Science & Technology: August 2021 Current Affair Notes | Study Science & Technology for UPSC CSE - UPSC

UPSC: Science & Technology: August 2021 Current Affair Notes | Study Science & Technology for UPSC CSE - UPSC

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 Page 1


 
79                                                                                                                                                        
7. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 
7.1. QSIM – QUANTUM COMPUTER SIMULATOR TOOLKIT 
Why in news? 
Ministry of Electronics and Information 
Technology (MeitY) recently launched QSim – 
Quantum Computer Simulator Toolkit. 
About QSim 
• QSim toolkit allows researchers and students 
to write and debug Quantum Code that is 
essential for developing Quantum 
Algorithms. 
• It aims to enable Researchers and Students 
to carryout research in Quantum Computing 
(QC) in a cost-effective manner.  
• It is an outcome of the project “Design and 
Development of Quantum Computer Toolkit 
(Simulator, Workbench) and Capacity 
Building”, one of the first initiatives in the 
country to address the common challenge of 
advancing the Quantum Computing research 
frontiers in India.  
o This project is being executed 
collaboratively by IISc Bangalore, IIT 
Roorkee and C-DAC with the support of 
MeitY. 
What is Quantum Computing? 
• Quantum computers harness the unique 
behaviour of quantum mechanics and apply it 
to computing. This introduces new concepts to 
traditional programming methods. 
• Quantum computing use qubits as its the basic 
unit of information. 
• A quantum computer has three primary parts: 
o An area that houses the qubits. 
o A method for transferring signals to the 
qubits. 
o A classical computer to run a program and 
send instructions. 
Quantum mechanics and related terms and concepts  
• Quantum mechanics, developed in the early 20th century, explains the nature and behaviour of matter and 
energy on the atomic and subatomic level.  
• In physics, a quantum is the smallest possible discrete unit of any physical property. It usually refers to properties 
of atomic or subatomic particles, such as electrons, neutrinos and photons.  
 
Superposition: In superposition, quantum particles are a combination of all possible states. 
They fluctuate until they are observed and measured.  
• One way to picture the difference between binary position and superposition is to 
imagine a coin. Classical bits are measured by "flipping the coin" and getting heads or 
tails. However, if you were able to look at a coin and see both heads and tails at the same 
time, as well as every state in between, the coin would be in superposition. 
What are Qubits and how they differ from binary bits? 
 
• Qubits are typically subatomic particles such as 
electrons or photons, while a bit represents a stream of 
electrical or optical pulses representing 1s or 0s.  
• They play a similar role in quantum computing as bits 
play in classical computing, but they behave very 
differently.  
• While bits can hold only a position of 0 or 1, qubits can 
hold a superposition of all possible states.  
• Qubits have some quirky quantum properties 
(superposition and entanglement) that mean a 
connected group of them can provide way more 
processing power than the same number of binary bits.  
Page 2


 
79                                                                                                                                                        
7. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 
7.1. QSIM – QUANTUM COMPUTER SIMULATOR TOOLKIT 
Why in news? 
Ministry of Electronics and Information 
Technology (MeitY) recently launched QSim – 
Quantum Computer Simulator Toolkit. 
About QSim 
• QSim toolkit allows researchers and students 
to write and debug Quantum Code that is 
essential for developing Quantum 
Algorithms. 
• It aims to enable Researchers and Students 
to carryout research in Quantum Computing 
(QC) in a cost-effective manner.  
• It is an outcome of the project “Design and 
Development of Quantum Computer Toolkit 
(Simulator, Workbench) and Capacity 
Building”, one of the first initiatives in the 
country to address the common challenge of 
advancing the Quantum Computing research 
frontiers in India.  
o This project is being executed 
collaboratively by IISc Bangalore, IIT 
Roorkee and C-DAC with the support of 
MeitY. 
What is Quantum Computing? 
• Quantum computers harness the unique 
behaviour of quantum mechanics and apply it 
to computing. This introduces new concepts to 
traditional programming methods. 
• Quantum computing use qubits as its the basic 
unit of information. 
• A quantum computer has three primary parts: 
o An area that houses the qubits. 
o A method for transferring signals to the 
qubits. 
o A classical computer to run a program and 
send instructions. 
Quantum mechanics and related terms and concepts  
• Quantum mechanics, developed in the early 20th century, explains the nature and behaviour of matter and 
energy on the atomic and subatomic level.  
• In physics, a quantum is the smallest possible discrete unit of any physical property. It usually refers to properties 
of atomic or subatomic particles, such as electrons, neutrinos and photons.  
 
Superposition: In superposition, quantum particles are a combination of all possible states. 
They fluctuate until they are observed and measured.  
• One way to picture the difference between binary position and superposition is to 
imagine a coin. Classical bits are measured by "flipping the coin" and getting heads or 
tails. However, if you were able to look at a coin and see both heads and tails at the same 
time, as well as every state in between, the coin would be in superposition. 
What are Qubits and how they differ from binary bits? 
 
• Qubits are typically subatomic particles such as 
electrons or photons, while a bit represents a stream of 
electrical or optical pulses representing 1s or 0s.  
• They play a similar role in quantum computing as bits 
play in classical computing, but they behave very 
differently.  
• While bits can hold only a position of 0 or 1, qubits can 
hold a superposition of all possible states.  
• Qubits have some quirky quantum properties 
(superposition and entanglement) that mean a 
connected group of them can provide way more 
processing power than the same number of binary bits.  
 
80                                                                                                                                                        
 
Entanglement: It is the ability of quantum particles to correlate their measurement results 
with each other. When qubits are entangled, they form a single system and influence each 
other. Thus, measurements from one qubit can be used to draw conclusions about the others.  
• By adding and entangling more qubits in a system, quantum computers can calculate 
exponentially more information and solve more complicated problems. 
 
Decoherence: The interaction of qubits with their environment in ways that cause their 
quantum behavior to decay and ultimately disappear is called decoherence. Their quantum 
state is extremely fragile.  
• The slightest vibration or change in temperature—disturbances known as “noise” in 
quantum-speak—can cause them to tumble out of superposition before their job has 
been properly done.  
 
 
Quantum supremacy: It’s the point at which a quantum computer can complete a 
mathematical calculation that is demonstrably beyond the reach of even the most powerful 
supercomputer. 
 
Applications of Quantum Computing and related technologies 
It has potential to solve computational problems beyond the reach of classical computers and transform fields 
like drug discovery, weather prediction, securing transactions, cyber security, advanced manufacturing, etc.  
 
Steps taken by Government of India for advancement of Quantum Computing 
• National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NM-QTA): Budget 2020 allocated Rs 8000 Crore to 
the mission for a period of five years.  
• Quantum-Enabled Science & Technology (QuEST): It is a research program to build quantum capabilities set up by 
the Department of Science & Technology.  
• Quantum Frontier mission: It is an initiative of the Prime Minister's Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory 
Council (PM-STIAC) which aims to initiate work in the understanding and control of quantum mechanical systems. 
• MeitY will establish a Quantum Computing Applications Lab in the country, in collaboration with AWS, to 
accelerate quantum computing-led research and development and enable new scientific discoveries. 
Page 3


 
79                                                                                                                                                        
7. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 
7.1. QSIM – QUANTUM COMPUTER SIMULATOR TOOLKIT 
Why in news? 
Ministry of Electronics and Information 
Technology (MeitY) recently launched QSim – 
Quantum Computer Simulator Toolkit. 
About QSim 
• QSim toolkit allows researchers and students 
to write and debug Quantum Code that is 
essential for developing Quantum 
Algorithms. 
• It aims to enable Researchers and Students 
to carryout research in Quantum Computing 
(QC) in a cost-effective manner.  
• It is an outcome of the project “Design and 
Development of Quantum Computer Toolkit 
(Simulator, Workbench) and Capacity 
Building”, one of the first initiatives in the 
country to address the common challenge of 
advancing the Quantum Computing research 
frontiers in India.  
o This project is being executed 
collaboratively by IISc Bangalore, IIT 
Roorkee and C-DAC with the support of 
MeitY. 
What is Quantum Computing? 
• Quantum computers harness the unique 
behaviour of quantum mechanics and apply it 
to computing. This introduces new concepts to 
traditional programming methods. 
• Quantum computing use qubits as its the basic 
unit of information. 
• A quantum computer has three primary parts: 
o An area that houses the qubits. 
o A method for transferring signals to the 
qubits. 
o A classical computer to run a program and 
send instructions. 
Quantum mechanics and related terms and concepts  
• Quantum mechanics, developed in the early 20th century, explains the nature and behaviour of matter and 
energy on the atomic and subatomic level.  
• In physics, a quantum is the smallest possible discrete unit of any physical property. It usually refers to properties 
of atomic or subatomic particles, such as electrons, neutrinos and photons.  
 
Superposition: In superposition, quantum particles are a combination of all possible states. 
They fluctuate until they are observed and measured.  
• One way to picture the difference between binary position and superposition is to 
imagine a coin. Classical bits are measured by "flipping the coin" and getting heads or 
tails. However, if you were able to look at a coin and see both heads and tails at the same 
time, as well as every state in between, the coin would be in superposition. 
What are Qubits and how they differ from binary bits? 
 
• Qubits are typically subatomic particles such as 
electrons or photons, while a bit represents a stream of 
electrical or optical pulses representing 1s or 0s.  
• They play a similar role in quantum computing as bits 
play in classical computing, but they behave very 
differently.  
• While bits can hold only a position of 0 or 1, qubits can 
hold a superposition of all possible states.  
• Qubits have some quirky quantum properties 
(superposition and entanglement) that mean a 
connected group of them can provide way more 
processing power than the same number of binary bits.  
 
80                                                                                                                                                        
 
Entanglement: It is the ability of quantum particles to correlate their measurement results 
with each other. When qubits are entangled, they form a single system and influence each 
other. Thus, measurements from one qubit can be used to draw conclusions about the others.  
• By adding and entangling more qubits in a system, quantum computers can calculate 
exponentially more information and solve more complicated problems. 
 
Decoherence: The interaction of qubits with their environment in ways that cause their 
quantum behavior to decay and ultimately disappear is called decoherence. Their quantum 
state is extremely fragile.  
• The slightest vibration or change in temperature—disturbances known as “noise” in 
quantum-speak—can cause them to tumble out of superposition before their job has 
been properly done.  
 
 
Quantum supremacy: It’s the point at which a quantum computer can complete a 
mathematical calculation that is demonstrably beyond the reach of even the most powerful 
supercomputer. 
 
Applications of Quantum Computing and related technologies 
It has potential to solve computational problems beyond the reach of classical computers and transform fields 
like drug discovery, weather prediction, securing transactions, cyber security, advanced manufacturing, etc.  
 
Steps taken by Government of India for advancement of Quantum Computing 
• National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NM-QTA): Budget 2020 allocated Rs 8000 Crore to 
the mission for a period of five years.  
• Quantum-Enabled Science & Technology (QuEST): It is a research program to build quantum capabilities set up by 
the Department of Science & Technology.  
• Quantum Frontier mission: It is an initiative of the Prime Minister's Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory 
Council (PM-STIAC) which aims to initiate work in the understanding and control of quantum mechanical systems. 
• MeitY will establish a Quantum Computing Applications Lab in the country, in collaboration with AWS, to 
accelerate quantum computing-led research and development and enable new scientific discoveries. 
 
81                                                                                                                                                        
• Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT) and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) 
have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate for development of quantum computers.  
• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is collaborating With Research Institute to develop secure quantum 
communications in space. 
7.2. GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS 
Why in news? 
India will import genetically modified soyameal for the first time to be used as livestock feed. 
More on news 
• All India Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (AIPFBA) has been lobbying to the government for duty 
free imports of GM soyameal to tide over domestic shortages and reduce prices. 
• Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) cleared the proposal, on the grounds that 
material was non-living.  
o Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), a special committee under the ministry entrusted to 
govern matters related to GM crops, was bypassed, given the non-living nature of the material. 
• Soymeal is a protein-rich solid leftover raw material after extracting oil from soyabean seed. It is a major 
ingredient of poultry feed. 
• Poultry feed makes up 65% of the cost of production for the farmer and poor harvest of soy have led to high 
prices of soymeal. 
What is Genetically Modified 
(GM) Food crops? 
• According to WHO, 
genetically modified 
organisms (GMOs) are 
organisms in which the 
genetic material (DNA) has 
been altered in a way that 
does not occur naturally by 
mating and/or natural 
recombination.  
o Foods produced from or 
using GM organisms are 
referred to as GM foods.  
o GM crops carry genes of 
other species artificially inserted into them. 
• Globally GM crops were commercially introduced in 1996. Since then, their use has grown rapidly. Crops 
such as corn, cotton, and soybean have been engineered to resist insect pests and herbicides and are now 
planted widely in many parts of the world. 
o USA, Brazil, Argentina, India and Canada are top 5 GM crops growing countries, together accounting for 
approx. 90% area of the GM cultivation. 
• Bt cotton is the only genetically modified (GM) crop that has been approved for commercial cultivation in 
2002 by the Government of India.   
o GM mustard Dhara Mustard Hybrid 11 (DMH 11) developed by Delhi University is pending for 
commercial release as GEAC has advised to generate complete safety assessment data on environmental 
biosafety, especially effects on beneficial insect species. 
o Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has allowed biosafety research field trials of two 
new transgenic varieties of indigenously developed Bt Brinjal – namely Janak and BSS-793, containing 
Bt Cry1Fa1 gene (Event 142) – in eight states during 2020-23 only after taking no-objection certificate 
(NOC) from states concerned and confirmation of availability of isolated stretch of land for this purpose.  
? These indigenous transgenic varieties of brinjal hybrids have been developed by the National 
Institute for Plant Biotechnology, (NIPB, erstwhile National Research Centre on Plant 
Biotechnology, New Delhi), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). 
Page 4


 
79                                                                                                                                                        
7. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 
7.1. QSIM – QUANTUM COMPUTER SIMULATOR TOOLKIT 
Why in news? 
Ministry of Electronics and Information 
Technology (MeitY) recently launched QSim – 
Quantum Computer Simulator Toolkit. 
About QSim 
• QSim toolkit allows researchers and students 
to write and debug Quantum Code that is 
essential for developing Quantum 
Algorithms. 
• It aims to enable Researchers and Students 
to carryout research in Quantum Computing 
(QC) in a cost-effective manner.  
• It is an outcome of the project “Design and 
Development of Quantum Computer Toolkit 
(Simulator, Workbench) and Capacity 
Building”, one of the first initiatives in the 
country to address the common challenge of 
advancing the Quantum Computing research 
frontiers in India.  
o This project is being executed 
collaboratively by IISc Bangalore, IIT 
Roorkee and C-DAC with the support of 
MeitY. 
What is Quantum Computing? 
• Quantum computers harness the unique 
behaviour of quantum mechanics and apply it 
to computing. This introduces new concepts to 
traditional programming methods. 
• Quantum computing use qubits as its the basic 
unit of information. 
• A quantum computer has three primary parts: 
o An area that houses the qubits. 
o A method for transferring signals to the 
qubits. 
o A classical computer to run a program and 
send instructions. 
Quantum mechanics and related terms and concepts  
• Quantum mechanics, developed in the early 20th century, explains the nature and behaviour of matter and 
energy on the atomic and subatomic level.  
• In physics, a quantum is the smallest possible discrete unit of any physical property. It usually refers to properties 
of atomic or subatomic particles, such as electrons, neutrinos and photons.  
 
Superposition: In superposition, quantum particles are a combination of all possible states. 
They fluctuate until they are observed and measured.  
• One way to picture the difference between binary position and superposition is to 
imagine a coin. Classical bits are measured by "flipping the coin" and getting heads or 
tails. However, if you were able to look at a coin and see both heads and tails at the same 
time, as well as every state in between, the coin would be in superposition. 
What are Qubits and how they differ from binary bits? 
 
• Qubits are typically subatomic particles such as 
electrons or photons, while a bit represents a stream of 
electrical or optical pulses representing 1s or 0s.  
• They play a similar role in quantum computing as bits 
play in classical computing, but they behave very 
differently.  
• While bits can hold only a position of 0 or 1, qubits can 
hold a superposition of all possible states.  
• Qubits have some quirky quantum properties 
(superposition and entanglement) that mean a 
connected group of them can provide way more 
processing power than the same number of binary bits.  
 
80                                                                                                                                                        
 
Entanglement: It is the ability of quantum particles to correlate their measurement results 
with each other. When qubits are entangled, they form a single system and influence each 
other. Thus, measurements from one qubit can be used to draw conclusions about the others.  
• By adding and entangling more qubits in a system, quantum computers can calculate 
exponentially more information and solve more complicated problems. 
 
Decoherence: The interaction of qubits with their environment in ways that cause their 
quantum behavior to decay and ultimately disappear is called decoherence. Their quantum 
state is extremely fragile.  
• The slightest vibration or change in temperature—disturbances known as “noise” in 
quantum-speak—can cause them to tumble out of superposition before their job has 
been properly done.  
 
 
Quantum supremacy: It’s the point at which a quantum computer can complete a 
mathematical calculation that is demonstrably beyond the reach of even the most powerful 
supercomputer. 
 
Applications of Quantum Computing and related technologies 
It has potential to solve computational problems beyond the reach of classical computers and transform fields 
like drug discovery, weather prediction, securing transactions, cyber security, advanced manufacturing, etc.  
 
Steps taken by Government of India for advancement of Quantum Computing 
• National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NM-QTA): Budget 2020 allocated Rs 8000 Crore to 
the mission for a period of five years.  
• Quantum-Enabled Science & Technology (QuEST): It is a research program to build quantum capabilities set up by 
the Department of Science & Technology.  
• Quantum Frontier mission: It is an initiative of the Prime Minister's Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory 
Council (PM-STIAC) which aims to initiate work in the understanding and control of quantum mechanical systems. 
• MeitY will establish a Quantum Computing Applications Lab in the country, in collaboration with AWS, to 
accelerate quantum computing-led research and development and enable new scientific discoveries. 
 
81                                                                                                                                                        
• Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT) and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) 
have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate for development of quantum computers.  
• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is collaborating With Research Institute to develop secure quantum 
communications in space. 
7.2. GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS 
Why in news? 
India will import genetically modified soyameal for the first time to be used as livestock feed. 
More on news 
• All India Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (AIPFBA) has been lobbying to the government for duty 
free imports of GM soyameal to tide over domestic shortages and reduce prices. 
• Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) cleared the proposal, on the grounds that 
material was non-living.  
o Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), a special committee under the ministry entrusted to 
govern matters related to GM crops, was bypassed, given the non-living nature of the material. 
• Soymeal is a protein-rich solid leftover raw material after extracting oil from soyabean seed. It is a major 
ingredient of poultry feed. 
• Poultry feed makes up 65% of the cost of production for the farmer and poor harvest of soy have led to high 
prices of soymeal. 
What is Genetically Modified 
(GM) Food crops? 
• According to WHO, 
genetically modified 
organisms (GMOs) are 
organisms in which the 
genetic material (DNA) has 
been altered in a way that 
does not occur naturally by 
mating and/or natural 
recombination.  
o Foods produced from or 
using GM organisms are 
referred to as GM foods.  
o GM crops carry genes of 
other species artificially inserted into them. 
• Globally GM crops were commercially introduced in 1996. Since then, their use has grown rapidly. Crops 
such as corn, cotton, and soybean have been engineered to resist insect pests and herbicides and are now 
planted widely in many parts of the world. 
o USA, Brazil, Argentina, India and Canada are top 5 GM crops growing countries, together accounting for 
approx. 90% area of the GM cultivation. 
• Bt cotton is the only genetically modified (GM) crop that has been approved for commercial cultivation in 
2002 by the Government of India.   
o GM mustard Dhara Mustard Hybrid 11 (DMH 11) developed by Delhi University is pending for 
commercial release as GEAC has advised to generate complete safety assessment data on environmental 
biosafety, especially effects on beneficial insect species. 
o Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has allowed biosafety research field trials of two 
new transgenic varieties of indigenously developed Bt Brinjal – namely Janak and BSS-793, containing 
Bt Cry1Fa1 gene (Event 142) – in eight states during 2020-23 only after taking no-objection certificate 
(NOC) from states concerned and confirmation of availability of isolated stretch of land for this purpose.  
? These indigenous transgenic varieties of brinjal hybrids have been developed by the National 
Institute for Plant Biotechnology, (NIPB, erstwhile National Research Centre on Plant 
Biotechnology, New Delhi), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). 
 
82                                                                                                                                                        
Benefits of GM food crops 
• Better tolerance: GM crops are better tolerant to different harsh climatic conditions like cold, heat, drought 
salinity etc.  
• Improved Crop Protection: The GM crops aims at an increased level of crop protection through the 
introduction of resistance against plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased 
tolerance towards 
herbicides. 
• Increased food security 
for growing population: 
Biotechnology holds a lot 
of promise in achieving 
food security in 
sustainable manner.  
• Improved agricultural 
performance (yields) with 
less labour input and less 
cost input. It has led to an 
increase in production and 
the costs of cultivation 
have gone down.  
• Improved processing 
characteristics leading to 
reduced waste and lower 
food costs to the 
consumer.  
• Prevention of loss of 
species to endemic 
disease  
• Benefits to the soil of “no 
till” farming practice  
• Reduced usage of pesticides and herbicides 
Regulatory Procedure involved in the development and approval of GM crops in India 
• The rules governing the handling 
of genetically modified organisms 
(GMOs) and products thereof 
were notified in 1989 under 
Environment Protection Act 1986 
and guidelines issued later.  
• Two government agencies, the 
Ministry of Environment and 
Forests (MoEF) and the 
Department of Biotechnology 
(DBT), Ministry of Science and 
Technology, are responsible for 
implementation of the regulations. 
• There are basically 6 authorities 
to handle different aspects of the 
regulation.  
o These are Recombinant DNA 
Advisory Committee, Institutional Bio Safety Committee, Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation, 
Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), State Biotechnology Coordination Committee and 
District level Committee. 
Global regulation of GM food 
• Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), a joint FAO/WHO 
intergovernmental body, is responsible for developing the 
standards, codes of practice, guidelines and recommendations that 
constitute the Codex Alimentarius, meaning the international food 
code.  
o Codex principles do not have a binding effect on national 
legislation but are referred to specifically in the Agreement on 
the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the 
World Trade Organization (SPS Agreement), and WTO Members 
are encouraged to harmonize national standards with Codex 
standards. 
• Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, an environmental treaty legally 
binding for its Parties which took effect in 2003, regulates 
transboundary movements of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs). GM 
foods are within the scope of the Protocol only if they contain LMOs 
that are capable of transferring or replicating genetic material. 
Page 5


 
79                                                                                                                                                        
7. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 
7.1. QSIM – QUANTUM COMPUTER SIMULATOR TOOLKIT 
Why in news? 
Ministry of Electronics and Information 
Technology (MeitY) recently launched QSim – 
Quantum Computer Simulator Toolkit. 
About QSim 
• QSim toolkit allows researchers and students 
to write and debug Quantum Code that is 
essential for developing Quantum 
Algorithms. 
• It aims to enable Researchers and Students 
to carryout research in Quantum Computing 
(QC) in a cost-effective manner.  
• It is an outcome of the project “Design and 
Development of Quantum Computer Toolkit 
(Simulator, Workbench) and Capacity 
Building”, one of the first initiatives in the 
country to address the common challenge of 
advancing the Quantum Computing research 
frontiers in India.  
o This project is being executed 
collaboratively by IISc Bangalore, IIT 
Roorkee and C-DAC with the support of 
MeitY. 
What is Quantum Computing? 
• Quantum computers harness the unique 
behaviour of quantum mechanics and apply it 
to computing. This introduces new concepts to 
traditional programming methods. 
• Quantum computing use qubits as its the basic 
unit of information. 
• A quantum computer has three primary parts: 
o An area that houses the qubits. 
o A method for transferring signals to the 
qubits. 
o A classical computer to run a program and 
send instructions. 
Quantum mechanics and related terms and concepts  
• Quantum mechanics, developed in the early 20th century, explains the nature and behaviour of matter and 
energy on the atomic and subatomic level.  
• In physics, a quantum is the smallest possible discrete unit of any physical property. It usually refers to properties 
of atomic or subatomic particles, such as electrons, neutrinos and photons.  
 
Superposition: In superposition, quantum particles are a combination of all possible states. 
They fluctuate until they are observed and measured.  
• One way to picture the difference between binary position and superposition is to 
imagine a coin. Classical bits are measured by "flipping the coin" and getting heads or 
tails. However, if you were able to look at a coin and see both heads and tails at the same 
time, as well as every state in between, the coin would be in superposition. 
What are Qubits and how they differ from binary bits? 
 
• Qubits are typically subatomic particles such as 
electrons or photons, while a bit represents a stream of 
electrical or optical pulses representing 1s or 0s.  
• They play a similar role in quantum computing as bits 
play in classical computing, but they behave very 
differently.  
• While bits can hold only a position of 0 or 1, qubits can 
hold a superposition of all possible states.  
• Qubits have some quirky quantum properties 
(superposition and entanglement) that mean a 
connected group of them can provide way more 
processing power than the same number of binary bits.  
 
80                                                                                                                                                        
 
Entanglement: It is the ability of quantum particles to correlate their measurement results 
with each other. When qubits are entangled, they form a single system and influence each 
other. Thus, measurements from one qubit can be used to draw conclusions about the others.  
• By adding and entangling more qubits in a system, quantum computers can calculate 
exponentially more information and solve more complicated problems. 
 
Decoherence: The interaction of qubits with their environment in ways that cause their 
quantum behavior to decay and ultimately disappear is called decoherence. Their quantum 
state is extremely fragile.  
• The slightest vibration or change in temperature—disturbances known as “noise” in 
quantum-speak—can cause them to tumble out of superposition before their job has 
been properly done.  
 
 
Quantum supremacy: It’s the point at which a quantum computer can complete a 
mathematical calculation that is demonstrably beyond the reach of even the most powerful 
supercomputer. 
 
Applications of Quantum Computing and related technologies 
It has potential to solve computational problems beyond the reach of classical computers and transform fields 
like drug discovery, weather prediction, securing transactions, cyber security, advanced manufacturing, etc.  
 
Steps taken by Government of India for advancement of Quantum Computing 
• National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NM-QTA): Budget 2020 allocated Rs 8000 Crore to 
the mission for a period of five years.  
• Quantum-Enabled Science & Technology (QuEST): It is a research program to build quantum capabilities set up by 
the Department of Science & Technology.  
• Quantum Frontier mission: It is an initiative of the Prime Minister's Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory 
Council (PM-STIAC) which aims to initiate work in the understanding and control of quantum mechanical systems. 
• MeitY will establish a Quantum Computing Applications Lab in the country, in collaboration with AWS, to 
accelerate quantum computing-led research and development and enable new scientific discoveries. 
 
81                                                                                                                                                        
• Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT) and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) 
have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate for development of quantum computers.  
• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is collaborating With Research Institute to develop secure quantum 
communications in space. 
7.2. GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS 
Why in news? 
India will import genetically modified soyameal for the first time to be used as livestock feed. 
More on news 
• All India Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (AIPFBA) has been lobbying to the government for duty 
free imports of GM soyameal to tide over domestic shortages and reduce prices. 
• Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) cleared the proposal, on the grounds that 
material was non-living.  
o Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), a special committee under the ministry entrusted to 
govern matters related to GM crops, was bypassed, given the non-living nature of the material. 
• Soymeal is a protein-rich solid leftover raw material after extracting oil from soyabean seed. It is a major 
ingredient of poultry feed. 
• Poultry feed makes up 65% of the cost of production for the farmer and poor harvest of soy have led to high 
prices of soymeal. 
What is Genetically Modified 
(GM) Food crops? 
• According to WHO, 
genetically modified 
organisms (GMOs) are 
organisms in which the 
genetic material (DNA) has 
been altered in a way that 
does not occur naturally by 
mating and/or natural 
recombination.  
o Foods produced from or 
using GM organisms are 
referred to as GM foods.  
o GM crops carry genes of 
other species artificially inserted into them. 
• Globally GM crops were commercially introduced in 1996. Since then, their use has grown rapidly. Crops 
such as corn, cotton, and soybean have been engineered to resist insect pests and herbicides and are now 
planted widely in many parts of the world. 
o USA, Brazil, Argentina, India and Canada are top 5 GM crops growing countries, together accounting for 
approx. 90% area of the GM cultivation. 
• Bt cotton is the only genetically modified (GM) crop that has been approved for commercial cultivation in 
2002 by the Government of India.   
o GM mustard Dhara Mustard Hybrid 11 (DMH 11) developed by Delhi University is pending for 
commercial release as GEAC has advised to generate complete safety assessment data on environmental 
biosafety, especially effects on beneficial insect species. 
o Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has allowed biosafety research field trials of two 
new transgenic varieties of indigenously developed Bt Brinjal – namely Janak and BSS-793, containing 
Bt Cry1Fa1 gene (Event 142) – in eight states during 2020-23 only after taking no-objection certificate 
(NOC) from states concerned and confirmation of availability of isolated stretch of land for this purpose.  
? These indigenous transgenic varieties of brinjal hybrids have been developed by the National 
Institute for Plant Biotechnology, (NIPB, erstwhile National Research Centre on Plant 
Biotechnology, New Delhi), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). 
 
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Benefits of GM food crops 
• Better tolerance: GM crops are better tolerant to different harsh climatic conditions like cold, heat, drought 
salinity etc.  
• Improved Crop Protection: The GM crops aims at an increased level of crop protection through the 
introduction of resistance against plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased 
tolerance towards 
herbicides. 
• Increased food security 
for growing population: 
Biotechnology holds a lot 
of promise in achieving 
food security in 
sustainable manner.  
• Improved agricultural 
performance (yields) with 
less labour input and less 
cost input. It has led to an 
increase in production and 
the costs of cultivation 
have gone down.  
• Improved processing 
characteristics leading to 
reduced waste and lower 
food costs to the 
consumer.  
• Prevention of loss of 
species to endemic 
disease  
• Benefits to the soil of “no 
till” farming practice  
• Reduced usage of pesticides and herbicides 
Regulatory Procedure involved in the development and approval of GM crops in India 
• The rules governing the handling 
of genetically modified organisms 
(GMOs) and products thereof 
were notified in 1989 under 
Environment Protection Act 1986 
and guidelines issued later.  
• Two government agencies, the 
Ministry of Environment and 
Forests (MoEF) and the 
Department of Biotechnology 
(DBT), Ministry of Science and 
Technology, are responsible for 
implementation of the regulations. 
• There are basically 6 authorities 
to handle different aspects of the 
regulation.  
o These are Recombinant DNA 
Advisory Committee, Institutional Bio Safety Committee, Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation, 
Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), State Biotechnology Coordination Committee and 
District level Committee. 
Global regulation of GM food 
• Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), a joint FAO/WHO 
intergovernmental body, is responsible for developing the 
standards, codes of practice, guidelines and recommendations that 
constitute the Codex Alimentarius, meaning the international food 
code.  
o Codex principles do not have a binding effect on national 
legislation but are referred to specifically in the Agreement on 
the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the 
World Trade Organization (SPS Agreement), and WTO Members 
are encouraged to harmonize national standards with Codex 
standards. 
• Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, an environmental treaty legally 
binding for its Parties which took effect in 2003, regulates 
transboundary movements of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs). GM 
foods are within the scope of the Protocol only if they contain LMOs 
that are capable of transferring or replicating genetic material. 
 
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• A series of guidelines for safety assessment procedures to be followed at various stages of development of 
GMOs i.e., research, confined field trials, food safety assessment, and environmental risk assessment have 
been adopted under Rules, 1989 from time to time. 
• GEAC shall have powers to revoke approvals in case of: 
o Any new information on harmful effects of GMOs. 
o GMOs cause such damage to the environment as could not be envisaged when approval was given. 
o Non-compliance of any conditions stipulated by GEAC. 
Conclusion  
A focused GM research agenda vis-a-vis agriculture development priorities along with capacity building on GM 
research, development and regulation will aid in increasing public awareness with reliable evidence-based 
information on GM crops and products. Also, science based and consistent regulatory policy and simplified 
modules for risk assessment and management is the need of the hour.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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