General Studies Paper 3 (Science & Technology)
Question:- 104. Recently, ISRO announced to expand Navigation with Indian Contellation (NavIC) by widening its user base location system. Highlight the main features of NavIC. What are the possible benefits of increasing NavIC usage for India? Answer in 250 words.
Nov 02, 2022


The need for indigenous navigation system on par with GPS was felt soon after Kargil conflict (1999), when India desperately needed services of satellite-based navigation system, but did not have one of its own.  The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) or NavIC is an independent satellite based regional system developed indigenously by India on par with US-based GPS, Russia’s Glonass and Galileo developed by Europe.


LINKAGE POINT: The following are the important features of NavIC




1.1.The NAVIC system is a constellation of seven satellite of which three are geostationary and four are geosynchronous.


2.2.IRNSS will provide standard service for civilian use and an encrypted restricted service for authorized  users (military). Moreover, it helps not just in land navigation but also in marine and aerial navigation.


3.3.It offers wide services like terrestrial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management visual and voice navigation for drivers.


4.4.Aims for better than 10 meters throughout Indian landmass and 20 meters in the Indian Ocean.


5.5.Timing: Better than 50 nanoseconds(20).


6.Current Usage: Limited for-

-Public vehicle and commercial vehicles tracking (NavIC based trackers)

-Emergency warning alerts to fishermen navigating into the deep sea without adequate terrestrial network connectivity

-Tracking and providing information related to natural disaster


7.Though NavIC is available for use in mainland India as well as a range of 1,500 km around it, it isn’t in wide regular use in India. Primary reason for the latter is because mobile phones haven’t been made compatible to process its signals.




The possible benefits of expanding NavIC are as follows:

1.1.Self-reliance: NavIC aims to remove dependence on foreign satellite systems for navigation service requirements, especially for strategic sectors.

2.2.NavIC will further the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat and ‘vocal for local’.

3.3.Indian Control & Risk Aversion: Reliance on GPS and GLONASS may not always be reliable as they are operated by the respective defense agencies.  For e.g. The U.S. denied GPS data for Kargil region to the Indian military in 1999. As NavIC is an indigenous positioning system, there is no risk of the withdrawal of service in similar situations.

4.4.Promotion of Local Industry: Ministries can use NavIC applications to promote local industry to develop indigenous NavIC-based solutions.




To make NavIC truly “global” like GPS, more satellites would need to be placed in an orbit closer to earth than the current constellation. It can serve to increase India’s reputation as a competing nation in terms of technology that has such indigenous strategic systems operational.