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The Vice President underscored the need to guarantee income security for the nation’s farmers and to unshackle the latent potential of India’s rural economy. He said, “Doubling the farmers’ income should be our endeavour. Along with this, the quality of life of people in rural areas should be improved”.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has called for modernisation of agriculture to boost rural economy. Speaking at an event in Gurugram on Sunday, Naidu said, “Building on our past experiences, we must regularly revisit and renew our strategies on agriculture and rural development and introduce new technologies as part of our efforts to build a self-reliant India.”

He said agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy and the country cannot progress if the villages remain underdeveloped. Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of India’s population, according to a report by IBEF.

The Vice President underscored the need to guarantee income security for the nation’s farmers and to unshackle the latent potential of India’s rural economy. He said, “Doubling the farmers’ income should be our endeavour. Along with this, the quality of life of people in rural areas should be improved.”

While there is no official data on the rural household income for recent years, the Reserve Bank of India data on agricultural wages, an important component of the rural income, illustrates a decreasing rate of growth between 2014 and 2019.

In the traditional village economy, a MGNREGS worker is considered as the poorest. However, as reported last week by Hindustan Times, the latest Situation Assessment Survey (SAS) shows that for all but five states in India, average income from cultivation per agricultural household is actually less than what MGNREGS work would theoretically pay in 365 days. This illustrates the urgent need to improve agricultural incomes in the economy.

Naidu’s comments come in the backdrop of the farmers’ agitation that has continued for more than ten months with hundreds of farmers agitating against the controversial farm laws. The protest has caused obstruction of traffic and road blockades in multiple regions of Delhi-NCR, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, and in a smaller measure across other states, leading to a disruption of supply chains which had already been under pressure post-lockdown. Source : ht

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The solar mission, Aditya L1, will provide more insights into the origin of the universe and many other unknowns.

India’s first solar mission, which was pushed from early 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is likely to be launched in the third quarter of 2022, when the country’s second space observatory Xposat, aimed at helping astronomers study cosmic sources such as pulsars and supernova, will also be launched, senior officials from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

Talking about the purely scientific missions at a conference this week, director of human spaceflight centre, Dr Unnikrishnan Nair, said, “The solar mission Aditya L1 will be launched in the third quarter of next year (2022) and will provide more insights into the origin of the universe and many other unknowns.”

The spacecraft in the Aditya L1 mission will be sent 1.5 million km away from the Earth to L1 Lagrangian, a point between the Earth and the Sun where the gravitational pull of both the bodies on the satellite is equal to the centripetal force needed to keep the satellite in orbit. It is like a parking area in space and is great for observing several phenomena without hindrances from eclipses.

Xposat will be the other purely scientific mission that the space agency will undertake next year. It will be launched aboard a small satellite launch vehicle, which is currently in the development phase. The new launch vehicle is likely to have its first development flight by December this year. ISRO qualifies a launch vehicle to be mission-ready after two successful development flights.

“Xposat will allow us to study the polarisation of celestial events. It will be launched by an SSLV which is under development. The first development flight will be by the end of this year. Academicians are looking forward to the data generated from this mission,” said Nair.

The SSLV, which is being developed for the commercial launch of small satellites, costs only Rs. 30 crore as compared to Rs.120 crore for a polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV). The SSLV can be assembled by a team of six scientists within seven days in comparison to a team of 600 that takes a couple of months to assemble a PSLV.

The Covid-19 pandemic severely affected the number of launches ISRO could undertake in 2020 and 2021. There has been a total of just four launches in the two years, of which, one was a purely commercial launch with the main payload being an earth observation satellite from Brazil called Amazonia-1.

Before the pandemic, the space agency had planned for 20 launches in the financial year 2020-21, including the first unmanned flight under the Gaganyaan mission. The Gaganyaan mission is also likely to be undertaken by the end of 2022 or in early 2023. Source : ht

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In October 2017, fighter jets and transport planes of the Air Force conducted mock landings on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway to show that such highways can be used by the IAF planes for landing in case of an emergency.

Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari will inaugurate an emergency landing strip at Gandhav Bhakasar section on National Highway-925 in Barmer, Rajasthan, on Thursday for Indian Air Force (IAF) planes.

An IAF plane, carrying the two ministers, will conduct a mock emergency landing on the national highway. Singh, the Union defence minister, will also visit Jaisalmer where he will interact with IAF personnel.

"Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh will be visiting Barmer and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan tomorrow. He will review the operations, attend the MRSAM induction ceremony and also interact with the IAF personnel stationed in Jaisalmer," Singh's office posted on Twitter on Wednesday.

This is the first time that a national highway (NH-925) will be used for emergency landing of IAF aircraft.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has developed a 3-km section of Satta-Gandhav stretch of NH-925A, as an emergency landing facility (ELF) for the IAF. It is part of a newly developed two lane paved shoulder of Gagariya-Bakhasar and Satta-Gandhav section having a total length of 196.97 km. The project will cost Rs.765.52 crore under the Bharatmala Pariyojana.

In October 2017, fighter jets and transport planes of the IAF had conducted mock landings on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway to show that such highways can be used by the IAF planes for landing in case of an emergency.

The Lucknow-Agra Expressway is a state highway and comes under the Uttar Pradesh government.

Apart from the Emergency Landing Strip, 3 helipads (size 100 x 30 metres each) have been constructed in Kundanpura, Singhania and Bakhasar villages in this project, according to the requirements of the Air Force/Indian Army, which will be the basis for strengthening the Indian Army and security network on the western international border of the country. Source : ht

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Chris Sembroski, a Lockheed Martin employee and US Air Force veteran, strummed a few ukulele chords for home-bound viewers during a 10-minute show-and-tell session by the four-member Inspiration4 team as they flew in a SpaceX capsule at about 17,500 miles per hour (28,000 km per hour) over Europe.

A 42-year-old data engineer on the first all-civilian astronaut crew to reach orbit made some spaceflight history on Friday, with a zero-gravity ukulele performance in a SpaceX capsule hundreds of miles above Earth's surface.

Chris Sembroski, a Lockheed Martin employee and US Air Force veteran, strummed a few chords for home-bound viewers during a 10-minute show-and-tell session by the four-member Inspiration4 team as they flew at about 17,500 miles per hour (28,000 km per hour) over Europe.

SpaceX, the private rocketship company owned by high-tech mogul and Tesla Inc electric automaker CEO Elon Musk, announced afterward that the crew was expected to return to Earth on Saturday. Splashdown was set for just after 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) in the Atlantic off Florida's coast, the company said.

To prepare for the re-entry and return, the spacecraft completed two rocket "burns" on Friday to reduce altitude and line up the capsule's trajectory with the landing site.

The astronauts spent much of their first 48 hours aloft schmoozing from space, including phone calls with family, friends and supporters such as Musk and Hollywood star Tom Cruise, mission officials said.

They also appeared by video linkup on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday for the ringing of the closing bell.

Friday's orbital appearance aboard the Crew Dragon capsule was livestreamed over the YouTube channel of SpaceX, which supplied the spacecraft, launched it from Florida and operated it from the company's suburban Los Angeles headquarters.

'A CHAMP AT SPINNING'

Billionaire Jared Isaacman, chief executive of the e-commerce firm Shift4 Payments Inc, paid Musk an undisclosed sum for the flight - reported at roughly $200 million by Time magazine - on what became SpaceX's inaugural astro-tourism flight.

Sembroski was not alone in demonstrating spaceflight pastimes.

Geoscientist and former NASA astronaut candidate Sian Proctor, 51, showed off a piece of her in-orbit artwork - a drawing rendered in metallic markers that she described as depicting the Crew Dragon capsule being carried away from Earth by an actual dragon.

Hayley Arceneaux, 29, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children's Research Center in Tennessee, where she was once a childhood cancer patient herself, delighted in twirling about the cabin to give viewers a feel for microgravity.

"Hayley is a champ at spinning. She's been spinning from the moment we got in orbit," Proctor said.

An attempt to show off spectacular views of Earth through the capsule's wide observation dome, or cupola, was more disappointing as the spacecraft flew into Earth's own shadow, though Proctor said she could see an aurora borealis display in the darkened sky below. It did not show up well on camera for viewers.

Arceneaux also showed off a small plush-toy dog in a white coat, which the crew uses as its zero-gravity environment indicator. When it floats free in the cabin, they know they are in zero-G. The toy is loosely modelled after one of the golden retrievers serving as comfort dogs for young St. Jude patients.

Replicas of the zero-G dog are being sold to raise money for St. Jude as part of the larger Inspiration4 charity mission conceived by Isaacman to benefit the cancer institute.

Inspiration4 blasted off on Wednesday from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Within three hours the crew capsule had reached a cruising orbital altitude of just over 363 miles (585 km) - higher than the International Space Station or Hubble Space Telescope, and the farthest any human has flown from Earth since NASA's Apollo moon program ended in 1972.

The SpaceX launch marked a leap ahead of competitors Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, which are likewise offering rides on rocket ships to customers willing to pay a small fortune. Source : ht       

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Hyundai cars get costlier by up to Rs 84,867

Written by Saturday, 16 September 2017 08:51

NEW DELHI: Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) today increased prices of its various models by up to Rs 84,867, following a hike in GST cess rates.

The price hike will range from 2 to 5 per cent and will be effective from September 11, the company said in a statement.

HMIL, which is country's second largest passenger car manufacturer, has hiked the price of 1.4-litre petrol automatic variant of its premium hatchback Elite i20 by Rs 12,547.

Besides, it has raised prices of the newly launched mid-sized sedan Verna by up to 29,090. Similarly, prices of SUV Creta have been hiked ranging between Rs 20,900 and Rs 55,375.

The automaker has also raised prices of its premium sedan Elantra ranging between Rs 50,312 and Rs 75,991. It has also increased the price of its premium SUVTuscon between Rs 64,828 and Rs 84,867.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has also announced a hike in prices of its Jeep and Fiat range of vehicles by up to Rs 6.4 lakh. 

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Google to Introduce Mobile Payment Service in India

Written by Friday, 15 September 2017 06:16

 

Alphabet's Google plans to introduce a localised digital payment service in India as early as next week, technology website TechCrunch reported, citing a report from news site The Ken. The payment service, called Google 'Tez', will offer payment options beyond the existing ones like Google Wallet or Android Pay, the report said.

Tez, meaning fast in Hindi, will include support for the government-backed Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and other consumer payment services including Paytm and MobiKwik, according to the report. Google did not comment on the report, but sent a media invite for the launch of a new product for India on Sept. 18.

Google, Facebook and WhatsApp were in talks with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to provide UPI-enabled payment on their platforms, the Mint daily had reported in July. The internet giant launched its payment app Android Pay in the United States two years ago.

 

 

 

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WhatsApp Co-Founder Brian Acton to Leave Company

Written by Wednesday, 13 September 2017 06:18

 

Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp, now owned by Facebook, will leave the messaging service company to start a new foundation, he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Acton spent eight years with WhatsApp, which Facebook bought in 2014 for $19 billion in cash and stock.

A Stanford alumnus, Acton co-founded WhatsApp with Ukrainian immigrant Jan Koum in 2009. The duo worked at Yahoo before starting WhatsApp.

Here's Acton's Facebook post announcing his departure from WhatsApp, and explaining his reasons, in its entirety.

"After 8 years at WhatsApp, I have decided to move on and start a new chapter in my life.

I am very fortunate at my age to have the flexibility to take new risks and focus on what I'm passionate about. I've decided to start a non-profit focused at the intersection of nonprofit, technology and communications. It's something I've thought about for a while, and now it's time to just focus and execute. I'll have more to share in the coming months.

This decision is, of course, a tough one. I'm proud of what our team has accomplished in only a few years, and it's humbling to see that so many people rely on WhatsApp every day.

 

 

 

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Micro-blogging website Twitter is reportedly testing a feature that will simplify the way users post "tweetstorms" — a series of related tweets posted by a user in quick succession.

According to a report on Engadget on Monday, A user has discovered a hidden, experimental "tweetstorm" feature in Twitter's Android app that simplifies the process. "Instead of posting tweets one at a time and replying to them in sequence, you compose everything behind the scenes and share it all at once," the report added.

Hidden inside the Android app is a way to write a "tweetstorm" and see it broken into distinct tweets and then tweet them all at once.

Twitter, however, declined to comment on the feature which is yet to be made available to the public.

Twitter has lifted the 140-character limit for its 328 million-plus users to send direct messages. While Twitter is largely a public experience, direct messages let you have private conversations about the memes and news that unfold on the micro blogging site. The company said last year that it would stop counting photos, videos and GIF animations toward the 140-character limit.

This report comes a day after Twitter started allowing users to share access to multiple accounts via iOS and Android applications without needing to share that account's password.

 

 

 

 

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WhatsApp rolls out two new feature for both Android and iOS users. One of them is the Picture-in-Picture video calling feature and the second one is the text status update. To recall, both the features were earlier available for the beta users, but now WhatsApp has pushed out both the features to stable builds. WhatsApp has been rolling to several new features almost every other day; this is basically because the Facebook-owned messaging platform is aiming towards improving its functionalities.

The new Picture-in-Picture video calling feature allow users to multitask. The feature basically allows the users to make video calls and send messages to friends simultaneously. For instance, if a user is on a video call and also wants to talk to some other friend via message, they can simply resize the video calling screen so they can talk to one friend via video call, and message the other one. After resizing the video call screen will appear at one side of the mobile screen, while the background will be that of the chat box. It is noteworthy, the resized video calling screen can be resized as per requirement and it can also be dragged to any corner of the phone screen.

This is the Picture-in-Picture feature, also known as PiP. Now the text status updates feature. Like we share pictures and videos as status, iOS and Android users will now be able to set a text status as well. It is different from the profile text status. We know that picture and videos on WhatsApp status last's only for 24 hours. The scene will be the same with the new WhatsApp text status as well. So, how does this feature work?

 

 

 

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In collaboration with Reliance Jio, domestic consumer electronics brand Intex Technologies on Friday announced data benefits up to 25GB for its 4G smartphone users.

Under this scheme, all Intex 4G Smartphone users using a Jio connection will get additional 5GB 4G data per recharge, over what they normally get on a recharge of Rs. 309 or above.

"The world's largest end-to-end IP network of Jio and Intex's pan-India mobile distribution network will together be a delight for consumers," said Nidhi Markanday, Director and Business Head, Mobiles, Intex Technologies, in a statement. The offer is limited to a maximum of five recharges.

Late last month, Chinese manufacturer Oppo also partnered with Reliance Jio to offer data benefits to its smartphone customers.

Those customers who purchase an Oppo smartphone and enrol themselves in Jio Prime membership will get additional data benefits.

As per the new offer, buyers of Oppo's F3F3 Plus, and F1 Plus smartphone models can get additional data up to 10GB on every recharge of Rs. 309 or above (making it up to 60GB of additional data). On the other hand, those customers who purchase Oppo F1sA57A37, and A33 models can get additional data up to 7GB on every recharge (making it up to 42GB of additional data). Notably, customers can avail these additional data benefits for a maximum of six Jio recharges.

 

 

 

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