GPS aka Global Positioning System is US technology operated by US Air Force and used globally by gadgets to determine their exact location on the planet. India is now advancing towards having its own, indigenous technology called NavIC aka Navigation with Indian Constellation as an alternative to the GPS. With NavIC in place, India's reliance on GPS will significantly reduce. Recently, ISRO and CSIR-NPL have joined hands to prepare for the launch of NavIC.
An MoU was signed between these premier organisations that paved way for the NavIC. The aim is to synchronise the Indian GPS system with the Indian Standard Time (IST) which is maintained by National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Delhi. Keep in mind that very accurate and precise sync is key to variety of applications right from financial transactions, stock handling, time stamping etc. It also plays a major role in national security and helps avoiding several types of cyber crimes.
Indian Government may consider making the system available for commercial consumption. NPL director Dinesh Aswal informed the media that India cannot rely on US based National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The MoU will allow synchronising of Primary National Atomic Clocks and the NPL to achieve independence.
ISRO will aim for nanosecond-level accuracy for navigation and military use along with some other important national missions. However, millisecond or microsecond level accuracy would be sufficient for variety of general applications.
NavIC is still months away from becoming a reality. The NavIC is an operational name for the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). Read our earlier coverage about it on ISRO's IRNSS - The Desi Navigation System To Replace American GPS
The overall system will comprise of seven satellites which have been deployed in orbits and two kept on standby. The system will allow coverage around India extending to 1500 Km. It's expected that the IRNSS will be fully functional in by Q1 of 2018.
Source: ZeeNews | ISRO