Science & Technology: October 2021 Current Affairs Notes | Study Science & Technology for UPSC CSE - UPSC

UPSC: Science & Technology: October 2021 Current Affairs Notes | Study Science & Technology for UPSC CSE - UPSC

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 Page 1


 
88                                                                                                                                                                       
7. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 
7.1. PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION IN SPACE 
Why in news? 
The Prime Minister recently launched the Indian Space Association (ISpA), an industry body consisting of various 
stakeholders of the Indian space domain. 
More about news 
• The industry association will act as an independent and a “single-window” agency for enabling the opening up of 
the space sector to start-ups and the private sector.  
• ISpA will also work towards building global linkages for the Indian space industry to bring in critical technology and 
investments into the country to create more high-skill jobs.   
• Space reforms via IsPA, will be based on “four pillars” of space technology:  
o The freedom to innovate in the private sector;  
o Making the government act as an enabler; 
o Preparing the next generation for the future of the space industry; and  
o Ensuring that the space sector is used as a common resource for the progress of humanity.  
Status of India’s Space industry  
• Driven by public sector: India’s space programme is one of the most well-developed in the world and is driven by a 
state-owned agency- the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). 
• High economic potential: The current global space economy is estimated at US$ 360 billion, with India accounting 
for ~2% (US$ 7 billion). The Indian space sector is projected to increase at a ~48% CAGR over the next five years to 
reach US$ 50 billion. 
• Limited participation in satellite and ground based services: In the global space market, rocket and satellite launch 
services, an area in which ISRO specialises, amount to only 5% share. Satellite-based services and ground-based 
systems account for the remaining 95%. 
At present, the government drives a certain level of 
participation by the Indian private sector, primarily in the 
rocket and satellite launch services segment. However, 
enhanced private sector participation will be necessary to 
penetrate satellite-based services and ground-based 
system segments. 
Need for private sector participation 
• Growing demand: ISRO alone can’t cater to the rising 
demand for space-based applications and services 
within India. Almost every sector, starting from 
agriculture to transport, now wants satellite data and 
space technology to draw their future strategy. 
o It has been estimated that ISRO would have to increase its present size by 10 times to cater to the growing 
demand within India. 
• To enable ISRO to fulfil its strategic objectives: Currently, a lot of ISRO’s resources are being consumed by routine 
activities, causing delays in its strategic objectives. If private companies take over these activities, ISRO will be able 
to focus more on strategic programmes like R&D activities, exploration missions and human spaceflight 
programme. 
• Increase India’s share in global space market: Indian space sector has the potential to capture close to 9% of global 
market share by 2030, which cannot be achieved without private sector’s participation. 
• To secure our space capabilities and make them more robust: This can be done by distributing them across many 
different satellites and spacecraft, so that business continuity is unaffected even if an adversary manages to 
disable one or more of our satellites. The more critical the function, the more the diversity required. 
The gamut of Space activities envisaged to be taken up by 
private sector 
• Production of components and subsystems of a launch 
vehicle, launch vehicle integration and testing which is 
meant for space launch. 
• Production of components of a spacecraft, spacecraft 
Integration and testing for the purpose of space 
launches. 
• Space launch of spacecraft on board a launch vehicle 
and establishment/ operation of launch infrastructure. 
• Providing space-based services including operation, 
control and station keeping of spacecraft by establishing 
and operation of ground segment/ stations. 
• Development of space-based applications using satellite 
data and rolling out of commercial services. 
Page 2


 
88                                                                                                                                                                       
7. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 
7.1. PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION IN SPACE 
Why in news? 
The Prime Minister recently launched the Indian Space Association (ISpA), an industry body consisting of various 
stakeholders of the Indian space domain. 
More about news 
• The industry association will act as an independent and a “single-window” agency for enabling the opening up of 
the space sector to start-ups and the private sector.  
• ISpA will also work towards building global linkages for the Indian space industry to bring in critical technology and 
investments into the country to create more high-skill jobs.   
• Space reforms via IsPA, will be based on “four pillars” of space technology:  
o The freedom to innovate in the private sector;  
o Making the government act as an enabler; 
o Preparing the next generation for the future of the space industry; and  
o Ensuring that the space sector is used as a common resource for the progress of humanity.  
Status of India’s Space industry  
• Driven by public sector: India’s space programme is one of the most well-developed in the world and is driven by a 
state-owned agency- the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). 
• High economic potential: The current global space economy is estimated at US$ 360 billion, with India accounting 
for ~2% (US$ 7 billion). The Indian space sector is projected to increase at a ~48% CAGR over the next five years to 
reach US$ 50 billion. 
• Limited participation in satellite and ground based services: In the global space market, rocket and satellite launch 
services, an area in which ISRO specialises, amount to only 5% share. Satellite-based services and ground-based 
systems account for the remaining 95%. 
At present, the government drives a certain level of 
participation by the Indian private sector, primarily in the 
rocket and satellite launch services segment. However, 
enhanced private sector participation will be necessary to 
penetrate satellite-based services and ground-based 
system segments. 
Need for private sector participation 
• Growing demand: ISRO alone can’t cater to the rising 
demand for space-based applications and services 
within India. Almost every sector, starting from 
agriculture to transport, now wants satellite data and 
space technology to draw their future strategy. 
o It has been estimated that ISRO would have to increase its present size by 10 times to cater to the growing 
demand within India. 
• To enable ISRO to fulfil its strategic objectives: Currently, a lot of ISRO’s resources are being consumed by routine 
activities, causing delays in its strategic objectives. If private companies take over these activities, ISRO will be able 
to focus more on strategic programmes like R&D activities, exploration missions and human spaceflight 
programme. 
• Increase India’s share in global space market: Indian space sector has the potential to capture close to 9% of global 
market share by 2030, which cannot be achieved without private sector’s participation. 
• To secure our space capabilities and make them more robust: This can be done by distributing them across many 
different satellites and spacecraft, so that business continuity is unaffected even if an adversary manages to 
disable one or more of our satellites. The more critical the function, the more the diversity required. 
The gamut of Space activities envisaged to be taken up by 
private sector 
• Production of components and subsystems of a launch 
vehicle, launch vehicle integration and testing which is 
meant for space launch. 
• Production of components of a spacecraft, spacecraft 
Integration and testing for the purpose of space 
launches. 
• Space launch of spacecraft on board a launch vehicle 
and establishment/ operation of launch infrastructure. 
• Providing space-based services including operation, 
control and station keeping of spacecraft by establishing 
and operation of ground segment/ stations. 
• Development of space-based applications using satellite 
data and rolling out of commercial services. 
 
89                                                                                                                                                                       
Concerns related to Private sector participation 
• Monopolistic trends: Space technology is expensive and 
needs heavy investment. This kind of lucrative power is 
available only with selected rich corporates, thus can lead 
to monopolisation of the sector.  
• Social welfare may take a backseat: The space program by 
ISRO always worked on applications like remote sensing, 
tracking of land use, resource mapping etc., enhancing 
social welfare. However, private companies will have more 
profitable interests than developing solutions that cater 
to the immediate socio-economic needs of the country. 
• To expand satellite-based services: As of August 2021, India had only 3 lakh satellite communications customers, 
compared with 45 lakh in the US and 21 lakh in the European Union. Private sector can facilitate development of a 
cost-effective product or a service, thus creating large base of new consumers. 
• To achieve our geopolitical objectives: The availability and demonstration of emerging technologies have a great 
significance in defining the modern-day geopolitics. Hence, given the current geopolitical situation of the country 
and security threats, growth in the space sector can help the country gain leverage over others.  
• NewSpace in India: NewsSpace is a global phenomenon of entrepreneurs developing products, and service 
enterprises focusing on space, using private funding. Basic ethos of the NewSpace has been to challenge the 
traditional ways of space exploration that are widely considered as too expensive, time-consuming and lacking in 
room for inventive risk-taking.  
o Companies that fit in the bracket of NewSpace include the likes of SpaceX, OneWeb, and Planet Labs, which are 
primarily funded by private capital. 
• Other factors include attracting innovation and cutting-edge technology, enhanced competitiveness, creation of job 
opportunities, realising vision of Aatma nirbhar Bharat and reducing dependence on taxpayer’s money. 
Challenges associated with Private Sector participation 
• Conflicts of interest: As ISRO is both a regulator 
and an operator, this conflict of interest is likely to 
manifest during dispute resolution between private 
players and ISRO entities.  
o Even though IN-SPACe (Indian National Space 
Promotion and Authorization Centre) is meant 
to be an independent agency, it falls under the 
ambit of ISRO, causing potential conflicts of 
interest. 
• Procedural hurdles: Companies have often cited 
multiplicity of approvals and procedural ambiguity as 
barriers. For example, in 2017, Hughes, a US-based 
company, had announced a US$ 500 million satellite 
communications system in India but company has not yet 
received any approvals or an expected timeline. 
• Lack of clarity on level of private involvement: There is a 
lack of clarity regarding definition and scope of private 
involvement in the space sector given that governments 
still consider some domains in space too crucial for 
national interest to allow private participation. 
• Absence of coherent policy: There is an absence of a 
coherent policy framework at the national level, which 
could provide support and guidelines to technology 
manufacturing businesses, including tax rebates or other 
advantages of operating in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). 
• Limited technological advancements: As ISRO works on the traditional vendor-supplier model, most intellectual 
property (IP) is owned by the organisation. This has hindered the technological advancements of Indian companies. 
o Currently, private players (operating satellites) have a 100% FDI limit that is subject to government approval 
which may be prolonged for years.  
Charting the road ahead 
• Regulatory clarity: The purpose of regulation must be to ensure compliance with India’s international obligations, 
ensuring safety, covering liabilities and standardization. Improved regulatory environment would mean fewer 
barriers of entry for private firms. 
o There is a need for legislation providing procedural clarity to facilitate ISRO’s partnership with industries and 
entrepreneurs. Rekindling debate on draft Space Activities Bill could be a good start.  
Recent steps taken for private sector participation 
• To enhance utilization and maximize benefits from 
the space assets, it has been proposed to change 
the approach from “Supply Based Model” to 
“Demand Based Model”. 
• IN-SPACe was created to encourage, promote and 
hand hold the private sector for their participation 
in Space Sector. Private players will also be able to 
use ISRO infrastructure through INSPACe.  
• New Space India Limited (NSIL) is the commercial 
arm of ISRO and primarily responsible for 
enabling Indian industries to take up high-tech, 
space-related activities. It is also responsible for 
promotion and commercialisation of products and 
services in the space industry. 
Page 3


 
88                                                                                                                                                                       
7. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 
7.1. PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION IN SPACE 
Why in news? 
The Prime Minister recently launched the Indian Space Association (ISpA), an industry body consisting of various 
stakeholders of the Indian space domain. 
More about news 
• The industry association will act as an independent and a “single-window” agency for enabling the opening up of 
the space sector to start-ups and the private sector.  
• ISpA will also work towards building global linkages for the Indian space industry to bring in critical technology and 
investments into the country to create more high-skill jobs.   
• Space reforms via IsPA, will be based on “four pillars” of space technology:  
o The freedom to innovate in the private sector;  
o Making the government act as an enabler; 
o Preparing the next generation for the future of the space industry; and  
o Ensuring that the space sector is used as a common resource for the progress of humanity.  
Status of India’s Space industry  
• Driven by public sector: India’s space programme is one of the most well-developed in the world and is driven by a 
state-owned agency- the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). 
• High economic potential: The current global space economy is estimated at US$ 360 billion, with India accounting 
for ~2% (US$ 7 billion). The Indian space sector is projected to increase at a ~48% CAGR over the next five years to 
reach US$ 50 billion. 
• Limited participation in satellite and ground based services: In the global space market, rocket and satellite launch 
services, an area in which ISRO specialises, amount to only 5% share. Satellite-based services and ground-based 
systems account for the remaining 95%. 
At present, the government drives a certain level of 
participation by the Indian private sector, primarily in the 
rocket and satellite launch services segment. However, 
enhanced private sector participation will be necessary to 
penetrate satellite-based services and ground-based 
system segments. 
Need for private sector participation 
• Growing demand: ISRO alone can’t cater to the rising 
demand for space-based applications and services 
within India. Almost every sector, starting from 
agriculture to transport, now wants satellite data and 
space technology to draw their future strategy. 
o It has been estimated that ISRO would have to increase its present size by 10 times to cater to the growing 
demand within India. 
• To enable ISRO to fulfil its strategic objectives: Currently, a lot of ISRO’s resources are being consumed by routine 
activities, causing delays in its strategic objectives. If private companies take over these activities, ISRO will be able 
to focus more on strategic programmes like R&D activities, exploration missions and human spaceflight 
programme. 
• Increase India’s share in global space market: Indian space sector has the potential to capture close to 9% of global 
market share by 2030, which cannot be achieved without private sector’s participation. 
• To secure our space capabilities and make them more robust: This can be done by distributing them across many 
different satellites and spacecraft, so that business continuity is unaffected even if an adversary manages to 
disable one or more of our satellites. The more critical the function, the more the diversity required. 
The gamut of Space activities envisaged to be taken up by 
private sector 
• Production of components and subsystems of a launch 
vehicle, launch vehicle integration and testing which is 
meant for space launch. 
• Production of components of a spacecraft, spacecraft 
Integration and testing for the purpose of space 
launches. 
• Space launch of spacecraft on board a launch vehicle 
and establishment/ operation of launch infrastructure. 
• Providing space-based services including operation, 
control and station keeping of spacecraft by establishing 
and operation of ground segment/ stations. 
• Development of space-based applications using satellite 
data and rolling out of commercial services. 
 
89                                                                                                                                                                       
Concerns related to Private sector participation 
• Monopolistic trends: Space technology is expensive and 
needs heavy investment. This kind of lucrative power is 
available only with selected rich corporates, thus can lead 
to monopolisation of the sector.  
• Social welfare may take a backseat: The space program by 
ISRO always worked on applications like remote sensing, 
tracking of land use, resource mapping etc., enhancing 
social welfare. However, private companies will have more 
profitable interests than developing solutions that cater 
to the immediate socio-economic needs of the country. 
• To expand satellite-based services: As of August 2021, India had only 3 lakh satellite communications customers, 
compared with 45 lakh in the US and 21 lakh in the European Union. Private sector can facilitate development of a 
cost-effective product or a service, thus creating large base of new consumers. 
• To achieve our geopolitical objectives: The availability and demonstration of emerging technologies have a great 
significance in defining the modern-day geopolitics. Hence, given the current geopolitical situation of the country 
and security threats, growth in the space sector can help the country gain leverage over others.  
• NewSpace in India: NewsSpace is a global phenomenon of entrepreneurs developing products, and service 
enterprises focusing on space, using private funding. Basic ethos of the NewSpace has been to challenge the 
traditional ways of space exploration that are widely considered as too expensive, time-consuming and lacking in 
room for inventive risk-taking.  
o Companies that fit in the bracket of NewSpace include the likes of SpaceX, OneWeb, and Planet Labs, which are 
primarily funded by private capital. 
• Other factors include attracting innovation and cutting-edge technology, enhanced competitiveness, creation of job 
opportunities, realising vision of Aatma nirbhar Bharat and reducing dependence on taxpayer’s money. 
Challenges associated with Private Sector participation 
• Conflicts of interest: As ISRO is both a regulator 
and an operator, this conflict of interest is likely to 
manifest during dispute resolution between private 
players and ISRO entities.  
o Even though IN-SPACe (Indian National Space 
Promotion and Authorization Centre) is meant 
to be an independent agency, it falls under the 
ambit of ISRO, causing potential conflicts of 
interest. 
• Procedural hurdles: Companies have often cited 
multiplicity of approvals and procedural ambiguity as 
barriers. For example, in 2017, Hughes, a US-based 
company, had announced a US$ 500 million satellite 
communications system in India but company has not yet 
received any approvals or an expected timeline. 
• Lack of clarity on level of private involvement: There is a 
lack of clarity regarding definition and scope of private 
involvement in the space sector given that governments 
still consider some domains in space too crucial for 
national interest to allow private participation. 
• Absence of coherent policy: There is an absence of a 
coherent policy framework at the national level, which 
could provide support and guidelines to technology 
manufacturing businesses, including tax rebates or other 
advantages of operating in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). 
• Limited technological advancements: As ISRO works on the traditional vendor-supplier model, most intellectual 
property (IP) is owned by the organisation. This has hindered the technological advancements of Indian companies. 
o Currently, private players (operating satellites) have a 100% FDI limit that is subject to government approval 
which may be prolonged for years.  
Charting the road ahead 
• Regulatory clarity: The purpose of regulation must be to ensure compliance with India’s international obligations, 
ensuring safety, covering liabilities and standardization. Improved regulatory environment would mean fewer 
barriers of entry for private firms. 
o There is a need for legislation providing procedural clarity to facilitate ISRO’s partnership with industries and 
entrepreneurs. Rekindling debate on draft Space Activities Bill could be a good start.  
Recent steps taken for private sector participation 
• To enhance utilization and maximize benefits from 
the space assets, it has been proposed to change 
the approach from “Supply Based Model” to 
“Demand Based Model”. 
• IN-SPACe was created to encourage, promote and 
hand hold the private sector for their participation 
in Space Sector. Private players will also be able to 
use ISRO infrastructure through INSPACe.  
• New Space India Limited (NSIL) is the commercial 
arm of ISRO and primarily responsible for 
enabling Indian industries to take up high-tech, 
space-related activities. It is also responsible for 
promotion and commercialisation of products and 
services in the space industry. 
 
90                                                                                                                                                                       
• Independent regulator: Creating an independent regulator to govern ISRO and its affiliates as well as new private 
sector firms can help in instilling confidence among private players. Separate licences can be awarded for different 
classes of launch vehicles, orbits and services. 
• Incentives to private companies: By opening up ISRO testing facilities to the private sector, Indian rocket-making 
companies will be able to build their satellites or test their rockets, reducing cost and increasing incentives for firms 
to build operational spacecraft.  
• FDI reforms: Government can consider implementing the telecommunications FDI model, which allows 
investments (up to 49%) under the automatic route and investments (>50%) through the government’s approval. 
• Other steps:  
o IP-centric policy to create reforms where local industry can invest in building their own IP and/or products that 
can match global standards; 
o Enable a level playing field for the private sector through burden-sharing between the public and private 
actors; 
o There is a need for collaboration and integrated conversations between various stakeholders who need to 
come together to help establish a suitable framework for space policy and governance. 
7.2. NOBEL PRIZES 
Why in news?  
The Nobel Assembly and the Royal Swedish Academy of Science 
have announced the winners of Medicine, Physics and 
Chemistry Nobel for the year 2021. 
About Nobel Prize 
• The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by 
the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, awarded to 
people "who have conferred the greatest benefit to 
humankind" in the previous 12 months. 
• They are awarded annually from a fund that Alfred Nobel 
(Swedish inventor and entrepreneur) set aside in his 1895 
will for this purpose.   
o Alfred Nobel’s own inventions include a blasting cap, 
dynamite, and smokeless gunpowder. 
• Categories: Instituted in 1901, Prizes were initially awarded 
in five categories: Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or 
Medicine, Literature and Peace. A sixth award, the Nobel 
Prize in Economic Sciences was instituted in 1968 by the 
Royal Bank of Sweden and was first awarded in 1969.  
• What do the winners receive? The recipient of each prize 
receives three things: 
o A Nobel diploma, each of which is a unique work of art; 
o A Nobel medal; 
o A cash prize of 10m Swedish krona (£836,000; $1.1m). 
They have to deliver a lecture to receive the money. 
• Who awards the prizes? The Royal Swedish Academy of 
Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Physics & Chemistry and 
the Nobel prize in Medicine is awarded by Nobel Assembly 
at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.  
• Prize winners are called laureates, to signify the laurel 
wreath given to victors of contests in ancient Greece. More than one, but no more than three, people can win each 
prize. 
Page 4


 
88                                                                                                                                                                       
7. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 
7.1. PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION IN SPACE 
Why in news? 
The Prime Minister recently launched the Indian Space Association (ISpA), an industry body consisting of various 
stakeholders of the Indian space domain. 
More about news 
• The industry association will act as an independent and a “single-window” agency for enabling the opening up of 
the space sector to start-ups and the private sector.  
• ISpA will also work towards building global linkages for the Indian space industry to bring in critical technology and 
investments into the country to create more high-skill jobs.   
• Space reforms via IsPA, will be based on “four pillars” of space technology:  
o The freedom to innovate in the private sector;  
o Making the government act as an enabler; 
o Preparing the next generation for the future of the space industry; and  
o Ensuring that the space sector is used as a common resource for the progress of humanity.  
Status of India’s Space industry  
• Driven by public sector: India’s space programme is one of the most well-developed in the world and is driven by a 
state-owned agency- the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). 
• High economic potential: The current global space economy is estimated at US$ 360 billion, with India accounting 
for ~2% (US$ 7 billion). The Indian space sector is projected to increase at a ~48% CAGR over the next five years to 
reach US$ 50 billion. 
• Limited participation in satellite and ground based services: In the global space market, rocket and satellite launch 
services, an area in which ISRO specialises, amount to only 5% share. Satellite-based services and ground-based 
systems account for the remaining 95%. 
At present, the government drives a certain level of 
participation by the Indian private sector, primarily in the 
rocket and satellite launch services segment. However, 
enhanced private sector participation will be necessary to 
penetrate satellite-based services and ground-based 
system segments. 
Need for private sector participation 
• Growing demand: ISRO alone can’t cater to the rising 
demand for space-based applications and services 
within India. Almost every sector, starting from 
agriculture to transport, now wants satellite data and 
space technology to draw their future strategy. 
o It has been estimated that ISRO would have to increase its present size by 10 times to cater to the growing 
demand within India. 
• To enable ISRO to fulfil its strategic objectives: Currently, a lot of ISRO’s resources are being consumed by routine 
activities, causing delays in its strategic objectives. If private companies take over these activities, ISRO will be able 
to focus more on strategic programmes like R&D activities, exploration missions and human spaceflight 
programme. 
• Increase India’s share in global space market: Indian space sector has the potential to capture close to 9% of global 
market share by 2030, which cannot be achieved without private sector’s participation. 
• To secure our space capabilities and make them more robust: This can be done by distributing them across many 
different satellites and spacecraft, so that business continuity is unaffected even if an adversary manages to 
disable one or more of our satellites. The more critical the function, the more the diversity required. 
The gamut of Space activities envisaged to be taken up by 
private sector 
• Production of components and subsystems of a launch 
vehicle, launch vehicle integration and testing which is 
meant for space launch. 
• Production of components of a spacecraft, spacecraft 
Integration and testing for the purpose of space 
launches. 
• Space launch of spacecraft on board a launch vehicle 
and establishment/ operation of launch infrastructure. 
• Providing space-based services including operation, 
control and station keeping of spacecraft by establishing 
and operation of ground segment/ stations. 
• Development of space-based applications using satellite 
data and rolling out of commercial services. 
 
89                                                                                                                                                                       
Concerns related to Private sector participation 
• Monopolistic trends: Space technology is expensive and 
needs heavy investment. This kind of lucrative power is 
available only with selected rich corporates, thus can lead 
to monopolisation of the sector.  
• Social welfare may take a backseat: The space program by 
ISRO always worked on applications like remote sensing, 
tracking of land use, resource mapping etc., enhancing 
social welfare. However, private companies will have more 
profitable interests than developing solutions that cater 
to the immediate socio-economic needs of the country. 
• To expand satellite-based services: As of August 2021, India had only 3 lakh satellite communications customers, 
compared with 45 lakh in the US and 21 lakh in the European Union. Private sector can facilitate development of a 
cost-effective product or a service, thus creating large base of new consumers. 
• To achieve our geopolitical objectives: The availability and demonstration of emerging technologies have a great 
significance in defining the modern-day geopolitics. Hence, given the current geopolitical situation of the country 
and security threats, growth in the space sector can help the country gain leverage over others.  
• NewSpace in India: NewsSpace is a global phenomenon of entrepreneurs developing products, and service 
enterprises focusing on space, using private funding. Basic ethos of the NewSpace has been to challenge the 
traditional ways of space exploration that are widely considered as too expensive, time-consuming and lacking in 
room for inventive risk-taking.  
o Companies that fit in the bracket of NewSpace include the likes of SpaceX, OneWeb, and Planet Labs, which are 
primarily funded by private capital. 
• Other factors include attracting innovation and cutting-edge technology, enhanced competitiveness, creation of job 
opportunities, realising vision of Aatma nirbhar Bharat and reducing dependence on taxpayer’s money. 
Challenges associated with Private Sector participation 
• Conflicts of interest: As ISRO is both a regulator 
and an operator, this conflict of interest is likely to 
manifest during dispute resolution between private 
players and ISRO entities.  
o Even though IN-SPACe (Indian National Space 
Promotion and Authorization Centre) is meant 
to be an independent agency, it falls under the 
ambit of ISRO, causing potential conflicts of 
interest. 
• Procedural hurdles: Companies have often cited 
multiplicity of approvals and procedural ambiguity as 
barriers. For example, in 2017, Hughes, a US-based 
company, had announced a US$ 500 million satellite 
communications system in India but company has not yet 
received any approvals or an expected timeline. 
• Lack of clarity on level of private involvement: There is a 
lack of clarity regarding definition and scope of private 
involvement in the space sector given that governments 
still consider some domains in space too crucial for 
national interest to allow private participation. 
• Absence of coherent policy: There is an absence of a 
coherent policy framework at the national level, which 
could provide support and guidelines to technology 
manufacturing businesses, including tax rebates or other 
advantages of operating in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). 
• Limited technological advancements: As ISRO works on the traditional vendor-supplier model, most intellectual 
property (IP) is owned by the organisation. This has hindered the technological advancements of Indian companies. 
o Currently, private players (operating satellites) have a 100% FDI limit that is subject to government approval 
which may be prolonged for years.  
Charting the road ahead 
• Regulatory clarity: The purpose of regulation must be to ensure compliance with India’s international obligations, 
ensuring safety, covering liabilities and standardization. Improved regulatory environment would mean fewer 
barriers of entry for private firms. 
o There is a need for legislation providing procedural clarity to facilitate ISRO’s partnership with industries and 
entrepreneurs. Rekindling debate on draft Space Activities Bill could be a good start.  
Recent steps taken for private sector participation 
• To enhance utilization and maximize benefits from 
the space assets, it has been proposed to change 
the approach from “Supply Based Model” to 
“Demand Based Model”. 
• IN-SPACe was created to encourage, promote and 
hand hold the private sector for their participation 
in Space Sector. Private players will also be able to 
use ISRO infrastructure through INSPACe.  
• New Space India Limited (NSIL) is the commercial 
arm of ISRO and primarily responsible for 
enabling Indian industries to take up high-tech, 
space-related activities. It is also responsible for 
promotion and commercialisation of products and 
services in the space industry. 
 
90                                                                                                                                                                       
• Independent regulator: Creating an independent regulator to govern ISRO and its affiliates as well as new private 
sector firms can help in instilling confidence among private players. Separate licences can be awarded for different 
classes of launch vehicles, orbits and services. 
• Incentives to private companies: By opening up ISRO testing facilities to the private sector, Indian rocket-making 
companies will be able to build their satellites or test their rockets, reducing cost and increasing incentives for firms 
to build operational spacecraft.  
• FDI reforms: Government can consider implementing the telecommunications FDI model, which allows 
investments (up to 49%) under the automatic route and investments (>50%) through the government’s approval. 
• Other steps:  
o IP-centric policy to create reforms where local industry can invest in building their own IP and/or products that 
can match global standards; 
o Enable a level playing field for the private sector through burden-sharing between the public and private 
actors; 
o There is a need for collaboration and integrated conversations between various stakeholders who need to 
come together to help establish a suitable framework for space policy and governance. 
7.2. NOBEL PRIZES 
Why in news?  
The Nobel Assembly and the Royal Swedish Academy of Science 
have announced the winners of Medicine, Physics and 
Chemistry Nobel for the year 2021. 
About Nobel Prize 
• The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by 
the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, awarded to 
people "who have conferred the greatest benefit to 
humankind" in the previous 12 months. 
• They are awarded annually from a fund that Alfred Nobel 
(Swedish inventor and entrepreneur) set aside in his 1895 
will for this purpose.   
o Alfred Nobel’s own inventions include a blasting cap, 
dynamite, and smokeless gunpowder. 
• Categories: Instituted in 1901, Prizes were initially awarded 
in five categories: Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or 
Medicine, Literature and Peace. A sixth award, the Nobel 
Prize in Economic Sciences was instituted in 1968 by the 
Royal Bank of Sweden and was first awarded in 1969.  
• What do the winners receive? The recipient of each prize 
receives three things: 
o A Nobel diploma, each of which is a unique work of art; 
o A Nobel medal; 
o A cash prize of 10m Swedish krona (£836,000; $1.1m). 
They have to deliver a lecture to receive the money. 
• Who awards the prizes? The Royal Swedish Academy of 
Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Physics & Chemistry and 
the Nobel prize in Medicine is awarded by Nobel Assembly 
at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.  
• Prize winners are called laureates, to signify the laurel 
wreath given to victors of contests in ancient Greece. More than one, but no more than three, people can win each 
prize. 
 
91                                                                                                                                                                       
7.2.1. THE NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS 2021 
Prize awarded for: Ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems. 
Awardees  
• One half of the prize was awarded to Syukuro 
Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann for their work in the 
physical modeling of Earth’s climate, quantifying 
variability and reliably predicting global warming. 
• Second half was awarded to Giorgio Parisi for the 
discovery of the interplay of disorder and 
fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to 
planetary scales. 
About complex physical systems and the work of Nobel 
laurates 
• Complex systems are characterised by randomness 
and disorder and are difficult to understand. They 
can be difficult to describe mathematically – they 
may have an enormous number of components or be 
governed by chance. The Prize recognises new 
methods for describing them and predicting their 
long-term behaviour. The Earth’s climate is one of 
many examples of complex systems.  
• Syukuro Manabe demonstrated how increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to increased 
temperatures at the surface of the Earth. 
• Giorgio Parisi discovered hidden patterns in disordered complex materials with his spin glass experiments (refer 
infographic). With this, he discovered hidden structures within the systems and represented them mathematically.  
Implications of the work  
• Climate change models: In the 1960s, the development of physical models of the Earth’s climate laid the 
foundation for the development of current climate models.  
• Mathematical representation of random phenomenon: These discoveries make it possible to understand and 
describe many different and apparently entirely random materials and phenomena, in physics and in other areas, 
like mathematics, biology, neuroscience and machine learning. 
• Development of the theory of complex systems: His method has been used in many disordered systems and 
become a cornerstone of the theory of complex systems. 
7.2.2. NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 
Prize awarded for: discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch.  
Awardees 
The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was jointly awarded to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian.  
About the receptors and work of Nobel laurates 
• In the human body, all the molecules are not sensitive to heat or mechanical pressure. Only very specific are, and it 
is their job to relay this signal to the nervous system, which then triggers an appropriate response. 
• David Julius utilized capsaicin, a pungent compound from chili peppers that induces a burning sensation, to identify 
a sensor in the nerve endings of the skin that responds to heat.  
• He and his team looked for a gene that could induce a response to capsaicin in cells that usually wouldn’t react to 
it. They found one in a novel ion channel protein, later called TRPV1, where TRP stands for transient receptor 
potential, and VR1 is vanilloid receptor1.  
Page 5


 
88                                                                                                                                                                       
7. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 
7.1. PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION IN SPACE 
Why in news? 
The Prime Minister recently launched the Indian Space Association (ISpA), an industry body consisting of various 
stakeholders of the Indian space domain. 
More about news 
• The industry association will act as an independent and a “single-window” agency for enabling the opening up of 
the space sector to start-ups and the private sector.  
• ISpA will also work towards building global linkages for the Indian space industry to bring in critical technology and 
investments into the country to create more high-skill jobs.   
• Space reforms via IsPA, will be based on “four pillars” of space technology:  
o The freedom to innovate in the private sector;  
o Making the government act as an enabler; 
o Preparing the next generation for the future of the space industry; and  
o Ensuring that the space sector is used as a common resource for the progress of humanity.  
Status of India’s Space industry  
• Driven by public sector: India’s space programme is one of the most well-developed in the world and is driven by a 
state-owned agency- the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). 
• High economic potential: The current global space economy is estimated at US$ 360 billion, with India accounting 
for ~2% (US$ 7 billion). The Indian space sector is projected to increase at a ~48% CAGR over the next five years to 
reach US$ 50 billion. 
• Limited participation in satellite and ground based services: In the global space market, rocket and satellite launch 
services, an area in which ISRO specialises, amount to only 5% share. Satellite-based services and ground-based 
systems account for the remaining 95%. 
At present, the government drives a certain level of 
participation by the Indian private sector, primarily in the 
rocket and satellite launch services segment. However, 
enhanced private sector participation will be necessary to 
penetrate satellite-based services and ground-based 
system segments. 
Need for private sector participation 
• Growing demand: ISRO alone can’t cater to the rising 
demand for space-based applications and services 
within India. Almost every sector, starting from 
agriculture to transport, now wants satellite data and 
space technology to draw their future strategy. 
o It has been estimated that ISRO would have to increase its present size by 10 times to cater to the growing 
demand within India. 
• To enable ISRO to fulfil its strategic objectives: Currently, a lot of ISRO’s resources are being consumed by routine 
activities, causing delays in its strategic objectives. If private companies take over these activities, ISRO will be able 
to focus more on strategic programmes like R&D activities, exploration missions and human spaceflight 
programme. 
• Increase India’s share in global space market: Indian space sector has the potential to capture close to 9% of global 
market share by 2030, which cannot be achieved without private sector’s participation. 
• To secure our space capabilities and make them more robust: This can be done by distributing them across many 
different satellites and spacecraft, so that business continuity is unaffected even if an adversary manages to 
disable one or more of our satellites. The more critical the function, the more the diversity required. 
The gamut of Space activities envisaged to be taken up by 
private sector 
• Production of components and subsystems of a launch 
vehicle, launch vehicle integration and testing which is 
meant for space launch. 
• Production of components of a spacecraft, spacecraft 
Integration and testing for the purpose of space 
launches. 
• Space launch of spacecraft on board a launch vehicle 
and establishment/ operation of launch infrastructure. 
• Providing space-based services including operation, 
control and station keeping of spacecraft by establishing 
and operation of ground segment/ stations. 
• Development of space-based applications using satellite 
data and rolling out of commercial services. 
 
89                                                                                                                                                                       
Concerns related to Private sector participation 
• Monopolistic trends: Space technology is expensive and 
needs heavy investment. This kind of lucrative power is 
available only with selected rich corporates, thus can lead 
to monopolisation of the sector.  
• Social welfare may take a backseat: The space program by 
ISRO always worked on applications like remote sensing, 
tracking of land use, resource mapping etc., enhancing 
social welfare. However, private companies will have more 
profitable interests than developing solutions that cater 
to the immediate socio-economic needs of the country. 
• To expand satellite-based services: As of August 2021, India had only 3 lakh satellite communications customers, 
compared with 45 lakh in the US and 21 lakh in the European Union. Private sector can facilitate development of a 
cost-effective product or a service, thus creating large base of new consumers. 
• To achieve our geopolitical objectives: The availability and demonstration of emerging technologies have a great 
significance in defining the modern-day geopolitics. Hence, given the current geopolitical situation of the country 
and security threats, growth in the space sector can help the country gain leverage over others.  
• NewSpace in India: NewsSpace is a global phenomenon of entrepreneurs developing products, and service 
enterprises focusing on space, using private funding. Basic ethos of the NewSpace has been to challenge the 
traditional ways of space exploration that are widely considered as too expensive, time-consuming and lacking in 
room for inventive risk-taking.  
o Companies that fit in the bracket of NewSpace include the likes of SpaceX, OneWeb, and Planet Labs, which are 
primarily funded by private capital. 
• Other factors include attracting innovation and cutting-edge technology, enhanced competitiveness, creation of job 
opportunities, realising vision of Aatma nirbhar Bharat and reducing dependence on taxpayer’s money. 
Challenges associated with Private Sector participation 
• Conflicts of interest: As ISRO is both a regulator 
and an operator, this conflict of interest is likely to 
manifest during dispute resolution between private 
players and ISRO entities.  
o Even though IN-SPACe (Indian National Space 
Promotion and Authorization Centre) is meant 
to be an independent agency, it falls under the 
ambit of ISRO, causing potential conflicts of 
interest. 
• Procedural hurdles: Companies have often cited 
multiplicity of approvals and procedural ambiguity as 
barriers. For example, in 2017, Hughes, a US-based 
company, had announced a US$ 500 million satellite 
communications system in India but company has not yet 
received any approvals or an expected timeline. 
• Lack of clarity on level of private involvement: There is a 
lack of clarity regarding definition and scope of private 
involvement in the space sector given that governments 
still consider some domains in space too crucial for 
national interest to allow private participation. 
• Absence of coherent policy: There is an absence of a 
coherent policy framework at the national level, which 
could provide support and guidelines to technology 
manufacturing businesses, including tax rebates or other 
advantages of operating in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). 
• Limited technological advancements: As ISRO works on the traditional vendor-supplier model, most intellectual 
property (IP) is owned by the organisation. This has hindered the technological advancements of Indian companies. 
o Currently, private players (operating satellites) have a 100% FDI limit that is subject to government approval 
which may be prolonged for years.  
Charting the road ahead 
• Regulatory clarity: The purpose of regulation must be to ensure compliance with India’s international obligations, 
ensuring safety, covering liabilities and standardization. Improved regulatory environment would mean fewer 
barriers of entry for private firms. 
o There is a need for legislation providing procedural clarity to facilitate ISRO’s partnership with industries and 
entrepreneurs. Rekindling debate on draft Space Activities Bill could be a good start.  
Recent steps taken for private sector participation 
• To enhance utilization and maximize benefits from 
the space assets, it has been proposed to change 
the approach from “Supply Based Model” to 
“Demand Based Model”. 
• IN-SPACe was created to encourage, promote and 
hand hold the private sector for their participation 
in Space Sector. Private players will also be able to 
use ISRO infrastructure through INSPACe.  
• New Space India Limited (NSIL) is the commercial 
arm of ISRO and primarily responsible for 
enabling Indian industries to take up high-tech, 
space-related activities. It is also responsible for 
promotion and commercialisation of products and 
services in the space industry. 
 
90                                                                                                                                                                       
• Independent regulator: Creating an independent regulator to govern ISRO and its affiliates as well as new private 
sector firms can help in instilling confidence among private players. Separate licences can be awarded for different 
classes of launch vehicles, orbits and services. 
• Incentives to private companies: By opening up ISRO testing facilities to the private sector, Indian rocket-making 
companies will be able to build their satellites or test their rockets, reducing cost and increasing incentives for firms 
to build operational spacecraft.  
• FDI reforms: Government can consider implementing the telecommunications FDI model, which allows 
investments (up to 49%) under the automatic route and investments (>50%) through the government’s approval. 
• Other steps:  
o IP-centric policy to create reforms where local industry can invest in building their own IP and/or products that 
can match global standards; 
o Enable a level playing field for the private sector through burden-sharing between the public and private 
actors; 
o There is a need for collaboration and integrated conversations between various stakeholders who need to 
come together to help establish a suitable framework for space policy and governance. 
7.2. NOBEL PRIZES 
Why in news?  
The Nobel Assembly and the Royal Swedish Academy of Science 
have announced the winners of Medicine, Physics and 
Chemistry Nobel for the year 2021. 
About Nobel Prize 
• The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by 
the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, awarded to 
people "who have conferred the greatest benefit to 
humankind" in the previous 12 months. 
• They are awarded annually from a fund that Alfred Nobel 
(Swedish inventor and entrepreneur) set aside in his 1895 
will for this purpose.   
o Alfred Nobel’s own inventions include a blasting cap, 
dynamite, and smokeless gunpowder. 
• Categories: Instituted in 1901, Prizes were initially awarded 
in five categories: Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or 
Medicine, Literature and Peace. A sixth award, the Nobel 
Prize in Economic Sciences was instituted in 1968 by the 
Royal Bank of Sweden and was first awarded in 1969.  
• What do the winners receive? The recipient of each prize 
receives three things: 
o A Nobel diploma, each of which is a unique work of art; 
o A Nobel medal; 
o A cash prize of 10m Swedish krona (£836,000; $1.1m). 
They have to deliver a lecture to receive the money. 
• Who awards the prizes? The Royal Swedish Academy of 
Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Physics & Chemistry and 
the Nobel prize in Medicine is awarded by Nobel Assembly 
at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.  
• Prize winners are called laureates, to signify the laurel 
wreath given to victors of contests in ancient Greece. More than one, but no more than three, people can win each 
prize. 
 
91                                                                                                                                                                       
7.2.1. THE NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS 2021 
Prize awarded for: Ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems. 
Awardees  
• One half of the prize was awarded to Syukuro 
Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann for their work in the 
physical modeling of Earth’s climate, quantifying 
variability and reliably predicting global warming. 
• Second half was awarded to Giorgio Parisi for the 
discovery of the interplay of disorder and 
fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to 
planetary scales. 
About complex physical systems and the work of Nobel 
laurates 
• Complex systems are characterised by randomness 
and disorder and are difficult to understand. They 
can be difficult to describe mathematically – they 
may have an enormous number of components or be 
governed by chance. The Prize recognises new 
methods for describing them and predicting their 
long-term behaviour. The Earth’s climate is one of 
many examples of complex systems.  
• Syukuro Manabe demonstrated how increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to increased 
temperatures at the surface of the Earth. 
• Giorgio Parisi discovered hidden patterns in disordered complex materials with his spin glass experiments (refer 
infographic). With this, he discovered hidden structures within the systems and represented them mathematically.  
Implications of the work  
• Climate change models: In the 1960s, the development of physical models of the Earth’s climate laid the 
foundation for the development of current climate models.  
• Mathematical representation of random phenomenon: These discoveries make it possible to understand and 
describe many different and apparently entirely random materials and phenomena, in physics and in other areas, 
like mathematics, biology, neuroscience and machine learning. 
• Development of the theory of complex systems: His method has been used in many disordered systems and 
become a cornerstone of the theory of complex systems. 
7.2.2. NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE 
Prize awarded for: discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch.  
Awardees 
The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was jointly awarded to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian.  
About the receptors and work of Nobel laurates 
• In the human body, all the molecules are not sensitive to heat or mechanical pressure. Only very specific are, and it 
is their job to relay this signal to the nervous system, which then triggers an appropriate response. 
• David Julius utilized capsaicin, a pungent compound from chili peppers that induces a burning sensation, to identify 
a sensor in the nerve endings of the skin that responds to heat.  
• He and his team looked for a gene that could induce a response to capsaicin in cells that usually wouldn’t react to 
it. They found one in a novel ion channel protein, later called TRPV1, where TRP stands for transient receptor 
potential, and VR1 is vanilloid receptor1.  
 
92                                                                                                                                                                       
o They were part of a super family of 
TRP, and it was found that TRPV1 
was activated when temperatures 
were greater than 40 degrees 
Celsius, which is close to the body’s 
pain threshold. 
• Ardem Patapoutian used pressure-
sensitive cells to discover a novel class 
of sensors that respond to mechanical 
stimuli in the skin and internal organs.  
• Patapoutian and his colleagues identified 
72 potential genes that could encode an 
ion channel receptor and trigger 
sensitivity to mechanical force, and it 
emerged that one of them coded for a novel ion channel protein, called Piezo1.  
o Via Piezo1, a second gene was discovered and named Piezo2. Sensory neurons were found to express high 
levels of Piezo2 and further studies firmly established that Piezo1 and Piezo2 are ion channels that are directly 
activated by the exertion of pressure on cell membranes.  
o Later it was demonstrated that the Piezo2 ion channel is essential for the sense of touch. Moreover, Piezo2 was 
shown to play a key role in proprioception as well as regulate blood pressure, respiration, and urinary bladder 
control. 
• Both David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian also identified another new receptor called TRPM8, a receptor that is 
activated by cold. 
Applications of these discoveries: 
• Treatment of diseases: The knowledge (of the TRPV1, TRPM8 and Piezo channels) is being used to develop 
treatments for a wide range of disease conditions, including chronic pain. 
• Molecular structure of sensors: Along with the discoveries of specific genes, proteins and pathways, the scientists 
pioneered experimental methods that allow insight into the structure of these pain and temperature sensors.  
• Increasing precision of drugs: The challenge for pain relieving drugs is to precisely target regions without causing 
imbalance in other necessary functions. These scientists’ work significantly helped towards reaching that goal. 
7.2.3. NOBEL PRIZE IN CHEMISTRY 
Prize awarded for: development of a 
precise new tool for molecular 
construction: organocatalysis.  
Awardees 
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021 was 
awarded to Benjamin List and David 
MacMillan. 
About Catalysts, catalysis and 
organocatalysis and the work of Nobel 
laurates 
• Catalysts are substances that control 
and accelerate chemical reactions, 
without becoming part of the final 
product.  
o For example, catalysts in catalytic converters of cars transform toxic substances in exhaust fumes to harmless 
molecules.  
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