internal combustion engine were developed.
THIRD Ongoing since 1980s Advancement of technology was made from analog electronic and mechanical devices to digital technology. Personal computer, internet, etc were developed.
FOURTH Phrase first used in 2016 It includes emerging technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, etc. It merges physical, digital and biological spheres.




  • India has become the fourth country in the world where World Economic Forum has opened its centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution. India is thus, preparing for a massive digital and technological transformation.
  • The centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution works as a network that includes USA, China and Japan. It will work in collaboration with Niti Aayog in India to codesign new policies and protocols for emerging technologies.
  • Initial focus of India will be on Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and drones.
  • Schemes like Skill India, Startup India, Atal Innovation Mission and Digital India are developing youths to use new technologies. India’s diversity, demographic potential, fast growing market size and digital infrastructure have the potential to make India a global hub for Research and Development.
  • Industrial Revolution 4.0 can help in transforming India by:
  1. Alleviating poverty
  2. Better and low-cost healthcare
  • Enhancing farmer’s income
  1. Providing new technology and equipment to farmers
  2. Strengthening infrastructure, improving connectivity
  3. Improve ease of living and ease of doing business


  • India dominated global cotton textile markets in 18th
  • Indian textile industries took a hit when industrial revolution began in Great Britain.
  • Britain became a leading world exporter of textiles, displacing India in the process.
  • To protect its new textile industry, Great Britain began to restrict textile imports from India and other countries by putting tariffs and other restrictions.
  • British protectionist laws hastened India’s deindustrialisation.
  • Colonial laws forced Indian farmers to devote fields to cotton crops. India thus, became an exporter of cotton and importer of textile.
  • India faced widespread famine and poverty during initial periods of industrialisation.
  • First steam powered cotton mill in Asia opened in Bombay in 1854. More such mills were opened in later years.
  • So, Industrial Revolution came late to India and could develop properly only since it gained independence in 1947.
  • In 2018, at present, India is now focussing on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.



Industrial Revolution that first began in Great Britain and later in United States (after end of Civil War) has helped nations in developing faster and easier means of mass production. It has transformed lives of people in many ways over about 250 years. India is also catching up with focussing on Industrial Revolution 4.0. Development of new technologies in this era can help the nations in many ways if these technologies are used effectively for the welfare of mankind.