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Centre Push For NavIC System

Context

India is pressuring technology behemoths to make smartphones compatible with the country’s navigation system within the next few months.

Relevance

GS Paper 3: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

Mains Question

Bring to light various global navigation systems. Discuss the importance of promoting NavIC as a domestic alternative to relying on foreign satellite systems for navigation service requirements, particularly in “strategic sectors.”. (150 Words)


Summary of Recent Events:

  • The Indian government wishes to reduce reliance on foreign systems, including the widely used U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS).
  • As a result, it has requested that smartphone manufacturers make smartphones compatible with the NavIC.
  • However, companies such as Samsung, Xiaomi, and Apple are concerned about increased costs and disruptions as a result of the move, which will necessitate hardware changes.
  • According to the government, NavIC provides more accurate domestic navigation and that its use will benefit the Indian economy.

NavIC Information:

  • The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System is another name for NavIC, or Navigation with Indian Constellation (IRNSS).
    • With the last satellite launch of the constellation (IRNSS-1G), India’s Prime Minister renamed IRNSS NaVIC.
  • It is a self-contained navigation satellite system that currently consists of 8 satellites.
  • IRNSS currently consists of eight satellites, three in geostationary orbit and five in geosynchronous orbit.
    • IRNSS-1I will replace IRNSS-1A, which became inoperable after its three rubidium atomic clocks failed.
  • It is created by the ISRO. In 2006, NavIC was approved.
  • It was supposed to be finished by late 2011, but it didn’t open until 2018.
  • NavIC covers the entire Indian subcontinent and up to 1,500 kilometres beyond its borders.
  • The International Maritime Organization (IMO) recognised it as a component of the World Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS) for use in the Indian Ocean Region in 2020.

Benefits:

• NavIC is currently used in –

o In India, public vehicle tracking

o To provide emergency warning alerts to fishermen venturing into deep sea where terrestrial network connectivity is unavailable, and

o To track and provide information about natural disasters.

• The next step for India is to enable it in smartphones.

Other Navigation Methods:

• The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system owned and operated by the United States government’s Space Force.

• The primary distinction between GPS and NavIC is the serviceable area that these systems cover.

o GPS serves users worldwide, with satellites orbiting the Earth twice daily, whereas NavIC is currently only available in India and surrounding areas.

• In addition to GPS, four other navigation systems have global coverage –

o The European Union’s Galileo,

o Japan’s QZSS (Quasi-Zenith Satellite System),

o Russia’s GLONASS and

o China’s Beidou.

What is India’s motivation for promoting NavIC?

  • India claims that NavIC was designed to reduce reliance on foreign satellite systems for navigation service requirements, particularly in “strategic sectors.”
  • Relying on systems such as GPS and GLONASS may not always be reliable because they are operated by respective nations’ defence agencies, and civilian services may be degraded or denied.
  • India also wishes to encourage its ministries to use NavIC applications in order to promote indigenous NavIC-based solutions.

NAVIC VS GPS

  • The GPS system has a position accuracy of 20-30 metres.
  • Unlike GPS, which is only dependent on the L-band, NavIC has dual frequency bands (S and L band frequencies).
  • Because of atmospheric disturbances, the velocity of a low frequency signal changes as it travels through the atmosphere.
  • The United States relies on an atmospheric model to assess frequency error, and this model must be updated on a regular basis to determine the exact error.
  • In India, the actual delay is determined by measuring the difference in dual frequency delay (S and L bands).
  • As a result, NavIC is more accurate than GPS and is not dependent on any model to determine frequency error.

The Importance of NavIC:

  • It provides real-time information for two services: standard positioning for civilian use and restricted positioning for authorised users such as the military. We currently use the GPS system of the United States for navigation.
  • India has joined the ranks of the five countries that have their own navigation system, joining GPS in the United States, GLONASS in Russia, Galileo in Europe, and BeiDu in China. As a result, India’s reliance on other countries for navigation decreases.
  • It will aid India’s scientific and technological advancement.
  • It will make the Indian Armed Forces self-sufficient. While advanced nations such as the United States and Russia have GPS and GLONASS, countries such as China, the European Union, and Japan are attempting to develop their own full-fledged or partial constellations.
  • Furthermore, with extensive coverage, one of the project’s stated future uses includes sharing the project with the SAARC nations. This will aid in the further integration of the regional navigation system and is a diplomatic gesture from India to the countries of the region.
  • It is critical for the country’s sovereignty and strategic needs.

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November 2022
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