By- TRILOK SINGH & Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (Scientist in IIT Delhi)
Q.1 What are Neutrinos? How Neutrinos will help understand the various processes of Earth? What are its other significances?
Ans. Neutrinos, first proposed by Swiss scientist Wolfgang Pauli in 1930, are the second most widely occurring particle in the universe, only second to photons, the particle which makes up light. In fact, neutrinos are so abundant among us that every second, there are more than 100 trillion of them passing right through each of us — we never even notice them. This is the reason why INO needs to be built deep into the earth — 1,300 metres into the earth. At this depth, it would be able to keep itself away from all the trillions of neutrinos produced in the atmosphere and which would otherwise choke an over-the-ground neutrino detector. Neutrinos have been in the universe literally since forever, being almost 14 billion years old — as much as the universe itself. Neutrinos occur in three different types, or flavours – ve, vì and vô. These are separated in terms of different masses. From experiments so far, we know that neutrinos have a tiny mass, but the ordering of the neutrino mass states is not known and is one of the key questions that remain unanswered till today. This is a major challenge INO will set to resolve, thus completing our picture of the neutrino. Neutrinos are very important for our scientific progress and technological growth for three reasons. First, they are abundant. Second, they have very feeble mass and no charge and hence can travel through planets, stars, rocks and human bodies without any interaction. In fact, a beam of trillions of neutrinos can travel thousands of kilometres through a rock before an interaction with a single atom of the rock and the neutrino occurs. Third, they hide within them a vast pool of knowledge and could open up new vistas in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics, communication and even in medical imaging, through the detector spin-offs. Further, they have many more significance such as- First, neutrinos may have a role to play in nuclear non-proliferation through the remote monitoring of nuclear reactors. The plutonium-239 which is made via nuclear transmutation in the reactor from uranium-238 can potentially be used in nuclear devices by terrorist groups.
Using appropriate neutrino detectors, the plutonium content can be monitored remotely and used to detect any pilferage. Neutrino research can be our answer to ensure that no terror group ever acquires nuclear weapons. Second, understanding neutrinos can help us detect mineral and oil deposits deep in the earth. Neutrinos tend to change their “flavour” depending on how far they have travelled and how much matter they have passed through in the way. Far more importantly, we believe that this same property might help us detect early geological defects deep within the earth, and thereby might be our answer to an early warning system against earthquakes. This is where an area of Geoneutrinos is applicable. First found in 2005, they are produced by the radioactive decay of uranium, thorium and potassium in the Earth’s crust and just below it. Rapid analysis of these Geoneutrinos by neutrino monitoring stations — a process called Neutrino Tomography — could provide us vital seismological data which can detect early disturbances and vibrations produced by earthquakes.
Third, as we now know, neutrinos can pass right through the earth. They may open up a faster way to send data than the current ‘around the earth’ model, using towers, cables or satellites. Such a communication system using neutrinos will be free of transmission losses as neutrinos rarely react with the atoms in their path. This can open up new vistas for telecom and Internet services. Some scientists further believe that if there is any extraterrestrial form of life, neutrinos will also be the fastest and most trusted way to communicate with them. Fourth, neutrinos are the information bearers of the universe — which are almost never lost in their path. India’s effort in studying neutrinos at INO may help us unravel the deepest mystery of the universe — why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe. Some scientists believe that formidable neutrino research can help us understand dark matter. Dark matter and dark energy make up 95 per cent of the universe, far more predominant than ordinary matter in the universe — but we hardly understand it. Neutrinos are the only way to detect this great mystery which may completely alter our understanding of the universe and physics. Searches for this dark matter can only be carried out in INO. We believe that the neutrino is our mode of access to some of the most unimaginable technologies, and therefore, with INO, India is poised to take its rightful place at the helm of neutrino research.
Q.2 What is INO? What are its objectives? Discuss its benefits for India?
Ans. The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) Project is a multi-institutional effort aimed at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover. The underground laboratory, consisting of a large cavern of and several smaller caverns, will be accessed by a tunnel. INO project is jointly supported by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science & Technology (DST) with DAE acting as the nodal agency. The observatory will be located underground so as to provide adequate shielding to the neutrino detector from cosmic background radiation. Tunnel construction is very common and will not have any impact on environment, water sources or dams in the region. The operation of INO will have no release of radioactive or toxic substances. It is not a weapons laboratory and will have no strategic or defense applications. The objective of INO is to conduct basic research on the elementary particle called neutrino. Presently 21 research institutes, Universities and IITs from all over the country are involved in this project. INO is expected to galvanise interest in basic science research in the whole country and particularly in and around Theni and Madurai districts of Tamil Nadu. Science students across the country will have opportunity to pursue cutting edge research in the field of particle physics while being located in India. This project for experiment on neutrinos is very important for our scientific progress and technological growth for three reasons. First, they are abundant.
Second, they have very feeble mass and no charge and hence can travel through planets, stars, rocks and human bodies without any interaction. In fact, a beam of trillions of neutrinos can travel thousands of kilometres through a rock before an interaction with a single atom of the rock and the neutrino occurs. Third, they hide within them a vast pool of knowledge and could open up new vistas in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics, communication and even in medical imaging, through the detector spin-offs. The experiment has potentials to benefit us largely by playing a role in nuclear non- proliferation through the remote monitoring of nuclear reactors, understanding neutrinos can help us detect mineral and oil deposits deep in the earth, They may open up a faster way to send data than the current ‘around the earth’ model, using towers, cables or satellites and neutrinos are the information bearers of the universe and neutrino research can help us understand dark matter which is a great mystery yet to solve. In this way the INO project experiment on Neutrinos is our mode of access to some of the most unimaginable technologies, and therefore, with INO, India is poised to take its rightful place at the helm of neutrino research.
Q.3 What is Mitochondrial gene therapy? Explain the process of Three Parent Embryo developments?
Ans. Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy, a ground-breaking technique that uses genetic material from three different people to prevent certain inherited — and hitherto untreatable — genetic diseases from passing from the mother to her offspring, received a resounding mandate on Tursday in the House of Commons. Britain thus becomes the first country in the world to approve such a procedure, considered the only hope for women who carry defective mitochondria to have healthy children. Mitochondrial gene therapy, the technique, would allow women who have mutations in the DNA of their mitochondria, the organelles that provide chemical energy for cells, to have genetically related children who don’t carry the mutations. It is controversial, however, because it would modify the DNA of an embryo in a way that could be passed on to future generations. People who have faulty mitochondria can experience a variety of symptoms, including heart problems, seizures, and blindness. The Symptoms are variable, however, and the condition can be difficult to diagnose. Some babies born with defective mitochondria die within months. Other people don’t show any symptoms until much later in life. The process of three parent baby involves following steps-
• It will treat women with mitochondrial disease (a range of inherited diseases caused by defective mitochondria, the elements in the cell that generate energy).
• The healthy nuclear DNA will be removed by patient’s egg cell leaving behind faulty mitochondrial DNA.
• Patient’s Nuclear DNA will be transplanted to donor’s egg with healthy mitochondrial DNA
. • Therefore, by replacing the dysfunctional mitochondria carried by a woman who wishes to conceive with the healthy mitochondria of a donor. The egg is then fertilised with the partner’s sperm through IVF.
• The embryo thus created is one technically cleansed of the mutated mitochondrial DNA that the mother originally carried.
• The reconstructed egg cell fertilsed with sperm in the lab and implanted into patient, and thus the resulted embryo will have three genetic parents.
Q.4 Explain Big Bang theory? Recently scientists have discovered a Big Black Hole, what are the implications of this discovery on Big Bang theory?
Ans. The Big Bang theory is an effort to explain what happened at the very beginning of our universe. Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. The big bang theory is an effort to explain what happened during and after that moment. According to the standard theory, our universe sprang into existence as “singularity” around 13.7 billion years ago. What is a “singularity” and where does it come from? We don’t know for sure. Singularities are zones which defy our current understanding of physics. They are thought to exist at the core of “black holes.”
Black holes are areas of intense gravitational pressure. The pressure is thought to be so intense that finite matter is actually squished into infinite density (a mathematical concept which truly boggles the mind). These zones of infinite density are called “singularities.” Our universe is thought to have begun as an infinitesimally small, infinitely hot, infinitely dense, something – a singularity. Where did it come from? Why did it appear? We don’t know. After its initial appearance, it apparently inflated (the “Big Bang”), expanded and cooled, going from very, very small and very, very hot, to the size and temperature of our current universe.
It continues to expand and cool to this day and we are inside of it: incredible creatures living on a unique planet, circling a beautiful star clustered together with several hundred billion other stars in a galaxy soaring through the cosmos, all of which is inside of an expanding universe that began as an infinitesimal singularity which appeared out of nowhere for reasons unknown. This is the Big Bang theory. Recently, Scientists say they have discovered a black hole so big that it challenges the theory about how they grow. Scientists said this black hole was formed about 900 million years after the Big Bang. But with measurements indicating it is 12 billion times the size of the Sun, the black hole challenges a widely accepted hypothesis of growth rates.
“Based on previous research, this is the largest black hole found for that period of time. Current theory is for a limit to how fast a black hole can grow, but this black hole is too large for that theory. The creation of super massive black holes remains an open topic of research. However, many scientists have long believed the growth rate of black holes was limited. Black holes grow, scientific theory suggests, as they absorb mass. However, as mass is absorbed, it will be heated creating radiation pressure, which pushes the mass away from the black hole. Basically, we have two forces balanced together which set up a limit for growth, which is much smaller than what has been found. Discovery is still going on further and scientists expects more black holes to be observed as the project advances.
Q.5 What is spectroscopy or Raman Spectroscopy? How it helped finding the reason behind changing colour by chameleons?
Ans. Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction between matter and radiated energy. Historically, spectroscopy originated through the study of visible light dispersed according to its wavelength, by a prism. Later the concept was expanded greatly to comprise any interaction with radiative energy as a function of its wavelength or frequency. Spectroscopic data is often represented by a spectrum, a plot of the response of interest as a function of wavelength or frequency. Raman Spectroscopy is a vibrational spectroscopy technique used to collect a unique chemical fingerprint of molecules. Each molecule has a different set of vibrational energy levels, and the photons emitted have unique wavelength shifts.
Vibrational spectroscopy involves collecting and examining these wavelength shifts and using them to identify what is in a sample. Different peaks in the spectrum correspond to different Raman excitations. Raman Spectroscopy produces information about a cell. It tells you about the state of the cell, and possibly whether or not it is virally infected and whether or not it is cancerous, precancerous, or not cancerous. It can be used to study HIV and malaria. A laser is shone at the cell and the information needed is extracted from the spectra obtained. Raman spectroscopy relies on the scattering of light, and with a little help from Raman Spectroscopy, Swiss scientists have found out the answer to an endlessly intriguing evolutionary poser.
It turns out that chameleons have a mobile lattice of Nanocrystals on the surface of their skin, which come together and disperse there by shifting the wavelength of light reflected by the reptile. These nanocrystals of different shapes, sizes and organizations are distributed in two layers of skin cells called iridophores (iridescent light-reflecting cells).
While the upper layer of iridophores is responsible for rapid colour change achieved by a shift in spacing of Nanocrystals in a triangular lattice, the deeper layer of cells broadly reflects light, especially in the near-infrared range. With an increase in distance between Nanocrystals in excited male panther chameleons, iridophores shift their selective reflectivity from short (blue) to long (red or infrared) wavelengths, causing the corresponding shift from green to yellow/orange skin
Q.6 Why there is a larger interest of astronomers in study of Pluto and Kuiper belt? How can Pluto help studying the history of the Earth?
Ans. The fact that space is an ideal laboratory for scientists, its vastness enables fundamental experiments, orders of magnitude more accurate than on Earth, eliminating the influence of gravity, atmosphere, seismic noise and other interactions. These astronomical observations help us learn about the microscopic and macroscopic structure of the universe. Lunar and planetary missions, over the years, have provided extremely valuable scientific data on the formation and evolution of planets and their moons.
That Pluto was discovered in 1930 as the ninth planet of the Solar system is well-known. Twenty years after its discovery, astronomers postulated the presence of the Kuiper Belt, comprising a vast collection of icy objects beyond the orbit of Neptune, in which Pluto itself was a member. The first Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) was discovered in 1992 — throwing doubt over Pluto’s status as planet — and since then observers have found more than 1,000 KBOs, with diameters ranging from 50 kms to almost 2,400 kms. The International Astronomical Union in 2006 chose to classify Pluto and the recently discovered large Kuiper Belt Objects as dwarf planets.
The Kuiper Belt contains a sizable supply of ancient, icy and organic material that are held in deep freeze, and that were left over from the birth pangs of the planets, containing evidences of the distant past. Because of this, planetary scientists are keen to learn more about Pluto and its moons, Charon (the largest), Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra, and other objects in the Kuiper Belt. Scientists believe that Pluto’s atmosphere loses a lot of mass into space. The thermal energy of typical molecules in the upper atmosphere is sufficient to escape Pluto’s gravitational hold, a process called hydrodynamic escape.
The same may have been responsible for the rapid loss of hydrogen from Earth’s atmosphere early in our planet’s history, making Earth suitable for life. Pluto is the only place in the solar system where we can study hydrodynamic escape on a planetary scale today. Another important connection between Pluto and life on Earth is the likely presence of organic compounds more complex than the frozen methane on Pluto’s surface and water ice inside the dwarf planet. Recent observations of smaller KBOs show that they are also most likely to harbour large amounts of ice and organic substances.
Such objects are considered to have routinely strayed into the inner part of the solar system billions of years ago, collided with Earth, and helped to seed the young Earth with the building blocks of life. Given all these scientific motivations, it is understandable why there is increased scientific interest in Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. The first dedicated spacecraft platform to explore Pluto at close quarters was NASA’s New Horizons. Valuable insights into the origin of the outer solar system and that of planet and satellite systems are expected to be discovered from the data sent by NASA’s New Horizons. This will raise scientific fervour all around.
Q.7 What do you mean by encryption? Do you think the provisions of recent draft encryption policy of government were against freedom of speech and expression or it was necessary to curb cyber crime? Give your opinion.
Ans. Encryption, a process in which digital messages are scrambled so they can’t be accessed by anyone other than those they are meant for, is a means to ensure freedom of expression and to keep information secure in the digital world. The thing to appreciate most about the government’s draft encryption policy, brought forth with the ostensible goal of ensuring privacy and promoting Internet security, was the speed with which it was withdrawn. There was little in the draft that was true to the goal; the provisions, instead, had enough in them to harm the cause. The aliases one uses in the social media environment can be a fun way to keep casual users from identifying you.
But that isn’t enough. The digital world also comprises criminals and terrorists, and repressive regimes. Some of them would not only want to know who you are and hack into your information and messages but also have the means to do so. Encryption keeps intruders at bay. When the draft was released, experts and netizens could quickly figure out that the provisions had the real potential to undermine encryption. One of the provisions sought to give the government access to encrypted data that rest with government departments (save the sensitive ones), corporates and individuals. Another provision required users to store all encrypted communications for a period of 90 days.
The backlash had its effect; the draft was withdrawn the very next day. Although the draft was withdrawn soon, but while the draft goes back to the drawing board, it is important to realise that any debate on encryption isn’t going to be easy and straightforward. Bigger battles await us. The world over, administrations have sought weaker encryption standards or backdoor access to Internet products. This is a public safety vs privacy issue. So it needs to be tackle very carefully. Administrations cite public safety as the reason for asking for encryption access but Granting governments the power to tap into every message and item of information and store them, will have the potential to make the system extremely vulnerable.
On the other hand for the freedom of speech and expression, it is a seemingly universal position among technologists that there is no special access that can be made available only to government authorities, even ones that, in principle, have the public interest in mind. Therefore, Access to encrypted data should, be provided as an exception, not as a rule, there should be proper policy to tackle both the issues of internal security and public privacy.
Q.8 What is Astrosat? What is its significance for India?
Ans. Astrosat, is India’s first space observatory, recently the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched its first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory into space. Though there have been scientific missions in the past by ISRO – Aryabhata, SROSS, Youthsat, IRS-P3, GSAT-2, Chandrayaan-1 and Mars Orbiter Mission, this is the first time ISRO is launching a space observatory into space. Though ASTROSAT may be similar to the NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, the former is about 10 times smaller and cannot be compared to the Hubble, which is versatile.
Besides NASA, space agencies of the European Union, Japan and Russia have launched similar facilities into the space. The 1,513 kg-weighing cuboid-shaped satellite would be eventually fine-tuned into 650 km above the Earth’s surface. The satellite can perform simultaneous multi- wavelength observations of various astronomical objects. The sun and star sensors, besides the gyroscopes, would provide orientation reference to the satellite, which has a mission life of five years.
ASTROSAT aims at understanding the high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes, to estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars, to study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond the Milky Way galaxy. The mission also intends to detect new briefly bright X-ray sources in the sky, to perform a limited deep field survey of the Universe in the ultraviolet region. The capability to cover the full spectrum of wavelength simultaneously is the unique feature of ASTROSAT.
Hence, a space-based observatory like ASTROSAT will be of immense value to researchers based in India. Ground-based telescopes and the space observatory will complement each other. Further, with the successful launch of the space observatory, Astrosat, the Indian Space Research Organisation has put India in a select group of countries that have a space telescope to study celestial objects and processes. Besides providing an opportunity to build world-class instruments, Astrosat will present an ideal platform for researchers in these institutions.
Q.9 Discuss the IRNSS project of India? On what principle it is being developed? What are its implications?
Ans. IRNSS (Indian regional navigation satellite system) is similar to the global positioning system (GPS) of the US (24 satellites), Glonass of Russia (24 satellites), Galileo of Europe (27 satellites) and China’s Beidou (35 satellites). While GPS and Glonass are fully functional global systems, the Chinese and the Japanese systems are offering regional coverage and Europe’s Galileo is yet to become operational. India successfully put its fourth navigation satellite, IRNSS-1D, into orbit, bringing the country a step closer to having its own satellite navigation system. It’s a GPS-like regional satellite-based navigation system being developed by India.
But unlike the US-operated Global Positioning System (GPS), or the Russian GLONASS, which have global coverage, IRNSS will focus on the region — up to 1,500 km beyond India’s boundaries. IRNSS is planned as a constellation of seven satellites. Three will be placed in geostationary orbit; the other four in geosynchronous orbit. The three geostationary satellites will appear fixed in the sky, while the four geosynchronous satellites will appear to move in the figure of ‘8’ when observed from the ground. The IRNSS will provide two types of services – standard positioning service and restricted service. The former is provided to all users and the latter is an encrypted service for authorised users. With this success, India moved closer towards joining a select group of nations possessing their own satellite navigation system.
Named the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), the system consists of a constellation of seven satellites of which four – IRNSS-1A, IRNSS-1B, IRNSS-1C and IRNSS-1D – have been put into orbit till now. The IRNSS system is unique as it consists of only seven satellites while other systems have more than 20 satellites. It is claimed that India can replace the US GPS with the Indian system when full fledged operations begin. The fully operational system is expected to provide accurate position information service to users across the country and the region, extending up to an area of 1,500 km. The navigation systems strategic application is clear that IRNSS will be used for defense purposes as well.
Further, IRNSS will be used for terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management, integrated applications in mobile phones, mapping and geodetic data capture, etc. Also, it will be used in terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and visual and voice navigation for drivers. But the crucial use will be for Indian armed forces, which can rely on assured positional data during hostilities. Most modern weapon systems like guided missiles and bombs use navigation systems for targeting. An indigenous system like the IRNSS will ensure reliable development and execution of such capabilities.
Q.10 What is Cryogenic Technology? Why are its uses in space technology? What were the challenges behind ISRO in developing our indigenous cryogenic Engine?
Ans. Cryogenic technology is production and behavior of materials at very low temperature.Cryogenic technology involves the use of rocket propellants at extremely low temperatures. The combination of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen offers the highest energy efficiency for rocket engines that need to produce large amounts of thrust. But oxygen remains a liquid only at temperatures below minus 183 degree Celsius and hydrogen at below minus 253 degree Celsius. Building a rocket stage with an engine that runs on such propellants means overcoming engineering challenges.
It is essential to master this technology for any space power as launching heavier satellites requires cryogenic engines even in the lower stages of the rocket. For India also cryogenic technology was required for launching of its heavier satellites by using the technology for cryogenic engines of rockets, as-
• A cryogenic engine is more efficient as it provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant burnt.
• Cryogenic fuels are extremely clean as they give out only water while burning. The engine uses liquid oxygen at -253°C and liquid hydrogen at -183°C.
• It can develop the thrust needed in the final state of the rocket to put satellites, weighing two tonnes or more, into a geosynchronous orbit.
• It will also make India self-reliant in sending heavier satellites to the required orbits and eliminate need of dependence on foreign launch vehicles.
• It should be noted that India sixth nation after US, Russia, the European Space Agency, China and Japan to develop a cryogenic engine. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently successfully tested an indigenous cryogenic engine.
This engine will allow launch vehicles to carry satellites of up to capacity of four tonnes in geostationary orbit. It will also give boost to India’s interplanetary probes and manned space missions. ISRO recognised the importance of cryogenic technology fairly early. A rocket stage based on a cryogenic engine offered the simplest way of transforming the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), intended to carry one-tonne earth-viewing satellites, into the far more powerful GSLV that could put communications satellites into the orbit.
But there were many challenges in front of India in acquiring cryogenic technology, it took 25 years to indigenize the technology after failures but finally India achieved it. Those were internal as well as external such as – ISRO went through a long period of indecision, dithering on whether to buy the technology or develop it on its own, it was concerned that U.S., Japan and France would either not provide the technology or do so only at an exorbitant price, a deal was signed with the Soviet company Glavkosmos but after four successive launch failures the project was scrapped, the Missile Technology Control Regime came in way a block, break-up of the Soviet Union pulled Russia back for giving India technology, ISRO then had no option but to develop the technology on its own. Finally the India has achieved indigenization of the cryogenic technology after a lot of hurdles. It’s a landmark achievement in Indian space history.
Q.11 What is LHC? How it can help understand fundamentals of the universe?
Ans. The LHC is the largest machine in the world. It took thousands of scientists, engineers and technicians decades to plan and build, and it continues to operate at the very boundaries of scientific knowledge. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle Accelerator. It first started up on 10 September 2008, and remains the latest addition to CERN’s accelerator complex. The LHC consists of a 27- kilometre ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of the particles along the way.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world‘s largest and most powerful particle collider will resume operations for its second 3-year run amid hopes of uncovering the Universe‘s best kept secrets. The LHC, credited with uncovering the Higgs Boson particle and managed by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), was on a 2-year break from smashing particles to undergo an upgrade and will now Operate with higher energy. Aim of the LHC is to allow physicist to test the predictions of different theories of particle physics and high energy physics, and particularly prove or disprove the existence of the theorized Higgs Boson and of the large family of new particles predicted by super symmetric theories. Dark matter, which is still a hypothesis, will be prime area of focus of the experiments.
Q.12 What is DNA Repair Mechanism? Explain how this mechanism works and what its significance for Human?
Ans. DNA repair refers to a collection of processes by which a cell identifies and corrects damage to the DNA molecules that encode its genome. In human cells, both normal metabolic activities and environmental factors such as UV light can cause DNA damage, resulting in as many as 1 million individual molecular lesions per cell per day.
Many of these lesions cause structural damage to the DNA molecule and can alter or eliminate the cell’s ability to transcribe the gene that the affected DNA encodes. Other lesions induce potentially harmful mutations in the cell’s genome, which affect the survival of its daughter cells after it undergoes mitosis. Consequently, the DNA repair process must be constantly active so it can respond rapidly to any damage in the DNA structure.
Recently, The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 is awarded to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for having mapped, at a molecular level, how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information. Their work has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments. Each day our DNA is damaged by UV radiation, free radicals and other carcinogenic substances, but even without such external attacks, a DNA molecule is inherently unstable. Thousands of spontaneous changes to a cell’s genome occur on a daily basis.
Furthermore, defects can also arise when DNA is copied during cell division, a process that occurs several million times every day in the human body. The reason our genetic material does not disintegrate into complete chemical chaos is that a host of molecular systems continuously monitor and repair DNA. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 awards three pioneering scientists who have mapped how several of these repair systems function at a detailed molecular level. In the early 1970s, scientists believed that DNA was an extremely stable molecule, but Tomas Lindahl demonstrated that DNA decays at a rate that ought to have made the development of life on Earth impossible. This insight led him to discover molecular machinery, base excision repair, which constantly counteracts the collapse of our DNA. Aziz Sancar has mapped nucleotide excision repair, the mechanism that cells use to repair UV damage to DNA. People born with defects in this repair system will develop skin cancer if they are exposed to sunlight. The cell also utilizes nucleotide excision repair to correct defects caused by mutagenic substances, among other things.
Paul Modrich has demonstrated how the cell corrects errors that occur when DNA is replicated during cell division. This mechanism, mismatch repair, reduces the error frequency during DNA replication by about a thousand fold. Congenital defects in mismatch repair are known, for example, to cause a hereditary variant of colon cancer. The Nobel Laureates in Chemistry 2015 have provided fundamental insights into how cells function, knowledge that can be used, for instance, in the development of new cancer treatments.
Q.13 What is E-nose? On what principle it works? How it can benefit in environmental control?
Ans. Nagpur based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) ofCouncil of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) of Department of Electronics and Information Technology of the Government of India have jointly developed an ‘Electronic Nose’ for environmental monitoring that can help sniff out a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odorants at a pulp and paper mill industry with a prime objective to protect the health of thousands of workers working in this industry.
This portable device measures odour concentration and odour intensity. The Electronic Nose uses an array of sensors that function on the principle similar to that of human olfaction. The sensor array generates a pattern based on the type of aroma. The patterns obtained are trained to help interpret and distinguish amongst various odors and odorants as well as to recognize new patterns using advanced mathematical techniques, such as pattern recognition algorithms, principal component analysis, discriminant function analysis, cluster analysis, and artificial neural networks. This has been the first attempt in India to develop such a product using odour sensors that make use of intelligent software to identify odorous molecules.
It is also possible to train the software by feeding information based on observation of experts. The pulp and paper industry emits a variety of gases, namely, hydrogen sulphide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulphide, and dimethyl disulphide all of which beyond a certain concentrations may adversely affect the environment and human health, This newly developed Electronic Nose helps in continuous monitoring of these gases, overcoming all limitations of the available analytical instruments that are not only expensive and time-consuming. Besides, it also establishes a correlation between sensory and analytical measurements for the sulphurous odorants generated from pulp and paper industries, tanneries and distilleries. The researchers are currently working on the application of Electronic Nose to monitor gas emissions from any source, be it an industry or leakage of petroleum pipes going through fields or farms. Therefore, it can be used for many purposes in future.
Q.14 What is Net Neutrality? Give your comments in Favor or against it with appropriate solution.
Ans. Net neutrality is a principle that says Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should treat all traffic and content on their networks equally. The internet is now a level-playing field. Anybody can start up a website, stream music or use social media with the same amount of data that they have purchased with a particular ISP. But in the absence of neutrality, our ISP might favour certain websites over others for which we might have to pay extra. Website A might load at a faster speed than Website B because our ISP has a deal with Website A that Website B cannot afford.
It’s like our electricity company charging us extra for using the washing machine, television and microwave oven above and beyond what we are already paying. In the Net neutrality debate, there is a conflict between two core values: ease of access and neutrality. The ease of access promised by applications like Free Basics compromises neutrality and may later morph into a method of predatory pricing. If programs that bring access to a part of the Internet in the immediate future were to entrench themselves; it could eventually lead to telecom companies abusing their dominant positions. In the absence of a specific law mandating a neutral Internet, telecom companies enjoy a virtual carte blanche to discriminate between different applications.
Though they have not yet exploited this autonomy fully, they are certainly moving towards that. This can be welcome step for if this supposed free bouquet initiative aims to bring access to the Internet to those people who find the costs of using generally available mobile data prohibitive. But on the other hand the idea is to ensure that Internet service providers do not discriminate content by either charging a fee for acting as its carrier or by incorporating any technical qualifications. It is, therefore, necessary that any debate on the issue must address the tension between the two apparently conflicting goals — the importance of maintaining a neutral Internet and the need to ensure a greater access to the web across the country. These two values are not fundamentally opposed to each other, but can and must coexist. It is possibly correct at a theoretical level but for applying at practical level, the government needs stricter laws which are effective in implementation.
Q.15 What is ‘Fasting’ and ‘Feasting’ of SGXT stars? How it can help to calculate details of supernova explosions?
Ans. Supergiant fast x-ray transients (SGXT) are in the news. SGXT is the name for a certain type of binary star — a pair of stars revolving around each other. To be specific, they are a pair in which one partner is a big bright star and the other is a highly condensed dark companion — a black hole or a neutron star — which attracts mass from the bright star. As the material spirals into the dark star, it emits x-rays. Hence, it appears to the onlooker that they are shining brightly in x-rays. Suddenly, without warning, the pair dims to a fraction of its brightness within minutes. This behavior of shining and dimming, called “fasting” and “feasting” has puzzled astronomers for a decade now. This puzzle has now been partly resolved by means of a breakthrough it was observed the binary using a space x-ray telescope known as NuStar, a NASA space mission.
It is the first x-ray space telescope that can focus on very high energy x-rays. “NuSTAR is used to study the most extreme environments in the universe, which emit x-rays. “The x-rays that NuSTAR is sensitive to are similar to the x-rays used in hospitals for diagnoses. Astronomers call them ‘Hard x-rays’. The actual star-pair they observed, IGR J17544-2619, is an example of such an SGXT. It is a binary located about 12,000 light years away from the earth. It contains a supergiant star, about 25 times as massive as our Sun, and a compressed dead partner, about twice as massive as the Sun but compressed to a diameter of just about 30 km. the stars orbit around each other in 4.9 days. The binary shines in x-rays and over a period of months can sporadically become bright or faint. The brightest known state was about one lakh times brighter than the dim state.
The discovery of the mechanism of fasting and feasting process is the breakthrough that many were looking forward to and has given important inputs for further theoretical understanding of these binaries. This allows us to better understand how massive stars form, to study how binaries evolve and to calculate details of supernova explosions, where a neutron star is born in the death of a massive star.
Q.16 ‘Myths are old legends; history is what is thought to have happened, of which science is a part. To replace the latter with the former is rather fanciful’. Comment.
Ans. Some people believe that modern scientific inventions were known to the ancient- most Indians. That there is little scientific evidence to support this may be understood
by raising the possibility that the required knowledge may have existed five thousand years ago but has not been preserved, or that we cannot categorically deny the existence of such knowledge. Therefore, the matter was in a debate recently that what one should believe about mythology, history and science. Mythology is magic realism in the sense that there is some realism and a lot of magic in the fabric of mythology, woven into legendary tales with supernatural objects and supernatural powers.
Myths also show the extremes of human behaviour, dilemmas, attitudes and paradoxes, for example, like imaginations, but Of course, imagination has been a powerful creative force and continues to be. And we have myths today that encapsulate our current imagination but there is a substantial difference. This imagination sometimes makes a link with reality as projected for the future, whereas in India today the claim is that it connects to a reality from our past. On the other hand, Science is based on information and accumulated knowledge.
It requires that this information and knowledge be analysed methodically and logically. The reliability of the evidence, before it can be accepted as proof, has to be rigorously tested. This procedure obviously does not apply to imagination. Inventions are not just momentary leaps of imagination. They have a long gestation period; they go through many different stages and iterations before they evolve into a viable end product like an aeroplane. For the mythical creations of the past, there is no recorded evidence of such a development.
It is true that both science and its discoveries and technology draw on creative inputs from imagination and invention. However, they are not based solely on imagination or they would remain dreams and not become reality Therefore, Mythology should be read as mythology, and therefore with a rich, and separate identity. Ancient myth-makers, among the Egyptians, Greeks, Indians, Chinese and others, saw myth as involving gods and the supernatural, so it is perhaps sensible not to confuse it with history or science. Myths are old legends; history is what is thought to have happened, of which science is a part. To replace the latter with the former is incorrect and, some would say, rather fanciful.
Q.17 Recently Indian space research organization (ISRO) has been in news for its various landmark achievements. Give a brief account of ISRO’s current important achievements.
Ans. “The Indian Space Research Organisation” (ISRO) is the country’s national space agency under the Department of Space, Govt. of India. The primary objective of ISRO is to develop space technology and enable its application to accelerate national development. Satellites designed, developed, built, launched and maintained by ISRO are playing a vital role in many important sectors like telecommunications, TV broadcasting, meteorological observation, natural resources survey and monitoring. The indigenous launch vehicles PSLV and GSLV have launched many operational satellites to orbit. The current important achievements of ISRO are as follows- • With the successful Mars Orbit Insertion of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft on September 24, 2014, ISRO became the fourth Space Agency to successfully send a spacecraft to Mars and the first Nation in the world to do so in its first attempt
• The successful launch of first experimental flight of India’s future heavy capacity launcher GSLV Mk III, which carried Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) as its payload, marked India’s progress towards self-reliance in launching four ton class of communication satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
• French Remote Sensing Satellite SPOT-7 and four more co-passenger satellites from Canada, Germany and Singapore were successfully launched using PSLV- C23.
• India’s new communication satellite GSAT-16 was successfully put into orbit.
• The year 2014 also saw the successful flight testing of GSLV’s indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage, with the successful launch of GSLV-D5 placing the GSAT- 14 communication satellite into its intended orbit.
• Geo Synchronous Launch Vehicle GSLV-D6 with Indigenous Cryogenic Stage, GSAT-6 communication satellite was launched.
• Launch of Astronomical Satellite ASTROSAT is one of the major landmark in its history.
Therefore these are the important achievements in recent time, and in the years to come, India will look forward to sustain its rightful place amongst leading space faring nations while pursuing its vision of harnessing space technology for national development and expanding knowledge in space science research and planetary exploration. Future directions of Indian Space programme include operational services in satellite based communications and navigation, Development and operationalisation of heavy lift launcher for self-reliance in launching 4 Ton class of satellites, Enhanced imaging capability for natural resource management, weather and climate change studies, Space science missions to better understand the solar system and universe, Planetary exploratory missions, Reusable launch vehicles – technology demonstrator missions, development of critical technology human spaceflight and Space Applications towards good governance and National development.
Q.18 What is SMAP? What are its implications? How it could be helpful for India?
Ans. Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) is a satellite launched by NASA. The satellite is on a three-year mission to track the amount of water locked in soil, which may help residents in low-lying regions brace for floods or farmers get ready for drought conditions. Once the satellite reaches the desired orbit 430 miles or 692 kilometers high, engineers will spend two weeks checking out the two instruments, which will measure moisture in the soil every several days to produce high-resolution global maps.
Scientists hope data collected by the satellite, the latest to join NASA’s Earth—orbiting fleet, will improve flood forecasts and drought monitoring. This data will benefit not only scientists seeking a better understanding of our planet, climate and environment but will be a boon for emergency planners and policy makers of the world. This data will benefit not only scientists seeking a better understanding of our planet, climate and environment but also it will be a boon for emergency planners and policy makers. Currently, drought maps and flash flood guidance issued by the federal government are based on computer modeling.
SMAP will take real-time measurements that can be incorporated into forecasts. Therefore, as India is highly vulnerable to hazards like flood and drought, cyclones, tsunami etc. such satellites could be helpful for it manage its disasters. Q.19 Why is AGNI-V significant for India? Explain its difficult features which make it so significant?
Ans. India’s intercontinental ballistic missile, Agni V, has been turned into an even more potent weapon of war. Organisation (DRDO), is expected to boost India’s nuclear deterrence capability along with DRDO recently test fired AGNI-V missile. The configuration of the canister version of ICBM, Agni-V, which was successfully test-fired from Wheeler Island for a range of more than 5,000 km, has been “frozen” and there was no issue as far as validation and verification of India’s most potent strategic missile was concerned.
The advantages of canister version in terms of operational flexibility to the user is one could just park it and launch. Besides providing reduced reaction time, it would also help in camouflaging. A DRDO scientist described this success as a very satisfying mission. Calling it an achievement would be an understatement. The data capturing while the missile was inside the container was a major challenge. It was not supposed to lose data for even a millisecond and sufficient data was collected even though the signal level was low when it was in the canister.
The 17-metre-long, thee-stage solid-fuelled missile, developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development other strategic missiles in Agni series. Agni-V is capable of delivering a 1.1 nuclear warhead over a distance of 5,000 km and the range of missile can cover most parts of China and Europe. This was the third successful flight test of the Inter- Continental Ballistic Missile and the first canister trial. The missile is expected to be inducted into service in a year after a few more canister trials.
The ability to move ballistic missiles around makes it difficult for an enemy to locate and destroy them. Placed in canisters, the missiles can be easily transported and launched with great rapidity in all sorts of weather conditions. The canisters have another advantage as well — they make decoys possible. While these large truck-borne missile containers can be detected by spy satellites passing overhead and may well be noticed by observers on the ground, it will be impossible to tell those that actually carry missiles from ones that are empty.
Launching a missile from a canister is more difficult, the missile must be ejected from the container, using a gas generator, before its first stage can be ignited. Although the DRDO had previously carried out canister launches with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and the 700-km-range Shourya missile, launching the Agni V in a similar fashion was still a considerable technological challenge. Hurling this 17-metre-long, 50-tonne missile clear of its container requires far greater force, which must be provided by large amounts of gas produced very rapidly. In doing so, neither the missile nor its launch system should be damaged. This flawless launch shows that the country’s defence scientists have indeed mastered this complex technology.
Q.20 What are the various evidences found on the mars by various Mars mission which shows that there might have existed life?
Ans. So far, only the United States, the former Soviet Union, the European Space Agency and India have succeeded in sending their mars mission successfully into the mars orbit. And various space missions have found evidences on mars to have life they are as follows- At first, Curiosity found indirect evidence of water that was once present on Mars, and then found true indicators of water that existed as rivers and lakes. The evidences unequivocally showed the presence of fresh water that was neither acidic nor salty. Curiosity also detected wafts of methane in the Martian air. On Earth, methane is largely produced by living organisms. The detections indicated that the gas is present at about 1 part per billion in the Martian atmosphere, or 4,000 times less than in Earth’s. Recently India’s MOM has also detected signals of the presence of methane on Mars but scientific validation is still not complete for the results.
If indeed MOM confirms the presence of methane gas on Mars, it will be a stellar finding since the next big question will be, is there carbon-based life on Mars. Further, the Mars rover Curiosity has for the first time found evidence of indigenous nitrogen in the form of nitrate in aeolian deposits and in two mudstone deposits on the red planet. This discovery has great implications for habitability and, “specifically for the potential evolution of a nitrogen cycle at some point in Martian history.”
The detection of nitrate in aeolian samples and two mudstone samples drilled from a relict lakebed suggests “widespread atmospheric deposition” of nitrogen gas. The detection of nitrate in samples of different kinds (aeolian deposits and mudstone) is quite likely due to nitrogen fixation to nitrate as a result of thermal shock either from impact or volcanic plume lightning. Immaterial of the route in which the nitrogen fixation had taken place, the very presence of fixed nitrogen would have facilitated the development of “primitive nitrogen cycle” on the Martian surface. In turn, this would have provided a “biochemically accessible source of nitrogen.” Therefore, these are some evidences found on the mars by various Mars mission which shows that there might have existed life.
Q.21 What is AWACS? What is its significance for India’s defense sector?
Ans. Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) are radars mounted on an aircraft to provide seamless 360-degree coverage of the airspace. The Air Force is currently operating three Israeli Phalcons based on Russian Il-76 aircraft. The first Indian Air Force AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) platform that altogether sets to alter the dimension of the see-through capability of the IAF beyond conventional visions of ground-based and tethered electromagnetic sensors developed by the DRDO has been delivered recently. The AWACS is an airborne mission support system fitted on an IL-76 aircraft with improved engines.
With radar that can help detect even a cruise missile or an aircraft at ranges far more than the ranges detected through the present ground-based radars, the AWACS radar, most sophisticated to date, can collate surface information about troop movements and missile launches even while listening to highly confidential communications between enemy frontline units. Air combats the world over are now envisaged in an ever-increasing electronic surveillance environment where pilots have little liberties for individual maneuvering without endangering their own lives or safety of their aircraft. The IAF AWACS will help pilots find hitherto unconceivable space and room for tactical maneuvers in the air under controlled directions that will give them an edge over their adversaries at all times. AWACS, a potent force-multiplier, will significantly enhance the effectiveness of both – offensive and defensive operations. The intensity and pace of modern air battle need AWACS for a successful air defence umbrella to be maintained.
The swift mobility that the AWACS platform provides will help neutralize any threat as it can be moved anywhere at a very short notice
Q.22 ‘Organ donation and transplantation provides a second chance at life for thousands of people but on the other hand Organ trade leads to exploitation of the poverty- stricken people by tempting them with financial gains to meet their immediate short- term financial needs’. In the light of the statement discuss the Pros and Cons related to organ transplantation.
Ans. Organ donation and transplantation provides a second chance at life for thousands of people each year. The growing disparity between the rich and poor, demand for human organs and availability of technology in the country makes the trading of organs a quick means to riches for some and a relief for others. Invariably Organ trade leads to exploitation of the poverty-stricken people by tempting them with financial gains to meet their immediate short-term financial needs. Making organs a commodity is fraught with erosion of social, moral, and ethical values and is not an alternative that can be acceptable to meet organ requirements in a civilized society. The World Health Organization (WHO) in its statement on the sale of organs clearly states that it violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as its own constitution:
“The human body and its parts cannot be the subject of commercial transactions. Accordingly, giving or receiving payment… for organs should be prohibited.” Each year hundreds of Indians die while waiting for an organ transplant. The reason: there is acute imbalance between the number of organs donated and the number of people waiting for a transplant. Finding a donor is the main issue in the country. Lack of awareness and improper infrastructure facilities are the main reasons behind the existing scenario. Administrative hurdles and conservative mindset further affect organ transplantation scenario in India.
There are a lot of myths associated with organ donation which needs to be addressed to solve this problem. Most Indians generally believe that it is against the nature and religion that body parts are mutilated. Some are suspicious that the hospital staff may not work hard to save their lives if they want organs. Others believe that there might be a temptation to declare them dead before they are actually dead. Lack of centralised registry, for organ donation, acts as another major hurdle for the people to donate organs or get data about donors.
Also, there is a problem of certifying brain deaths; if people are not aware of brain deaths; it becomes difficult to convince the relatives of the patients for organ donation. In India, the potential for deceased donation is huge due to the high number of fatal road traffic accidents and this pool is yet to be tapped. It is not that people don’t want to donate, but that there are no mechanisms in hospitals to identify and certify brain deaths. Plus, no one empowers the relatives of a brain-dead person to save lives by donating his organs.
Anyone from a child to an elderly person can be a donor. Organ donation from the brain dead – also referred to a cadaveric donation is still very low in India. To conclude, the emerging field of regenerative medicine may allow scientists and engineers to create organs to be re-grown from the patient’s own cells (stem cells, or cells extracted from the failing organs).This would not only improve the availability of compatible organs but also would address the socio-ethical issues attached with it.
Q.23 What is GAGAN project? What can be its implications for Aviation sector and Non- aviation sector?
Ans. GAGAN (GPS- Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) is the first SBAS (Satellite Based Augmentation System) in the world certified for Approach with Vertical Guidance operating in the Equatorial Ionospheric region and the third SBAS to have achieved this feat, after WAAS of USA and EGNOS of Europe. GAGAN is a joint effort of Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). In the aviation field, GAGAN will support more direct air routes, reduce fuel consumption and improve safety.
In addition, GAGAN provides benefits to agriculture, all modes of transportation and public services such a defence services, security agencies and disaster recovery management by aiding in search and rescue to locate the disaster zone accurately.
Since 14th February 2014, GAGAN has been continuously providing navigation signals from GSAT-8 and GSAT-10 satellites launched by ISRO, augmenting the performance of GPS signals received over Indian Airspace. GAGAN system has been fully operational zed from May 2015 and is capable of providing Navigation Services to Departure, en- route and landing operations to suitably equipped aircrafts. The GAGAN System provides very accurate and high level of integrity satellite signals for precision air navigation over the entire Indian airspace.
GAGAN offers free enhanced satellite navigation signals over India which is ten times more precise than GPS. It can offer civilian users integrity, i.e. a measure of trust which can be placed in the correctness of the information supplied by the system, with the user being automatically alerted whenever an error made by the system is beyond a certain confidence limit. Integrity plays an important role in the safety of life applications in transport, sensitive commercial applications and liability-critical applications needing legal recourse.
GAGAN system along with IRNSS, a satellite navigational System will benefit the country in the areas of civil aviation, high sea and inland waterway navigation, rail transport, patrol services and vehicle tracking & fleet monitoring. The navigation system provides precise position & location information and accurate timing information to the users which will benefit the user by way of improved efficiency of operations, cost and time saving, enhanced safety of people, etc.
Q.24 ‘While we’ve seen Graphene LED bulbs before; this is the first time ever Graphene has been used to create a filament for an on-chip visible light source’. Explain its working principle and various uses.
Ans. A collaboration between mechanical engineers from the US and Korea has resulted in the creation of the world’s thinnest light bulb, which is made from wonder material graphene. While we’ve seen graphene LED bulbs before, this is the first time ever graphene has been used to create a filament for an on-chip visible light source. The researchers attached small strips of graphene to metal electrodes and managed to pass a current through them, causing them to heat up. Graphene is a structural modification of carbon, meaning that the researchers are essentially working with exactly the same materials as Thomas Edison was when he created the incandescent bulb. Edison originally used carbon as a filament for his light bulb and here they are going back to the same element, but using it in its pure form — graphene and at its ultimate size limit, one atom thick. The bulb is a new type of ‘broadband’ light emitter.
If it can be integrated into chips, it will pave the way towards the realisation of atomically thin, flexible, and transparent displays, and graphene-based on-chip optical communications. On-chip light sources are used for creating fully integrated “photonic” circuits, necessary for fibre-optic communication methods. Researchers have successfully put other forms of light onto chips, but have never before managed to do this with the purest and simplest form of light — the incandescent filament bulb.
This is because filaments reach temperatures of thousands of degrees Celsius and transfer heat easily to surrounding areas, which would damage the chip. Graphene, however, does not have the same problem. Measuring the light from graphene, the researchers have found that it was reaching temperatures of 2,500 degrees Celsius. “The visible light from atomically thin graphene is so intense that it is visible even to the naked eye, without any additional magnification. But unlike normal filaments, graphene is transparent, which allowed the emission spectrum to be carefully tuned. It is also a very poor conductor of heat, and gets poorer as it gets hotter, meaning that the heat remains only in one very specific spot.
Now these graphene light bulbs exist, the researchers are faced with the task of trying to work out how fast they can be turned on or off, knowledge which will be vital for using them for fibre-optic communication. There will, of course, be other applications for the structures that the researchers have yet to even think of,for example, as micro- hotplates that can be heated to thousands of degrees in a fraction of a second to study high-temperature chemical reactions or catalysis.
Q.25 Write a short note on OPHIR CHASMA.
Ans. Ophir Chasma is a canyon (Canyon is a deep, steep-walled, V-shaped valley cut by a river through resistant rock. Such valleys often occur in the upper courses of rivers, where the stream has a strong, swift current that digs its valley relatively rapidly. Smaller valleys of similar appearance are called gorges), in the Coprates quadrangle situated at 4° south latitude and 72.5° west longitude. It is a portion of the Valles Marineris – the “Grand Canyon of Mars” – and the biggest known canyon in the Solar System. Recently the world’s least expensive Mars mission has captured a 3-D photograph of the Red Planet’s largest canyon with the help of India’s Mars Orbiter “Mangalyaan” or “Mars-craft”.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has published a display of pictures including the Martian canyon Ophir Chasma Recently MOM (mars orbiter mission) cameras have taken 3D images by Mars Colour camera over OPHIR CHASMA, a canyon in the corporate quadrangle of mars. The word Chasma has been designated by the international astronomical union to refer to elongate, steepsided depression.
The photograph, taken at an elevation of 1,857km on July 19, demonstrates the numerous layers of Ophir Chasma – a system of steep valleys and scalloped landscape measuring 62km wide and 317km in length. Q.26 ‘The nuclear liability issue was a hurdle in the nuclear developments of the country that needed to overcome’. In the light of the statement justify the recent nuclear breakthrough between India and U.S.
Ans. An overview of the Indian commentary about the Obama visit would reveal that breaking the logjam on nuclear liability is perceived as its most significant outcome. Both leaders focused on it at their joint press conference and the Joint Statement states that “the Leaders welcomed the understandings reached on the issues of civil nuclear liability and administrative arrangements for civil nuclear cooperation, and looked forward to U.S.-built nuclear reactors contributing to India’s energy security at the earliest.
The two leaders had reaffirmed their commitment to implement fully the India-U.S. civil nuclear cooperation agreement. Both leaders realized that the nuclear liability issue was a hurdle that needed to be overcome to take the relationship forward. There were two principal sticking points in the 2010 Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLNDA). The first was Section 17 which enables the operator of the nuclear installation (under Indian system, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. or NPCIL), after paying compensation to the victims of nuclear damage, to have the right of recourse against the supplier, subject to certain conditions. Two of these conditions, namely when such a right is part of the written contract between supplier and operator, and second, when the nuclear accident has happened because of the intent to cause damage, are accepted as part of the international legal regime pertaining to nuclear liability.
The third condition introduced in Section 17(b) was novel and gave the operator a right of recourse against the supplier if the incident had been due to ‘supply of equipment or material with patent or latent defects or substandard services. The supplier community interpreted this provision as ambiguous and one that rendered it vulnerable to open-ended liability claims. Although the need for supplier’s liability has been raised in the recent past after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan raised questions about the manufacture of the reactor and parts, and the possible damages of as much as $200 billion.
However U.S. manufacturers and even Indian suppliers have raised concerns over India’s CLND law saying that it would be unviable for them to conduct nuclear business in India with the risk of that kind of liability being “channelled” to the suppliers. Therefore, the government has launched an insurance pool to the tune of Rs. 1,500 crore which is mandatory under the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLND), noting that several projects such as the long-pending Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojna (GHAVP) that were held up in its absence, are now expected to move forward after setting up of the pool. Clauses in the CLND Act, which give the operator the Right to Recourse and allow it to sue the suppliers in case of any accident, were seen as being a major hindrance to the growth of the nuclear industry. These concerns led to the formation of the Indian nuclear insurance pool.
Q.27 ‘Renewable Energy has been identified as one of Core Sectors for the ‘Make In India’ Initiative’. Elaborate.
Ans. For a rapidly urbanizing India, energy security is a key challenge that needs to be met at the earliest. The urgency of the issue is evident from the fact that India’s urban population would increase manifold and there should be an additional incentive for spurring investments into building infrastructure for renewable energy to provide energy security. This should also boost the manufacturing sector as a whole. The key challenge for India is to grow at 9-10% per annum for three decades or more, to be able to create jobs for a young population. The second challenge is – India is urbanizing rapidly. These challenges of growth can only be met if the manufacturing sector grows at 13-14% per annum.
India has largely grown through services. We can’t grow without energy and it is important to understand that, in India’s case, we cannot grow without renewable energy. India’s current renewable energy portfolio stands at 33.79 GW out of a total of 254 GW of installed power capacity, and noted that the huge potential resource of 895 GW from commercially exploitable resources had resulted in renewable energy being identified as one of 25 sectors for the ‘Make in India’ initiative. We need to create a complete ecosystem for this. 70 percent of the country’s solar content is imported and coming in from China and the US. In the wind sector, manufacturing capacity is 10 GW and caters to rural markets mainly even if numerous companies have set up operations.
In the small hydro sector, we have installed capacity of 3.8 GW as against an estimated potential of 20 GW. It is believed that renewables holds massive financial promise for investors since India is aiming to expand energy generation from renewables to 100 GW over the next five years. India has favorable conditions for the solar energy, wind energy and hydro energy and thermal energy, but feed-in tariffs, portfolio standards, better evacuation infrastructure and moving away from predictive buying and selling are some of the issues that had to be looked into to help grow the renewables sector’s footprint in energy generation.
India could also learn from the incentive schemes used in the US, Europe and China, such as tax rebates as well as financial instruments like green bonds. We need to ensure that renewable energy generation expansion by mandating a percentage of the grid supply that must be sourced from renewables. Since we are talking about size, scale and speed, we need to get over the technological barriers which remain because of poor evacuation infrastructure. For example take wind, many assets lie unused because generated power is not being evacuated and not being sold. If we get this and net metering structure right, then it’ll be successful.
Also, with open access smart infrastructure not in place, renewable generation cannot be aggregated and the buying and selling is predictive. Hence, the back end needs to be put right. Therefore, it is welcome step that ‘Make in India’ campaign has included it in its core sector as India is the fourth largest consumer of energy worldwide today and this is expected to be doubled by 2030 so there must be a focus on renewable energy sources.
Q.28 ‘Jawaharlal Nehru solar mission’ is a step towards ‘Solar India’. Elucidate. Also discuss the relevance of this solar mission for India?
Ans. The National Solar Mission is a major initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India’s energy security challenge. It will also constitute a major contribution by India to the global effort to meet the challenges of climate change. The National Action Plan on Climate Change points out that: “India is a tropical country, where sunshine is available for longer hours per day and in great intensity. Solar energy, therefore, has great potential as future energy source.
It also has the advantage of permitting the decentralized distribution of energy, thereby empowering people at the grassroots level”. Based on this vision a National Solar Mission that is Jawaharlal Nehru Solar mission has been launched under the brand name “Solar India”. The objective of the National Solar Mission is to establish India as a global leader in solar energy, by creating the policy conditions for its diffusion across the country as quickly as possible.
The immediate aim of the Mission is to focus on setting up an enabling environment for solar technology penetration in the country both at a centralized and decentralized level. Importance and relevance of solar energy for India-
• Cost: Solar is currently high on absolute costs compared to other sources of power such as coal. The objective of the Solar Mission is to create conditions, through rapid scale-up of capacity and technological innovation to drive down costs towards grid parity.
• Scalability: India is endowed with vast solar energy potential. About 5,000 trillion kWh per year energy is incident over India’s land area with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per sq. m per day. Hence both technology routes for conversion of solar radiation into heat and electricity, namely, solar thermal and solar photovoltaics, can effectively be harnessed providing huge scalability for solar in India. Solar also provides the ability to generate power on a distributed basis and enables rapid capacity addition with short lead times.
• Environmental impact: Solar energy is environmentally friendly as it has zero emissions while generating electricity or heat.
• Security of source: From an energy security perspective, solar is the most secure of all sources, since it is abundantly available. Theoretically, a small fraction of the total incident solar energy (if captured effectively) can meet the entire country’s power requirements. It is also clear that given the large proportion of poor and energy un-served population in the country, every effort needs to be made to exploit the relatively abundant sources of energy available to the country.
Therefore, the Mission strategy has kept in mind the two-fold objectives, to scale-up deployment of solar energy and to do this keeping in mind the financial constraints and affordability challenge in a country where large numbers of people still have no access to basic power and are poor and unable to pay for high cost solutions.
Q.29 What are the objectives of “National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)’? How it can help India for ‘Building Capacity and Capability”?
Ans. There are Nine (9) supercomputers from India that figured in the list of top 500 supercomputers according to the 44th edition of TOP 500 list, released in November 2014, of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. The government has recently approved the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM). The mission would be implemented jointly by Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).
The mission is driven with the aim of consolidating various ongoing efforts into a nationally coordinated collaborative programme involving developers and users of supercomputing systems as well as academic and research institutions along with effective collaborative, governance and monitoring mechanisms to build culture of supercomputing for solving complex R&D problems and designing solutions addressing various country specific requirements for scientific, strategic and societal applications.
It’s a visionary program to enable India to stand parallel with world class computing power nations. It aims at empowering our national academic and research and development institutions by installing a vast super computing grid connecting 70 supercomputers located in R&D Institutions, Universities and the 1 million core cloud using National Knowledge Network (NKN).
Using these facility, our key departments, ministries, academic and research institutions can develop various applications of national relevance. This mission would make supercomputing accessible to a large scientific and technology community in the country. It would benefit the country by providing significant Qualitative and quantitative improvement in R&D and higher education in discipline of science and tech. it would enhance the capacity of country for solving multi-disciplinary grand challenges like new age crimes, new age diseases, various disasters etc. It also includes advanced research and development.
It has many benefits like vehicles, Aeroplanes, Massive structures, infrastructure building, and life saving drugs and new energy sources, The National Supercomputing Mission would be an enabler for the Digital India vision of the Government by making available huge data storage space and linking systems together. The mission envisages manufacturing of supercomputing systems in India and may play a lead role in Make in India vision and with its prime aim ‘Building Capacity and Capability’.
Q.30 What is ‘NATIONAL AYUSH MISSION’? Do you think that it can fill the gap of accessibility of health?
Ans. In India, we have a pluralistic health care delivery system where the Government provides opportunity to every recognized medical system to develop and be practiced with a view to provide integrated and holistic health care services. That is why there is a peaceful co-existence of Allopathy with Ayurveda and Siddha, which are traditional and indigenous systems of medicine with Unani which originated from Persia and Homoeopathy which is from Germany.
AYUSH is the acronym for Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & Sowa, Rigpa, and Homoeopathy. AYUSH systems of medicines are a group of Indian systems of medicine and Homeopathy. Thus, the Government has launched the National AYUSH Mission with the objectives of providing cost effective AYUSH Services, with a universal access. The proposed Mission will address the gaps in health services through supporting the efforts of State/UT Governments for providing AYUSH health services/education in the country, particularly in vulnerable and far-flung areas. Under NAM special focus will be given for specific needs of such areas and for allocation of higher resources in their Annual Plans.
The Mission will help in:
• The improvement of AYUSH education through enhancement in the number of upgraded educational institutions.
• Better access to AYUSH services through increase in number of AYUSH hospitals and dispensaries, availability of drugs and manpower.
• Providing sustained availability of quality raw material for AYUSH systems of medicine; and
• Improving availability of quality Ayurvedic, Siddha, Unani and Homeopathy (ASU&H) drugs through increase in number of pharmacies, drug laboratories and improved enforcement mechanism of ASU&H drugs.
AYUSH services are provided by public, private and voluntary sector organizations and the range of their distribution varies from state to state. All these medical systems are being utilized in the national health care delivery system, each to its potential and availability in different parts of the country India possesses an unmatched heritage represented by its ancient systems of medicine like ASU&H which are a treasure house of knowledge for preventive and promoting healthcare. The positive features of the Indian systems of medicine namely their diversity and flexibility; accessibility; affordability, a broad acceptance by a large section of the general public; comparatively lesser cost and growing economic value, have great potential to make them providers of healthcare that the large sections of our people need. Therefore, it has a potential to fill the health care gaps in the country.
In fact, all the systems of medicine should be geared up by utilizing their unique strengths and proven abilities to contribute to need based health planning. Importance of traditional systems of medicine vis a vis conventional streams can be taken together for universal health access in India.
Q.31 What is ROTAvirus and ROTAVAC? Why ROTAVAC is more important for India?
Ans. The name Rotavirus comes from the characteristic wheel-like appearance of the virus when viewed by electron microscope (the name rotavirus is derived from the Latin word Rota, meaning “wheel”). Rota viral diarrhea is an infection of the stomach and bowel. It spreads when infected children do not maintain proper personal hygiene. Virus spreads by contact or airborne route. Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoeal (gastro enteritis) disease in infants and young children globally. Children under five years of age, especially those between 6 months and two years are most vulnerable to this disease.
Studies have revealed that in India, on an average 34% of all diarrheal hospitalizations are due to rota virus infection and the proportion of severe rota viral infection has not decreased in the last few years, similar to the global trend indicating that improved sanitation and use of anti-biotics have not been effective on rota virus. The prevalence of Rota virus in new born is high in India to the extent of 73%, but these infections are normally a- symptomatic and the likelihood of acquiring infection increases with the length of stay in the hospital. The observed proportion of rotavirus cases occurring in the cooler season has ranged from 59% to 72%.
ROTAVAC is an oral vaccine and is administered to infants in a three-dose course at the ages of 6, 10, and 14 weeks. It is given alongside routine immunizations in the UIP (Universal immunisation program) vaccines recommended at these ages. Improving the overall performance of the immunization system is critical to the success of any vaccine introduction. The new vaccine ROTAVAC has been developed under an innovative public-private partnership model. It involved partnership between the Ministry of Science and Technology, the institutions of the US Government, various government institutions and NGOs in India, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
ROTAVAC represents the successful research and development of a novel vaccine from the developing world with global standards. This initiative is an example of India’s capabilities for high-end research and development; manufacture of sophisticated pharmaceutical products in India; and, effective Public-Private-Partnership model for finding affordable solutions to societal challenges. It is hoped that the development of the rotavirus vaccine would inspire higher levels of research, development and manufacturing activities in India, not just in medical science, but also in other advanced areas of science and technology.
After this development it is felt that solutions found in India would have great relevance to the rest of the world, especially the developing world. Therefore, this makes it important development of India.
Q.32 What Universal Immunization program? What are the challenges behind it in India? How can ‘Mission Indradhanush’ help overcome those challenges?
Ans. Vaccination is a proven and one of the most cost effective child survival interventions. Therefore the Universal Immunisation Programme (U.I.P.) was launched. It is one of the largest in the world in terms of quantities of vaccine used, the number of beneficiaries, the number of Immunisation session organised, the geographical spread and diversity of areas covered. The policy of Immunisation to all children during the first year of life with DPT, OPV and BCG to complete the series of primary vaccination before reaching the age of one year is universal immunisation program.
Universal Immunisation programme UIP was launched in 1985 in a phased manner. Along with following UIP, India expanded its immunization programme with the introduction of three new vaccines in 2014. There is an urgent need to ensure that the benefit of complete vaccination is provided to all children in the country. In spite of all positive changes, there are ongoing challenges and shortcoming in the programme.
The coverage with vaccines in National Immunization Programme is suboptimal and there are inter- and intra-state variations in the coverage. There are wide variations in the proportion of partially immunized and unimmunized children within states and districts. Data recording and reporting is suboptimal and disease surveillance system desires improvement.
It is critical to address these reasons and identify the districts where focused efforts, systematic immunization drive and additional resources will be required for reaching all children with all available life- saving vaccines. The challenges faced in delivering lifesaving vaccines to the targeted beneficiaries need to be addressed from the existing knowledge and learning from the past. Though the preventive efforts from diseases were practiced in India, the reluctance, opposition and a slow acceptance of vaccination have been the characteristic of vaccination history in the country. The operational challenges keep the coverage inequitable in the country.
The lessons from the past events have been analysed and interpreted to guide immunization efforts. The result is the ‘Mission Indradhanush’ launched on 25th December, 2014 with an aim to cover all those children who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated. ‘Mission Indradhanush’ is a nationwide initiative with a special focus on 201 high focus districts. These districts account for nearly 50% of the total partially vaccinated or unvaccinated children in the country. Mission Indradhanush will provide protection against seven life-threatening diseases (Diphtheria, Whooping Cough, Tetanus, Polio, Tuberculosis, Measles and Hepatitis B).
In addition, vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis and Haemophilus influenza type B will be provided in selected districts of the country. Vaccination against tetanus will be provided to the pregnant women. Micro plans developed to make the Mission mode successful will draw on the lessons learned from the Polio eradication towards systems strengthening, vaccine cold chain management, regular surveillance and monitoring of the plans to reach each and every left out and uncovered child. The government has sought technical support from various external agencies like WHO, UNICEF and Rotary to achieve the goals of this programme. Mission Indradhanush depicting seven colours of the rainbow, aims to cover all those children by 2020 who are either unvaccinated or are partially vaccinated against seven vaccine preventable diseases.
The Mission Indradhanush initiative is a call for action by the Government of India to intensify efforts to expedite the full immunization coverage in the country. Full immunization will rescues lakhs of children from disease mortality and morbidity and is essential for social development.
Q.33 “Digital India” programme envisions, transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. Elaborate.
Ans. Government of India has approved the ‘Digital India’ programme with the vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. Digital India is an umbrella programme that covers multiple Government Ministries and Departments. It weaves together a large number of ideas and thoughts into a single, comprehensive vision so that each of them can be implemented as part of a larger goal. Each individual element stands on its own, but is also part of the entire Government. Digital India is implemented by the entire Government and being coordinated by the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY).
The vision of Digital India is centred on three key areas, viz.,
(i) Infrastructure as a Utility to Every Citizen
(ii) Governance and Services on Demand and
(iii) Digital Empowerment of Citizens. Digital India aims to provide the much needed thrust to the following nine pillars of growth areas as summarised below:
• Broadband Highways: This covers three sub components, namely Broadband for All Rural, Broadband for All Urban and National Information Infrastructure.
• Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity: The initiative is to focus on network penetration and fill the gaps in connectivity in the country.
• Public Internet Access Programme: The two sub components of Public Internet Access Programme are Common Service Centres and Post Offices as multi-service centres.
• E-Governance – Reforming Government through Technology: Government Business Process Re-engineering using IT to improve transactions is the most critical for transformation across government and therefore needs to be implemented by all ministries/ departments. The guiding principles for reforming government through technology are Form simplification and field reduction; online applications and tracking of their status, Use of online repositories e.g. school certificates, voter ID cards, etc.
Integration of services and platforms, e.g. UIDAI, Payment Gateway, Mobile Platform, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) etc. Electronic Databases, Workflow Automation inside Government and Public Grievance Redressal through IT.
• E-Kranti (NeGP 2.0) – Electronic delivery of services: There are 31 Mission Mode Projects under this such as, Technology for Education – e-Education, Technology for Health – e-Healthcare, Technology for Farmers, Technology for Security, Technology for Financial Inclusion, Technology for Justice, Technology for Planning, Technology for Cyber Security etc.
• Information for All: Open Data platform and online hosting of information & documents would facilitate open and easy access to information for citizens.
• Electronics Manufacturing – Target NET ZERO Imports: Target NET ZERO Imports is a striking demonstration of intent, Existing structures are inadequate to handle this goal and need strengthening.
• IT for Jobs: 1 Cr students from smaller towns & villages will be trained for IT sector jobs over 5 years.
• Early Harvest Programmes: IT Platform for Messages, Government Greetings to be e-Greetings, Biometric attendance, Wi-Fi in All Universities, Secure Email within Government, Standardize Government Email Design, Public Wi-fi hotspots, School Books to be eBooks, SMS based weather information, disaster alerts, and National Portal for Lost & Found children. Some of the aforementioned projects are under various stages of implementation and may require some transformational process reengineering, refinements and adjustment of scoping and implementation strategy to achieve the desired service level objectives by the concerned line Ministries/Departments at the Central, State and Local Government levels.
But the aforesaid goals and objectives of the mission has a wide coverage and if succeeded it id definitely going to achieve its vision of transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
Q.34 ‘With the country consuming more than four million barrels of crude a day, the achievement for a strategic oil storage project is a welcome step’. Elaborate in the light of recent developments for it.
Ans. In 1990, as the Gulf war engulfed West Asia, India was in the throes of a major energy crisis. By all accounts India’s oil reserves at the time were adequate for only three days. While India managed to avert the crisis then, the threat of energy disruption continues to present a real danger even today. To address energy insecurity, the NDA government mooted the concept of strategic petroleum reserves in 1998. Today, with India consuming upwards of four million barrels of crude every day, the case for creating such reserves grows stronger. It is unlikely that India’s energy needs will dramatically move away from fossil fuels in the near future. Over 80 per cent of these fuels come from imports, a majority of which is sourced from West Asia.
This is a major strategic risk and poses a massive financial drain for an embattled economy and its growing current account deficit. India has been slow in getting off the starting block. Its strategic oil reserve project was mooted in 1998 and commissioned in 2003. After extensive land acquisitions and tackling site suitability, security and design-related issues, it was only in February this year that the country began filling up a strategic storage facility. With the government planning to add storage capacity to the tune of 39 million barrels in the future, India stands poised to cover only a 10-day supply of imports.
This is well short of Vision 2020 that envisages 90 days of imports, conservatively pegged at almost 360 million barrels of oil. But all this capacity building is expensive. Moreover, there is also a time delay involved. However, the Government, through Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL), is setting up Strategic Crude Oil Reserves with storage capacity of 5.33 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) at three locations viz. Visakhapatnam (storage capacity: 1.33 MMT), Mangalore (storage capacity: 1.5 MMT) and Padur (storage capacity: 2.5 MMT) to enhance the energy security of the country. Recently, construction of one of the three crude storage facilities that is underground storage facility in Visakhapatnam, has been completed by Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL).
This is one of the three underground rock caverns built by ISPRL to store crude. It was significant achievement. Apart from storage facility, considering the volatile energy situation in the Gulf and elsewhere, and the fact that India imports almost 80 per cent of its oil and boasts of a world-class high-capacity refining infrastructure makes the possibility of commercially- led but strategically regulated storage alternatives a no-brainer. This is where ‘commercial agreements’ come to the fore. By getting into commercial ‘forward’ agreements with exporters/ refiners, India can benefit from closer access to the commercial reserves while reducing the cost of access.
Beyond such commercial engagements, agreements around obligatory sharing mechanisms during emergencies could help address India’s critical energy security concerns. Finally, considering the government’s interest in boosting infrastructure development and its focus on reclaiming the geopolitical high-ground, this initiative can symbolise a great milestone — a pragmatic Vision 2020 towards creating a semblance of ‘control’ in an area over which it has traditionally enjoyed very little. This will ensure that India will never have to see the dire days it saw during the 1990 crisis.
• He has penned many books like the Wings of Fire 2020-A Vision for the New Millennium, My Journey and Ignited Minds-Unleashing the Power within India. He has been awarded with ‘Padma Bhushan’, ‘Padma Vibhushan’ and ‘Bharat Ratna’.
• In his literary pursuit, Dr. Kalam’s books – “Wings of Fire”, “India 2020 -A Vision for the New Millennium”, “My journey” and “Ignited Minds -Unleashing the power within India” became household names in India and abroad.
Dr. Kalam was passionate about transforming society through technology, in particular by inspiring the youth of India to harness science and technology for human welfare and working for the upliftment of the poor and the physically challenged, calling Kalam just ‘Missile Man’ would be unfair; he was a ‘Man of Gold’.
Q.36 Discuss why Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam is called a missile man?
Ans. Recently Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam popularly Known as ‘Missile Man’, the former President of India breathed his last at Bethany Hospital, Shillong, Meghalaya on 27th July, 2015. With his passing away the country has lost a visionary scientist, a true nationalist and a great son of India. Born on 15th October, 1931 at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, specialized in Aeronautical Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology. Dr. Kalam made significant contribution in developing India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle and made India an exclusive member of Space Club.
Popularly known as the “Missile Man of India’, he was responsible for the development and operationalisation of AGNI and PRITHVI Missiles. He gave thrust to self-reliance in defence systems by introducing Light Combat Aircraft. He was also responsible for evolving policies, strategies and missions for many development applications. Although his contribution to the ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology, earned him the name as “Missile Man of India” but his other in the field of science and technology are as follows:
• A genius to the core, Dr Abdul Kalam was the mastermind behind India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III).
• He was the project director of India’s first satellite ‘Rohini’.
• In his tenure in DRDO, Kalam was chief of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program and developed five different missiles- Nag, Akash, Trishul, Agni, Prithvi.
• He was also responsible for the operation and development of Prithvi and Agni missiles and for designing indigenous weapons by bringing together various institutions.
• As the Scientific advisor to the Mi
nistry of Defense and the Secretary to the Department of Defense Research and Development, he designed the concept of joint partnership which led to the formation of BrahMos Aerospace between Russia and India.