Posted in Indian Economy

Space Services in India

updated on May 8th, 2019

Space Services

India’s space programme contributes to the development of the economy in several ways. Satellite based mapping and launching services are the two areas in which India is making a mark and has huge potential for the future. Major features (as per the Economic Survey 2017-18) of India’s space services are as given below:

  • In Satellite Mapping, there has been a decline in the foreign exchange earnings in recent years, primarily due to free and open data policy adopted by many space agencies. India is negotiating with the customers for renewal of contracts.
  • ISRO is pursuing a project to support ASEAN Member states including Myanmar to receive and process data from Indian remote sensing satellites (Resourcesat-2 and Oceansat-2) and also to provide training in space science, technology and applications for the benefit of the ASEAN member countries.
  • Antrix (the marketing arm of the ISRO) is currently enables (exports) direct reception and processing of data from Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) Satellites (namely Resourcesat-2, Oceansat-2 and Cartosat-1) to the world community (through the International Ground Station). During 2017-18, Antrix has been working with various resellers across the globe for distribution of IRS data, including Europe, USA, Latin America, Africa and South Eastern Countries.
  • By March 2017, PSLV had successfully launched 254 satellites. This includes 37 National Satellites, eight student satellites built by universities/academic institutions, one re-entry mission and 209 foreign satellites from 29 countries.
  • Foreign exchange earnings of India from export of satellite launch services increased noticeably in 2015-16 and 2016-17 to Rs 394 crore. Consequently, India’s share in global satellite launch services revenue has also increased to 1.1 per cent in 2015-16 (it was 0.3 per cent in the preceding year).

PS : How to prepare Indian Economy for UPSC ?

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Posted in Indian Economy

Research and development (r&d) Services

Research and development (r&d) Services

At present, there is no separate head6 for Research and Development (R&D) and it is now a part of the professional scientific and technical activities. The major features of India’s R&D services are as given below:

  • The sector grew by 17.5 per cent and 41.1 per cent in 2014-15 and 2015-16 respectively. India- based R&D services companies, which account for almost 22 per cent of the global market, grew at 12.7 per cent.
  • India’s gross expenditure on R&D has been low at around 1 per cent of GDP. India currently ranks 60th out of 127 on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2017, though this ranking has improved from 66th rank in 2016. Among the BRICS countries only South Africa is behind India in R&D expenditure ranking.
  • As per the global rankings of service providers in the Engineering R&D segment for 2016, the R&D spend by global top 500 R&D spenders is growing
  • consistently at 1.5 per cent over the last two years with focus on building digital first R&D organizations. The total R&D Globalization and Services opportunity in 2016 was estimated at US$ 232 billion, and is projected to reach US$ 289 billion by 2021.
  • Embedded and Software engineering constitute 76 per cent of the R&D outsourcing market. On the geographical spread, India, Western Europe and north America capture 75 per cent of the global Engineering R&D Services market. India’s Engineering R&D (ER&D) globalization and services market, which currently stands at about US$ 22 billion, is expected to reach US$ 38 billion by 2020.
  • As per the latest Global Competitiveness Report 2017-18, India’s capacity for innovation has been lower than that of many countries like the USA, the UK, South Korea, but better than China’s.
  • In terms of university–industry collaboration on R&D, India ranks better than all other BRICS countries and in terms of availability of scientists and engineers, it ranks better than other BRICS countries except China.
  • In terms of patents applications per million population, India significantly lags behind other BRICS countries and in terms of company spending on R&D, India ranks marginally below China.

The Government has taken many initiatives in recent times to promote the R&D sector in India—

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) has been established in the NITI Aayog.
  • Indo-Israel agreement has been signed to enhance new R&D projects in the areas of big data analytics in healthcare and cyber security.
  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is promoting development of new generation of refrigerants as alternatives to the presently used hydro-fluro-carbons (aimed at protecting ozone layer and climate).

With the active support of the Government, the R&D sector in India is all set to witness robust growth in the coming years. According to a study (Economic Survey 2017-18) by management consulting firm Zinnov, engineering R&D market in India is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14 percent to reach US$ 42 billion by 2020.

PS : How to prepare Indian Economy for UPSC ?

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Posted in Science and Technology

Regeneration of Organs in Animals

Some parts of our bodies can repair themselves quite well after injury, but others don’t repair at all. We certainly can’t regrow a whole leg or arm, but some animals CAN regrow – or regenerate – whole body parts. So what can we learn from these regenerative animals?

Many animals can regenerate-that is, regrow or grow new parts of their bodies to replace those that have been damaged. Here are a few of these amazing creatures.

Axolotl can regenerate a variety of structures, including their limbs

Planarians are flatworms. If cut into pieces, each piece can grow into a new worm.

Lizards who lose all or part of their tails can grow new ones. This is a good escape technique. A lost tail will continue to wiggle, which might distract the predator and give the lizard a chance to escape. Most lizards will have regrown their tail within nine months.

Sea cucumbers have bodies that can grow to be three feet long. If cut into pieces, each one can become a new sea cucumber.

Sharks continually replace lost teeth. A shark may grow 24,000 teeth in a lifetime.

Spiders can regrow missing legs or parts of legs.

Sponges can be divided. In that case, the cells of the sponge will regrow and combine exactly as before.

Starfish that lose arms can grow new ones; sometimes an entire animal can grow from a single lost arm.

Humans can regenerate Skin and Liver

Mouse can regenerate Liver

Zebrafish can regenerate heart tissue without relying on stem cells

Like a starfish, an octopus can regrow lost arms. Unlike a starfish, a severed octopus arm does not regrow another octopus.

Posted in Science and Technology

GS 1 prelim 2017/45

updated on March 26th, 2019

45. With reference to agriculture in India, how can the technique of ‘genome sequencing’, often seen in the news, be used in the immediate future ?

1. Genome sequencing can be used to identify genetic markers for disease resistance and drought tolerance in various crop plants.

2. This technique helps in reducing the time required to develop new varieties of crop plants.

3. It can be used to decipher the host-pathogen relationships in crops.

Select the correct answer using the code given Below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer is ‘D’

Genome sequencing is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome—the order of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts that make up an organism’s DNA.

Justification: Statement 1:  Currently available newborn screening (genome) for childhood diseases allows detection of rare disorders that can be prevented or better treated by early detection and intervention.

Statement 2:  Naturally if the gene potential can be identified by screening and sequencing, it will help in better genetic engineering.

Statement 3: This can be reasoned logically based on the above.

Sequencing DNA means determining the order of the four chemical building blocks – called “bases” – that make up the DNA molecule.

Applications of genome sequencing

• Agriculture

DNA sequencing has played vital role in the field of agriculture. It can be used to identify geneticmarkers for diseases resistance, pest resistant, herbicide resistant and drought tolerance in various crop plants. DNA sequencing helps in reducing the time required to develop newvarieties of crop plants. It can also be used to decipher the host-pathogen relationshipsin crops. These plants can also fulfill the need of food in poor countries. Similarly, it has beenuseful in the production of livestock with improved quality of meat and milk.

PS : Genome Sequence is in these days , So expect more questions in near future . Till we write a good post about it make good notes on this .

Posted in Prelims, Science and Technology

GS 1 prelim 2017/44

updated on March 26th, 2019

44. The terms ‘Event Horizon’, ‘Singularity’, ‘String Theory’ and ‘Standard Model’ are sometimes seen in the news in the context of

(a) Observation and understanding of the Universe

(b) Study of the solar and the lunar eclipses

(c) Placing satellites in the orbit of the Earth

(d) Origin and evolution of living organisms on the Earth

Answer is ‘A’

By Asking this question, UPSC has just checked how much you are comfortable with science Jargon .

Event horizon, boundary marking the limits of a black hole. At the event horizon, the escape velocity is equal to the speed of light. Since general relativity states that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, nothing inside the event horizon can ever cross the boundary and escape beyond it, including light. Thus, nothing that enters a black hole can get out or can be observed from outside the event horizon.

In the centre of a black hole is a gravitational singularity, a one-dimensional point which contains a huge mass in an infinitely small space, where density and gravity become infinite and space-time curves infinitely, and where the laws of physics as we know them cease to operate.

Current theory suggests that, as an object falls into a black hole and approaches the singularity at the centre, it will become stretched out or “spaghettified” due to the increasing differential in gravitational attraction on different parts of it, before presumably losing dimensionality completely and disappearing irrevocably into the singularity.

In string theory, there are no elementary particles (like electrons or quarks), but pieces of vibrating strings. Each vibration mode corresponds to a different particle and determines its charge and its mass. In the current understanding of the theory, those strings are not “made of” anything: they are the fundamental constituent of matter. The consequences of replacing point-like particles by vibrating microscopic strings are enormous. The only consistent framework to describe those strings implies a 10- or even conceivably an 11-dimension world in which 6 or 7 dimensions are curled up. Those extra dimensions are the ones which determine the properties of the world we live in. The larger dimensions are what we perceive as the ordinary space and time.

The theories and discoveries of thousands of physicists since the 1930s have resulted in a remarkable insight into the fundamental structure of matter: everything in the universe is found to be made from a few basic building blocks called fundamental particles, governed by four fundamental forces. Our best understanding of how these particles and three of the forces are related to each other is encapsulated in the Standard Model of particle physics. Developed in the early 1970s, it has successfully explained almost all experimental results and precisely predicted a wide variety of phenomena.

Posted in Science and Technology

GS 1 prelim 2018/66

updated on March 22nd, 2019

66. When the alarm of your smartphone rings in the morning, you wake up and tap it to stop the alarm which causes your geyser to be

switched on automatically. The smart mirror in your bathroom shows the day’s weather and also indicates the level of water in your overhead tank. After you take some groceries from your refrigerator for making breakfast, it recognises the shortage of stock in it and places an order for the supply of fresh grocery

items. When you step out of your house and lock the door, all lights, fans, geysers and AC machines get switched off automatically. On your way to office, your car warns you about technology traffic congestion ahead and suggests an alternative route, and if you are late for a meeting, it sends a message to your office accordingly.

In the context of emerging communication technologies, which one of the following terms

best applies to the above scenario ?

(a) Border Gateway Protocol

(b) Internet of Things

(c) Internet Protocol

(d) Virtual Private Network

Answer is ‘B’

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network comprised of physical objects capable of gathering and sharing electronic information. The Internet of Things includes a wide variety of “smart” devices, from industrial machines that transmit data about the production process to sensors that track information about the human body.

Often, these devices use internet protocol (IP), the same protocol that identifies computers over the World Wide Web and allows them to communicate with one another.

The goal behind the internet of things is to have devices that self-report in real time, improving efficiency and bringing important information to the surface more quickly than a system depending on human intervention.