Q.1) Discuss the modernization initiatives that will help the Indian Navy to become a Blue Water Navy.
The Top Answer is written by – Ashish Tiwari
Ans) Blue water navy has the capability to conduct military operations in deep sea which conventional green water navy is unable to perform due to lower capacity of warships and submarines. It implies force protection from sub-surface, surface and airborne threats and a sustainable logistic reach. An Array of modernization initiatives is required to realize the true potential of blue water navy.
Aircraft Carrier: Currently India operates INS Vikramaditya and INS Viraat, while INS Vikrant is expected to be commissioned in 2018. However, it is imperative for a blue water navy to manufacture its own aircraft carrier. This ensures the quick availability of components in war times.
Submarines: Indigenously built Nuclear powered submarines INS Arihant is a major achievement however indigenization efforts should be strengthened to minimise dependence on key imported equipments.
Amphibious transport dock: Necessary for carrying troops to distant warzones. India currently has INS Jalashwa (Imported).
Battleships: Can perform short term operations in Deep Ocean and can support aircraft carrier by supplying logistics.
Expediting procurement process: Long procurement cycle results in delivery of obsolete equipment.
FDI in defense, Make in India, Skill India program, New Defense procurement plan, Improvement in bilateral relation with US, Israel, France are other areas through which India can become an effective global Blue Water Navy.
Q.2) “Gene Therapy offers a wide range of prospects for humans.” Comment.
The Top Answer for this question is written by – Maari
Ans) Gene therapy is a form of therapy that involves inserting one or more corrective genes that have been designed in the laboratory, into the genetic material of a patient’s cells to cure a genetic disease. Current gene therapies are primarily experimental, with most human clinical trials still in the research stages. The gene therapy has wide range of prospectus for humans which include:
1) Treatment of Genetic Disorders: The idea of gene therapy rests on changing the internal structure of the DNA to prevent or cure illnesses. About 4,000 diseases have been traced to gene disorders.
2) Immune deficiencies: Several inherited immune deficiencies have been treated successfully with gene therapy. Deadly diseases like leukaemia (blood cancer ) can also be treated .It offers potential for treating AIDS for which still now there is no cure available.
3) Restricting the passage of hereditary diseases: With somatic gene therapy, hereditary diseases could be restricted for which there is no alternative Eg(hereditary blindness).
4) Immunization: can be used for immunization against persistent infections
5) Clinical trials in hemophilia, where there is excessive bleeding due to lack of proteins has met with large success.
6) Blood related diseases like Beta Thalassemia and sickle cell diseases can also be treated.
With its great success at clincial stage, gene therapy could be the future in the way in which we treat diseases.
Q.3) What is the significance of Helium 3? How is it related to space explorations?
The Top Answer for this question is written by – Meera Kelkar
Ans) Helium 3 is a non-radioactive isotope of Helium, and is a rare isotope in occurrence, on earth. Its significance is seen in many applications like:
Fusion reactors: can be used as a fuel in fusion reactors to generate a proton as by product, whose momentum can be used to generate electricity.
Neutron detection: used as a converter gas in neutron detectors due to its high absorption cross section
Cryogenics: He-3 refrigerator uses He-3 to achieve extreme low temperature.
Medical Lung imaging: gas mixture containing polarized He-3 can be used to produce anatomical images of lungs through MRI scanner.
He-3 has been in the news over its significance in Galactic Economy. He-3 has a great potential of being used in Fusion reactors with an added advantage of being non radioactive. Unlike the earth, moon and other gaseous bodies have abundant He-3 minerals due to bombardment by Solar wind.
Many of the scientific payloads of ISRO’S Chandrayaan I had noted applications for mapping the Lunar surface for He 3.
Arguments have also been made for mining Helium-3 from Jupiter, where it is much more abundant – it would need to be given the distances involved.
Not everyone is in agreement that Helium 3 will produce a safe fusion solution. Still research is going on to substantiate this claim.
Q.4) “The Government of India, through the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy-2013, among other things, also aspires to position India among the top five scientific powers in the world”. Throwing light on the statement, discuss the critical factors that will make India among top five scientific powers in the world.
The Top Answer for this question is written by – Nishant
Ans) In line with STI policy 2013, critical factors to bring India among top five scientific powers in the world are:
Investment – Provide an environment for greater private investment especially in high-tech industries. This will require a liberal FDI policy with plug and play PPP models. Simultaneously, public investment in R&D should increase from 1% to 2% of GDP.
IPR reforms – India needs to do more to secure IP assets of foreign firms. Other critical areas are cyber security, data piracy etc. A robust IPR regime is required to reduce the trust deficit of advanced countries as seen in Special Report 301 on IPR by USA. It’ll help international firms see beyond “outsourcing” wrt India.
Skill Development – Making research careers like PhD more rewarding. This will boost domestic R&D base. Also, a skilled labor force is required to deliver end-to-end solutions in high-tech manufacturing. It is critical to gain global advantage as done by China.
Promote Innovation – Through technology based incubations. India has the potential to create its own Silicon Valley by tapping into the domestic engineering and management talent taking offshore flights. A strong policy support such the recently announced Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) via NITI Aayog can do wonders.
Gender Equality – Oft-neglected is the value women hold in science. They make just as good researchers, engineers if not better. India can take a leaf out of Israel’s book in this regard.
Q.5) “India is widely recognized as a knowledge hub powering the global economy”. Critically Evaluate.
The Top Answer for this question is written by – Deepansh
Ans) India has always been at the centre of the world when it comes to knowledge and learning. Ancient Universities of Nalanda and Taxila are testimony to it.
But by simply inheriting such a rich legacy, whether one can view India as a “Knowledge Hub” in the current era needs to be evaluated:
Primacy in IT: With global leadership in the field of IT, India continues to be the favored destination for IT services leaving the competition far behind.
Growing Space Technology: Successful programs like Mars Orbiter Mission, Chandrayaan Programme and recent launch of GSLV Mk-III have helped achieve self-reliance in launching satellites.
Center for Innovation: India has made significant contributions to research in Medicine, Biotechnology, etc and is a budding ground for research in Electronics, Power, etc with companies like GE, Philips et al setting up R&D centres.
Huge Talent Pool: Visible from the number of Indians working in NASA, Microsoft, etc
Although some institutes are among top 200 universities, higher educational system is not very conducive.
Mainly due to the issue of “Brain Drain”, Indian R&D is not globally competitive and number of patents to Indian companies has been very low. Additionally, Indian IPR regime is weak.
Women researchers are low which a huge drawback is.
Initiatives like Make in India, Skill India are good but the cuts in education budget and lack of resources in R&D needs attention.
With more research centric initiatives and policy reforms, India can surely become the “knowledge capital” of the world.