SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2017 : UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [7th Sep, 2017]- Day 44

  • September 9, 2017
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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2017 : UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [7th Sep, 2017]- Day 44


1. What is Big Data? The Indian Government is now seen to be taking steps towards incorporating Big Data in policy making. Do you think it is a right decision? Substantiate. Also examine the associated threats of incorporating Big Data.

What is Big Data?

Big data refers to the handling of massive volume of data that is difficult to process using conventional database and software techniques. It is a term used to describe the collection, processing and availability of huge volumes of streaming data in real-time.

Steps being taken by government:

  • Digital India and Smart City mission: will involve large scale digitisation, electronic collection of data from residents and processing and common standards for interoperability.
  • Tackling tax evasion: The Income Tax Department has signed a contract with L & T Infotech Ltd for implementation of Project Insight. The project is based on an integrated platform that will use data mining, big data and analytics to identify tax evaders using social media platforms and Permanent Account Numbers (PAN) in a non-intrusive way, rather than the traditional way of conducting random income tax raids.
  • Last year, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) launched Centre for Data Management and Analytics (CDMA) to synthesise and integrate relevant data for the auditing process. It aims to exploit the data-rich environment in the union and state governments to build capacity in the Indian audit and accounts department.
  • Twitter Samwad:The government has teamed up with Twitter so that citizens get real-time news feeds of decisions and announcements made by the government. Through this, it is possible for the government to connect over a large audience.
  • Geospatial Analytics: The Economic Survey shows that the use of geospatial analytics has begun.

Incorporating Big Data in policy making is a right decision or not?

An analysis of possible applications and threats would help find an answer.

Application of big data in Indian governance:

  • For Business- Can help in identifying more efficient ways of doing business, help analyze data immediately and make quick decisions based on the learnings, by knowing the trends of customer needs and satisfaction through analytics one can create products according to the wants of customers, its analysis can provide a better understanding of current market conditions etc.
  • Offering tailored healthcare- With human genome mapping and Big Data tools almost everyone can have their genes mapped as part of their medical record and thus developing drugs expressly tailored to treat the specific causes.
  • Making our cities smarter- To help them deal with the consequences of their fast expansion, an increasing number of smart cities are indeed leveraging Big Data tools for the benefit of their citizens and the environment solving traffic problems, checking GHGs emissions.
  • In governance- Quality data, if analysed at the right time, can be critical for programmatic decision-making, efficient delivery of schemes, and proactive policy revisions. Data driven governance aims to improve the last-mile linkage of individuals to schemes and empower communities and service providers through data collection, analysis, and improvisation.

Concerns with big data:

  • Privacy concerns. Collection of data can be intrusive in nature.
  • Security threat: If the data from a source such as Aadhar is got into the wrong hands, it can be misused. A leak from the company that handles the data, an external cyberattack etc. can cause this misuse.
  • Lack of reliable data: Incomplete conversion of old data into big data format.
  • Decision making will change from one based on experience, wisdom, and intuition to one driven by data. In case of incorrect, incomplete data policy made may be flawed.
  • One of the biggest challenges in implementing these futuristic projects is the dearth of talented data scientists in India. According to a survey India will face a demand-supply gap of 2 lakh data analytics professionals by 2020.


Big Data can enhance the government’s ability to serve its citizens and address major national challenges involving the economy, healthcare, job creation, natural disasters, and terrorism. It is time to formulate a comprehensive Big Data programme across Central and state government ministries/departments with help from industry, academic and research institutions. Big Data can have a big impact only if used on a massive scale—with safeguards—by governments for the delivery of public goods and services.

Best answer: Yatdal


Best answer: NKY



2. What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Who are currently the big players in the field of AI? How big is the potential of AI? Discuss.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and reacts like humans.

Some of the activities computers with artificial intelligence are designed for include:

  • Speech recognition
  • Learning
  • Planning
  • Problem solving


  • Google- with their subsidiary Google brain- products assistant, Google home etc.
  • Facebook Inc. with their subsidiary FAIR- products chat bots, deep search.
  • IBM- products such as WATSON, DEEP BLUE(chess playing systems)
  • APPLE- products like SIRI( personal assistant in iphone)
  • MICROSOFT- with their search engine Cortana.
  • Others like Baidu, OpenAI(crowd funding platform ) are the major players.


  • Forbes magazine in its report stated that AI has the potential to increase economic growth rates by a weighted average of 1.7% across all industries through 2035.
  • Accenture Research found that the Information and Communication industry has the greatest potential for economic growth from AI. Integrating AI into legacy information and communications systems will deliver significant cost, time and process-related savings quickly.
  • Personalized learning programs and automating mundane, routine tasks to free up colleges, universities, and trade school instructors to teach new learning frameworks will accelerate profitability in the education
  • Based on the proliferation of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices and the networks and terabytes of data they generate, Accenture predicts AI will contribute an additional $3.76T GVA to manufacturing by 2035. Supply chain management, forecasting, inventory optimization and production scheduling are all areas AI can make immediate contributions to this industry’s profits and long-term economic policies.
  • Accenture finds that AI’s immediate impact on profitability is improving individual efficiency and productivity. The economies of the U.S. and Finland are projected to see the greatest economic gains from AI through 2035

Thus if used optimally and ethically adoption of AI into our daily lives can improve our lives positively and significantly and usher in a new technological revolution.




3. What are gravitational waves? From where do they come from? Explain. In this light, discuss about the LISA.

Gravitational Waves

Gravitational waves are ‘ripples’ in the fabric of space-time caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the Universe. Gravitational waves were first theorized by Albert Einstein in his general theory of relativity about interaction between spacetime and matter

They are created during super massive black hole mergers, collisions or massive accelerating objects such as neutron stars or black holes orbiting each other would disrupt space-time in such a way that ‘waves’ of distorted space would radiate from the source, these ripples would travel at the speed of light through the Universe, carrying with them information about their origins, the nature of gravity.

Gravitational waves are a powerful new probe of the Universe that uses gravity instead of light to take measure of dynamical astrophysical phenomena. Studying gravitational waves gives enormous potential for discovering the parts of the universe that are invisible by other means, such as black holes as they are weakly affected by electromagnetic radiation

Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA)

It is a joint effort by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.

It consists of three spacecraft arranged in an equilateral triangle flying along the earth in a heliocentric orbit. The distance between the satellites is measured to find a passing gravitational wave.

Currently, gravitational waves are difficult to detect as unlike other radiations, they can pass unhindered by the intervening mass.LISA will aid scientists in overcoming this difficulty.

Scientific goals of LISA

1)Galactic compact binaries

2)Extreme mass ration inspires

3)Gravitational wave background

4)Fundamental black hole physics

LISA Pathfinder

A test mission of the LISA called LISA Pathfinder was launched by the ESA. Its objective was to test the feasibility of current equipment in measuring gravitational waves. The findings were that the current equipment were 5 times better than in its design condition.


Gravitational waves are vital in expanding our understanding about the universe. The LISA project aims to overcome previous difficulties encountered in measuring gravitational waves. The findings of the LISA Pathfinder are an indication that the research is headed in the right direction.

Best Answer: Redeemer911



4. Describe remote sensing Also, in this light, examine the significance of remote sensing for India and applications of Cartosat 2 series satellite thereof.

  • What is Remote Sensing:
  • Remote sensing is the science of obtaining information about objects or areas from a distance, Remote sensors collect data by detecting the energy that is reflected from Earth. These sensors can be on satellites or mounted on aircraft.
  • Remote sensors can be either passive or active. Passive sensors respond to external stimuli. They record natural energy that is reflected or emitted from the Earth’s surface. The most common source of radiation detected by passive sensors is reflected sunlight.
  • In contrast, active sensors use internal stimuli to collect data about Earth. For example, a laser-beam remote sensing system projects a laser onto the surface of Earth and measures the time that it takes for the laser to reflect back to its sensor.
  • In India, Remote sensing has the following applications:
  1. Coastal applications: Monitor shoreline changes, track sediment transport, and map coastal features. Data can be used for coastal mapping and erosion prevention.
  2. Ocean applications: Monitor ocean circulation and current systems, measure ocean temperature and wave heights, and track sea ice. Data can be used to better understand the oceans and how to best manage ocean resources.
  3. Hazard assessment: Track hurricanes, earthquakes, erosion, and flooding. Data can be used to assess the impacts of a natural disaster and create preparedness strategies to be used before and after a hazardous event.
  4. Natural resource management: Monitor land use, map wetlands, and chart wildlife habitats. Data can be used to minimize the damage that urban growth has on the environment and help decide how to best protect natural resources.
  • CartoSat-2 Series:

Cartosat-2 Series Satellite is the primary remote sensing satellite of India at present. This remote sensing satellite is similar in configuration to earlier satellites in the series with the objective of providing high-resolution scene specific spot imagery.

The imagery sent by satellite will be useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features and various other Land Information System (LIS) as well as Geographical Information System (GIS) applications.

Best Answer: Raghu.



5. What is Alexa? What are its applications? Why was it in news recently?


Alexa is a virtual personal assistant developed by American based company Amazon. It is capable of voice interaction with humans based on pre-determined functions. It receives command and carries out tasks assigned as per its capabilities.


Applications of Alexa:

  • Home automation: It can interact with smart home appliances and run the show. Just like from Sci-fi movie Jarvis from Iron Man.
  • Food ordering: Many companies have collaborated with Alexa and their website support Alexa like Domino’s, Pizza hut, Starbucks etc.
  • Music: Alexa can play music from streaming services such as Apple Music and Google Play Music from a phone or tablet.
  • Sports: allows the user to hear updates on supported sports teams.
  • Messaging and Email: Messages can be sent from one Alexa application to another as well as Echo devices.
  • Weather and News: Provides weather reports and news from supported channels.

It was in news recently because:

  • Chinese reveled about it being hacked and used by third parties.
  • Google and Walmart have entered into a partnership to make thousands of Walmart products available to purchase through the Google Home voice-controlled speaker, the tech giant’s answer to the Alexa.


With competition to Alexa from another tech giant Google, the end beneficiary will be customers who will have more choices to make at great prices. Also it should have proper security features from being misused by unauthorized people which won’t cause harm to surrounding environment.

Best Answer: Redeemer911


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