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Aim of having an independent Navigation Satellite System (NavIC) for India

NavIC is a satellite-based navigation system that works like GPS, only it is Indian. Only the idea of localizing and producing homegrown raw materials, technology, brands etc is everything that will make India economically strong and self-sufficient. India is looking to localize the navigation system with NavIC. NavIC, developed by ISRO as an alternative to GPS is run by the US Government. In the year 2006 NavIC was approved and went operational in 2018 with 7 satellites sheathing the entire India. Using three geostationary satellites and four geosynchronous satellites in orbit much higher, it provides dual frequency bands (L5 band and S-band) which makes it more reliable than GPS, with much better accuracy of more than 20 meters.

How is NavIC different from GPS (Global Positioning System)?

The Indian version of GPS which people have been using for so many years and ISRO has partnered with chip maker Qualcomm for the integration of chipsets they make. NavIC specifications: accuracy, availability, NavIC satellites are placed at an altitude of about 36,000 km and the GPS satellites are placed much lower, at a height of about 20,000km and are currently being used for emergency location tracking purposes, majorly focusing on the navigation in smartphones by assisting customers to get a cab booked, or to order food or to track their vehicle’s location. The navigation system is equipped with 2 types of location services: standard positioning for customers and encrypted service for security agencies such as the military. The most important difference is that NavIC will be entirely controlled by the Indian Government, making the accuracy much better and making it useful and secure during times of future geopolitical tensions. Through this system, India also becomes a part of the elite club of countries that have their own positioning system which includes Russia (GLONASS), and the EU (Galileo). China (BeiDou). This helps in reducing our dependency on other countries.

The government is in talks with brands like Samsung, Xiaomi, iPhone etc to start using NavIC for navigation purposes. Meanwhile, reports suggest that brands are worried as this change will come with extra added cost, the hurried deadline. Manufacturers have apparently requested time till 2025 for full implementation, to which MeitY (Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology) responded by tweeting that “a meeting was held between MeitY and the smartphone makers about installing NavIC and no timeline has been set for smartphone manufacturers to make their devices compatible with India’s Navigation system NavIC”.




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