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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Why is Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) needed? How does it help in navigation? (250 words)

    01 Nov, 2022 GS Paper 1 Geography


    • Briefly explain about Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS).
    • Discuss the need for having IRNSS.
    • Discuss the benefits of IRNSS in navigation.
    • Conclude accordingly.


    • The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), with the operational name of NAVIC, is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system that provides accurate real-time positioning and timing services. It covers India and a region extending 1,500 km around it, with plans for further extension. It is a system of 7 satellites, 3 in geostationary orbit and 4 in geosynchronous orbit


    • Need for having indigenous navigational satellite system:
      • GPS and GLONASS are operated by defence agencies of the respective nations.
        • It is possible that the civilian service can be degraded or denied.
      • IRNSS is an independent regional system over the Indian region and does not depend on other systems for providing position service within the service region.
    • Various benefits of IRNSS:
      • Serve dual purpose: It would provide real time information for 2 services i.e., standard positioning service open for civilian use and Restricted service which may be encrypted for authorized users like for military.
      • Reduce dependence on foreign satellites: India became one of the 5 countries having their own navigation system. So, India's dependence on other countries for navigation purposes reduces.
        • Further, it will help scientific & technological advancement in India. It is important for the country’s sovereignty and strategic requirements.
      • Tracking of commercial vehicle: In April 2019, the government made IRNSS -based vehicle trackers mandatory for all commercial vehicles in the country in accordance with the Nirbhaya case verdict.
    • International recognition: Also, Qualcomm Technologies has unveiled mobile chipsets supporting IRNSS.
    • Enhances India’s soft power diplomacy: Further with extensive coverage, one of the stated future uses of the project includes sharing of the project with the SAARC nations. This will help in integrating the regional navigation system further and a diplomatic goodwill gesture from India towards countries of the region.


    • With the introduction of IRNSS, India has joined the elite club of a few select countries with satellite navigation capability. It has made India independent in terms of navigational capabilities, especially in military terms.
    • In the future, the services of IRNSS can be given to neighboring countries, on a commercial basis or free of cost as part of the geostrategic move. With more additions in the number of satellites, the reach of IRNSS will continue to increase till it achieves global coverage.

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