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NavIC aims to provide reliable location services in the Indian sub-continent and provides an alternative to other services like GPS or GLONASS.

 The American ‘Global Positioning System’ (GPS) has become synonymous with the concept of location tracking and navigation, much like ‘Xerox’ is with photocopying or ‘Google’ is with internet searches. First deployed over 42 years ago and with 31 satellites currently in orbit, GPS is definitely the most prominent and commonly used location service but is far from the only.

There exist a plethora of location services, both regional and international such as Russia’s ‘Global Navigation Satellite System’ (GLONASS), China’s ‘BeiDou Navigation Satellite System’ (BDS), The European Union’s ‘Galileo’ and Japan’s ‘Quasi-Zenith Satellite System’.

The latest entry in the location tracking and navigation scene has been India’s own satellite navigation system, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). NavIC, which is an acronym for ‘Navigation with Indian Constellation’ is the operational name given to the IRNSS. NavIC is also a play on the word ‘navik’ which translates to ‘sailor’ or ‘navigator’ in Sanskrit.

The need for such a system was born out of the realisation that in the case of a hostile situation, a foreign Government may prevent access to their location technology or use the data to their advantage.

With this, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) began development with the first satellite being launched into space in July 2013, and was set to have NavIC functional by 2015, however the program was delayed. The last launch took place in April 2018 and the system is now operational with regional coverage over India and an area of 1500km beyond its borders. There have been nine launches of NavIC satellites, however one of them,‘IRNSS-1H’ was unsuccessful as the heat shields failed to separate from 4th stage of the rocket and the satellite could not reach orbit.  While there are currently 8 satellites in orbit, there is a plan to increase its constellation size to 11.

The ISRO website describes the objective of NavIC as to ‘provide reliable position, navigation and timing services over India and its neighbourhood, to provide fairly good accuracy to the user’. NavIC provides a standard positioning service for common users with a 5-20 metre accuracy as well as an encrypted, restricted service to authorised authorities with an accuracy of 0.5 metres. NavIC is not India’s only foray into satellite navigation with the ISRO working alongside the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to establish the ‘GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation’ (GAGAN) system that aims to improve satellite accuracy and reliability for civil aviation needs. Of the eight NavIC satellites that are currently in orbit, three satellites are in ‘Geostationary Orbit’ (GEO) while the remaining satellites are in ‘Geosynchronous Orbits’ (GSO) that maintain an inclination of 29° to the equatorial plane.

While adoption of NavIC has been gradual, ‘Qualcomm Incorporated’, a semiconductor manufacturer whose chips power most modern smartphones, has signed an agreement with ISRO and launched three new chipsets, the ‘Snapdragon’ 720G, 662 and 460 with compatibility with NavIC. Another push came in April 2019 with the Government making Automotive Industry Standards (AIS) compliant, NavIC based trackers a mandatory feature in all commercial vehicles. This came as an implementation of a mandate from the Nirbhaya case verdict to install tracking systems and panic buttons in all commercial vehicles. In terms of accuracy, NavIC has an edge over GPS owing to its regional nature, slower orbiting satellites and higher orbital altitude that prevents obstructions caused by elevated landforms.

The ISRO has been a pioneer in the aerospace field and NavIC is only its latest push in its illustrious history that ranges from ‘Aryabhata’, India’s first satellite launched in 1975 to the recent missions in space exploration and technological advancements. With the adoption of NavIC in smartphones, we should see it become mainstream and provide enhanced tracking and navigation in India and its neighbouring countries.

Feature Image Credits: The Better India

Tashi Dorjay Sherpa

[email protected]

The M.Sc. Mathematics Department as well as other departments organised a press conference as a result of the poor administrations and blunders made by several departments in evaluation of papers.

Students held a press conference, on 19th March, to release a dossier on the issue of mass failures and abnormal marking in many departments of the University of Delhi (DU) since a long time. This is a new development in the much bigger issue which has been going on since February this year when the students went on protest.

The dossier included data and facts depicting how from the last 10 to 15 years a pattern of failing almost up to 90% of the students and those who do manage to pass, do so by barely reaching the passing percentage.

The press release talked about Non-Collegiate Women’s Education Board’s (NCWEB) failure rate being 97%. In Mathematics Department, 150 out of 300 first-year students failed, 34 out of 39 students failed in Computational Fluid Dynamics exam, 80% students failed to complete the course in the two years, many have fallen into depression and even attempted to commit suicide. In the first-year, M.Sc. Physics Department in 2018, 94% of students have failed in internal or final exams.

It further analysed how in the process of revaluation and re-checking, a total of 3.18 crore have been accumulated by the administration in the past 3 academic years. The students in the press conference laid bare a trend among professors to only allow a few students to pass to enroll in master’s programme.

An anonymous student from M.Sc. Physics Department commented, “There are majorly two problems that we are facing, firstly, we need to have supplementary papers because right now if a student fails, he will have to wait for six months to give the exam. Secondly, we are asked to pay RS 1000 for revaluation, with this pattern of marking, at least this fee should be reduced as students are not from the same economic background.”

He also went ahead and talked about some of the students who have been trying to complete this two-year programme for the past four years.

The data also includes the story of Yash, a student who got AIR 31 for Hyderabad University, selected for IISER Bhopal and Mohali, AIR 23 for M.Sc. Physics in DU. In his report, he not only attached all documents of proof but also talked about choosing DU over any other University, given its name. He failed in several attempts and finally decided to give up his Masters. Other students also questioned the department on how their capabilities are reduced in these exams despite clearing the entrance or other examinations.

This issue falls under the purview of the Dean of Examinations who even after two meetings has denied all demands. While an extension to the revaluation date was given, the solution was tokenistic as the fee was not reduced and the same teachers would be rechecking the papers. Furthermore, students also received show-cause notice by their proctor, demanding an immediate reply. The administration did not respond to their ultimatum of 15th March and three students publicly withdrew their admission from the University.

Image Credits: M.Sc. Mathematics Department
Image Credits: M.Sc. Mathematics Department

Prabal, a student of M.Sc. Mathematics commented, “This is an institutional and systematic failure. Sciences have been facing this problem for many years, we released the data to the press but to no avail. We want a solution to this institutional crisis, if a mechanism can be built and introspection can be done, that is the larger issue we want solved.”

On 22nd March, these students sent a delegation with an application to the office of the Dean of Examination regarding this issue. While the protest has been suspended due to the mid-semester break in DU, it will be resumed from the 25th March with full momentum. They have been pressing on the same demands of revaluation, setting up of external checking board and investigation committee, students being allowed to see their papers and thus greater transparency, and reduction of revaluation fee among others.

Another student of the Physics department, on the condition of anonymity, stated, “Paying the fee is expensive, going to court is even more costly, what option remains is to speak to the administration, but they have refused to even acknowledge us. The Vice Chancellor has not responded, with this I feel change is just a far-fetched dream. All I want is for them to listen to us.”

Shivani Dadhwal

[email protected]

The physics department of Hindu College organized their annual fest Quarks ’14 on 30th and 31st of January.

The first day commenced with an inauguration with Dr. Govind as the Chief Guest from NPL and the release of the Physics department magazine – Quarks ’14. The rest of the day saw gully cricket and treasure hunt as the entertaining events and the finale of the stage play competition which was sponsored by the prestigious Barry John Acting Studio with Mr. Brian Herwood and Ms. Niharika judging the competition. Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies emerged as the best team in the stage play competition. Nirmal Kothari from Hansraj College was judged the best male performer and Gurleen Kaur Sidana from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies as the best female performer. Sidharth Pandey from Hindu College leading a team called Treasure Hunt Specialists emerged victorious in the treasure hunt.

Parallel to this, the department also organized a C++ debugging event as well as Hindu’s first ever robotics event, Droid Wars. Droid Wars which was essentially a workshop was a joint initiative with Tryst ’14 IIT Delhi where the finals for the robotics competition will be held later this year.

The second day began with a paper presentation by a guest lecturer and saw the continuation of Droid Wars. As the day progressed there was a street play as well as western dance competition. The traditional western dance competition saw a bunch of different teams from which Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce (GGSCC) emerged victorious. Winners for the street play competition who were awarded a cash prize of Rs. 15,000 were also GGSCC while Khalsa College came in second and Guru Tegh Bahadur Institue of Technology came in third. The day came to an end with a ceremony of prize distribution to all the winners.

Quarks 2013, the annual fest of the Physics Department, Hindu College, held on 19th and 20th February, was indeed full of as much vigour as promised by the various posters put up all over the campus. After a welcome address by the Head of Department, Dr. Sanjay Chauhan and president Vikas Taleja, there was a highly knowledgeable lecture about the Higgs Boson by the chief guest, Dr.Brajesh Chaudhary from the department of physics and astrophysics, Delhi University. Events like origami competition, poster-making, face painting, quiz and treasure hunt kept the students hooked. Another interesting event was the ‘Innovative Experiment’, in which participants had to construct a motor-less car. The main attractions of the fest, however, were the western dance competition in which Daulat Ram bagged the first position, with Kamla Nehru College coming second, and the street play competition organised by Fever 104 FM. It was a part of the newly launched campaign – Stop. Think. Connect. – India, which is the first of its kind collaboration of four internet giants – Google, Facebook, Kaspersky and Microsoft, in association with Data Security Council of India – with the theme as Internet Safety. The first position was shared by Hindu College and Sharda University, with each team winning 25 grand. The fest was a huge success and enjoyed by all present.   Surbhi Grover [email protected]]]>