GS-3, Science & Tech, Uncategorized

China launches world’s first quantum communications satellite to develop hack-proof tech

China recently launched the first-ever quantum satellite. The satellite is named “Micius“.

  • Many countries are working on quantum communications, including fiber-optic quantum key distribution networks in the United States, Europe, and China. However, China is the first one to launch a satellite to develop the complex technology.
  • The 500 kg satellite contains a quantum key communicator, quantum entanglement emitter, entanglement source, processing unit, and a laser communicator. A rocket named the Long March-2D launched the satellite into space. The launch site was in China’s northwest Gobi Desert.
  • The satellite is built to circle Earth at an altitude of around 310 miles (500 km) and complete one lap every 90 minutes.


Aims of this mission:

  • It is a proof-of-concept mission designed to facilitate quantum optics experiments over long distances to allow the development of quantum encryption and quantum teleportation technology.
  • The satellite’s two-year mission will be to develop ‘hack-proof’ quantum communications, allowing users to send messages securely and at speeds faster than light.
  • The scientific goals are to implement a series of science missions between Quantum Science Satellite and quantum communication ground stations.


The major tasks are as follows:

Quantum Key Distribution from Satellite to Ground: To set up an ultra-long-range quantum channel between ground and satellite with the assistance of high-precision acquisition, tracking and pointing system, implement a quantum key distribution between the satellite and the ground stations, and carry out unconditional secure quantum communication experiments.

Global Scale Quantum Communication Network: To set up a real wide-area network for quantum communication using the satellite repeater and two arbitrary quantum ground stations and their auxiliary local-area fiber quantum networks.

Quantum Entanglement Distribution from Satellite to two ground stations: Distribution of quantum entangled photons from the satellite to two distant ground stations whose distance is larger than one thousand kilometers; test of the entanglement properties at a large scale and nonlocality of quantum mechanics.

Quantum Teleportation from Ground to Satellite: as a totally new way of communication, quantum teleportation is the fundamental process of quantum networks and quantum computing. A high quality quantum entanglement source on the ground will be built to achieve ground-to-satellite teleportation experiments based on photon entanglement.


Significance of this launch:

This is an attempt to develop a hack-proof communications system. During its two-year mission the space object will transmit un-hackable encryption keys from outer space to the Earth’s surface. If the experiment works it could solve the main problem of distributing encryption keys that cannot be stolen. That would result in hack-proof communications.

It will also provide new knowledge about quantum entanglement. That happens when pairs or groups of very tiny particles are made or work together so the quantum state of each particle is part of a whole system.


How the satellite operates?

QUESS will use entangled photons via a special laser to transmit messages to ground stations in China and Austria. In theory such systems are safe from hack attacks. An attempt to intercept an encryption key would cause a change in the photons’ state that could be picked up.

  • The special kind of laser has several curious properties, one of which is known as “the observer effect” – its quantum state cannot be observed without changing it.
  • So, if the satellite were to encode an encryption key in that quantum state, any interception would be obvious. It would also change the key, making it useless.
  • Highly complex attempts to build such a “hack-proof” communications network are based on the scientific principle of entanglement.


What Is Quantum Entanglement?

Quantum entanglement is one of the central principles of quantum physics. In short, quantum entanglement means that multiple particles are linked together in a way such that the measurement of one particle’s quantum state determines the possible quantum states of the other particles.

  • This connection is independent of the location of the particles in space. Even if you separate entangled particles by billions of miles, changing one particle will induce a change in the other. Even though quantum entanglement appears to transmit information instantaneously, it doesn’t actually violate the classical speed of light because there’s no “movement” through space.
  • It is hence difficult to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through it.


So what exactly is a quantum-enabled satellite?

It contains a laser that transmits a pair of entangled photons – minuscule sub-atomic particles of light – down to two separate base stations.

  • One half of the pair goes to one base station, the other to the second.
  • These photons suffer from something known as the ‘observer effect’, which means that the moment anyone tries to intercept them, their quantum state is immediately changed.

What are the applications?

In the face of ever more powerful hacking and surveillance – which could one day also include powerful quantum computers – the security of commercial communications is also increasingly important. Hence, Quantum computing is largely seen as the next big thing in communications. The technology has applications for precision in everything from healthcare to industrial production.



Cybersecurity has been a major focus in recent years for China. Quantum messaging could become a major defense against hackers and have applications ranging from military and government communications to online shopping.

GS-3, Science & Tech, Uncategorized

Indians online to hit 730 mn by 2020

As per the report ‘The Future of Internet in India’, compiled by Nasscom and Akamai Technologies, the number of Internet users in India is likely to more than double to 730 million by 2020. As of December 2015, there were about 330 million Internet users in the country.

Highlights of the report:

  • India, which has an Internet user base next only to China, will remain the fastest growing market.
  • 75% of the new users would come from rural areas and a majority of new users are expected to consume data in local languages.
  • Overall, the e-commerce market in India, which was valued at $17 billion in 2015-16, is expected to double to $34 billion by 2020. The number of online shoppers is likely to more than triple to 175 million in that time, from 50 million in 2015.
  • By 2020, India will have an estimated 702 million smartphones in use and mobile phones will emerge as the preferred device for shopping, accounting for 70% of total online shopping.
  • Currently, online ticketing and room booking facilities are used by more than 50 million Indians on a regular basis. By 2020, online travel is estimated to account for 40-50% of all travel-related transactions, up from 12% in 2015. The growth is being driven by demand as a larger, younger population comes online.
  • In 2016, the fintech market will be worth $8 billion, having grown 20%.

Way ahead:

India’s Internet consumption has already exceeded the U.S. to become number two globally. By 2020, the Internet is expected to penetrate deeper in the hinterlands of the country, helping create more opportunities for everyone. This will also present a great opportunity for enterprises to harness the power of the Internet to innovate and scale up operations.

GS-3, Science & Tech, Uncategorized

Soon, postman will also deliver Ganga Jal

The Hindu


  • Postal department might soon deliver water from the Ganga river to your doorstep.
  • Ganges which is considered holy by the Hindus.
  • Communications and IT Minister directed the Department of Posts to utilise e-commerce platform so that pure Ganga Jal from Haridwar and Rishikesh can be provided to the people.


E-governance app

  • Government is also working on a single mobile application through which citizens would be able to access over 1,000 e-governance services provided by the Centre, State governments as well as local authorities.
  • The new application UMANG — short for Unified Mobile App for New-age Governance — will be available in 12 Indian languages, besides English.
  • This application will be a game changer… a common mobile application for all government services.


Smartphones for postmen:

  • By March 2017, all postmen in urban centres will be given smartphones, while those in around 1.3 lakh rural post offices will be given handheld devices.
  • About 4,000 handheld devices have already been given.
  • It will help in financial inclusion.
GS-3, Science & Tech, Uncategorized

Cloud technology changing TV ad landscape

The Hindu


  • Geo-targeted advertising.

Geo targeting

  • Geo targeting in geomarketing and internet marketing is the method of determining the geolocation of a website visitor and delivering different content to that visitor based on his or her location, such as country, region/state, city, metro code/zip code, organization, IP address, ISP or other criteria.

Geo targeted advertisements on Television channels

  • Around 25 news and entertainment channels are beaming region-specific ads.
  • With the trend of geo-targeted advertising catching on, more companies are making use of technology to beam adverts to only areas where their products have strong presence.

How do they do it?

  • Normally, local cable operators have decoder boxes for each channel that receive and relay the programmes to households.
  • To enable geo-targeted advertising these boxes are replaced with smart boxes that not only store data but also intelligently identify the spot where the location-specific ad has to replace the nationally telecast one.
  • The trigger for the geo-targeted ad comes from a unique watermark inserted on the video, which gives the cue to the smart box to run the local ad.
  • Watermark is an invisible and inaudible identifier, like a product barcode.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is a type of computing that relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personald evices to handle applications.

Cloud computing is comparable to grid computing, a type of computing where unused processing cycles of all computers in a network are harnesses to solve problems too intensive for any stand-alone machine.

In cloud computing, the word cloud (also phrased as “the cloud”) is used as a metaphor for “the Internet,” so the phrase cloud computing means “a type of Internet-based computing,” where different services — such as servers, storage and applications —are delivered to an organization’s computers and devices through the Internet.

GS-3, Public Admin 2, Uncategorized

Delivering on the digital promise

Digital India

Digital India is an ambitious vision that has the potential to be an equaliser for Indians by driving inclusive growth for the economy. Connecting villages with broadband, the initiative brings better, more accessible, governance to the people. It also encompasses many other initiatives — India’s national financial inclusion plan that aims to connect every Indian to a bank account, building 100 Smart Cities, and the Make in India programme designed to spur local manufacturing and job creation.

  • Digital India is not all new. It is an amalgam of three ongoing programmes: the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), the National Knowledge Network and the e-governance initiative. What’s different is the ambition and how quickly it is slated to get done. Digital India seeks to provide broadband access to all and deliver all manner of services to the citizen’s doorstep.
  • If Digital India programme is implemented properly, India will enjoy the true benefits of historic economic growth. In fact, an American company has estimated that the adoption of key technologies and policies across sectors spurred by the Digital India initiative could help boost India’s gross domestic product (GDP) by $550 billion, propelling its GDP to $1 trillion by 2025.
  • But, without a sound policy in place this would remain a dream. The programme must be paired with sound policy — the foundation on which innovation, economic growth, and social progress is built.

Challenges before the initiative:

  • 85% of Indians still don’t have access to the Internet, and a majority of them live in rural India. This is far short of the near-universal access and connectivity envisaged by the Digital India mission. There are also significant gaps in last-mile connectivity.
  • FDI in e-commerce sector remains restricted, meaning smaller Indian e-commerce companies cannot seek the capital they need to grow their business and hire more employees.
  • Small- and medium-sized Indian manufacturers, who are vital to the Make in India programme, are held back by their lack of access to broader domestic and international consumer markets.
  • In 2012, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology issued a compulsory registration order to safeguard consumers from substandard electrical and electronic items. This move is understandable. However, under the order, new equipment cannot be imported into or sold in India unless it is tested and registered with the Bureau of Indian Standards’ approved testing labs in India — even if they have already been certified by international certification organisations. The requirements create another regulatory bottleneck in an already strained system. The cost of complying with these requirements is high, and is ultimately passed on to Indian consumers.

Policy changes required:

  • In the spirit of promoting Digital India and innovation, e-commerce models should enable small- and medium-sized businesses across India to reach national and global consumers.
  • The government should vigorously pursue the expansion of broadband and IT infrastructure throughout the country. Private sector collaboration should also be encouraged by the government.
  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion should allow at least 51% FDI in e-commerce — and ultimately 100%.
  • There is also a need to revamp safety testing requirements for electronic products. The country should also consider aligning itself with international standards by accepting certifications from internationally accredited labs.

Please note that the above mentioned reforms do not require parliamentary action.

Role of private sector:

The true potential of the Digital India programme lies in the private sector’s ability to innovate new technologies that enhance and modernise the way business and civic life are carried out. For India to achieve its full potential, it is necessary to implement Digital India in collaboration with the private sector.


India is already a technology powerhouse with a $148-billion IT industry. It is ready to become a worldwide magnet for innovation. Digital India is an enterprise for the transformation of India on a scale unmatched in human history. From a policy standpoint, the means to achieving that transformation are challenging but doable. Now is the time for India to remove bureaucratic hurdles that impede entrepreneurship and growth, and enable Digital India to flourish.

GS-2, Pub admin 1, Uncategorized

Mobile Governance Programme

ObjectiveDelivery of public services through mobile platform

Steps taken to implement Mobile Governance so far-

  • A Mobile Applications Store (m-AppStore) has been developed as part of Mobile Seva project and currently hosts over 659 mobile applications
  • Citizens can now directly interact with Government Departments through SMS. As on date, over 583 public services have been made available to the citizens
  • DeitY is implementing Mobile Seva project as a one-stop solution to all the Central and State government departments and agencies across the nation for all their mobile services delivery needs


Digital India Implementation-




A vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy


Under the Digital India programme, Government has proposed to implement e-Kranti which envisages provisioning of various e-Governance services in the country

  • To transform the e-Governance services by expanding the portfolio of Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) in e-Governance under various Government Departments
  • Undertake Government Process Reengineering (GPR),
  • Work flow automation, introducing latest technologies such as Cloud and mobile platform and focus on integration of services

Various projects are being implemented under Digital India

  • MyGov,
  • Digital Locker System,
  • eHospital,
  • National Scholarships Portal,
  • Common Services Centres (CSCs),
  • Mobile Sevaetc