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CURRENT AFFAIRS

Science & Technology-I

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Contents
• Designer babies' or Three parents babies- debate and issues
• Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill, 2013
• Bio-Similar medicines
• Draft National Health Policy 2015
• National AYUSH Mission
• Outer Space: Issues and Challenges
• Role of ISRO in rural development
• Net neutrality and why is it important in India?
• 'MeghRaj' (GI Cloud Project): National Cloud Computing Initiative • Digital India Programme
• Space Junk- Graveyard Orbit and Kessler’s syndrome

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Designer babies’ or Three parents babies- debate
and issues

Notes

A number of children each year are born with faults in their mitochondrial
DNA which can cause diseases. Due to it the parts of the body that need most
energy are worst affected: the brain, muscles, heart and liver. Faulty mitochondria
have also been linked to more common medical problems, including Parkinson’s,
deafness, failing eyesight, epilepsy and diabetes. Thus, Three-parent babies
mechanism has been evolved to decrease the number of children born with
diseases.
What Are Designer Babies?
The colloquial term “designer baby” refers to a baby whose genetic makeup
has been artificially selected by genetic engineering combined with in-vitro
fertilization to ensure the presence or absence of particular genes or
characteristics.
Three-parent babies are human offspring with three genetic parents, created
through a specialized form of In-vitro fertilisation in which the future baby’s
mitochondrial DNA comes from a third party. The procedure is intended to
prevent mitochondrial diseases including muscular dystrophy and some heart
and liver conditions. It is the subject of considerable controversy in the field
of bioethics.
What traits could be changed in a designer baby?

Gender

Appearance

Intelligence

Disease

Personality

Technique and methods
Mitochondria are the tiny compartments inside nearly every cell of the body
that convert food into useable energy. They have their own DNA, which does
not affect characteristics such as appearance. Defective mitochondria are passed
down only from the mother. They can lead to brain damage, muscle wasting,
heart failure and blindness.

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www. Ethical and other Issues related with the Designer Babies The process of creating a “designer baby” is often questioned because of it’s shaky moral platform.1% of their DNA from the second woman and is a permanent change that would be passed down through the generations. a) Two eggs are fertilised with sperm. such as purposely seeking out a blonde haired.iasscore. This could create “classes” between designer and non designer babies. blue eyed baby for appearance concerns only. but it is often wondered if parents will have the “right” reasons to genetically modify their baby. It results in babies with 0. Some of the cons associated with the genetic engineering of babies are: a) If the process is not done carefully. b) Parents may use this technology for superficial purposes. It is only in the experimental stages at this point. a) Eggs from a mother with damaged mitochondria and a donor with healthy mitochondria are collected. “Designer” babies would most likely be better looking. Furthermore. creating an embryo from the intended parents and another from the donors. smarter. are removed from both embryos but only the parents’ are kept. Though there are certainly some positive things that can be obtained from the use of genetic engineering used on unborn babies. c) The mother’s genetic material is inserted into the donor egg. b) The majority of the genetic material is removed from both eggs. 4 Notes .in The technique uses a modified version of IVF to combine the DNA of the two parents with the healthy mitochondria of a donor woman. b) The pronuclei. etc. the technology used is not 100% safe yet. which contain genetic information. which can be fertilised by sperm. c) Could create a gap in society. the embryo could be accidentally terminated. which is finally implanted into the womb. c) A healthy embryo is created by adding the parents’ pronuclei to the donor embryo. or if reasoning will become more superficial.

 The Authority will consist of a chairperson. c) Prevents genetic diseases such as down syndrome.www. There is also establishment of the Appellate authority under the bill which will look into the appeal provisions and coordination among different departments of the government. Spinal Muscular Atrophy. cancer. the establishment of the NBRA “is a must” if India is “to derive full benefit from this fast growing area of science including fields like functional genomics.iasscore. and many others. d) Reduces risk of inherited medical conditions such as obesity. political. the establishment of the NBRA was “essential for generating the necessary public. professional and commercial confidence in the science based regulatory mechanisms in place in the country”. and two part time members. e) A baby cannot consent to having it’s body altered. and many more.in d) Because the technology is so new. there are many positives to this: a) Installs a better understanding of genetics for genealogists and biologists. proteomics. in accordance to the report. bioinformatics and nano-biotechnology. therefore some do not believe it’s right as parents do not “own” their children. Risk Assessment Unit will appraise applications for proposed research. The bill vividly talks about the powers/functions/working of the NBRA. According to the 2004 Task Force on Application of Agricultural Biotechnology report. anemia. Could cause the “non-designer” children to miss opportunities because jobs among other things are more likely to take the “optimum” candidate for something. f) Allows parents to give their child a healthy life. Alzheimer’s. Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill. National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority (NBRA) will be an independent statutory body with wide-encompassing functions relating to the bio-safety approval of genetically modified products and processes.” In fact. f) The procedure is not cheap. in a safe and responsible manner. The Bill establishes the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India. diabetes. This could cause difficulties later on throughout the baby’s family tree. b) Increases human life span up to 30 years. it is unknown whether genetically modifying the babies will effect the gene pool. Notes Although there are many questions of if genetically modifying babies is ethical and for the moral reason. There is another risk assessment unit established which will further assess the risk involved in the projects/approval application. Huntington’s Disease. two full time members. Could create prejudice between “Designer” and “non designer” children. 2013 The Bill aims to promote the safe use of modern biotechnology by enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of regulatory procedures. e) Enhancement of children. and not everyone would be able to afford it. transport or import of an organism 5 .

  The Product Rulings Committee will make recommendations to the Authority for the manufacture or use of organisms or products. which has led to an increased interest in the development of biosimilars. Biologics made by different manufacturers differ from the original product and from each other. e) Various committees have recommended that an autonomous statutory regulator having members with expertise in biotechnology be set up. Minor differences with the active ingredient are expected and permitted so long as any such differences are demonstrated not to be clinically meaningful. Leaving a term undefined could allow for flexibility but could also increase ambiguity. How do biosimilars differ from the original innovator medicines? The active ingredient of a biosimilar is expected to closely resemble that of the original biologic.iasscore. There are naturally occurring differences between an originator and biosimilar medicine: 6 Notes . the Bill does not define this term. An Inter-Ministerial Governance Board has been established to promote interministerial or departmental co-operation for the effective discharge of the functions of the Authority. biosimilars must be determined on the basis of analytical. biosimilars are similar to but not identical copies of the originator biologic. before final approval is granted. b) The Tribunal will consist of one judicial member and five technical members. A Biotechnology Advisory Council will render strategic advice to the Authority regarding developments in modern biotechnology and their implications in India. Therefore. This is not in conformity with a Supreme Court decision that the number of technical members on a bench of a Tribunal cannot exceed the number of judicial members. Key Issues with the bill a) The Tribunal has jurisdiction over a ‘substantial question relating to modern biotechnology’. However.  The Environmental Appraisal Panel will make recommendations on environmental safety of organisms and products.in or product. d) The Bill does not specify any liability for damage caused by a product of biotechnology. They are similar. It is unclear whether the technical expertise of the latter can be equated with the former. The complexity of biologics precludes identical copies and is therefore not the same as generic drugs. but not the same. Bio-Similar medicines Unlike generic medicines where the active ingredients are identical. Due to the complex structure of biologic medicines and the processes involved in production. the manufacturing process through which a biologic (large molecule) is made cannot be exactly duplicated by another manufacturer. nonclinical and clinical data to be similar to an original biologic in terms of structural characteristics.www. it will remain open to the courts to determine liability arising out of any adverse impact of modern biotechnology. The patents of a growing number of biologic medicines have already expired or are due to expire. Unlike generic medicines (small molecules) where the active ingredient is required to be identical. and safety and efficacy. c) The Tribunal’s technical members shall be eminent scientists or government officials with experience in the field.

Notes The emerging role of biosimilars: Countries around the world face a growing. Any variation in this complex process can affect a biologic product’s stability. Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms and Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells 1989 (Rules 1989) notified under the Environment (Protection) Act 1986. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and Department of Biotechnology (DBT).in a) Biologic medicines are not made using a set of standard materials. In addition. Import. Use. Based on experience gained by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) since the introduction of a regulatory mechanism for developing. biosimilar biologics are regulated as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940. GCSFs. biologic medicines are produced in genetically-engineered living cells that are sustained in a highlycontrolled environment. the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945 (as amended from time to time) and the Rules for the Manufacture. lowmolecular weight heparins and recombinant insulin products have been developed. interferons. the EMA has updated its overarching guidance on the general principles of Biosimilar development. b) The manufacturing process for biologic medicines requires dozens of steps involving hundreds of variables and is generally more complex than manufacturing processes for chemical drugs. Unlike small molecule drugs. This creates a unique relationship between a biologic’s manufacturing process and the final product approved by regulators. quality and nonclinical and clinical issues.5 billion. As a result. The protein produced by the cells will be influenced by individual cell characteristics as well as the environment and nutrients provided. The biologic medicines market is expected to grow to $190-200 billion by 2016. we will continue to see a new generation of complex biosimilars being developed as numerous leading biologic medicines. Over the next few years. class specific guidelines for growth hormones. the active ingredient is impossible to recreate exactly and the selected cell lines from which the biologic medicine originates are unique to each manufacturer. safety and/ or immunogenicity. With expanding demand for good-quality healthcare comes the challenge of controlling healthcare expenditure. and addresses issues and challenges for ensuring the safety and efficacy 7 . The regulated introduction of biosimilars into the market has been forecasted to increase access to much needed biologic medicines and reduce costs. CDSCO is the apex regulatory authority in India.iasscore. reviewing and approving biosimilars in the European Agency. recombinant follicle stimulating hormones. c) The manufacturer has different processes that create distinctive characteristics in the product. approved the biosimilar biologics using an abbreviated version of the pathway applicable to new drugs. efficacy. worth an estimated $81 billion in global annual sales.www. aging population and an increase in chronic disease. through the Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM). Fusion proteins and monoclonal antibodies used in cancer and autoimmune diseases are expected to form a substantial proportion of this new line of biosimilars. but are developed using unique biological systems and living cells. which are specific to the manufacturer. with biosimilars a small but growing proportion at $2-2. monoclonal antibodies. Regulation of biosimilars In India. will lose their patents by 2020.

specifically focusing on tackling the known health challenges in the country. c) Ensuring availability of free. low public expenditure on health and people often have to pay out of their pockets to avail health services at risk of falling into poverty. The draft policy has a number of necessary ingredients. Some of the key focus areas of the Policy are: a) 8 Strengthening the regulatory framework of health care to include reform of professional councils and ensure a balance between autonomy and accountability of professional councils. which have now been implemented. The manufacturer has to submit data demonstrating similarity during product characterisation. Draft National Health Policy 2015 The health situation in India has improved significantly in the last few decades. The policy and programmatic interventions have succeeded in reducing the burden of communicable diseases and achieved big successes like elimination of polio from India. it should be licensed and marketed for at least four years with significant safety and efficacy data.www. such as data requirements for production process. One of the most important considerations when regulating biosimilar biologics in India is that a similar biologic can only be approved against an authorised reference biologic using a complete data package. for the marketing authorisation of biosimilar biologics. characterisation. etc. efficacy and quality. The rules regarding setting up of Notes . However. health services are quantitatively inadequate and quality often not known. these challenges are being recognized and there are incremental steps and clearly articulated intentions to improve access to quality health services at cost affordable to the people. if the reference biologic is not authorised in India. diagnostics etc. as a part of ongoing discourses on universal health coverage (UHC) in India. comprehensive primary health care services and access to free essential drugs. Fortunately. preclinical studies and clinical trials.in of similar biologic products and establishing appropriate regulatory pathways. and the emerging burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Key objectives of the Policy include a) Improving health status by expanding preventive and curative services through the public health sector. On policy level.iasscore. These guidelines detailed the regulatory requirements. preclinical and clinical studies carried out in view of an authorised reference biologic to ensure that the similar biologic product meets acceptable levels of safety. the Union Government of India has prepared a draft of the next National Health Policy (NHP) for India. CDSCO. and d) Encouraging the growth of the private health care industry to make health care more effective and affordable. in public health facilities. there are many persisting challenges such as. in collaboration with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) recently issued the Guidelines on Similar Biologics: Regulatory Requirements for Marketing Authorization in India. b) Reducing out of pocket expenditure on health care. However.

The financing would be shared between the central and state governments.But although bringing down medical expenses has been listed among the major objectives of the new policy. the Bill regulating surrogate pregnancy and assisted reproductive technologies. To meet the expenses. Other laws that need to be reviewed include the Mental Health Bill. c) Enacting a National Health Rights Act to guarantee health as a fundamental right. Expand the number of specialists and doctors by investing in states with larger human resource deficits. Drugs and Cosmetics Act and the Clinical Establishments Act. Indeed private provision and public financing is everywhere a recipe for disaster. An assortment of secondary and tertiary services are proposed to be bought by the government from public and private healthcare facilities — though it is unclear how this differs from the present system of ‘empanelled’ private hospitals. it has no ideas on how to do it. The central government shall also expand the number of AIIMS like institutes of medical education and research from 9 to 15. Notes Issues and challenges The latest health policy speaks about a wide variety of issues that plague our health-care system — low public health expenditure. done well to broaden the definition of primary healthcare to include more services related to reproductive and child health as well as several infectious and non-communicable diseases. the policy draft wants to introduce a complex system that relies largely on tax collection but also proposes tapping the services of not-for-profit ventures and trusts. e) Focussing on targeted investments in building health infrastructure and human resources. alcohol. It has. The central government will do this after discussion and on the request of three or more states. including delayed and inadequate reimbursement of the costs. inequity in access. Food Safety Act. This system has not proved very effective for various reasons. It also suggests a variety of ways to address them. extractive industries etc. b) Clinical trials need to be regulated by law.iasscore.5% of GDP with 40% of this expenditure being borne by the central government. The policy intends to strengthen 58 existing medical colleges and convert 58 district hospitals to new medical colleges. 9 . d) Raising public health expenditure to 2. The new policy acknowledges that the present concept of primary healthcare covers hardly 20 per cent of the health needs and that heavy out-of-pocket health expenditure is pushing nearly 63 million people into poverty every year. Other states could choose to adopt this by a resolution of their Legislative Assembly. the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. consequently. and poor quality of care. mainly focussed around increasing government spending on health and expanding the public delivery system. Special commodity taxes may be imposed on tobacco.in medical colleges and regulation of medical education will be revised to correct distortions between prevailing health needs and professional skills. the government will raise resources by creating a health cess on the lines of the education cess. and will serve no interests but that of private healthcare providers. In addition to general taxation.www.

akin to putting a “Band-aid on a corpse. the health policy fails to tackle head-on the core problem of the Indian health system — its management. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It envisages flexibility of implementation of the programmes which will lead to substantial participation of the State Governments/UT. It is easier and more sensible for people within the system to subvert their jobs — through chronic absenteeism.iasscore. The fundamental difference lies in management and governance structures. strengthening of educational systems. endemic corruption and private practice — than to actually do them. research findings have highlighted the criticality of administration in improving health outcomes. without which the measures it suggests are merely symptomatic treatments.in However. National AYUSH Mission Department of AYUSH. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are both countries that actually spend less on their healthcare (as a percentage of GDP) than India. administration and overall governance structure. the Indian health policy needs to focus on how its health system is governed and managed. but it needs to prioritise and lay far greater focus on the critical issue of governance and management of the Indian health system. Vision a) To provide cost effective and equitable AYUSH health care throughout the country by improving access to the services. while States with poorer initial conditions have been left with worse outcomes. NAM is likely to improve significantly the Department’s outreach in terms of planning. c) To improve educational institutions capable of imparting quality AYUSH AYUSH education d) To promote the adoption of Quality standards of AYUSH drugs and making available the sustained supply of AYUSH raw-materials. While our people are among the best and brightest.www. The weight of evidence clearly suggests that if we want our health outcomes to improve.” The policy draft itself provides evidence for this malaise. the draft policy notes that States with better capacity have utilised the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) funds more effectively. yet both have better outcomes. long years of neglect and misgovernment have vitiated our public management systems with perverse incentives. supervision and monitoring of the schemes. The draft policy mentions band-aids for a few of these problems. The basic objective of NAM is to promote AYUSH medical systems through cost effective AYUSH services. The NAM contemplates establishment of a National Mission as well as corresponding Missions in the State level. Government of India has launched National AYUSH Mission (NAM) during 12th Plan for im­plementing through States/UTs. Globally. facilitate the enforcement of quality control of Ayurveda. On the contrary. Within India too.  10 Notes . Siddha and Unani & Homoeopathy (ASU &H) drugs and sustainable availability of ASU & H raw-materials. b) To revitalize and strengthen the AYUSH systems making them as prominent medical streams in addressing the health care of the society. Russia and South Africa both spend a significantly higher amount on public health than India.

Flexible Components: a) AYUSH Wellness Centres including Yoga & Naturopathy b) Tele-medicine c) Sports Medicine through AYUSH d) Innovations in AYUSH including Public Private Partnership e) Interest subsidy component for Private AYUSH educational Institutions f) Reimbursement of Testing charges g) IEC activities h) Research & Development in areas related to Medicinal Plants i) Voluntary certification scheme: Project based. 20% funds will be earmarked for flexible funds which can be spent on any of the items given below with the stipulation that not more than 5% of the envelop is spent on any of the components: The financial assistance from Government of India shall be supplementary in the form of contractual engagements. value addition and marketing and development of infrastructure for entrepreneurs. with a universal access through upgrading AYUSH Hospitals and Dispensaries.www. d) Support setting up of clusters through convergence of cultivation. Drug Testing Laboratories and ASU & H enforcement mechanism. State Govt. Capacity Building and supply of medicines to be provided from Department of AYUSH. j) Market Promotion. infrastructure development. b) To strengthen institutional capacity at the state level through upgrading AYUSH educational institutions. Market intelligence & buy back interventions k) Crop Insurance for Medicinal Plants Out of the total State envelop available.in Objectives a) To provide cost effective AYUSH Services. Good Agricultural/Collection/Storage Practices. 11 .iasscore. warehousing. Notes Components of the Mission 1. c) Support cultivation of medicinal plants by adopting Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) so as to provide sustained supply of quality raw-materials and support certification mechanism for quality standards. ASU&H Pharmacies. Mandatory Components: a) AYUSH Services b) AYUSH Educational Institutions c) Quality Control of ASU &H Drugs d) Medicinal Plants  2. Community Health Centres (CHCs) and District Hospitals (DHs). co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centres (PHCs).

thus leading to greater diversity. The NRHM has incorporated several mechanisms for community accountability. cross practice has been prohibited by the Supreme Court of India. Issues and challenges There are some practical challenges in the mainstreaming of AYUSH into the existing healthcare system. while the allopathic system addresses symptoms and treatment of causes of illnesses based on a biomedical model understood with the help of epidemiological investigations. water and sanitation committees which make the detailed village level health plan. environmental. where it is stated: “A person obtaining qualification in any other system of Medicine is not allowed to practice Modern system of Medicine in any form. For better evolution of the public accountability mechanism. village health. This diversity in approach is very important to keep in mind while integrating the systems. its implications on mainstreaming have to be assessed. how can we expect them to question it? 12 Notes . Other challenge is Issue of Public accountability.  Legally. and patient welfare societies (rogi kalyan samitis) at the level of the primary. the broad philosophical orientation of each system of medicine is distinct. Given that there is clear law prohibiting cross practice.”  The Common Review Missions of the NRHM have shown that AYUSH practitioners are practising Allopathic medicine in several states. Such accountability mechanisms are now largely restricted to the allopathic system. States shall ensure to make available all the regular manpower posts filled in the existing facilities. including Uttar Pradesh. Another significant challenge in the mainstreaming process that is currently advocated is that of cross referral of patients. the village health plan does not emphasise AYUSH. secondary and tertiary care facilities which will govern the functioning of the facilities. For example. Though there is a clear mention of training the ASHA in AYUSH. economic. The document on mainstreaming of AYUSH does mention the establishment of patient welfare societies for AYUSH hospitals at the district and tertiary care levels. AYUSH should also be made a part of the village health plan. Unless it is integrated at the grassroots level. and psychological situations. Chattisgarh and Bihar.www.iasscore. The procurement of medicines will be made by the States/UTs as per the existing guidelines of the scheme. Philosophically divergent practices forced together without a common ground can mean chaos unless the systems are ready to evolve. But there is no mention of accountability at the level of integrated care at the primary and secondary levels. there is no scope for proper public accountability of the AYUSH practitioner. Unless patients know what they are getting. This is also clear in the Code of Medical Ethics of the Medical Council of India. Accountability of the system to the public is an essential component of the health system as it ensures community acceptance. pitta and kapha and places health in the larger context of social. While this difference pertains to only one of the AYUSH specialties. where there is a clear direction that non allopathic practitioners may not practise allopathic medicine. First. Some of these are community monitoring of the programme. gaining from their mutual strengths. it is important to note that AYUSH itself comprises five very different specialties. there is also a need for active advocacy about AYUSH at the village level and health worker level. involvement and participation. the Ayurveda system largely operates on a holistic approach to illness that balances the three doshas namely vata.in This will ensure better implementation of the programme through effective coordination and monitoring.

the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space. The Treaty was opened for signature by the three depository Governments (the Russian Federation. It has no air to scatter the light and so what we observe is a black emptiness spangled with stars and other extraterrestrial matter. • States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner. including the Earth. but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles predominantly plasma of hydrogen and helium. and it entered into force in October 1967. • Rescue Agreement: The Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts. UN treaties coming under the supervision of UN committee on peaceful uses of outer space • Outer Space Treaty: The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space. Outer Space Treaty The Outer Space Treaty. as well as electromagnetic radiation. by means of use or occupation. The Outer Space Treaty provides the basic framework on international space law. • Registration Convention: The Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space. • Outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty. including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. • Outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States. dust and cosmic rays. magnetic fields. formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space. • Moon Treaty: The Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. including the following principles: • The exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind. • Liability Convention: The Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects. neutrinos. 13 . is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law. What constitutes Outer Space? • It is the void that exists between celestial bodies.in Outer Space: Issues and Challenges Notes Outer space is the near-vacuum beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.iasscore. the United Kingdom and the United States of America) in January 1967. • It is not completely empty.www. or by any other means.

Space Race: With the advancement of technology and integration of nations through economy. Secondly China has left no scope untapped where India has failed to tap or boost its relations with its neighboring nation. But now it is a multidimensional approach. Outer Space Treaty is one such approach because Space comes under Global Common.billion dollar global space market. Recently. Earlier space advancement and struggle between USA and USSR were more of political rift. whatsoever may be the reasons. and • States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies. • China’s endeavors may not be against India in reality but loss of neighbors hold is a major concern for India. Pakistan and other nations in satellite technology. • States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities. This space race has paved the way for governance system for space too. already a concern for India from long time. now from space. Nepal. Maldives. Earlier scientific endeavors were to show one’s capability but now have added scientific strength-economic strength-political cooperation and future partnership. Bangladesh. Particularly India feels that China is encircling India. China is all set to become a recognized player in the multi. Space Debris and Space Junk has gained much attention due to ever increasing crave of nations to send their space satellites and creating a problem of space junk or debris. By making available space services—by way of building custom made satellites followed by their in orbitdelivery—China not only stands to expand its business interests but also seeks to strengthen its diplomatic clout. China’s Strategy: • India and other like minded nations are skeptic about China’s so called soft space diplomacy. the level of partnership among nations has gained momentum. • A thin line of ‘String of pearls’ and ‘Maritime Silk Route’ of China. B. A. • States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects.iasscore. India’s concern is inevitable 14 Notes . • Astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind.in • The Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes. Indeed. Concerns for India: China has done its best to support the Sri-Lanka. By arranging soft loans and providing knowhow and expertise for building and launching satellites on reasonable terms. this dual offer of technological support and financial assistance on reasonable terms has made China the most sought after “space partner” for the developing countries.www. We witness several bilateral and multilateral forums where cooperation among nations is visible. Why focus is on China? China has made rapid forays in expanding its influence over many of the third world countries keen on entering the space age.

The recent advancement in GSLV and cryogenics can be of great help for India. China’s String of pearls.in as India has no hold in space diplomacy even among its neighbors. with its ‘String of pearls’ and ‘Maritime silk Road’ in place. it is inferred that it will get major future cooperation from those nations and enhance its importance. Role of ISRO in rural development Rural is essentially agricultural. Security 2. we can derive that China’s space diplomacy will largely affect India on following grounds: 1. Economic 3. Also. • India’s cooperation with France. China’s growing stature would allure other developed nations to cooperate and certainly China will have greater say in multilateral forums where developed worlds would be involved. tree crops and related activities. Further the commercial arm of ISRO.iasscore. In short.www. more deeply rooted community life. Scientific research and cooperation • One of the major concerns for India is securing its border. Antrix is collaborating with many foreign stakeholders to further India’s interest. in matters directly affecting India and China. Germany etc is already at its best in satellite endeavors. strategically and economically that can affect several future economical and political engagements of India. • Secondly. socially it connotes greater interdependence among people. Notes So. This is hard to comprehend but diplomacy at world level lean towards them who are economically and politically more powerful. and occupationally it is highly dependent on crop farming. the more strong and influential will have its hold. Maritime Silk Route and now thread of space satellites to have eye on India. China is an imperative threat to India’s security. For instance. then spying is not a problem for them. What is there for India? • India is not far from China in terms of technological developments in space technologies. 15 . its settlement system consists of villages or homesteads. Political 4. In today’s diplomatic ties certain leverages or cooperation matters a lot. it is comprehensible that China can be detrimental for India’s internal security as well by its covert spying through satellites. When China is doing well to support in scientific development. Canada. • There is no denying the fact that China’s assertiveness to intrude in other’s business has already been exposed through various cyber attacks. And when it would have hold of satellites. animal keeping. India’s strength in PSLV’s has marked its image at world level. With China encompassing space with the help of India’s neighbor. Japan. • There can be other dimensions too.

in As a concept. socio-economic infrastructure. geo-referenced spatial information for management of natural resources. early warning. environment. The value-added. relevant at communities/ village level.www. agricultural advisories. incidence of wastelands having reclamation potential.. the Jhabua Development Communications Project (JDCP) using INSAT. Space based systems are effective in supporting disaster management at community level. it is a comprehensive and multidimensional concept and encompasses the development of agriculture and allied activities. the Training and Development Communication Channel (TDCC). forecast of unusual/ extreme weather conditions. education. ISRO has also been a champion in demonstrating the use of space technology for societal good. ISRO has piloted several socially relevant space application projects like the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE). EO also facilitates locale-specific advisory services at community level. In order to bring about development and enhance the quality of life of the villagers a definite policy with regard to communication support must be formulated and pursued. providing land and water resources development plans at watershed level using IRS. Space technology. village and cottage industries. sites for exploiting groundwater for potable and recharge. wherein the vulnerability and risk related information. and finding prospective groundwater zones to provide drinking water in villages. etc. provide for building resilience at village community level. such as land use/ land cover. Space Technology Applications for Rural Development are discussed below: Satellite communication and earth observation satellites have demonstrated their capabilities to provide the services relating to healthcare. and above all the human resources in rural areas But more than 700 million Indians live in rural areas and far-flung villages that do not yet have basic services such as electricity. land records. terrain 16 Notes . Space based services. While SatCom provides the conduit for effective delivery of information and services across vast regions. In this sense. land and water resources. the EO provides community-centric spatial information in terms of geo-referenced land record. weather.. as the powerful enabler. etc. Synthesising the spatial information with other collateral and weather information. and villages in specific. India has been among the world leaders in developing end-to-end capability in both satellite remote sensing and communication. community services and facilities. watershed attributes. infrastructure related information. provides a variety of vital inputs for holistic and rapid development of rural areas. high-resolution earth observation images provide community-centric. rural development connotes overall development of rural areas with a view to improve the quality of life of rural people. much less knowledge-enhancing technologies such as telecommunication services. etc. alternative cropping pattern. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has made remarkable progress in building state of the art the-art space infrastructure such as the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) for communication and the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites for earth observation. emanating from Satellite Communication (SatCom) and Earth Observation (EO) hold much value in transforming the village society. natural resources. sanitation and water. Thus Space technology should be harnessed by the local bodies to create an information base and for providing service.iasscore.

etc. • Notes Village resource centre ISRO has embarked upon VRC programme to disseminate the portfolio of services emanating from the space systems as well as other Information Technology (IT) tools. poverty alleviation. With the involvement of stakeholders. Land and Water Resources Management: Information on land and water resources extracted from satellite images is organised in Geographical Information System (GIS). ISRO is implementing VRC programme in partnership with reputed NGOs. 17 . is also provided through VRCs as relevant. VRC Services – Portfolio Tele-education: Focus is on imparting vocational training at local level . VRCs will catalyse r ural entrepreneurship. surface water and groundwater. environment and infrastructure. producer oriented marketing opportunities. directly down-the-line to the rural communities. optimisation of agricultural inputs-like seeds. VRCs essentially have: digital connectivity (for videoconferencing and information transfer) with knowledge centers and specialty healthcare providers enabled via INSAT. rural employment. water. Healthcare awareness is also a major activity of VRCs. availing the support of the skilled/ trained personnel managing VRCs. with certain medical diagnostic instruments. a host of information pertaining to management of natural resources and socio-economic relevance. insecticides. aquaculture. and provided to the villagers through the VRC. Tele-fishery: VRCs located at coastal tracts are being provided with near real time information on satellite derived Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ). The local farmers. Trusts and other agencies including the Governmental ones. and facilitate e-Governance and other services of social relevance. and facilities for primary healthcare services and distance education. Tele-healthcare: Thrust is on both preventive and curative healthcare at primary level. supplementary teaching to rural children. etc. e-Governance services: The services include information and guidance to local people on village oriented governmental schemes on agriculture. Technical Institutions.. Information pertaining to inland fisheries. etc. crop insurance. With the help of local doctor/ paramedic.iasscore.on a wide range of subjects such as alternative cropping systems.in morphology.aimed at skill development and capacity building to catalyse livelihood support in rural areas. pesticides. soil characteristics. utilise this information for better management of their land resources. etc. micro-finance related.www. spatial information on natural resources generated using IRS data. animal husbandry and livestock related. fertilizer. and non-formal and adult education. The Telemedicine system at VRCs consists of customised medical software. social safety nets and other basic entitlements.Agricultural Universities. expert medical consultation and counseling are provided to the villagers from specialty hospitals. Interactive Advisory Services: VRCs facilitate interactions between the local people and experts at knowledge centers .

IITs. UGC. spread over vast distances. Satellites can establish the connectivity between urban educational institutions with adequate infrastructure imparting quality education and the large number 18 Notes . Presently. ISRO had undertaken several projects that focused on development of humanity through sophisticated satellite-based communication. college and higher levels of education to support both curricula based as well as vocational education. for which it has been initiating different proactive measures like online monitoring and social auditing.in Weather Services: Short. viewing and linking up large body of villagers.www. each VRC provides a host of other services. medium and long-term weather forecasts.500 classrooms are in the EDUSAT network out of which 3. Kheda Communications Project (KCP). and one Ku-band transponder providing national beam. Example: ISRO’’s Gram SAT satellite connects rural development ministry with 1100 panchayats. • Satellite Communication One of the major components and driving force related to rural development is communication. at local level.iasscore. and agrometeorology advisory services are being enabled. and 6 extended C-band transponders with national coverage beams. • Tele-Education The tele-education programme launched by ISRO. and inherently is a powerful tool to support development education and training. Satellite communications has the ability to simultaneously reach a large population. Gram SAT pilot projects are being run in some select states of the country and are being utilised very to reach out development messages directly to the villagers by ensuring community listening. on which the ministry needed to focus further planning efforts. serviced by the exclusive satellite ‘EDUSAT’. and many State Education Departments and Universities are making use of the EDUSAT network. employing digital interactive classroom and multimedia multicentric system. EDUSAT is specifically configured for audiovisual medium. the experiments like Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE). The exercise was aimed at getting feedback on the various rural development schemes under operation in the state and to gain an insight into the problems at the field level. It has been given highest priority for bringing desirable social and behavioural change among the most vulnerable rural society. Others: Depending on the local needs. The effort was equally aimed at enhancing the awareness of the beneficiaries on their entitlement and various processes involved for availing the benefit of the schemes. is primarily intended for school. With 5 Ku-band transponders providing spot beams. Right from the inception of utilizing space programmes for development. Jhabua Development Communications Project (JDCP).400 are interactive terminals. The communication initiative was part of the ministry’s effort to bring about transparency and efficiency in implementation of its various schemes all over the country. Many important institutions such as the IGNOU. more than 34. Training and Development Communication Channel (TDCC) have been carried out. among others.

we have 377 tele-medicine nodes consisting of 320 remote/ district/ medical college/ mobile hospitals connected to 57 super specialty hospitals in different cities through ISRO’s satellites.in of rural and semi-urban educational institutions that lack the necessary infrastructure. the aspirations of the growing student population at all levels can be met through the concept of tele-education. Telemedicine is a confluence of Communication Technology. combined with information technology provides a technological means of taking the benefits of the advances in medical sciences to large sections of people spread out in remote and inaccessible villages. either in advance or on a real time basis through the satellite link in the form of Digital Data Packets. Besides supporting formal education. Over the years. Through a Telemedicine system consisting of simple computer with communication systems. • Notes Tele-Medicine A healthy citizen contributes to make a healthy nation. Thus. Xray and pathology Microscope/Camera provided at the patient end. who are attached to about 23. It is a matter of concern that a meager 3% of the qualified doctors.iasscore. Biomedical Engineering and Medical Science. The Telemedicine system consists of customised hardware and software at both the Patient and Specialist doctor ends with some of the Diagnostic Equipments like ECG. These packets are received at the specialist centre. which has resulted in the increase in life expectancy of our citizens.000 Primary and 3. The ISRO telemedicine network is expanding to various regions in the country and has become one of the most visible and sociological applications in the world today. 19 .www. providing healthcare to millions of people in rural India is really a formidable challenge. the government has introduced various healthcare initiatives and policies. a satellite system can facilitate the dissemination of knowledge to the rural and remote population about important aspects like health. the medical images and other information pertaining to the patients can be sent to the specialist doctors. However. As of now. They are connected through a Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) system and controlled by the Network Hub Station of ISRO. Satellite communication technology. in spite of limited trained and skilled teachers. hygiene and personality development and allow professionals to update their knowledge base as well.000 Community Health Centres. are available to attend to the 70% of the Indian population. Information Technology. ISRO’s telemedicine network has enabled many poor rural villagers hitherto denied with quality medical services to get the best of medical services available in the country.

damage assessment. software and VSAT system mounted in a Bus/Van can establish a Mobile Telemedicine centre at any place. the patients who availed the telemedicine consultation and treatment spent only 19% of the money which they would have otherwise spent if they had to travel to the nearest cities for a similar treatment. this is much more significant both to the patient and the Government administration. establishing satellite based reliable communication network. etc. Under Mobile Tele Opthalmology. Mobile Telemedicine units are very useful not only for Disease Prevention but also for Health Promotion in terms of running awareness camps & teaching hygienic practices. and dynamic data in spatial as well as aspatial form. Rural Eye Camps can be conducted and the Rural Population can undergo eye screening for Cataract. The major area of Mobile Telemedicine applications are in the field of Tele Opthalmology and Community Health. In such cases. A study conducted by an independent agency on one thousand patients in the Chamarajanagar district hospital in Karnataka has revealed that there was a cost saving of 81% to the patient. These include creation of digital data base for facilitating hazard zonation..in Mobile Telemedicine Unit consisting of Medical equipment along with Telemedicine hardware. both imaging and communications. floods. deployment of emergency communication equipments and R&D towards early warning of disasters. hazard-specific data.  Airborne ALTM-DC data acquisition is being carried out for the flood prone basins in the country. One of the major advantages of Telemedicine technology has been the saving of cost and effort to the rural patients as they are not required to travel long distances for obtaining consultation and treatment. That is. forest fire. in near real time. development of appropriate techniques and tools for decision support. drought. The development of flight model of C band DMSAR is nearing completion. To support the total cycle of disaster/ emergency management for the country. the database creation is addressed through National Database for Emergency Management (NDEM). Towards providing emergency 20 Notes . • Disaster Management Support India is one of the most disaster prone countries in the world with increasing vulnerability to cyclones. The first of the pilot projects has been implemented in the state of Tamil Nadu wherein the nodal centre operated by an NGO agency at Chennai is connected to remote villages in three districts and more are to come in the future. a GIS based repository of data. provides timely support and services from aero-space systems. Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy. The DMS programme addresses disasters such as flood. Village Resource Centres and Telemedicine Recently. In the case of remote offshore islands. NDEM is envisaged to have core data. Under Community Health Program. The Disaster Management Support (DMS) Programme of ISRO. towards efficient management of disasters in the country. cyclone. ISRO has also initiated pilot projects for integrating Telemedicine/Tele-health with the Resource Information database as well as Tele-Education facilities at the Village Resource Centres/Community Centres (VRC) to reach out to more rural areas of the country. not only the patients have the cost saving but can be provided with quick and timely medical aid. landslides. landslide and Earthquake. monitoring of major natural disasters using satellite and aerial data. SAR data was acquired over selected basins using Development model of DMSAR. droughts and earthquakes.iasscore.www.

Biodiversity Characterization. work on Tropical Cyclone Track intensity and landfall prediction. Coastal Studies. Through International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” and Sentinel Asia (SA) initiative for supporting disaster management activities in the Asia-Pacific region. Forecasting Agricultural output using Space. It has further enabled monitoring of environment and thereby helping in conservation. Grassland Mapping. In India remote sensing has been used for various applications during the last four decades and has contributed significantly towards development. Coral and Mangroves Studies. conservation etc. Snow & Glacier Studies. In the last four decades it has grown as a major tool for collecting information on almost every aspect on the earth. With the availability of very high spatial resolution satellites in the recent years. Agro-meteorology and Land based observations (FASAL). Notes As part of R&D support to DMS for remote sensing applications. Wasteland Mapping etc. water. and at the behest of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Coastal Vulnerability mapping and Early Warning of Landslides are being carried out. forestry. monitoring and management of various resources like agriculture. Land Use/Cover mapping. ocean etc. The information generated by large number of projects have been used by various departments. The ICT enabled geospatial platform can be formed using space based EO systems and engaging local bodies for planning and carrying out area developmental activities in a decentralized.  Remote Sensing Applications Remote sensing has enabled mapping. geology.www. India has its own satellites like Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) series Resourcesat.  The DMS programme is also supporting the many international initiatives by sharing data and information. ISRO is providing IRS datasets and other information for use during major calamities. INSAT based Distress Alert Transmitter (DAT) for fishermen. studying. Cartosat. Some of the important projects carried out in the country include Groundwater Prospects Mapping under Drinking Water Mission. Cyclone Warning Dissemination System (CWCS) and DTH based Digital Disaster Warning System (DDWS) in disaster prone areas. 21 . the Planning Commission. Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Ministry of Rural Development has proposed to prepare District Resource Atlases using remote sensing and GIS techniques to strengthen various aspects of decentralized district level planning through a coordinated approach. Further ISRO has developed and deployed INSAT Type-D terminals (portable satellite phones). Some Future Programmes: • Space Based Information System for Decentralized Planning (SIS-DP)  Realizing the potential and capability of remote sensing and GIS for providing cost and time-effective resource database. Forest Cover/Type Mapping. key Government Offices in Delhi and the Control Rooms of 22 multi-hazard-prone States. industries and others for different purposes like development planning.iasscore. speedy and transparent manner. monitoring. Earthquake Precursor studies. the applications have multiplied.in communication for disaster management activities. important national agencies. ISRO has set up a satellite based Virtual Private Network (VPN) linking the National Control Room at MHA with DMS-DSC at NRSC. Oceansatetc which provide required data for carrying out various projects.

Your electric company has no say over how you use your electricity—they only get to charge you for providing the electricity. Amazon. Imagine that Verizon or AT&T don’t like the idea of Google Voice. Netflix. Attribute data from user departments will be converted into spatial layer and various customized information system will be developed for use in planning activity. scanned. update & manage database for decentralized planning. Development of software tools and utilities (including web based GIS applications and standalone) for providing multipurpose user driven applications for speedy.iasscore. updating and dissemination of information at grassroots level. III. The basic principle driving net neutrality is that the internet should be a free and open platform.www. because it allows you to send text messages for free using your data connection. Capacity building in state departments along with training of manpower and capability for spatial data analysis. What are the Arguments for Net Neutrality? Proponents of net neutrality don’t want to give the ISPs too much power because it could easily be abused. organizing. Net neutrality aims to do something similar with your internet pipes. Your cellphone carrier could block access to Google Voice from your smartphone so you’re forced to pay for a texting plan from 22 Notes .com) should all be treated the same when it comes to giving users the bandwidth to reach the internet-connected services they prefer. (States which are already covered may be brought to uniform standard with respect to content and accuracies). Spatial depiction of land & water resource along with their attribute information for preparation of District Resource Geospatial Atlas keeping Village Cadastral data as base on seamless manner for entire country. net neutrality is about creating a neutral internet. or UnknownStartup. Every website (whether it’s Google. which will maintain. Net neutrality and why is it important in India? As its name indicates. This GIS database will be customized to meet the requirements of stake holder departments/concerned in providing the digital resource atlases and any other requirements of the States based on their problems/priority/developmental programme at Village/Block/Taluka/District level. accurate and transparent decision making for district planning. Village cadastral maps will be collected.in The Major Objectives are: I. vectorised and geo-referenced to be overlaid onto ortho-rectified imagery. Users should be able to use their bandwidth however they want (as long as it’s legal). almost like any other utility we use in our home (like electricity). One node for each state will be created for providing centralized facility for archiving. II. The Mission is intended to be executed and supported by State Remote Sensing Application Centres/Institutes/IT Departments and Industries and ownership of the database and resource information will be with respective individual stakeholder departments. and internet service providers should not be able to provide priority service to any corner of the internet. The objective of the Space based Information System for Decentralized Planning mission is to establish and enable the information system comprising of spatial natural resources and non-spatial data towards supporting the districts for the decentralized planning.

the instances of Internet censorship in India have increased manifold. telcos had started making noise against the accelerated adoption of these services. so even if they have the bandwidth to carry that traffic. India adopted the new ‘IT Rules 2011’ that supplemented the IT Act 2000. currently. they decide to charge you extra to access Facebook. it is very important for freedom of speech. Viber and others. with the increasing popularity of instant messaging apps like WhatsApp. In 2011. they see that a lot of people are using Facebook on their smartphone. With increasing Internet penetration in India and given that we are becoming a breeding ground for startups and entrepreneurs. defamatory content from going live.www. its time net neutrality is imposed in India too. who can simply launch their businesses online. you have a standard data package and access all the content at the same speed. It will mean Internet Service Providers (ISP) will be able to charge companies like YouTube or Netflix as they consume more bandwidth. Besides. but the matter fizzled out soon after TRAI rejected telcos’ proposal to do so. Net neutrality in India Taking the recent events into account. There was buzz around a fee being imposed on popular OTT services. startups and entrepreneurs. Throughout last year. Airtel decided to play evil Santa on Christmas 2014 and announced an extra charge on making VoIP calls. In 2011. But the terms included were vague and open to interpretations. ISPs can also charge extra for the free calls you make using services like WhatsApp. advertise the products and sell them openly. Or. Similarly. which will mean all websites cannot be accessed at the same speed and one can do so only on paying an additional sum. Similarly. It is essential for innovation and creating job opportunities. Since the past couple of years. Facebook and Yahoo to ‘pre-screen’ content and remove any objectionable. the Internet won’t function as we’ve known it too. Net Neutrality is extremely important for small business owners. just because they know it’s in high demand and that they can make a profit.Government requests for banning content has also been on rise over the past couple of years.in them. ISPs can then create slow as well as fast Internet lanes. In a bid to make up for the losing revenue. Twitter and several others are born out of net neutrality. without any discrimination. The social media had gone all out condeming Airtel for the act. irrespective of whether its an international website or desi. and eventually the load of the extra sum will be pushed to the consumers. if there is no net neutrality. Big companies like Google. so that one can voice their opinion without the fear of being blocked or banned. On the other hand. These rules made it mandatory for Internet intermediaries to remove objectionable content within 36 hours of receiving complaint. government also drew flak as it asked major sites like Google. and the service provider had to 23 . who have been cannibalizing their main revenue streams – calls and SMSes.iasscore. For instance. Notes What will happen if there is no net neutrality? To put it out straight. but they have prevailed. and eventually the load of additional payable sum by the OTT players will be pushed onto consumers. These rules received sharp criticism. the lack of net neutrality should worry us greatly. Skype and others. they’ve have been quite vocal about their dislike for over-the-top (OTT) services.

org to smartphone as well as feature phone users. ISPs try to moderately not violate any laws. services. Facebook has teamed up with Reliance Communications in an effort to bring Internet. guidelines and standards issued by the Government of India. it would be a good move to get things legally on paper. specially start ups. Net neutrality got yet another blow in India with the recent announcements from Reliance and Airtel. Most decisions here are made by DoT and TRAI. • Cloud ready application development. But this can leave app developers. security norms. templates. telecom service providers such as Vodafone. App developers and services flush with funds will not find it an issue to pay telcos for data charges. Now. test and training environment. following a set of common protocols. tariff & revenue models for private sector Cloud services) – Empanelment/ Accreditation of Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) – Awareness workshops and training programs for cloud adoption for departments. storage.iasscore. In India. • Setting up of Dedicated Clouds by Private players. and interfaces that combine to deliver aspects of computing as a service. However. In India. the concept of net neutrality doesn’t exist legally. ‘MeghRaj’ (GI Cloud Project): National Cloud Computing Initiative Cloud computing in simple terms can be defined as storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of computer’s hard drive. However. In order to compete with Reliance. MeghRaj is a set of discrete Cloud computing environments (National and State Clouds) built on existing or new (augmented) infrastructure. but you need to be aware that you are only getting free access to services/apps which have struck a deal with the telcos. Cloud in the term of Cloud Computing refers to set of hardware. They’ve approached TRAI for the losing revenues and are awaiting TRAI’s decision on regulation IM app by OTT players. Components of MeghRaj • Setting up of National Clouds by Centre. who cannot afford Airtel or Reliance’s data rates at a definite disadvantage. while Internet access in India is still at its infancy. Airtel and Telenor have made their discomfort clear when it comes to offering free Internet services over expensive telecom networks. Airtel announced Zero marketing platform allowing customers to access apps of participating app developers at zero data charges.in soon retract its decision.www. you may be wondering what is wrong if someone wants to offer free Internet? Free internet sounds tempting. • Setting up of Cloud Management Office – Setting up an eco system for Cloud proliferation (Policies. • Enhance the e-Gov Appstore. networks. • Setting up of Clouds by other Government entities. But at the Mobile World Congress. • Demand Assessment. business models for applications. migration support. 24 Notes . • MeghRaj (GI-Cloud) service Directory. Guidelines. certification.

• Cost reduction. • Increased user mobility.iasscore. disparate IT initiatives of the central and state governments. security. Notes Uses of Meghraj • The GI Cloud will provide services to government departments. b) Optimising the use of infrastructure while reducing management overhead. the government’s cloud-based service delivery platform will also support a number of other objectives including increased standardization. the Indian government’s g-cloud approach will drive major changes in the types of services it delivers .not just to citizens but also to employees and businesses by: a) Rolling out services faster and reaping the desired benefits earlier. the initiative will be successful if the government can overcome three fundamental challenges. and c) Reducing bureaucracy and increasing transparency. • Efficient service delivery • A security framework for the entire GI Cloud will lead to less environmental complexity and less potential vulnerability. • In addition to accelerating the delivery of e-services to citizens and businesses . The government 25 . • According to the demands from the citizens of India. interoperability and integration. • It provides single point for maintaining Information & Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure in India. • Any software made available by any government of department in India can be made available to other departments as well without additional costs. The problem is significant in India due to the diversity of the federal structure and the disjointed. infrastructure of the government can be increased accordingly. • Reduced effort in managing technology. citizens and businesses through internet as well as mobile connectivity. • Ease of first time IT solution deployment.in Advantages of GI Cloud • Optimum utilization of existing infrastructure. while the government’s effort to centralise services via the g-cloud is commendable. Can MeghRaj . integration. These challenges are: A lack of common policies will challenge application reuse. data security and portability etc. etc.www.the govt cloud infrastructure bridge the centralised services gap? Over the next decade. • GI Cloud shall prescribe the standards around interoperability.

the g-cloud needs to provide a wide range of services that are more efficient and economical than traditional ICT infrastructure.iasscore. A closer look at the g-cloud framework published by the government reveals that there is no clear execution plan. so a mechanism to separate data should be deployed by the provider. The lack of a clear mandate or incentives will affect g-cloud uptake. a Unique ID and e-Pramaan based on authentic and standard based interoperable and integrated government applications and data basis. b) Recovery – Every provider should have a disaster recovery protocol to protect user data c) Investigative support • If a client suspects faulty activity from the provider. products. optimisation. address some of the fundamental issues related to eServices penetration. the g-cloud initiative must focus on standardisation.www. such as the process architecting framework and common service centres. and scaling its private g-cloud model.  The programme will be implemented in phases from the current year till 2018.in will face challenges in getting the various departments to use common policies and a shared g-cloud infrastructure. Issues and Challenges in Cloud Computing: a) Data Segregation – Encrypted information from multiple companies may be stored on the same hard disk.  The Digital India is transformational in nature and would ensure that Government services are available to citizens electronically. consolidating. Individual technology stacks and a lack of infrastructure standardisation will limit success. The government should not rely on incentives and sanctions to spur widespread adoption of the g-cloud. To harness the power of cloud. The Indian government has set up multiple data centres and allowed vendors to colocate their hardware infrastructure in these data centers for the rollout of e-Governance initiatives. because individual departments still feel the need to control all aspects of their services. Vision of Digital India The vision of Digital India programme aims at inclusive growth in areas of electronic services. and the partner ecosystem. Forrester believes that the government will face significant challenges in managing. While other government initiatives. It is centred on three key areas – 26 Notes . manufacturing and job opportunities etc.  It would also bring in public accountability through mandated delivery of government’s services electronically. it may not have many legal ways to pursue an investigation • Tools / Techniques / Process for Law Enforcement assistance • National Security issues Digital India Programme Recently the government of India has launched Digital India which aims to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

Information for All. Key Projects of Digital India programme Several projects/products have already launched or ready to be launched as indicated below: a) Digital Locker System aims to minimize the usage of physical documents and enable sharing of e-documents across agencies. through a “Discuss”. 27 . eKranti – Electronic Delivery of Services.  E-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology. h) The Government of India has undertaken an initiative namely Bharat Net. g) DeitY has undertaken an initiative namely Digitize India Platform (DIP) for large scale digitization of records in the country that would facilitate efficient delivery of services to the citizens. d) eSign framework would allow citizens to digitally sign a document online using Aadhaar authentication. c) Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Mobile app would be used by people and Government organizations for achieving the goals of Swachh Bharat Mission. online diagnostic reports. Electronics Manufacturing: Target Net Zero Imports. enquiring availability of blood online etc. multimedia/ video and other types of packet switched communication services. b) MyGov.iasscore. The mobile App for MyGov would bring these features to users on a mobile phone. a high speed digital highway to connect all 2. The sharing of the edocuments will be done through registered repositories thereby ensuring the authenticity of the documents online. to replace 30 year old exchanges.in • Digital Infrastructure as a Utility to Every Citizen • Governance & Services on Demand and • Digital Empowerment of Citizens Notes With the above vision. Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity.  IT for Jobs  and Early Harvest Programmes. sanction and disbursal to end beneficiary for all the scholarships provided by the Government of India. data. payment of fees and appointment.  Public Internet Access Programme.in has been implemented as a platform for citizen engagement in governance. which is an IP based technology to manage all types of services like voice. f) National Scholarships Portal is a one stop solution for end to end scholarship process right from submission of student application. verification. “Do” and “Disseminate” approach.5 lakh Gram Panchayats of country. i) BSNL has introduced Next Generation Network (NGN). This application provides important services such as online registration. the Digital India programme aims to provide Broadband Highways. e) The Online Registration System (ORS) under the eHospital application has been introduced. This would be the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity project using optical fibre.www.

“Universal access” does not. However. As many as 85% of India’s 100 million broadband users are mobile. After years of broadband and nationwide fibre-optic infrastructure targets. enabling and providing technologies to facilitate delivery of services to citizens forms the other.iasscore. towns and 250. 28 Notes . however. As users ramp up multimedia use. it is imperative to have ubiquitous connectivity. The user can latch on the BSNL Wi-Fi network through their mobile devices. laying cables doesn’t ensure they will be used. that drive network usage. networks will not be able to keep up. driven by apps like Facebook and WhatsApp. This project needs content and service partnerships with telecom companies and other firms.  While connectivity is one criterion. along with a system of networks and data centres called the National Information Infrastructure. India’s mobile network is so stressed that many say it’s broken. Experience shows that it is communications and content. c) Public Internet Access This aims to increase the number of government-run facilities (Common Service Centres or CSC) that provide digital services to citizens. Significance of each pillar of Digital India programme and the challenges government faces in trying to implement them: a) Broadband Highways Digital India aims to have broadband networks that will span India’s cities. Though mobile networks have reached most populated parts of India. The government also realises this need as reflected by including ‘broadband highways’ as one of the pillars of Digital India. k) To deliver citizen services electronically and improve the way citizens and authorities transact with each other. and the next 100 million mobile broadband users come on board. b) Universal Access to Phones This focuses on mobile network penetration.300 villages still exist outside the reach of a mobile signal. with new entrepreneurs. the last mile is a long one: 42. The vision is grand. currently standing at 85 million users. An intense shortage of spectrum has driven up costs and driven down service quality for India’s telecom industry. India remains stuck at a total of 15 million wire line broadband users. Digital India needs more spectrum.000 villages by end-2016. with call failures and drops a common complaint. Even in its major cities. guarantee a working network. But the problem is much bigger than dropped calls. It also gives the government access to a great deal of information. not empty pipes. content and services.www. it could transform citizen access to multimedia information. especially in remote or rural areas with low connectivity.in j) BSNL has undertaken large scale deployment of Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the country. And manufacturing content is not a government strength. If successful. with a plan to fill the gaps in connectivity in India by 2018. and the sharing of images and videos. Yet mobile broadband use has exploded.

questions.000 facilities to 250.in. Citizen services will be one driver of adoption. security. e-Healthcare and technology for farming.000. The processes and services include digitising manual databases. and public grievance redress. or imports that match exports by value. and the “MCA21” project for company registration from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. and the citizen portal MyGov.000 post offices into multi-service centres. These digital channels are used mostly in broadcast mode. India stands to import three quarters of the $400bn worth of electronics products it will consume in the next five years. One of the big boosts from Digital India could be the dramatic ramp-up the mega-project is setting as a target. Several have been completed successfully. Almost every e-governance project that India needs has been successfully piloted somewhere in the country. including the overhauled passport service. Many were quick successes that however died out once the chief promoter. For decades.www. e) e-Kranti . It also aims to convert 150. by 2020. as well as MOOCs . introducing online applications and tracking. They span e-education (all schools to get broadband and free wi-fi.Electronic Delivery of Services e-Kranti comprises 41 large e-governance initiatives. called “mission mode projects”. replicate and scale them up. d) e-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology Of all the “pillars” of Digital India.iasscore. Hardware exports as of now are still under $10bn. hundreds of e-governance projects have been piloted across India. mobile and social media platforms aims to connect citizens with the government. but moved slowly in its initial years. It is already well under way. with government responding to very few. planning and cybersecurity. introducing publicly-visible government workflow automation. or one in nearly every village. using online repositories for citizen documents. justice.Massive Online Open Courses). f) Information for All This set of web. As of now. moved on. This calls for a very big ramp-up in local manufacturing. this is the oldest and most mature initiative. which remain pilots. The sheer scale of these projects helps ensure that they do not meet the fate of most e-governance projects in India. both on social media. often a bureaucrat on a two-year posting. g) Electronics Manufacturing This plan aims for “net zero imports” in electronics. financial inclusion. The daunting task for Digital India will be to take successful pilot projects. especially from media. Notes This project was first approved in 2006. 29 . The vision is that the longest distance a villager or tribesperson should have to travel should be to the nearest CSC. and no criticism. filtered. This is ambitious.in The objective is to increase the 140.

SMS-based weather information.000 pieces of space junk bigger than a marble and 22.Graveyard Orbit and Kessler’s syndrome Space junk or space waste is the collection of defunct objects in orbit around Earth. Space Junk. via its “Make in India” campaign launched last year. a new messaging platform for government employees has over 13 million mobiles and 2 million emails in the database. The technology sector increasingly finds that the dwindling manpower resources available for its jobs are under-trained and mismatched to its needs. old satellites. the project aims to provide secure email as the primary form of communications within the government.for instance across technology products and services. and fragments from disintegration. More than 100 million objects orbit our planet. These pieces are moving 30 Notes . Since orbits overlap with new spacecraft. and millions of smaller pieces of debris.000 service delivery agents to be trained for IT services. biometric attendance for all central government offices in Delhi. Yet most government officials and politicians prefer to use personal email services from Gmail and other public providers that can be accessed on their mobile phones. There is also a school of thought that “net zero” imports should be seen on a wider canvas . the result of in-orbit collisions. experts estimate. Humanity must act now to reduce the vast amount of space junk around Earth to keep the problem from getting completely out of hand. and the projects already under way. though its security is debatable. The challenge remains usage. NASA estimates that there are currently 500. and 500. and collisions. The number of flecks at least 1 millimeter in diameter probably runs into the hundreds of millions. eBooks in schools. The challenge here is not just the numbers.000 rural workers to be trained by telecom operators for their own needs. Official email has been available for well over a decade in India. disaster alerts.000 as large as a softball. wi-fi in universities and in public locations. That’s probably the biggest push and global image makeover being attempted by the present government. Among the plans: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) locations in every north-eastern state. Most firms are forced to invest a great deal into their own training for “fresher” recruits. Most experts see this as a huge risk. i) Early Harvest Programmes These are the low-hanging fruit. Critics of the programme say that the “manufacturing first” focus can slow progress when the objective should be on something else. India exports nearly $100bn worth of technology and business process services. like education (such as with the previous government’s Aakaash tablet programme).iasscore. erosion. debris may collide with operational spacecraft. and to the outside world. and clusters and incubators for start-ups. This includes everything from spent rocket stages. 300.www. The rest is space junk: moribund satellites.For instance. but quality.in The plan includes incentives for big chip fabrication as well for mobile and settop box manufacturers. h) IT for Jobs This is a project to train 10 million students from smaller towns and villages for IT sector jobs over five years.134 of them are operational satellites. but only 1. discarded rockets. For instance.

also called a junk orbit or disposal orbit. Graveyard Orbit: A graveyard orbit. scientists have warned. It is a measure performed in order to lower the probability of collisions with operational spacecraft and of the generation of additional space debris (known as Kessler syndrome).DeOrbit probe would deploy a Roman gladiator-style array of nets and harpoons to first trap rogue satellites and then drag them downwards until they burn up in the atmosphere. the space agency is designing a hunter-killer space probe to track down and destroy defunct satellites and so halt the growth of the burgeoning cloud. • The e. Notes For one thing. which is increasingly dependent on satellites to provide communications. the graveyard orbit is a few hundred kilometers above the operational orbit.in so fast that even a tiny shard could knock out one of the 1. It also requires a reliable attitude control during the transfer maneuver.000 or so operational satellites currently orbiting the planet. Major concerns • The amount of debris orbiting the Earth keeps growing each year. is a super synchronous orbit that lies significantly above synchronous orbit. That’s potentially a big problem in our technological society. While most satellite operators try to perform such a maneuver at the end of the operational life.iasscore. Steps Taken: • British scientists have invented a harpoon that could punch a hole in space debris and send it crashing safely back down to Earth. future missions must be sustainable. And the world needs to begin removing debris from orbit soon. or else risk an escalating and self-sustaining cascade of collisions over the coming years. All the space agencies should come together and take this on a serious note. • The space junk issue is becoming more severe day by day. The transfer to a graveyard orbit above geostationary orbit requires the same amount of fuel that a satellite needs for approximately three months of station keeping. The removal of space junk is pre-requisite for future space missions and no one can deny this bitter truth. it could eventually make low-earth orbit unusable. where spacecraft are intentionally placed at the end of their operational life. only one-third succeed in doing so. disrupting satellites and occasionally putting astronauts in harm’s way.www. A graveyard orbit is used when the change in velocity required to perform a de-orbit maneuver is too high. • To tackle the problem. with proper disposal of spacecraft at the end of their operational lives. For satellites in geostationar y orbit and geosynchronous orbits. • There may soon be so much debris in orbit around the Earth that future space missions could become impossible. • If the problem gets severe enough. 31 .

If this matter were to travel in the same plane and direction indefinitely. or the gradual movement of an object to a different orbital plane.www. it would be impossible for any matter to collide. each piece of debris is subject to drift and decay.in Kessler Syndrome: The Kessler Syndrome is a theory proposed by NASA scientist Donald J. never endeavoring to switch lanes or get off on an exit. Those just keep on floating. Instead. uncontrolled objects do not follow a straight path. any entering satellite would face unprecedented risks of headfirst bombardment. But in space. used to describe a self-sustaining cascading collision of space debris in LEO.000km/h. at any moment. knocking into other drifters. Live satellites can be repositioned using onboard thrusters to counteract natural drift and keep to their intended orbits. Matter in orbit travels at ridiculously high speeds. say 22. It’s the idea that two colliding objects in space generate more debris that then collides with other objects. unrestrained.iasscore. The variation in Earth’s gravitation field causes drift. or the slow decrease in an object’s altitude. The friction of an object with Earth’s atmosphere causes decay. creating even more shrapnel and litter until the entirety of LEO is an impassable array of super swift stuff. but dead ones. 32 Notes . Kessler in 1978. like cars going straight on a highway at the same speed. At that point. drifting and decaying and. just as an example.