fortuneias

Science and Technology

UPSC Syllabus for Indian Society

Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology
Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

2022

1) Launched on 25th December, 2021, James Webb Space Telescope has been much in news since then. What are its unique features which makes it superior to its predecessor Space Telescopes? What are the key goals of this mission? What potential benefits does it hold for the human race? (250 words)
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a state-of-the-art observatory designed to study the universe in the infrared range, with a much higher sensitivity than its predecessor space telescopes.
Unique features of James Webb Space Telescope which makes it superior to its predecessor Space Telescopes
  • Larger Mirror: Larger primary mirror, 6.5 meters in diameter, compared to Hubble's 2.4-meter mirror.
  • Infrared Capability: JWST is optimized for observing in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum
  • Sunshield: JWST is equipped with a five-layered sunshield made of a special material
  • Orbit: JWST operates from a location in space called the second Lagrange point (L2)
Goals of James Webb Space Telescope
  • To study the very first galaxies that formed in the early universe
  • Observe exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) and analyse their atmospheres.
  • Investigate the processes of star formation, including the birth and evolution of stars.
  • To study protoplanetary disks, which are dusty disks of gas and debris around young stars
Potential benefits of James Webb Space Telescope for the human race
  • JWST's observations will deepen our understanding of the universe, its origins, and its evolution.
  • It has the potential to unveil cosmic mysteries and shed light on our place in the universe.
  • The development of JWST has led to advancements in new materials, instrument designs, and engineering solutions.
JWST represents a significant leap forward in our ability to observe and understand the universe.
2) What is the basic principle behind vaccine development? How do vaccines work? What approaches were adopted by the Indian vaccine manufacturers to produce COVID Vaccines? (250 words)
A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease. The basic principle behind vaccine development is to introduce a harmless or weakened form of the pathogen into the body in order to stimulate the immune system to produce an immune response.
Working of vaccines
  • Vaccines work by stimulating the immune system to produce an immune response to the pathogen.
  • This response can take several forms, including the production of antibodies that recognize and neutralize the pathogen, or the activation of T-cells that can kill infected cells or help other cells to recognize and kill the pathogen.
  • When a person is exposed to the pathogen in the future, the immune system can quickly respond and prevent or limit the infection.
Different approaches to vaccine development by Indian vaccine manufacturers
  • Inactivated virus vaccines: These vaccines use killed virus particles to stimulate an immune response.
    E.g.: Covaxin by Bharat Biotech uses inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus particles to stimulate the immune system.
  • Viral vector vaccines: These vaccines use a harmless virus to deliver genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 virus into cells in order to stimulate an immune response.
    E.g.: Covishield by Serum Institute
  • mRNA Vaccines: The Serum Institute of India is manufacturing the Covovax vaccine, which is based on the mRNA vaccine technology
Indian vaccine manufacturers have played an important role in providing vaccines to both the domestic and global population.

2021

3) What are the research and developmental achievements in applied biotechnology?  How will these achievements help to uplift the poorer sections of society? (250 words)
Applied biotechnology is biotechnology with an industry focus with an emphasis on practical skills in a variety of settings, such as industrial, food, agriculture, environmental, and healthcare. It has revolutionized agriculture and healthcare sectors, providing solutions to challenges faced by these sectors.
Research and developmental achievements in applied biotechnology
Agriculture
  • Genetically Modified (GM) Crops: Development of pest-resistant, drought-tolerant, and enhanced nutrient content varieties.
    E.g.: Bt.Cotton. It increases the income for small and marginal farmers.
  • Crop Improvement and Disease Resistance: It protects crops from pests, diseases, and environmental stresses, reducing yield losses.
    E.g.: DMH-11 (Mustard hybrid). It reduces crop loss and protects farmers from distress.
Healthcare
  • Vaccines: Vaccines for COVID-19 and other diseases It provides affordable healthcare to the marginalized and poorer section of the society.
    E.g.: mRNA vaccine.
  • Diagnostic Tools: Biotechnology is used for the diagnosis of a number of diseases.
    E.g.:RT-PCR
  • Gene editing: Tools like CRISPR is used for it
Environment
  • Bioremediation and Waste Management: It is employed in waste management and reducing pollution.
    E.g.: Phyto remediation and Bioremediation.
  • Sustainable Biofuels and Renewable Resources: It has contributed to the development of bio ethanol and biodiesel.
Achievements of applied biotechnology help to uplift the poorer sections of society
  • Affordable medicines: development of more cost-effective methods for producing essential medicines. This can improve access to life-saving drugs for diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, and hepatitis, which disproportionately affect the poor.
  • Renewable energy: Biotechnology plays a crucial role in the development of biofuels and other forms of renewable energy. These alternatives can reduce the dependency on fossil fuels and offer affordable energy options for remote and underserved regions, positively impacting the lives of people in those areas.
  • Vaccines and disease prevention: Effective vaccination programs can prevent the spread of infectious diseases and protect vulnerable populations from outbreaks.
  • Clean water technologies: Biotechnology offers potential solutions for water purification and treatment. Access to clean and safe drinking water is a significant issue in many impoverished regions, and biotechnology can help address this challenge.
Despite the benefits of biotechnology, there are also concerns about its impact on the environment and human health. Therefore, it is important to ensure that biotechnology is used in a safe and responsible manner.
4) The Nobel Prize in Physics of 2014 was jointly awarded to Akasaki, Amano and  Nakamura for the invention of Blue LEDs in 1990s. How has this invention impacted  the everyday life of human beings? (250 words)
The invention of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) by Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura in the 1990s revolutionized lighting technology and has had a significant impact on everyday life.
Impact of Blue LEDs on everyday life of human beings
  • Energy-Efficient Lighting: Blue LEDs are more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, consuming significantly less electricity. This has resulted in reduced electricity consumption and lower energy costs for households, businesses, and public infrastructure
  • Longer-Lasting and Durable Lighting: It has a longer lifespan which reduces the need for frequent replacements and saves money and reduces waste.
  • Lighting Quality and Versatility: It improves lighting quality, enables better visibility and enhancing the aesthetics of illuminated spaces. The small size and design flexibility of LEDs have facilitated their integration into various applications
  • Mobile Devices and Displays: Blue LED technology has played a crucial role in the development of energy-efficient and vibrant displays for mobile phones, tablets, laptops, televisions, and other electronic devices.
  • Health and Well-being: It is used in phototherapy for the treatment of skin conditions like acne and psoriasis and have positive effects on human circadian rhythms and overall well-being.
The widespread adoption of blue LED technology has improved the quality of life for people around the world while promoting more sustainable and efficient use of resources.

2020

5) What do you understand by nanotechnology and how is it helping in health sector? (150 words)
Nanotechnology is a field of science and technology that deals with the manipulation and control of matter at the nanoscale, which is typically between 1 and 100 nanometres. It involves working with materials and devices at the molecular and atomic levels to create new structures, properties, and functionalities.
Role of Nanotechnology in health sector
  • Drug Delivery: Nanotechnology enables targeted drug delivery systems, where medications can be encapsulated in nanoparticles and delivered directly to the affected cells or tissues
  • Diagnostics and Imaging: Nanoparticles can be engineered to act as contrast agents for advanced imaging techniques such as MRI, CT scans, and fluorescence imaging.
  • Tissue Engineering: Nanomaterials mimic the natural extracellular matrix and facilitate the development of functional artificial organs or tissues.
  • Disease Detection: Nano sensors and nanodevices can detect and monitor specific biomarkers associated with diseases at an early stage.
  • Therapeutics: Nanoparticles can be engineered to carry therapeutic agents, such as genes, proteins, or small molecules, to targeted sites in the body.
  • Antibacterial Coatings: Nanomaterials with antimicrobial properties can prevent the growth of bacteria and reduce the risk of infections in hospitals and healthcare settings.
Nanotechnology has the potential to transform the healthcare industry. However, there are also concerns about the safety and ethical implications of nanotechnology, which must be carefully considered and addressed.
6) How is science interwoven deeply with our lives? What are the striking changes in agriculture triggered off by the science-based technologies? (150 words)
Science is deeply interwoven with our lives in numerous ways, impacting virtually every aspect of our daily routines and societal development.
Science interwoven deeply with our lives
  • Technology and Communication: The technological advancements driven by scientific research have revolutionized communication.
    E.g.: smartphones and the internet
  • Healthcare and Medicine: Medical research and advancements in biotechnology have led to better treatments, vaccines, and diagnostic tools, enhancing our ability to prevent, manage, and cure diseases.
    E.g.: Covid 19 vaccine
  • Energy: Science has facilitated the development of various energy sources, including renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind, and hydro power.
  • Environmental Conservation: It helps us monitor climate change, protect ecosystems, and develop sustainable practices to preserve natural resources.
Significant changes triggered by science-based technologies in the field of agriculture
  • Development of high-yielding crop varieties: It enabled farmers to produce more food using less land and water.
  • Precision agriculture: Advances in sensors, GPS, and data analytics have enabled farmers to use precision agriculture techniques leading to improved yields and reduced environmental impact.
  • Biotechnology: It enabled the development of genetically modified crops resistant to pests and diseases
  • Sustainable agriculture: Science-based technologies are also enabling the development of sustainable agriculture practices, such as agroforestry, conservation agriculture, and integrated pest management
  • Mechanization: Science-based innovations in agricultural machinery and equipment have revolutionized farming practices
However, there are also concerns about the safety and ethical implications of these technologies, which must be carefully considered and addressed.

2019

7) How was India benefitted from the contributions of Sir M. Visvesvaraya and Dr. M. S. Swaminathan in the fields of water engineering and agricultural science respectively? (150 words)
Sir M. Visvesvaraya and Dr. M. S. Swaminathan have made significant contributions to India in the fields of water engineering and agricultural science, respectively
Contributions of Sir M. Visvesvaraya in the fields of water engineering
  • Irrigation Infrastructure: His expertise in water engineering led to the construction of dams, reservoirs, and canals, enabling effective water management for agricultural purposes. contributed to increased agricultural productivity and helped in drought mitigation.
  • Flood Control: His contributions in flood control and management have been instrumental in reducing the impact of devastating floods.
  • Sustainable Water Resource Management: His approach focused on the efficient use of water resources, equitable distribution, and conservation, thereby ensuring long-term availability of water for agricultural, industrial, and domestic purposes.
Contributions of Dr. M. S. Swaminathan in the fields of agricultural science
  • Green Revolution: His expertise helped to introduce high-yielding crop varieties, such as wheat and rice, along with modern farming techniques. This led to significant increase in agricultural production
  • Crop Improvement and Hybridization: His work resulted in the development of improved varieties of crops that were resistant to pests, diseases, and adverse environmental conditions.
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development: He advocated for the use of eco-friendly and resource-efficient farming techniques, such as organic farming and integrated pest management
These contributions of M. Visvesvaraya and Dr. M. S. Swaminathan was vital for the growth of India.
8) What is India’s plan to have its own space station and how will it benefit our space programme? (150 words)
In June 2019, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced its plans to establish its own space station by 2030. Indian Space Station (ISS), will be an extension of the country's existing space programs and will provide a platform for conducting experiments in microgravity conditions.
The ISS will weigh around 20 tonnes and will be placed in an orbit of around 400 km above the earth's surface. ISRO has also stated that the station will be able to accommodate up to three astronauts for 15-20 days.
Benefits of own space station
  • Technological Advancements: This would lead to significant technological advancements in areas such as human spaceflight, life support systems, rendezvous and docking capabilities
  • Human Spaceflight Capability: Establishing a space station would provide India with the capability to send astronauts into space for extended durations.
  • International Collaboration: It could foster international collaboration and partnerships with other spacefaring nations.
  • Technology Spin-offs: Space missions often lead to technological spin-offs that have practical applications on Earth.
  • Inspiring the Youth: The development of a space station would inspire and engage the younger generation in space science and technology.
The establishment of an Indian space station is a significant step towards enhancing India's capabilities in the field of space exploration and will bring numerous benefits to the country's space program.
9) How can biotechnology improve the living standards of farmers? (250 words)
Biotechnology can have a significant impact on the lives of farmers by improving their productivity, increasing their incomes, and enhancing their food security.
Improving the living standards of farmers by biotechnology
  • Genetic modification: Biotechnology can be used to modify the genetic makeup of crops to make them more resistant to pests and diseases. This can help reduce crop losses due to pest and diseases.
    E.g.: Bt cotton
  • Developing high-yielding varieties: Biotechnology helps to develop crops that have higher yields than traditional varieties. This increase food production, reduce food insecurity and improve the economic situation of farmers.
    E.g.: DMH 11 mustard variety
  • Developing drought-resistant crops: Biotechnology can be used to develop crops that are more resistant to drought. This can be especially useful in regions where water is scarce, and droughts are common.
  • Enhancing nutritional content: It enhance the nutritional content of crops and create more demand for the produce and increase the income for farmers.
    E.g.: golden rice
  • Biofuels: Biotechnology helps to generate biofuels such as ethanol from the food grains. It provides an additional source of income for farmers.
    E.g.: bio fuel from algae, jatropha plant etc
  • Increased Efficiency and Productivity: Biotechnology offers tools for crop improvement through techniques such as marker-assisted breeding and genetic engineering. It improves crop performance, reduces costs, and increase productivity
The adoption of biotechnology in agriculture should be accompanied by appropriate regulations, biosafety measures, and effective dissemination of knowledge to ensure responsible and sustainable use.

2018

¬†11) Discuss the work of ‚ÄėBose-Einstein Statistics‚Äô done by Prof. Satyendra Nath Bose and show how it revolutionized the field of Physics. (150 words)
Prof. Satyendra Nath Bose, an Indian physicist, did pioneering work on Bose-Einstein statistics, which revolutionized the field of physics.
Bose proposed a theoretical framework for understanding the behaviour of photons, which are particles of light which later became known as Bose-Einstein statistics, to describe the behaviour of photons. Unlike classical statistics, which assumes that particles are distinguishable from each other, Bose-Einstein statistics assumes that particles are indistinguishable, and that their behaviour is determined by their energy levels and the temperature of the system.
Bose-Einstein statistics revolutionising the field of Physics
  • Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC): Bose-Einstein statistics predicted that under certain conditions, a large number of particles could occupy the same
  • Quantum Statistics: It provided a fundamental understanding of the quantum behaviour of particles with integer spin.
  • Applications in Condensed Matter Physics: They have been used to explain various phenomena such as superfluidity in liquid helium, superconductivity, and the behaviour of low-dimensional systems.
  • Quantum Optics and Lasers: Bose-Einstein statistics laid the foundation for the field of quantum optics.
  • Fundamental Particle Physics: It provided the theoretical basis for the existence of particles called bosons, which include force-carrying particles like photons, W and Z bosons, and the Higgs boson.
Bose-Einstein statistics led to the discovery and exploration of new phenomena and opened up avenues for research in various fields
12) Why is there so much activity in the field of biotechnology in our country? How has this activity benefitted the field of biopharma? (250 words)
Biotechnology is technology based on biology. Biotechnology has the potential to address some of the major challenges facing the country, such as food security, healthcare, and environmental sustainability.
Reasons for increased activity in the field of biotechnology
  • Growing Market Potential: The demand for healthcare solutions, including biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics, and medical devices, is driving the growth of the biotechnology sector.
  • Government Support: The Indian government has implemented policies and initiatives to promote biotechnology research, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
  • Academic Excellence: The availability of skilled researchers and scientists has contributed to the growth of biotechnology activities in the country.
  • Competitive Advantage: India has a cost advantage in terms of skilled labour and infrastructure, making it an attractive destination for outsourcing R&D activities in the biopharmaceutical industry.
Benefits of biotechnology for biopharma sector
  • Drug Development: Biopharmaceuticals, including recombinant proteins, monoclonal antibodies, and vaccines, are being developed in India.
  • Improving Healthcare Infrastructure: The growth of biopharma has led to the establishment of advanced manufacturing facilities, research laboratories, and clinical trial centres in India.
  • Export Potential: The Indian biopharmaceutical industry has witnessed significant growth in export of biotech products and services.
  • Collaboration and Innovation: The activity in biopharma has fostered collaboration between industry, academia, and research institutions.
The advancements in the field of biotechnology in India has propelled the growth of the biopharmaceutical industry which made India as the ‚Äúpharma of the world‚ÄĚ.
13) With growing energy needs should India keep on expanding its nuclear energy programme? Discuss the facts and fears associated with nuclear energy. (250 words)
India's fuel situation, with shortage of fossil fuels, is driving the nuclear investment for electricity, and 25% nuclear contribution is the ambition for 2050
Facts and fears associated with nuclear energy
Facts
  • Energy Demand: India's energy demand is growing rapidly, and nuclear energy can play a significant role in meeting this demand.
  • Carbon Emissions: Nuclear energy is a low-carbon or zero-carbon source of electricity.
  • Energy Independence: Nuclear energy can enhance India's energy independence by reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels.
  • Baseload Power: Nuclear power plants can operate continuously and provide baseload power, which is essential for maintaining a stable and reliable electricity grid.
Fears
  • Safety Concerns: Nuclear accidents, such as the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters, have raised concerns about the safety of nuclear power.
  • Radioactive Waste: The long-term storage and disposal of radioactive waste pose challenges and concerns regarding potential environmental contamination and health hazards.
  • Nuclear Proliferation: The use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes also raises concerns about nuclear proliferation.
  • High Costs and Project Delays: Nuclear power plants are capital-intensive projects with long construction times.
The decision to expand India's nuclear energy program requires a careful evaluation of the facts and concerns associated with nuclear energy. It is essential to balance energy demand, environmental impact, safety, and public concerns.

2017

14) Stem cell therapy is gaining popularity in India to treat a wide variety of medical conditions including Leukaemia, Thalassemia, damaged cornea and severe burns. Describe briefly what stem cell therapy is and what advantages it has over other treatments? (150 words)
Stem cell therapy is a medical treatment that utilizes stem cells to repair, replace, or regenerate damaged or diseased cells, tissues, or organs within the body. Stem cells are unique cells with the ability to self-renew and differentiate into specialized cell types.
There are two primary types of stem cells used in therapy; Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and Adult stem cells
Advantages of stem cells therapy
  • Regeneration and repair: Stem cells can differentiate into specific cell types and replace damaged or malfunctioning cells, promoting tissue regeneration and repair.
  • Reduced risk of rejection: Autologous stem cell therapy, where the patient's own stem cells are used, eliminates the risk of rejection or immune response
  • Potential for personalized treatment: Stem cell therapy allows for customization based on the patient's specific needs.
  • Minimally invasive procedures: Many stem cell therapies involve minimally invasive procedures, such as harvesting stem cells from the patient's bone marrow or adipose tissue.
  • Reducing reliance on organ transplantation: Stem cell therapy may offer an alternative to organ transplantation by regenerating damaged organs or tissues
  • Treatment for currently incurable conditions: It could treat leukaemia, thalassemia, corneal damage, severe burns, spinal cord injuries, and neurological diseases.
Stem cell therapy has immense potential, but ethical and regulatory frameworks must be in place to assure safe and responsible use.
15) India has achieved remarkable successes in unmanned space missions including the Chandrayaan and Mars Orbiter Mission, but has not ventured into manned space missions. What are the main obstacles to launching a manned space mission, both in terms of technology and logistics? (150 words)
The Gaganyaan mission is India's first planned manned space mission, which aims to send Indian astronauts into space. Chandrayaan is series of Indian lunar space probes. Chandrayaan-1 was the first lunar space probe of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and found water on the Moon. Launching a manned space mission is a complex and challenging endeavour
Challenges in manned space mission
Technological challenges
  • Life support systems: Development of advanced life support systems that can provide a controlled environment, maintain appropriate atmospheric conditions, and supply food, water, and oxygen for extended periods is challenging.
  • Crewed spacecraft design: Designing a spacecraft capable of safely carrying astronauts to and from space, with appropriate shielding from radiation and micrometeoroids, is a complex task.
  • Human health in space: Understanding the effects of long-duration space travel on human health is critical.
  • Re-entry and landing: Developing a reliable re-entry and landing system that ensures the safe return of astronauts to Earth is a significant challenge.
Logistics challenges
  • Launch Vehicle Capability: Developing and operating such launch vehicles involves complex engineering, including propulsion systems, staging, and payload capacity.
  • Ground Support Infrastructure: Manned missions require a robust ground infrastructure to support pre-launch preparations, real-time monitoring of spacecraft, communication with astronauts, and mission control operations.
  • Astronaut training: Establishing the necessary infrastructure and expertise for astronaut training can be demanding.
Overcoming these challenges will be vital for India to realize its ambitions in manned space exploration.
16) Give an account of the growth and development of nuclear science and technology in India. What is the advantage of fast breeder reactor programme in India? (250 words)
India's nuclear programme was initiated soon after independence in 1947, but it gained momentum in the 1950s under the leadership of Homi J. Bhabha.
Growth and development of nuclear science and technology in India
  • Establishment of Atomic Energy Commission: It was established in 1948 to oversee nuclear research and development activities in India.
  • Establishment of Research Institutes: Several research institutions were set up to support nuclear research E.g. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)
  • Pokhran Nuclear Tests: In 1974, India conducted its first nuclear test which demonstrated its nuclear weapons capabilities.
  • Thorium-Based Nuclear Program: The three-stage nuclear power program aims to utilize thorium as a fuel in advanced nuclear reactors to ensure long-term energy security.
Advantages of fast breeder reactor (FBR) programme
  • Efficient Use of Nuclear Fuel: FBRs have the potential to produce more fissile material than they consume, making them highly efficient in utilizing nuclear fuel
  • Thorium Utilization: FBR have the capability to breed uranium-233 from thorium.
  • Reduced Radioactive Waste: FBRs have the ability to significantly reduce the volume and longevity of high-level radioactive waste.
  • Energy Security: FBR can contribute to India's energy security by utilizing indigenous nuclear fuel resources.
India's Fast Breeder Reactor programme could improve its nuclear energy program's sustainability, efficiency, and long-term profitability by using its substantial thorium resources.

2016

17) Give an account of the current status and the targets to be achieved pertaining to renewable energy sources in the country. Discuss in brief the importance of National Programme on Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).(200 words)
India stands 4th globally in Renewable Energy Installed Capacity. The country has set an enhanced target at the COP26 of 500 GW of non-fossil fuel-based energy by 2030.
Current status and the targets to be achieved pertaining to renewable energy sources in the country
  • India has achieved its target of achieving 40% of its installed electricity capacity from non-fossil energy sources by 2030
  • India‚Äôs installed non-fossil fuel capacity has increased 396%¬†in the last 8.5 years and stands at more than 178.79 Giga Watts.
  • India has set a target to reduce the carbon intensity of the nation‚Äôs economy by less than 45% by the end of the decade, achieve 50 percent cumulative electric power installed by 2030 from renewables, and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
Importance of National Programme on Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
  • Energy Savings: LEDs are highly energy-efficient and consume significantly less electricity compared to traditional bulbs.
  • Cost Savings: LED bulbs have a longer lifespan and require less frequent replacement, resulting in cost savings for consumers.
  • Environmental Impact: LED bulbs have a lower carbon footprint and contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Improved Lighting Quality: LEDs provide better lighting quality with reduced flickering, improved brightness, and colour rendering.
  • Demand Reduction: The wide-scale adoption of LED bulbs leads to a reduction in peak electricity demand.
The National Programme on LEDs has been instrumental in promoting energy efficiency in lighting and driving the adoption of LED technology across the country.
18)Discuss India’s achievements in the field of Space Science and Technology. How the application of this technology has helped India in its socio-economic development? (200 words)
India has made significant strides in the field of space science and technology since the launch of its first satellite Aryabhata in 1975.
Achievements and its applications of India’s Space Science and technology
  • Satellite Communication: India has developed a robust satellite communication system, enabling improved connectivity across the country. This technology has facilitated telemedicine, distance education, e-governance, and broadband connectivity in remote areas.
  • Remote Sensing and Earth Observation: India's space program has deployed satellites for remote sensing and earth observation purposes. This technology has helped monitor and manage natural resources, assess agricultural productivity, manage water resources, and track environmental changes.
  • Weather Forecasting and Disaster Management: India's weather and climate satellites have improved weather forecasting, early warning systems, and disaster management capabilities.
  • Navigation and Positioning: The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), known as NavIC, provides accurate positioning and navigation services in India and the region. This technology has numerous applications, including transportation, logistics, disaster management, and precision farming.
  • Lunar and Mars Missions: India's successful lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, and Mars mission, Mangalyaan, have demonstrated the country's technological capabilities and scientific prowess. These missions have expanded our understanding of celestial bodies and contributed to global scientific knowledge.
Application of space technology of India in its socio-economic development
  • Disaster Management: Space technology enables rapid and accurate monitoring of natural disasters like floods, cyclones, and earthquakes.
  • Telecommunication and Connectivity: ISRO's communication satellites have significantly improved telecommunication and internet connectivity across the country, including in remote and rural areas. This has facilitated access to information, education, and essential services, leading to socio-economic empowerment.
  • Weather Forecasting: Meteorological satellites provide essential data for weather forecasting and monitoring.
  • Healthcare and Telemedicine: Space technology has enabled telemedicine services, connecting healthcare professionals in remote areas with urban medical facilities.
  • Economic Growth and Commercial Space Ventures: India's space program has spurred the growth of a domestic space industry and attracted international commercial collaborations. This fosters economic growth, technological innovation, and job creation.
India's space program continues to contribute to sustainable development, societal welfare, and national progress.
19) Why is nanotechnology one of the key technologies of the 21st century? Describe the salient features of Indian Government’s Mission on Nanoscience and Technology and the scope of its application in the development process of the country. (200 words)
Nanotechnology is considered one of the key technologies of the 21st century due to its immense potential to revolutionize various industries and address critical global challenges.
Significance of nanotechnology in 21st century
  • Miniaturization and Precision: Nanotechnology allows scientists and engineers to manipulate matter with exceptional precision, creating new materials, devices, and systems with improved performance and functionality.
  • Applications in Medicine and Healthcare: It enables targeted drug delivery, early disease detection, non-invasive diagnostics, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine.
  • Energy and Environment: Nanotechnology offers solutions for clean energy generation, energy storage, and environmental sustainability.
The Indian Government's Mission on Nanoscience and Technology was launched in 2007 to promote and harness the potential of nanotechnology for national development.
Salient features and scope of the on Indian Government’s Nanoscience and Technology mission
  • Research and Development: The mission focuses on promoting research and development in nanoscience and nanotechnology through academic institutions, research organizations, and industry collaborations.
  • Infrastructure Development: It aims to establish world-class research facilities, nanotechnology centres, and fabrication facilities across the country.
  • Human Resource Development: The mission emphasizes the training and capacity building of scientists, engineers, and technologists.
  • Industrial Collaboration: The mission encourages collaboration between academia and industry for technology transfer and commercialization of products
It has the potential to drive innovation and address critical societal challenges, ultimately contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.

2015

20) What do you understand by ‚ÄúStandard Positioning System‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúPrecision positioning system‚ÄĚ in the GPS era? Discuss the advantage India perceives from its ambitious IRNSS programme employing just seven satellites. (200 words)
Standard Positioning System refers to the standard positioning service provided by GPS that is available to the general public worldwide. It provides positioning, navigation, and timing information with a typical accuracy of around 10 meters horizontally and 20 meters vertically.
Precision Positioning System is an enhanced positioning service provided by GPS that is primarily used by authorized users, such as the military and government agencies.
The IRNSS program, also known as NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation), is India's indigenous satellite navigation system designed to provide accurate positioning and timing services within the Indian region.
Advantages of IRNSS program
  • Regional Coverage: By deploying a constellation of seven satellites, it ensures comprehensive coverage over India and its neighbouring regions, offering dedicated navigation services tailored to regional requirements.
  • Strategic Independence: Developing and operating its own navigation satellite system grants India strategic independence in terms of positioning and navigation capabilities. It reduces dependence on foreign systems like GPS.
  • Accuracy and Reliability: The IRNSS program aims to provide positioning accuracy of better than 20 meters over India and the surrounding regions.
  • Customized Services: Being a regional navigation system, IRNSS allows India to tailor the services to meet specific regional requirements.
Challenges in India's ambitious IRNSS programme employing just seven satellites
  • Global Coverage: The limited number of satellites can result in occasional signal blockage or reduced accuracy in some regions, especially outside the primary coverage area.
  • Satellite Redundancy: Maintaining a reliable navigation system requires redundancy in satellite numbers. If one or more satellites fail or encounter issues, a larger constellation with backup satellites would ensure uninterrupted service.
  • Integration with Other Systems: Achieving seamless interoperability with other global navigation systems like GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou can be complex.
  • Signal Strength and Obstruction: The accuracy and reliability of satellite navigation systems can be affected by atmospheric conditions, tall buildings, and natural obstructions.
The deployment of seven satellites in the IRNSS constellation ensures comprehensive positioning and navigation services for India
21) What are the areas of prohibitive labour that can be sustainably managed by robots? Discuss the initiatives that can propel the research in premier research institutes for substantive and gainful innovation. (200 words)
Robots are increasingly being used to replace humans in various labour-intensive industries, particularly those involving repetitive and physically demanding tasks.
Areas of prohibitive labour where robots can be used
  • Manufacturing: Robots can be used for assembling, painting, welding, and packaging, among other things.
  • Agriculture: Robots can be used for harvesting crops, pruning, and other farm tasks. This reduces the need for human labour.
  • Healthcare: Robots can be used for patient monitoring, medication dispensing, and surgical procedures.
  • Logistics: Robots can be used for transporting goods within warehouses, loading and unloading trucks, and even making deliveries.
Initiatives that can propel research in premier research institutes for substantive and gainful innovation
  • Funding: Governments and private investors can provide funding for research in robotics. This can help researchers develop new technologies and bring them to market.
  • Collaboration: Collaboration between researchers from different disciplines can lead to new ideas and innovations.
  • Education: Robotics is a complex field that requires knowledge in areas such as engineering, computer science, and artificial intelligence. Institutes can offer training programs and courses to help students gain the skills they need for research in robotics
Investing in research and development in these areas can lead to substantial gains for the economy and society as a whole.
22) Discuss the advantage and security implication of cloud hosting of servers vis-a-vis in house machine-based hosting for government business. (200 words)
Cloud hosting is the ability to make applications and websites available on the internet using the cloud. Cloud hosting pools computing resources from a network of virtual and physical servers, allowing for greater scalability and flexibility to quickly make changes.
Cloud hosting of servers offers several advantages and security implications compared to in-house machine-based hosting for government business.
Advantages of Cloud Hosting for Government Business
  • Scalability and Flexibility: Cloud hosting provides scalability, allowing government agencies to easily scale up or down their server resources based on demand.
  • Cost Efficiency: Cloud hosting eliminates the need for upfront capital investment in hardware, maintenance, and infrastructure setup. This reduces the financial burden and enables cost-effective management of IT infrastructure.
  • Reliability and Availability: It offer robust infrastructure with high availability and redundant systems.
  • Collaboration and Remote Access: Cloud hosting enables easy collaboration among government agencies and employees working remotely.
Security Implications of Cloud Hosting
  • Data Security and Privacy: While cloud providers implement robust security measures, government agencies must ensure that sensitive data is protected during storage, transmission, and processing.
  • Compliance and Legal Considerations: When choosing a cloud provider, it is important to ensure that the provider complies with relevant regulations and can support government-specific compliance needs, such as data residency and data sovereignty.
  • Dependency on Internet Connectivity: Any disruption in connectivity can hinder access to critical services.
It is crucial for government agencies to assess the security implications and ensure proper security measures, compliance, and contractual agreements when adopting cloud hosting solutions to protect sensitive government data.
23) India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) which has a database containing formatted information on more than 2 million medicinal formulations is proving a powerful weapon in country’s fight against erroneous patents. Discuss the pro and cons of making the database available publicly available under open source licensing. (200 words)
The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is an initiative by India to document traditional knowledge of medicinal formulations, which has proved to be a powerful tool in combating erroneous patents. However, making the database publicly available under open source licensing has both pros and cons.
Pros of making the database available publicly available under open source licensing
  • Accessibility: Making the database publicly available under open source licensing would make it accessible to a wider range of stakeholders including researchers, scientists, and policymakers.
  • Encourages Innovation: It could potentially encourage them to innovate and develop new formulations using traditional knowledge as a base.
  • Preserves Traditional Knowledge: Making the database publicly available would help in preserving traditional knowledge for future generations.
Cons of making the database available publicly available under open source licensing
  • Misuse of Information: Individuals or corporations seeking to exploit traditional knowledge for their own benefit could misuse the information available in the database.
  • Potential Loss of Intellectual Property: There is a risk that the traditional knowledge contained within it could be used to develop new medicines leading to potential loss of intellectual property.
  • Legal Issues: It may be difficult to enforce any legal action in the event of misuse of the information contained within the database.
It is important to strike a balance between promoting innovation and preserving traditional knowledge, while also safeguarding against misuse and exploitation of the information.

2014

24) Scientific research in Indian universities is declining, because a career in science is not as attractive as are business professions, engineering or administration, and the universities are becoming consumer-oriented. Critically comment. (200 words)
Scientific research in India has been steadily growing and making significant contributions in various fields. India has a long history of scientific achievements and is home to numerous research institutions, universities, and laboratories.
Scientific research in Indian universities is declining and becoming consumer oriented
  • Limited Research Funding: Indian universities often face constraints in securing adequate funding for scientific research. This leads to a lack of resources for conducting cutting-edge studies and hampers the pursuit of scientific excellence.
  • Lack of Infrastructure: Many Indian universities struggle with inadequate infrastructure and outdated laboratory facilities, making it challenging to attract top-tier researchers and conduct world-class research.
  • Focus on Rote Learning: The education system in India, including some universities, tends to emphasize rote learning and exam-oriented approaches. This approach may discourage critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills required for scientific research.
  • Publish or Perish Culture: The emphasis on publication metrics for career advancement can sometimes lead to a focus on quantity over the quality of research, impacting the rigor and impact of scientific studies.
  • Industry-Oriented Research: With limited collaboration between academia and industry, research tends to be more theoretical and less application-oriented. This may discourage students who seek research opportunities aligned with real-world challenges.
Improving scientific research in India
  • Space Research: ISRO has been a trailblazer in space research, with remarkable achievements like the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) and the Chandrayaan missions to the Moon.
  • Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals: India's biotechnology sector is thriving, with advancements in areas like agricultural biotechnology, medical research, and vaccine development.
  • Information Technology: India is renowned for its IT industry, which has contributed significantly to global advancements in software development, information technology services, and artificial intelligence research.
  • Healthcare and Medical Research: India has made progress in medical research, with studies focusing on various health concerns, including infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, and traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda.
Furthermore, universities must prioritize the allocation of funds towards scientific research, providing access to modern equipment and facilities, and encouraging collaboration between academia, industry, and government research institutions.
25) Can overuse and free availability of antibiotics without Doctor’s prescription, be contributors to the emergence of drug-resistant disease’s in India? What are the available mechanisms for monitoring and control? Critically discuss the various issues involved. (200 words)
Overuse and free availability of antibiotics without a doctor's prescription can contribute to the emergence of drug-resistant diseases in India.
Issues involved in to the emergence of drug-resistant disease’s in India
  • Self-Medication: This often leads to inappropriate and excessive use of antibiotics, including using them for viral infections where antibiotics are ineffective.
  • Inadequate Diagnosis: Without a doctor's assessment, individuals may misdiagnose their condition and use antibiotics unnecessarily.
  • Incomplete Treatment: Incomplete treatment can promote the survival of bacteria, allowing them to develop resistance.
  • Poor Antibiotic Selection: In the absence of medical expertise, individuals may select inappropriate antibiotics for their condition.
Available mechanisms for monitoring and control
  • Drug Regulatory Authorities: The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and State Drug Regulatory Authorities regulate the manufacturing, sale, and distribution of drugs, including antibiotics.
  • Pharmacy Regulations: State Pharmacy Councils and the Pharmacy Practice Regulations provide guidelines for the functioning of pharmacies.
  • Legal Framework: The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and the Pharmacy Act, 1948, govern the regulation of drugs and pharmacies in India.
  • Prescription Requirements: The Medical Council of India (MCI) and state medical councils have set guidelines for healthcare professionals regarding the prescription of antibiotics.
Improving inter-agency coordination, strengthening regulatory oversight, and enhancing public awareness are crucial to addressing these issues.
26) In a globalized world, Intellectual Property Rights assume significance and are a source of litigation. Broadly distinguish between the terms‚ÄĒCopyrights, Patents and Trade Secrets. (200 words)
Copyrights, patents, and trade secrets are all forms of intellectual property rights that provide legal protection to creators and inventors.
Intellectual Property Rights assume significance and are a source of litigation in globalised era
  • Protection of Innovation and Creativity: IPRs, such as patents, copyrights, and trademarks, provide legal protection to inventors, authors, and creators. This protection encourages innovation, fosters creativity
  • Global Trade and Competition: IPRs help protect their products, technologies, and brand identities from unauthorized use and counterfeiting, safeguarding their competitive advantage.
  • Disputes over Ownership: In a globalized environment with multiple stakeholders involved in collaborative projects, disputes over ownership of intellectual property can arise, leading to litigation.
  • Patent Infringement: Inventions and technologies are increasingly complex and interconnected, making it more challenging to avoid patent infringement unintentionally. This can result in patent disputes and litigation.
Difference between Copyrights, Patents and Trade Secrets

Criteria Copyrights Patents Trade Secrets
Protection Protects original works of authorship (creative expressions) Protects inventions (new and useful products or processes) Protects valuable confidential business information
Scope Covers literary, artistic, musical, dramatic works, etc. Covers a wide range of inventions, including technology, medicine, manufacturing processes, etc. Covers confidential business information, formulas, algorithms, customer lists, etc.
Registration Registration is not required for copyright protection (automatic upon creation) Requires formal application and examination process for grant No registration is necessary; relies on maintaining secrecy
Duration Generally, lasts for the creator's lifetime plus a certain number of years Usually 20 years from the filing date Can be indefinite as long as the information remains undisclosed and meets the criteria of being valuable and secret
Rights Exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, display, perform, and modify the work Exclusive rights to make, use, and sell the invention Protection against misappropriation or unauthorized disclosure or use
Enforcement Infringement can lead to legal actions, damages, and injunctions Infringement can lead to legal actions, damages, and injunctions Misappropriation can lead to legal actions, damages, and injunctions
To manage the increasing significance of IPRs and mitigate the potential for litigation, countries and international bodies need to develop robust and balanced legal frameworks, efficient dispute resolution mechanisms, and effective enforcement strategies.

2013

27) What do you understand by Fixed Dose drug Combinations (FDCs)? Discuss their merits and demerits. (200 words)
Fixed dose drug combinations (FDCs) refer to the combination of two or more active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in a single dosage form.
Merits of FDCs
  • Improved efficacy: FDCs can provide better efficacy than single-drug therapy as they can target multiple mechanisms of action.
  • Improved convenience: FDCs can simplify dosing regimens, reducing the pill burden for patients, and improving adherence to therapy.
  • Cost-effective: FDCs can reduce the cost of treatment by eliminating the need for separate prescriptions for individual drugs.
  • Reduced risk of drug-drug interactions: FDCs can reduce the risk of drug-drug interactions by combining drugs that are known to be compatible.
Demerits of FDCs
  • Increased risk of adverse events: FDCs can increase the risk of adverse events due to the combination of different drugs with different side effect profiles.
  • Limited flexibility: FDCs can limit the flexibility of treatment by requiring the use of a specific combination of drugs.
  • Limited availability: FDCs may not be available for all drugs or in all countries, limiting their use in certain populations.
  • Limited efficacy: FDCs may not provide additional efficacy compared to single-drug therapy, and in some cases, may even be less effective.
The use of FDCs should be carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis, considering all these factors.
28) What do you understand by Umpire Decision Review System in cricket? Discuss its various components. Explain how silicone tape on the edge of a bat may fool the system? (200 words)
The Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), also known as the Decision Review System (DRS), is a technology-based system used in cricket to assist on-field umpires in making more accurate decisions.
Components of the DRS
  • Hawk-Eye: This is a ball-tracking technology that uses multiple cameras to track the trajectory of the ball and predict where it would have gone had it not hit the batsman or the wickets.
  • Hotspot: This technology uses thermal imaging cameras to detect the heat generated by friction when the ball hits the bat, pads, or gloves.
  • Snickometer: This technology uses audio sensors to detect the sound made when the ball hits the bat, pads, or gloves.
  • Ultra-Edge: This technology uses audio sensors and visual images to detect any contact between the ball and the bat or gloves.
Silicone tape on the edge of a bat fooling the DRS system
  • The silicone tape can be used to cover the edge of the bat, making it difficult for the Hotspot technology to detect any contact between the ball and the bat.
The cricketing authorities continually work to improve the technology used in the UDRS to minimize the chances of such manipulations
a) What is a digital signature? What does its authentication mean? Give various salient built-in features of a digital signature. (100 words)
A digital signature is a cryptographic mechanism used to verify the authenticity and integrity of digital documents or messages. It is a unique digital fingerprint that is generated using a combination of a private key and the content being signed.
The authentication of a digital signature involves validating the identity of the signer and ensuring that the signed data has not been tampered with.
Salient built-in features of a digital signature
  • Integrity: It ensures that the signed data remains unchanged during transmission or storage.
  • Non-repudiation: Signer cannot den y their involvement in signing the document.
  • Authentication: It authenticates the identity of the signer by using their unique private key.
  • Time-stamping: It indicates the exact time of signing.
  • Efficiency: Digital signatures offer a streamlined and efficient process
Digital signatures are a fundamental aspect of secure electronic communication, electronic commerce, and digital document verification. They play a vital role in ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of digital transactions in a world increasingly reliant on digital technologies.
b) How does the 3D printing technology work? List out the advantages and disadvantages of the technology. (100 words)
3D printing technology, also known as additive manufacturing, involves creating a three-dimensional object by layering materials on top of each other using a digital model.
Working of 3 D printing
  • Creating a digital design using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software.
  • Transferring the design to a 3D printer.
  • The printer reads the design and creates the object by adding material layer by layer until the final product is produced.
Advantages of 3D printing technology
  • Greater design flexibility and customization.
  • Faster and cheaper prototyping.
  • Reduction in waste
  • Easier manufacturing of complex shapes and geometries.
Disadvantages of 3D printing technology
  • Limited materials available for printing.
  • Lower quality and accuracy of finished products
  • Lower production speed
  • High initial investment
3D printing has found applications across various industries, including aerospace, automotive, healthcare, architecture, consumer goods, and education. It allows for rapid prototyping, custom manufacturing, and on-demand production, leading to reduced lead times and more cost-effective solutions.
30) a) What is an FRP composite material? How are they manufactured? Discuss their application in aviation and automobile industries. (100 words)
FRP (Fibre Reinforced Polymer) composite materials, also known as fiberglass composites, are a type of material composed of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibres.
Manufacturing process of FRP
  • The fibres are arranged in a specific orientation and pattern to optimize the mechanical properties of the composite.
  • A polymer resin, such as epoxy or polyester, is applied to impregnate the fibres and form the matrix that holds them together.
  • The composite is cured by subjecting it to heat and pressure.
Application of FRP in aviation and automobile industries
Aviation Industry
  • Aircraft Structures
  • Engine Components
Automobile Industry
  • Body Panels
  • Interior Components
  • Suspension Components
FRP composite materials have become an essential and widely used engineering material across diverse industries, offering a combination of mechanical properties that make them valuable for numerous applications.
b) What do you understand by Run-of-river hydroelectricity project? How is it different from any other hydroelectricity project? (100 words)
A run-of-river hydroelectricity project is a type of hydroelectric power generation system that harnesses the natural flow of a river to generate electricity.

Run-of-river hydroelectricity project Other hydroelectricity project
Utilize the natural flow of the river without creating large reservoirs. Involve the construction of large dams and reservoirs to store water
Minimize environmental impact and preserve natural river flow. Often require significant land submergence and alter river ecosystems.
Continuous power generation based on the river's flow Power generation depends on the availability of water stored in the reservoir
Smaller installed capacity, typically catering to local or regional electricity needs Can have large installed capacities, supplying power on a national or international scale.
Limited water storage capacity Have the ability to store significant amounts of water
Lower social impacts and require minimal land acquisition and resettlement. Involve substantial social displacement due to large dam construction and reservoir creation.

Run-of-river hydroelectricity projects offer a renewable and sustainable energy source, contributing to a country's clean energy mix and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.