Friday, 31 October 2014

Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System

What is IRNSS? What are its uses?

IRNSS stands for Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

 It is regional satellite navigation system being developed by India. India will complete it by 2015. It is the Indian version of GPS. It will have two functions 1)civilian use – SPS (standard positioning service) 2)restricted for military use (RS). IRNSS will consist of seven satellites, three in geostationary orbit and four in inclined geosynchronous orbit, and will mainly cover the area around India.

IRNSS will have
a) 7 satellites
b) Ground segment
On the date this article is written, India is working on the launch of the satellites to complete the seven. By 2015 we would have send 7 satellites to create our positioning system.

Applications of IRNSS:

Navigation-Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Disaster Management
Vehicle tracking and fleet management
Integration with mobile phones
Accurate Timing
Mapping and Geodetic data capture
Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers
Visual and voice navigation for drivers

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy

The drug pricing and issues surrounding it has been in news recently. In this article two basic concepts in national pharmaceutical pricing policy are explained.

Suo-moto pricing and Pro-rata pricing

Suo moto
Under the pricing policy, companies are asked to report the price of the bulk drugs/formulations within prescribed time. If the companies fail to  do so, the NPPA can fix the price by itself (suo-moto). Eg: the price of a component goes down or if the tax decreases naturally the price of the medicines has to go down. The companies may not be very interested in lowering price. To improve and correct this lack of interest, NPPA prescribes suo-moto pricing.
photo :

Pro-rata means A method of assigning an amount to a fraction, according to its share of the whole. Here based on the ceiling price of formulations, the companies can calculate the price of the products. This enables them to calculate price of a product without always coming back to NPPA.

Read more (click here)

Monday, 27 October 2014

Supreme Court guidelines on fake encounters

These guidelines have been given to protect right to life (Art 21), and improve transparency in policing.

16 guidelines are given to prevent fake encounters. The ones of prime importance are given below.

SC said that every police encounter must be followed by immediate registration of an FIR.
If it involved death, then an inquiry should be carried out by a Magistrate as required under Section 176 of the Criminal Procedure Code. 

When it entailed only injury, it should be investigated by a Policeman from a different Police Station above the rank of the leader of the raiding party which conducted the encounter. The aim is to see that justice is done by reducing biasness and bringing in transparency.

The court ruled that no policeman involved in encounter death should be given out of turn promotion or gallantry awards by the government till the investigations establish that it was a genuine encounter.

After every encounter, the FIR should be registered and family members should be informed.

The DGP should twice report the number of encounter killings to court.

Restructure the training of police force to imbibe values. (police reforms)

Monday, 8 September 2014

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

Jan Dhan Yojana

Why this scheme?

India has very low banking penetration. Crores of our citizens do not have a bank account. There are plenty of reasons for this.

The banks do not find it economically feasible to operate full fledged in rural area. (Money is needed to bank!)

The rural population in many places sees it out of their league( accessibility, awareness)

The informal systems have deep route and people rely on them.( Leads to loads of black money in predatory lenders)

 What is scheme about?

Universal access to banking facilities (key word)

The citizens can open zero account bank account in any bank. The private and public players are roped in for this. It provides for overdraft facility as well as both life and accident insurance with every account.

The scheme has very easy Know the customer rules.  Aadhaar card, NREGA cards, voters’ ID card etc are accepted as documentary proofs.

Providing Basic Banking Accounts with overdraft facility of Rs.5000 after six months and RuPay Debit card with inbuilt accident insurance cover of Rs. 1 lakh and RuPay Kisan Card

Financial Literacy Programme

In second phase, the micro insurance, credit guarantee etc will be included.

Bottle necks/ views

Like every scheme there will be bottlenecks and concerns about this scheme also. The main thoughts from various quarters are
1.        Will the accounts created generate enough ‘dhan’.
2.       Problem of fake accounts.
3.       Will full coverage be possible as many persons may not have an id card
4.       The insurance part lacks clarity

Your thoughts on aspects of the scheme and its bottle necks (as well as solutions) needed for exam.


It is a payment gateway platform created by National Payment Corporation of India. India is the fourth country in the world after the US, Japan and China to have its own national payment gateway, in RuPay.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Clinical trials in India

India has been in focus as a hub of clinical trials. Many Indian cities and villages have centres which do clinical trials. There are two questions :

1) Do India need to allow the clinical trial
2)ethical issues
3) Is there heavy exploitation in name of clinical trial.

The clinical trials are done by mostly big pharma companies. It is difficult for these companies to get permission in their respective nations for the trials. The pharma companies have a great oppurtunity to have their trials in India due to high population/ lesser activism against trails/ more persons willing to take trials (lack of alternative)

The heavy exploitation where the middle men in India ( agencies/doctors/outsourced companies) bag the money while the person who takes the trial getting a pittance is another sad side. There are complaints that people are brought into the trial through half-truths about the interventions they are to undergo.

Why india is a favoured destination?

India has diversity in population and also all diseases. The poor people and easy access to people due to lack of proper health care. All diseases – communicable and non communicable are present in large numbers in india. India has lot of patients who cannot afford medical care. They are lured into the drug trials since they have no other option for treatment.

How is clinical trial conducted in India?

The company has to get the clearance from DGCI and the clinical trial is conducted under scheduleY of drug and cosmetic rules. The pharmaceutical companies deploys CROs(contract research organisations) for conducting researches. The permission of local ethics committee has be acquired before conducting clinical trial.

Is the present system sufficient?

The DGCI's monitoring system is flawed. There is not enough staff or enough expertise to check the plan design or the impact of clinical trial.

Time and over again NGO's/ journalists/ social media have questioned the ease with which many companies got permission for the trials. The incidence where 5 persons undergoing trials at Khamman Andhrapradesh died turned focus on the safeguards of the trials. The SC had also come heavily against the unethical trials. (click here).

The Ranjit Roy report has recommendations for betterment of the system.

Download Ranjit Roy Report (only the recommendations part needed). Read the action taken by government regarding the report.

The links to the recent updates can be found here (click here)

The Action taken report (Click here)

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Urband Heat Island

Urban heat Islands

The temperature in urban area is higher than the surrounding lesser urbanised area. This leads to formation of an island of heat (urban area) in sea of cooler region (surrounding lesser urbanised area).
source: EPA 2008,

Why is heat island formed?
When an area gets urbanised the normal cover of vegetation is replaced by human built constructions. The human built constructions absorb and retain greater heat than the normal vegetation which earlier covered that area. This leads to rise in temperature. The human constructions/buildings cool off slowly, as a result the night temperature of urban area remains very much higher than surroundings.

Other causes:
  • The vehicles emitting heat trapping gases.
  • Increased release of body heat due to higher population. (minor)
  • Disappearance of water bodies as they get covered during urbanisation.

Impact of Urban Island

The incoming air may rise up rapidly and can lead to higher precipitation.
The heat island may lead to formation of outgoing air waves which repeal incoming moisture laden air leading to lower precipitation.
 In short, the precipitation pattern is affected and it becomes irregular.

The high heat in urban area increases cooling needs leading to higher consumption of energy as more air conditioners, fans will be operated. The increased energy needs will in turn cause pollution as more fossil fuels will be utilized in power plants for meeting the energy needs.
Human health and well being is adversely affected. The higher night temperature causes discomfort leading to reduction of sleep. The high temperature in most cities leads to irritation and dissatisfaction.

Friday, 20 June 2014

UPSC Topper Gaurav Aggarwal's Notes

The superman returns

The topper Gaurav Aggarwal has been generous to upload tonnes of meticulously prepared notes in his personal blog. He has uploaded his marks, study methodology and his email id in his blog “The Superman Returns”.

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