Jayalalithaa acquitted in corruption case, paving way for her return as TN CM

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was on Monday acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.

File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was today acquitted by the Karnataka High Court here in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.
The High Court allowed Ms Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
Reading out the operative part of the judgement at 11 am in the court, Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy said the appeals by Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused had been allowed and that they were acquitted of all charges.
Ms Jayalalithaa, 67, had also been barred by the special court from contesting elections and that verdict had meant that she had been disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and ceased to be the Chief Minister of the state.
Today's acquittal means that Ms Jayalithaa, supremo of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), can return as Chief Minister.
After she had stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29 last year.
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. She was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
Ms Jayalalithaa, a film star-turned-politician, and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
The special court had sentenced the co-accused -- her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew Sudharakan, who is Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi -- also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
Jayalalithaa acquitted by Karnataka HC in corruption case
Celebrations broke out among Ms Jayalalithaa's supporters all across Tamil Nadu as well as outside the high court here, where they had gathered in large numbers.
Hundreds of people who had congregated outside her Poes Garden residence in Chennai since early morning burst firecrackers, danced and distributed sweets as soon as news of the verdict by Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy ame in.
Mr Panneerselvam and many of his Cabinet colleagues also turned up to congratulate her.
On October 17 last year, Ms Jayalalithaa had been granted bail by the Supreme Court in the case after the Karnataka High Court had turned down her application.
Along with her, the apex court also granted bail to Ms Natarajan, Mr Sudhakaran and Mr Ilavarasi.
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Ms Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
The prosecution had alleged that Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
In 2011, Jayalalithaa had appeared in the Bangalore court for four days to answer more than 1390 questions posed by the judge.
In the Lok Sabha elections last year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state.

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Modi says defence public sector companies have to perform better

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that it would no longer be enough for India to buy defence equipment from abroad and simply assemble them in the country and made it clear that the public sector needed to improve its performance in this sector.

Modi inaugurates Aero India-2015, says India reforming defence policies
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it would no longer be enough for India to buy defence equipment from abroad and simply assemble them in the country and made it clear that the public sector needed to improve its performance in this sector.
"We have been doing this in the past, without absorbing any technology or developing our own capabilities. In some areas, we are where we were three decades ago," he said in his inaugural address at the 10th edition of Aero India, the international air show here.
"Frankly, our public sector needs to do much better than they are doing now. We have to exploit their huge assets and a vast potential. At the same time, we have to make them accountable," he said.
Mr Modi said his government was focusing on developing the defence industry with a sense of mission in view of the impact it could have on the creation of jobs directly and in the related sectors and of the possible spin-off benefits on other sectors in terms of advanced materials and technologies.
"This is why it is at the heart of our Make in India programme," he said.
"We are reforming our defence procurement policies and procedures. There would be a clear preference for equipment manufactured in India. Our procurement procedures will ensure simplicity, accountability and speedy decision making," he said.
Mr Modi said the government had raised the permitted level of foreign direct investment (FDI) to 49%. This could go higher, if the project brought state-of-the art technology, he said.
He also said the government had permitted investments upto 24% by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and there was no longer a need to have a single Indian investor with at least a 51% stake. 
"Industrial licensing requirements have been eliminated for a number of items. Where it is needed, the process has been simplified. We are expanding the role of private sector, even for major platforms. Our goal is to provide a level playing field for all. We speak in terms of national capacity, not public sector or private sector," he said.
More than 250 Indian companies and more than 300 foreign firms are participating in Aero India. Defence ministers, senior officials and hundreds of business leaders from around the world are attending the event.
"This is the largest ever Aero India. This reflects a new level of confidence within our country and global interest in India. To many of you, India is a major business opportunity. 
"We have the reputation as the largest importer of defence equipment in the world. That may be music to the ears of some of you here. But, this is one area where we would not like to be Number One!" Mr Modi said.
"Our security challenges are well known. Our international responsibilities are evident. We do need to increase our defence preparedness. We do have to modernize our defence forces. 
"We have to equip ourselves for the needs of the future, where technology will play a major role. As a nation of one billion people, we also have huge requirements for managing internal security. We are increasingly integrating technology and systems into it.  These opportunities make Aero India an important international event," he said.
Mr Modi said Aero India was not just a trade fair for defence equipment but a mega meeting of one of the largest global supply chains, with the most advanced technology and complex equipment  
He said it was a platform to launch India's defence manufacturing sector, stressing that a nation with a strong defence industry would not only be more secure but also reap rich economic benefits. 
"It can boost investment, expand manufacturing, support enterprise, raise the technology level and increase economic growth in the country," he said.
He said that, in India, the defence industry in the government sector alone employed nearly 200,000 workers and thousands of engineers and scientists. They produce an output of nearly 7 billion dollars annually. It also supports a very large pool of small and medium enterprises. 
He said the country's defence industry in private sector wass still small but it already employs thousands of people.
"This is despite the fact that nearly 60% of our defence equipment continues to be imported. And, we are spending tens of billions of dollars on acquisitions from abroad. There are studies that show that even a 20 to 25% reduction in imports could directly create an additional 100,000 to 120,000 highly skilled jobs in India. 
"If we could raise the percentage of domestic procurement from 40% to 70% in the next five years, we would double the output in our defence industry. Imagine the impact in terms of jobs created directly and in the related manufacturing and services sector! Think of the spin off benefits on other sectors in terms of advanced materials and technologies!" he said.
Mr Modi said the offsets system was a crucial instrument to develop and upgrade our defence industry. 
"We have introduced significant reforms in our offsets policy. I am acutely aware that it still needs a lot of improvements. We will pursue them in consultation with domestic industry and our foreign partners. I want our offsets policy not as a means to export low-end products, but to acquire state-of-the art technology and skills in core areas of priority," he said.
He pointed out that government's support for research and development was essential for defence sector. And, it should also be accompanied by a degree of assurance on purchase. 
"We are introducing a scheme to provide up to 80% of funding from the government for development of a prototype in India. And, we are also launching a Technology Development Fund. 
"For too long, our research and development has been confined to government laboratories. We must involve our scientists, soldiers, academia, industry and independent experts more closely in research and development," he said.
Mr Modi said that, while it had made its export policies clearer, simpler and predictable, the government would also abide by the highest standards of export controls and international responsibility. 
"We will expand our exports, but we will ensure that our equipment and technology do not fall into the wrong hands. India's record in this area has been impeccable and it will remain so," he said.
The Prime Minister said he was pleased with the positive impact of the government's policies and noted that the Indian private corporations had responded with enthusiasm.
"There is new excitement in our small and medium scale sector. Many of the biggest global firms are forming strategic partnerships in India. Some of them have already begun using India as part of their global supply chains or engineering services." he said.
He also expressed happiness that the first set of parts from the joint venture set up in September last year by Dynamatic Technologies and its collaborator Boeing, to manufacture critical parts for a Boeing helicopter that is sold globally, was ready for shipment today.
"But, we still need to do more. We have to further reform our acquisition and approval processes. We must indicate a clear roadmap of our future needs. 
This must take into account not only new technology trends, but also the nature of future challenges," he said.
Mr Modi said there was need to pay attention to developing supply chains, with emphasis on innovation and bridge the gap between prototype development and quality of production. 
"We must develop a financing system suited to the special needs of this industry. It is a market where buyers are mainly governments, the capital investments are large and the risks are high. We must ensure that our tax system does not discriminate against domestic manufacture in comparison to imports," he said.
Mr Modi said that, more broadly, the defence industry would succeed more if the manufacturing sector were transformed in India.
"We need great infrastructure, sound business climate, clear investment policies, ease of doing business, stable and predictable tax regime, and easy access to inputs. We need a national industry that produces advanced materials, the most sophisticated electronics and the best engineering products. Over the last eight months, we have worked hard to create that environment for you. 
"Above all, we need a vast pool of highly skilled and qualified human resources for the defence industry. Our aerospace industry alone would need about 200,000 people in another ten years," he said.
He said the government would set up special universities and skill development centres to cater to the defence industry, just as it had done in atomic energy and space. "I have especially invited the State Governments to come here with package of facilities to attract investments in defence manufacturing," he said.
"We want to develop an industry is dynamic. It should constantly stay at the cutting edge of the global industry. I am confident that India will emerge as a major global centre for defence industry. We have the basic building blocks for it in India; and, a large nation requirement. We will build an industry that will have room for everyone – public sector, private sector and foreign firms. 
From sellers, foreign firms must turn into strategic partners," he said.
"We need their technology, skills, systems integration and manufacturing strength. The nature of industry is such that imports will always be there. In turn, they can use India as part of their global supply chain," he said.
He said defence budgets around the world were becoming tighter and India's frugal but sophisticated manufacturing and engineering services sectors could help reduce costs. 
"India can also be a base for export to third countries, especially because of India's growing defence partnerships in Asia and beyond. 
"A strong Indian defence industry will not only make India more secure. It will also make India more prosperous. 
"Aero India can be a catalyst in realizing our goals. That is why I am here today. So, as we look at these wonderful aircraft and enjoy the amazing fly pasts, I also hope we can get some business done. And, sow the seeds of successful new ventures and partnerships – to give our people new opportunities, to make our nations safer, and the world more stable and peaceful," he added.

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10 dead, 50 hurt as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails near Hosur

At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed on Friday morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.

10 dead, 50 injured as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails
At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed this morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.
The mishap occurred at around 7.45 am between Anekal Road and Hosur stations on the Bangalore-Salem section of South-Western Railway, they said.
Prima facie, the derailment occurred after the train hit a boulder that had rolled down onto the tracks in the ghat section, the sources said.
The train had left Bangalore at 6.15 am for Ernakulam in Kerala. Nine coaches and the engine of the train went off the rails, and one coach in particular, D8, a second class chair car, was badly affected, they said.
The derailed coaches included two air-conditioned chair cars and six second class chair cars, but they did not suffer much damage.
A pantry car and four second class chair cars were not affected by the derailment, the sources said.
South-Western Railway spokesperson Chandrasekhar Gupta told NetIndian over the telephone that ten bodies had been extricated from the mangled coaches.
He said 18 of the injured passengers had suffered severe injuries and were undergoing treatment in the Narayan Hridalaya, Sparsh and Anekal General hospitals nearby.
Police and emergency personnel, including railway officials and staff, from nearby areas in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka rushed to the spot with ambulances and medical equipment. The Railways rushed medical vans and accident relief vans to the spot.
Efforts were being made to restore rail traffic on the section at the earliest, the sources said.
In Delhi, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said he was rushing to the scene of the accident and that he had directed the Chairman of the Railway Board, the General Manager of South-Western Railway and other senior officials to reach the spot.
He said all possible help would be rendered to the affected passengers and families. He also announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 200,000 for the next-of-kin of each of those killed in the accident, Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured passengers and Rs 20,000 for those with minor injuries.
Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, a former Minister for Railways and former Karnataka Chief Minister, was among those who reached the scene of the accident. 
"I am personally monitoring it and in touch with State and local administration. All Sr rail officials are directed by me to be on job," Mr Prabhu said.
"Condolences to all the  unfortunate members of the families who lost lives. Directed to provide best possible medical care to the injured," he said.
"Ordered enquiry to fix responsibility and for corrective action to prevent such unfortunate accidents. Monitoring action regularly," he added.
The Railways have set up the following helplines to provide information and assistance to victims and their relatives: 0948090599,  08022371166, 09731666751.
Besides, the Railways have set up the following helpline numbers in Kerala:
Trivandrum: 0471-2321205, 2321237, 09746769960
Ernakulam Jn.: 0484-2100317, 0813699773
Ernakulam Town: 0484-2398200
Trichur: 04877-2424148, 2430060
Aluva: 0484-2624143

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SC grants bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa

The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who was convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.

File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
The Supreme Court today granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who were convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
Along with Ms Jayalalithaa, 66, the apex court also granted bail to her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son Sudhakaran and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi, who were also convicted in the case and sentenced to four years in prison and fined Rs 10 crore each.
The Karnataka High Court had, on October 7, rejected Ms Jayalalithaa's bail application. While doing so, Judge A V Chandrashekhara recalled that the Supreme Court had made it clear in the past that corruption cases should be put on the fast track. He pointed out that the apex court had taken a tough stand in such cases and had described corruption as a "violation of human rights".
Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo had moved the Supreme Court for bail on October 9.

Jayalalithaa granted interim bail by SC in DA case
The apex court today suspended her sentence and granted her bail after imposing some conditions, including that she would have to submit her paprs for the appeal against her conviction within two months, that is by December 18, and that she would not seek any adjournment of the hearings. 
As soon as news of the court's decision to grant her bail came, hundreds of supporters of Ms Jayalalithaa in Chennai and elsewhere broke out into rapturous celebrations.
Ms Jayalalithaa, who has been held in prison in Bangalore since September 27, is expected to be released on bail later today or tomorrow. She will remain confined to home in Chennai while she is on bail.
The court fixed December 18 as the date to satisfy itself if she had complied with its order.
Her counsel Fali Nariman assured the court on her behalf that there would be no act of lawlessness by her party's workers in Tamil Nadu. She had sought bail on the grounds that she was suffering from various ailments and that she was a senior citizen and a woman.
Ms Jayalalithaa stood disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly after her conviction and sentence and had to resign as Chief Minister. She is also barred from contesting elections for six years after she completes her four-year sentence.
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
The prosecution had alleged that Ms Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
The court held that the prosecution had been able to prove that she possessed disproportionate assets of about Rs 53 crore. 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
In the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state and emerging as the third largest party in the House.
Elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly are due in 2016 and unless her conviction is overturned by a higher court, Ms Jayalalithaa cannot contest them.
After Ms Jayalalithaa stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29.
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case.
Ms Jayalalithaa was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.

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1 dead, 14 hurt in twin blasts on Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai station

A 24-year-old woman was killed and 14 others suffered injuries in twin blasts which occurred in two coaches of the 12509 Bangalore-Guwahati tri-weekly express train minutes after it pulled into the Chennai Central station on Thursday morning.

Chennai train blasts: 14 injured passengers stable
A 24-year-old woman was killed and 14 others suffered injuries in twin blasts which occurred in two coaches of the 12509 Bangalore-Guwahati tri-weekly express train minutes after it pulled into the Chennai Central station here this morning.
Southern Railway sources said two of the injured had suffered serious grievous injuries while the others had received minor injuries.
Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Mishra told reporters at the scene that the "minor intensity" blasts occurred in sleeper coaches S4 and S5 at about 7.15 am, some ten minutes after the train arrived on platform number 9.
Three coaches of the train -- S3, S4 and S5 -- were affected by the two explosions, the sources said.
The deceased passenger was identified as Ms Swati who was travelling from Bangalore to Vijayawada on her way to her home town of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, he said. Media reports said she was an employee of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
Sources said the blasts appeared to have been caused by some devices placed under seat 70 of coach S4 and seat 30 of coach S5.
Mr Mishra said the train was running slightly late and had arrived at the station at 7.05 am instead of its scheduled time of 5.45 am.
The injured were rushed immediately to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital near the station.
Minister of Railways Mallikarjun Kharge has sanctioned an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh for the next-of-kin of the deceased passenger, Rs 25,000 for each of those with grievous injuries and Rs 5,000 for each of those with minor injuries.
Police officials, accompanied by dog squads and bomb disposal squads, rushed to the scene of the blasts immediately and platform number 9 was cordoned off.
The entire train was checked by the police and it later resumed its journey to Guwahati, Assam after the affected coaches were detached and replaced with new coaches.
Mr Mishra said the entire train was being checked and it would resume its journey to Guwahati, Assam an hour later after the two affected coaches are detached.
The Railways have set up a helpline at Chennai on telephone number 044-25357398 to provide information to relatives of the passengers of the affected train.
Operations on other platforms as well as on the nearby suburban section continued to remain normal, Mr Mishra added.
A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from Hyderabad will reach Chennai later today to probe the incident.
Security was intensified at Chennai Central railway station after the incidents.
Among the seriously injured passengers, one was identified as Sumantho Devnath (37, Male), while the other was an unidentified male.
Those with minor injuries were identified as follows:
1. Shaiful Haque – 27 years Male
2. Anjanedu– 29 years Male
3. Vimal Kumar Das – 43 years Male
4. Shagun Kumar Rai– 23 years Male
5. Altaf Khan – 17 years Male
6. Uma – 35 years Female
7. Jitendra Mohanto Deka – 58 years Male
8. Sari – 21 years Male
9. Murali – 27 years Male
10. Bijoy Kumar – 14 years Male
11. Sudanchand Debnath – 64 years Male
12. Surendra Varma– 31 years Male

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Stephen Hawking – the guru of cosmology

Stephen Hawking. Image:
Stephen Hawking. Image:
Stephen Hawking (January 8, 1942 - 14 March, 2018), who passed away in the early hours of March 14, has left behind a rich intellectual legacy that will dominate theoretical physics for years to come.
Coincidentally, March 14 is Albert Einstein's birthday and January 8 was the day on which Galileo Galilei died in Arcetri, Italy. Hawking held the Lucasian chair of Mathematics at Cambridge, a position once filled by Isaac Newton. It is indeed fitting that these names are all strung together in the same paragraph and mentioned in the same breath. They are the giants who transformed theoretical physics into the shape that it has taken today.
Hawking's early work (in collaboration with Roger Penrose) was on singularity theorems in Einstein's general theory of relativity. This work showed decisively that Einstein's theory predicted singularities: regions of space and time where our theories no longer hold. Einstein's general relativity seemed to predict its own demise. There was new physics beyond general relativity.
Another seminal work of his concerns the areas of black holes. Hawking showed that the area of a black hole always increases with time. This suggested an analogy with entropy and the second law of thermodynamics, which predicts that disorder of a closed system always increases. This analogy was initially not taken seriously because it seemed so farfetched and, indeed, flawed.
However, Jakob Bekenstein, an Israeli physicist, persisted with the analogy, despite the obvious flaw that black holes absorb light and do not let it escape, whereas black bodies in thermal physics emit as well as absorb light. Hawking's striking insight was to realise that black holes were indeed thermodynamic objects which have a temperature and emit radiation- now called Hawking radiation.
This brilliant insight nailed the analogy and has led to deep relations between gravitation, quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics which are still being explored today. Hawking has made many seminal contributions to cosmology, black holes and the relationship between geometry, gravitation and quantum theory, too numerous and technical to mention here.
Hawking brought to the subject a style of mathematical physics that used subtle methods from differential geometry and differential topology to bear on the physics of black holes and cosmology.
There is a strong Indian connection here. The idea of a black hole had its roots in the work on the stability of white dwarf stars by S. Chandrasekhar, an American physicist of Indian origin. Hawking's analysis of singularities and the area theorem relied crucially on an equation discovered by Amal Raychaudhuri, an Indian physicist whose name is perhaps better known abroad than in his native land.
The classic book by Hawking and Ellis on the large scale structure of space time summarises some of these developments in a rigorous mathematical way.
Hawking has captured the public imagination both for the boldness of his ideas and the trying circumstances they were developed in. His bestselling book “A brief history of time" and its sequels have drawn lay public into the esoteric realms of space, time and black holes.
Hawking is very much a part of popular culture. He has appeared on “The big bang theory”, a popular television serial that pokes gentle fun at the arcane mysteries of theoretical physics and the curiously warped personalities and personal lives of the cerebral and self-absorbed people behind the science.
Hawking is featured in “The Simpsons”, another popular and satirical television cartoon show. He has also been sensitively portrayed by Eddie Redmayne in the movie “The Theory of Everything”.
What is most remarkable and has captured the public imagination is the circumstances in which Hawking did his seminal work. At the age of 21, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease (also referred to as motor neuron disease). His doctors gave him two years  to live. They were off by about fifty - 50 more years in which Hawking continued to defy the odds and leave his eternal mark on the theories of black holes and cosmology.
Joseph Samuel is a theoretical physicist at Raman Research Institute, Bangalore, and works in the areas of general relativity, quantum theory and quantum information theory.
(India Science Wire)
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Wipro to divest Hosted Data Center Services Business to Ensono for $ 405 million

IT services major Wipro Limited today said it had signed a definitive agreement to divest its hosted data center services business to Ensono, a leading hybrid IT services provider for $ 405 million. 
"Wipro will unlock value by transitioning eight data centers, and over 900 employees of its hosted data center services business to Ensono," a press release from the company said.
"The acquisition significantly expands Ensono’s geographic footprint and global service capabilities, taking the company one step closer to achieving its vision of helping clients harness the power of hybrid IT to transform their businesses on a global scale," it said.
The release said Wipro and Ensono had also signed a long-term partnership agreement to jointly address the hybrid IT requirements of Wipro’s new and existing enterprise customers. As part of the agreement, Wipro will make a strategic investment of $ 55 million in Ensono’s combined entity.
Wipro has been providing comprehensive IT management solutions for large and mid-size enterprises for over 25 years, and operates world-class data centers, globally. The company has expertise across multiple computing environments and platforms, including mainframes, iSeries, Unix, Windows and Linux servers, and offers an array of delivery models ranging from customized solutions delivered in Wipro’s data centers to remote management and cloud computing.
Hosted Datacenter services business is one of the three businesses that became a part of Wipro when it acquired Infocrossing Inc in 2007. The other two businesses -- Medicare & Medicaid services in the health insurance space and ERP implementation services -- have been integrated with other Wipro businesses and are not part of this divestment.
“As we embrace our strategy of focusing on newer digital areas of spend, our strategic investment and partnership with Ensono will enable us to remain committed to meeting the hosted data center services requirements of our customers. This partnership will enhance the global data center footprint and expand the available talent pool which will give us economies of scale and allow us to offer end-to-end capabilities in the infrastructure space, better than ever before,” said Kiran Desai, Senior Vice President, Global Infrastructure Services, Wipro Limited.
Ensono provides hybrid IT services, from cloud to mainframe, that enable clients to digitally transform their business. Through the acquisition, Ensono is doubling in size, diversifying its client portfolio and increasing its annualized revenue to be in excess of $ 550 million.  
Beyond a growing geographic footprint and data center presence, Ensono will manage over 260K MIPS and over 30K hosted servers. Whether clients are leveraging the power of the cloud or modernizing legacy technologies, Ensono helps clients manage complex IT requirements, globally and across industries, the release said.
“This is the third acquisition in less than three years for Ensono. This particular acquisition and partnership with Wipro substantially increases our ability to scale and service our growing client portfolio. We are increasing our geographic presence by expanding our data center operations in Germany, U.K. and the U.S., as well as establishing an operational presence in India,” said Jeff VonDeylen, CEO, Ensono. “These are strategic moves that bring us one step closer to our vision of being a recognized leader in true hybrid IT and a relentless ally to our clients.”
The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the quarter ending June 2018, the release said.
Ensono is a portfolio company of Charlesbank Capital Partners and M/C Partners. Jefferies LLC acted as an exclusive financial advisor to Ensono for this transaction, and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC acted as the sole financial advisor to Wipro. Goodwin Procter LLP and Ropes & Gray LLP acted as legal advisors to Ensono, and Hughes Hubbard and Reed LLP (for the US), and DLA Piper (for Europe) were legal advisors to Wipro on this transaction.  
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Study of ancient eclipses can unveil past climate trends

For a long time now, historians have been using epigraphy to infer the political and economic aspect of the past. In recent times, astronomers have come to realise that it can be a potent tool to also understand the history of astronomy as well as for inferring minute changes in the motion of Earth.
Addressing a workshop on ‘Ancient eclipses’ held at Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium at Bengaluru on Saturday, Prof Kiyotaka Tanikawa from National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, said, “Ancient eclipse records in epigraphical inscriptions can help us understand climate change in historical time scales.”
Explaining the underlying science, he said, “It had to do with the fact that the total angular momentum cannot change. Hence, during ice ages, when the Earth is compact with more water frozen at the poles, it rotates faster making the length of the day shorter by several seconds. Conversely, during warm periods, more water melts and the sea level rises resulting in sluggish rotation of the Earth making the day length to increase. The imprint of perturbations in Earth’s rotation, called delta T, can be deciphered from records of ancient eclipses.”
Climate scientists can infer the average sea level that might have happened many lakhs of years ago from geochemical measurements of radioisotopes derived from ice cores, sediment, rock cores, coral growth rings and tree rings. However these methods utterly fail to guess the sea level during the historical times, say during Gupta period or Vijayanagara dynasty. 
“Study of ancient eclipses and occultations can help us decipher climate change in last thousand to five hundred years,” Prof. Tanikawa said.
Researchers are also studying ancient eclipse to understand the movement of moon. Currently, the moon is moving away from Earth at a rate of about 3.8 cm per year. Researchers are studying whether or not the Moon’s tidal acceleration has been constant since ancient times.
Prof Mitsuru Soma, also from National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, said, “Our study of ancient records of solar eclipses between 198 and 181 BC in China and in Rome show that the lunar tidal acceleration is consistent with the current rate."
He also noted that records of lunar occultation of Venus and Saturn in AD 503 and 513 in China are useful for our studies of the Earth’s rotation.
Prof Balachandra Rao, Honorary Director of Gandhi Centre for the Study of Sciences and Human values, referred to the practice of some epigraphists to dismiss inscriptions which do not fit the ephemeris as irregular and said this was not correct.
“While copper plate inscriptions may have some spurious interpolations, epigraphical records of eclipses are invariably true and reliable. The mismatch is most likely due to our wrong interpretation. In India, we follow hundreds of calendars. We need to check the data carefully with various calendrical traditions before we dismiss the epigraphical claim,” he said.
Dr B S Shylaja, visiting scientist at the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, Bengaluru, who had organised the workshop, said that their team had undertaken an extensive survey of Kannada inscriptions and identified hundreds of solar and lunar eclipses as well as astronomical phenomena like solstices, equinoxes and occultation of Moon with bright stars like Rohini.
She said “Epigraphical inscription mentioning total solar eclipse clearly imply that in ancient time people in that area witnessed the cosmic event. We can compare the predicted path of the totality with the place at which it was actually visible from the location of the epigraphy. The difference would indicate the perturbations in the motion of Earth.”
She further pointed out, “The survey we undertook covered only 10% of available epigraphy. Inscriptions in various Indian languages await extensive study from this perspective. Such a study worldwide would provide us with much better understanding of historical climate change and contribute to our understanding of the history of astronomy.” 
(India Science Wire)
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Infosys opens Indianapolis Technology and Innovation Hub

IT services Infosys today inaugurated its flagship Technology and Innovation Hub in Indianapolis in the United States.
In addition, the company announced that it had hired more than 2,500 American workers over the past year as part of its ongoing commitment to accelerate innovation for American enterprises.
The Indianapolis Hub in One America Tower will train, upskill and reskill employees in the technologies required to help businesses accelerate their digital transformations, while also allowing Infosys to work closely with clients to develop cross-functional solutions to pressing business challenges, a press release from the company said.
“What an honor to celebrate Infosys’ grand opening in Indiana today,” Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “Not long ago, Infosys announced its plans to grow and create up to 2,000 high-wage jobs for Hoosiers. Today, the company is not just up and running here in Indiana; it’s taking off. It’s great to welcome a company like Infosys that shares our vision for a 21st century skilled workforce and is committed to increasing opportunity for working adults, students and educators. I’m glad they’ll be a part of our efforts to take Indiana to the next level, and I look forward to witnessing their continued success.”
“We are excited to continue our collaboration with the State of Indiana by opening our first Technology and Innovation Hub here in Indianapolis,” said Ravi Kumar, President, Infosys. “This will expand our ability to serve clients’ needs in cutting-edge technologies and evolve our local workforce to help our clients in their efforts to digitize and renew their core businesses as well as innovate into new breakthrough areas.”
“It’s an honor to once again welcome Infosys to Indianapolis as they open their newest tech hub. Time and time again, our community has proven itself an epicenter of innovation and we’re excited to reach new heights alongside Infosys,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “With thousands of new employees, their place in our community will ensure expanded access to S.T.E.M. programing, helping our city succeed for decades to come.”
“We are excited about the Technology and Innovation Hub that Infosys is launching. Cummins, like many other companies in Indiana, relies on access to great technology, research advances and talent development. The Hub will not only help develop the skills we need, it will also serve as a forum to exchange ideas and knowledge with experts across critical disciplines,” said Tom Linebarger, Cummins Inc. Chairman and CEO.
The release said the Hub—which currently houses more than 150 employees and is growing quickly—also serves as an innovation lab, showcasing new prototypes in virtual, augmented and robotic technologies, and as a space to foster co-creation, training and collaboration. In addition, the Hub is home to an Infosys ITAR facility to help us support companies requiring enhanced security services.
Infosys’ partnerships with academic institutions such as Purdue University and Udacity will provide recent graduates and experienced professionals with exposure to the latest training, research and development. These partners augment Infosys dedicated learning facilities within the Hub, which will deliver continuous learning across the employee lifecycle, it said.
Infosys Foundation USA will host Pathfinders Summer Institute, a national convening for K–12 teacher education in Computer Science and Making. The event will be held at Indiana University Bloomington (IUB) for more than 800 public school teachers from July 15–20, 2018. Teachers from around the country will convene on the IUB campus for high-quality, hands-on training for computer science and Maker education at no cost to them. 
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Indian scientists develop next-generation technology loop to generate clean energy

Indian scientists have developed a supercritical carbon dioxide Brayton test loop facility that would help generate clean energy from future power plants including solar or thermal.
This next generation technology loop was developed indigenously by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. The facility was inaugurated by Science & Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan at the IISc campus here today.
This is India’s first test-bed for next generation, efficient, compact, waterless supercritical carbon dioxide Brayton cycle test loop for power generation. The technology is perhaps the first test loop coupled with a solar heat source in the world, an official press release said.
This early-stage research could potentially be useful for meeting the energy needs of the country. The new generation high-efficiency power plants with closed-cycle CO2 as the working fluid have the potential to replace steam based nuclear and thermal power plants, thus reducing the carbon footprint significantly.
“I am sure all these intense scientific efforts and collective endeavours would enable us to realise the vision of an affordable, efficient, compact, reliable Clean Energy systems which will be robust and suitable in diverse geographic conditions,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said.
“We will be facilitating all such efforts and complementing and supplementing both in terms of technical knowledge and finances, wherever required,” he added.
This test loop is designed to generate the necessary data for future development of scaled-up S-CO2  power plants, which would require overcoming several technological challenges –developing critical components such as the turbine, compressor and heat exchangers that can work at the desired pressure and temperature ranges and use materials that can withstand these conditions.
This effort has already been identified as a possible national initiative for the next generation of solar thermal power plants. This gives India an opportunity to become a world leader in this technology and fulfil a major objective of the National Solar Mission which emphasizes indigenous manufacturing, the release said.
“This breakthrough research could potentially be a game changer for meeting the energy needs of the country in terms of higher efficiency and capacity at lower operating costs and size. I am sure this would result in research, development and demonstration of state-of-art tools, techniques and products which are of critical importance for our energy security,” the Minister said.
He announced plans to set up a research centre on Clean Coal Technologies at IISc. The Science & Technology Ministry has already made an investment of Rs 500 crore in research endeavours at IISc during the last three years.
Today’s thermal power plants use steam to carry heat away from the source and turn a turbine to generate power. However, it could generate more power if, instead of steam, supercritical CO2 (SCO2) is used. The term “supercritical” describes the state of carbon dioxide above its critical temperature of 31°C and critical pressure of 73 atmospheres making it twice as dense as steam.
In order to make this technology a reality, a research group at Interdisciplinary Center for Energy Research at Indian Institute of Science has been set up - India’s first S-CO2 Brayton Cycle based solar thermal test loop at the laboratory scale, the release said.
The group has made tremendous progress and have developed optimized thermodynamic cycle designs, heat transfer and fluid flow codes for designing the test loop, critical components such as compact heat exchangers and solar receivers, and state-of-the-art instrumentation along with loop control sequence algorithm.
The efficiency of energy conversion could also be significantly increased?by as much as 50 percent or more?if S-CO2 is operated in a closed loop Brayton cycle, it said.
"Besides increasing power generation and making the process more efficient, there are other advantages of using this new technology. Smaller turbines and power blocks can make the power plant cheaper, while higher efficiency would significantly reduce CO2 emissions for fossil fuel based plants.
"Moreover, if the power plant used a solar or nuclear heat source, it would mean higher capacity at lower operating costs," the release added.
Prof. Pradip Dutta and Prof. Pramod Kumar of the Department of Chemical Engineering, IISc were the key scientists involved in this path-breaking innovation.
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Arjun Maini to drive with Trident in the FIA Formula 2 Championship

Arjun Maini, supported by JK Racing and TVS Racing, today confirmed his association with Trident for the 2018 season of the FIA Formula 2 Championship.
Arjun moves to the F2 after competing in the GP3 Series where he achieved a historical victory at Barcelona, as the first Indian to win a race in the GP3 Series and followed the victory with a podium in Race 1 at the season ending Abu Dhabi round. His victory in Barcelona was also judged the best win of the year by the GP3 paddock.
Testing in the post-season FIA F2 as a rookie, Arjun also displayed remarkable pace, topping two out of the six sessions, making the transition to Formula 2 a natural progression.
Talking about his association for the season, Arjun said  "I’m very excited to be competing in the FIA Formula 2 championship with Trident Motorsport. I felt we were quite competitive during the post-season test and given that the series is using all new cars for the coming season, I’m quite excited for the year ahead. Trident is a very strong team and I’m sure if we work hard we’ll be in for some strong results during the course of the season.”
Trident, a team based in Italy began competing in the GP2 Series (now FIA Formula 2) in the year 2006 and was founded by Italian entertainment mogul Maurizio Salvadori. The team has a strong pedigree in the series having run ex-Formula One driver Gianmaria Bruni in its first year of racing and featured several notable names in motorsport including the likes of former Formula One driver and race winner Pastor Maldonado and ex-Ferrari Driver Academy star Raffaele Marciello.
Team owner Maurizio Salvadori said, “Arjun is an undoubtedly valuable prospect who has all that it takes to be among the future stars of motorsports for the years to come. It is certainly not by chance that Haas F1 Team selected him to join their development driver program. Team Trident will provide Arjun with the experience and energy needed for him to continue growing up and reach his ultimate professional goals."
Giacomo Ricci, Team Manager added, "We have been following Arjun Maini for a while and he is an undoubtedly talented driver. He showed great driving skills and race conduct which are going to be some really important aspects in a demanding series like Formula 2. We hope to see him bring home solid results and to have a really competitive season together."
Along with racing for Trident, Arjun will continue his association with Haas F1 Team as a development driver, which will see him embedded with the team, attending races and tests throughout the year while also participating in the team’s simulator program.
Guenther Steiner, Haas F1 Team Principal said, “As Haas F1 Team continues to mature, we must look toward our future and develop potential talent. Arjun was successful in karting and has transitioned well to various Formula series, winning quickly in GP3. We’ll keep a keen eye on his progress this year in F2.”
 Arjun’s mentor, former F1 driver Karun Chandhok added, “Racing in F2, which was of course called GP2, was the most important phase of my junior Formula career. It’s a great way to put yourself on the radar of the F1 team bosses, and really without winning races and getting podiums in the category, I would never have ended up in F1 or at Le Mans. Arjun did a very good job at the F2 winter tests and this is a logical next step in his career. He will learn about racing a big and powerful car with tyres that are very similar to F1 so it should be a good education for him.”
Tuhin Mishra, the Managing Director & Co Founder of Baseline Ventures had this to say, “Arjun is one of the most promising motorsports athletes of India. It's been an honor and privilege for Baseline Ventures to exclusively represent him and play a small role towards his success. We see a huge future ahead of him. His strong will to succeed in a very difficult sport makes a great case for brands to associate with him and his continued success ensures that he keeps on raising the bar for himself and the other future athletes to emulate him.”
The FIA Formula 2 Championship kicks off at the Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain from 6th of April 2018.  
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Cabinet approves six-laning of Nidagatta-Mysuru section of NH-275 in Karnataka

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday gave its approval for six-laning of the Nidagatta-Mysuru Section of NH-275 from km 74.200 to km 135.304 on Hybrid Annuity Mode in Karnataka.
The development of six-laning of the 61 km stretch  is estimated to cost approximately Rs. 2919.81 crore, including the cost of land acquisition and pre-construction activities. The civil construction cost is approximately Rs. 2028.93 crore, an official press release said.
The project road is a section of NH 275 connecting Bengaluru and Mysuru in Karnataka. It will also link important places like Mangalore, Kodagu and parts of Kerala to Bengaluru, the release said.
The existing four-lane road has already crossed its capacity, resulting in traffic jams and accidents. The road is passing through congested and thickly populated towns and settlements like Maddur, Mandya and Srirangapatna.
The upgradation to six lanes, alongwith 7-metre service road on each side and construction of bypasses at Maddur, Mandya and Srirangapatna and grade separated structures of this stretch of the National Highway will greatly reduce the time and cost of travel, particularly of heavy traffic plying in the region. The provision for by-passes will ensure decongestion of the urban areas of Maddur, Mandya & Srirangapatna. Elevated road has been proposed in the dense built-up areas of Maddur.   The project entails construction of service roads of about 60.35 km on both sides, which would facilitate movement of local traffic in the inhabited /urbanized areas, the release said.
The bus shelters being developed at 21 places will be of great utility for enhancing public transport facilities, the release said.
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Gadkari lays foundation stones for highway projects worth Rs 873.5 crore in Karnataka

Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari, who is on a two-day visit to Karnataka, laid the foundation stones for 138.5 km of highway projects worth Rs. 873.5 crore in the state in Shimoga district today.
In all, Mr. Gadkari will lay the foundation stones of more than 500 kms of projects worth over Rs. 3,700 crore in the districts of Shimoga, Bellary, Bidar, Bijapur and Hubli.
Speaking at the foundation laying, Mr Gadkari announced that the Centre has plans to  invest approximately an amount of Rs 1,44,922 crore in the Karnataka in the next two years.
The Minister said that 6,805 km of National Highways have been declared in Karnataka between 2014-2017, as against only 6760 km up to 2014. With this, the total length of national highways in the state has gone up to 13,565 km, including 6,433 km declared in principle.
While there are 105 ongoing projects of length 2,795 km worth Rs 19,638 crore, another 19 projects of length 230 km and cost Rs 1,676 crore will soon be awarded. While 34 projects of length 4,000 km costing Rs 25,000 crore have already been tendered and DPR is being prepared for 34 more projects, he said.
Among the important highways projects in the state of Karnataka, in the Bangalore Ring Road (STRR), NHAI has taken up the work of balance portion of STRR for Bangalore (West side) to Hosur in Tamil Nadu (connecting NH-4 to NH-7) under Bharatmala.
This Ring Road stretch connects Hosur, Anekal, Kanakapura, Ramanagara, Magadi and Dobaspet.
The total length of this ring road is about 140 km in Karnataka and 45 km in Tamil Nadu with a tentative cost of Rs. 10,000 crore, he said.
The work of construction of tunnel for Shiradi Ghat involves a length of 23.60 km with a tentative cost of Rs. 10,000 crore. The project consists of six tunnels with a total length of 12.60 km.
Ring Road to Belgaum involves construction of 4/6 laning of Belgaum bypass on western side with eastern side by connecting NH-4A to NH-4 having a total length of 55 km. The tentative cost for this bypass will be around Rs 1,500 crore, he said. This bypass will ease the traffic congestion and to facilitate the through traffic in the city.
Six laning of Access Control of Bangalore – Mysore Section of Bangalore– Mallapuram economic corridor is a part of economic corridor of Bangalore–Mallapuram. The total length is 117 km at an estimated cost of Rs 7,000 crore.
This project consists of about 8 km elevated corridors, 9 major bridges and 4 road overbridges (ROBs).
The Bangalore – Chennai Expressway is on a new alignment. This project is identified as one of the priority projects under Chennai – Bangalore Industrial Corridor (CBIC). It will provide connectivity to the proposed Multimodal Logistic Park at Dobaspet which can be accessed through NH-207 or Bangalore Ring Road from BCE.
This expressway passes through three states -- 76 km in Karnataka, 91 km in Andhra Pradesh and 94 km in Tamil Nadu -- with a tentative cost of Rs 16,000 crore.
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‘NamoCare’ to turn India into largest pharma manufacturer in the world in 3 years: Ananth Kumar

Ayushman Bharat, the health insurance scheme announced by the Government, popularly called ‘NamoCare’, has the potential to turn India into the largest pharmaceuticals manufacturer of the world in about three years, Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers Ananth Kumar said here today.
Inaugurating the third edition of India Pharma 2018 and India Medical Device 2018, an international conference and exhibition here, Mr Ananthkumar said Ayushman Bharat will lay down an ambitious framework for Universal Health Coverage by giving assured affordable and quality health cover of Rs 5 lakh per annum to about 50 crore poorest of people.
The three-day event is being organized by Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). 
India Pharma & India Medical Device Awards were announced at the event to honour excellence and innovation in the field of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
The Minister said the Government will start rolling out the scheme in the next three months with the same speed and efficiency as highly successful initiatives like Mudra Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana, UjalaYojana and neem coating of urea.
With this mega health reform, the Government expects the $65 billion Pharma and $12 billion Medical Devices industry to double in the next five years. “Can we produce affordable pharma products and medical devices of global standards? That is the real challenge,” he added.
“Namo Care cannot be effectively implemented in the currently fragmented ecosystem of the pharma industry. The Government accordingly intends to come up with a New Pharma Policy which will unify and synergize its various components of Pharma and medical devices sectors, such as Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), manufacturing, R&D, financing, quality control, drug control, price control and medical devices.
“The pharma and medical devices industry have to take up the challenge in coordination with the Make in India initiative to ensure 360-degree Health Security for All. I have given it the ‘3A formula’ – Availability, Authenticity and Affordability – without compromising upon the Quality," the Minister said.
The event saw a round table session of pharma and medical devices CEOs with Mr Ananth Kumar, to discuss Government policy and challenges facing the industry. The Minister informed that during the interaction the CEOs have been asked to partner with the Government to find joint solutions for challenges facing the pharma and medical devices sector. ‘Affordable and Quality Healthcare for All’ in the country, which is the theme of this conference, should be ensured, he added.
Those present at the inaugural ceremony included Jai Priye Prakash, Secretary DoP, Suddhansh Pant, JS DoP, along with senior officers of the Ministry and stalwarts of the pharma and medical devices industry.
The delegates included 50 Hosted Delegates from other nations and more than 10,000 business visitors are attending the event. More than 300 companies and 50 start-ups are showcasing their products. More than 90 eminent industry leaders would speak at various sessions spread over three days.
More than 20 international drug and device regulators are set to meet with Indian regulators at the venue. Ministerial delegations from CIS and BIMSTEC countries are also attending the event.
A key highlight of India Pharma & India Medical Device 2018 is a workshop by World Health Organization on “Regulatory System Strengthening and Prequalification updated by WHO.”
A conference will also be organized by NASSCOM on “Digital Transformation through Innovation in Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Healthcare Industries.”
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TCS TechBytes -- IT Quiz for engineering students in Karnataka -- to be held from March 6-21

IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and the Board for IT Education Standards (BITES), an autonomous body promoted by Government of Karnataka in association with IT industries and educational institutions, will hold the ninth edition of TCS TechBytes, an IT quiz for engineering students in Karnataka from March 6-21.
The quiz is open for engineering students (BE/BTech) of all streams and semesters in Karnataka, a press release from TCS said.
Nagaraj Ijari, VP & Head, TCS Bangalore Operations, said, “With the technology space evolving at a rapid pace every year, it is vital for engineering students to stay on top of the learning curve. TCS TechBytes showcases the emerging technology trends, underlining that learning is a continuous process for one to excel in a global environment.”
Dr. K.N. Balasubramanya Murthy, Chairman, BITES said, “We are delighted to partner with TCS and launch the ninth edition of TCS TechBytes. Students participating in the program can leverage the technology exposure they gain which would enable them to succeed in their careers.”
TCS TechBytes, a campus outreach programme, strives to provide a better understanding of IT to students of all streams of engineering. The objective is to enhance the knowledge and awareness of students and enable them to compete in the fast paced technology intensive industry, the release said.
Each institution can send 10 teams (two students per team) to participate in the Regional Finals of the quiz through an internal selection process. There is no participation fee. Entries have to be sent by the respective institutions on or before February 26, 2018 to: or The Coordinator, BITES-TCS IT Quiz, BITES, IIIT-B Campus,2nd Floor, Innovation Centre,26/C, Electronics City Phase 1,Hosur Road, Bangalore – 560100, Ph: 080-41235889.
The Regional Level Quiz will be conducted at the following six locations: Mangalore - March 6, Mysore - March 8, Gulbarga – March 12, Hubli – March 13, Tumkur - March 15 and Bengaluru on March 21. The State Finals will also be held at Bengaluru on March 21, 2018, the release said.
Winners at both the Regional and State Finals will receive educational scholarships and other prizes from TCS.
The quiz will focus on application of technology across various sectors and aspects such as: the technology environment, the business, its people, new trends, legends, etc. It will also focus on emerging areas such as: digital, cloud computing, telecom, social media, big data, artificial intelligence, biometrics, mobility and robotics, besides covering personalia – international and national, software products, history of IT and areas where IT has made an impact such as education, entertainment, books, multimedia, music, movies, internet, banking, advertising, sports, gaming, social networking, cell phones, and so on.
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Rahul Gandhi urges Karnataka to vote for party, leader they can trust

Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing a public meeting at Hospet in Karnataka on February 10, 2018
Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing a public meeting at Hospet in Karnataka on February 10, 2018
Congress President Rahul Gandhi today urged the people of Karnataka, which will go in for elections to choose a new legislative assembly later this year, to vote for a party and a leader they could trust and not for those who failed to deliver on promises.
"Elections are coming in Karnataka and the people have to decide their future. You have to decide whom you will support. On the one side, there is the Congress, (Chief Minister) Siddaramaiah-ji  and me, and on the other side, there is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi," he said, while launching the Congress' Janaashirvaada (people's blessing) Yatra from Hospet in Bellary district.
"You should trust those who tell you the truth. If you trust those who make false promises and sell you false dreams, you won't gain anything," he said.
Mr. Gandhi cited various examples of how the Congress had delivered on its promises to the people of Karnataka, including on Article 371-J, which was inserted in the Constitution in 2012 to make special provisions for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region of Karnataka.
The region includes six backward districts of Northern Karnataka -- Gulbarga, Bidar, Raichur, Koppal, Yadgir and Bellary.
The provision aims to establish an institutional mechanism for equitable allocation of funds to meet the development needs of the region, as well as to enhance human resources and promote employment from the region by providing for local cadres in service and reservation in educational and vocational training institutions.
"We fulfilled the promise. Earlier, the region used to get Rs. 350 crore, now it gets Rs. 4000 crore. He said the number of seats in medical and engineering colleges had gone up by 5000, as many as 20,000 jobs were created in Government, and three new medical colleges were set up at Bidar, Koppal and Gulbarga," he said.
Mr. Gandhi said that, on the hand, Mr. Modi had promised to deposit Rs. 15 lakh in the bank accounts of all Indians after bringing back black money stashed by individuals abroad. "Not one rupee has been received by anyone," he said.
He said Mr. Modi had promised the  youth that 2 crore jobs would be created every year, but the actual numbers were much lower. "India creates just 450 jobs a day against 50,000 jobs a day created by China," he said.
Mr. Gandhi said that, even out of these small numbers, Karnataka accounted for the highest number of jobs. "Modi-ji, Karnataka did its job, Siddaramaiah-ji did his job, when are you going to do your job?" he asked.
He referred to Mr. Modi's recent speech in Parliament, where he spoke for more than an hour but did not mention the major challenges facing the country such as jobs, education, health, agriculture and so on.
"In the entire speech of more than an hour, he did not speak about the future, nothing about jobs, nothing about how farmers will be helped. For one hour, he talked about the Congress and the past.
"The country expects the Prime Minister to talk not about the past, but about its future," he said.
Mr. Gandhi said Mr. Modi was trying to steer the country by remaining focused on the rear-view mirror, which will only lead to the vehicle landing in a ditch.
"Modi-ji, you have to look ahead, into the future. You cannot run a country like India by looking at the rear-view mirror. You cannot take the country forward by looking behind," he said.
"Wherever you go, you give excuses about the Congress. The country has elected you not to make excuses, not to look into the rear-view mirror. When you do that, you make mistakes like demonetisation, GST," he said.
"Modi-ji, please learn from Siddaramaiah-ji. He looks ahead, dones not make excuses. He waived farmers' loans when it was necessary, he started Indira food canteens in cities, he worked for the poor and the weaker sections," he said.
Mr. Gandhi said that, during his long stays in Gujarat during the recent elections there, he had realised how hollow the so-called "Gujarat model" of development was. He said Mr. Modi keeps talking about he had changed Gujarat, whereas the state was changed by the hard work of its farmers, labourers, shopkeepers and traders. However, a bulk of the state's resources were used for the benefit of a chosen few industrialists.
He said the Gujarat government had given resources worth Rs. 33,000 crore to the Tata Nano project in the state, but today the factory was not producing any Nano vehicles. He said the UPA government had funded the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme in the entire country with a similar outlay.
He said the Centre talks much about the welfare of tribals and Dalits. He said that Rs. 55,000 crore had been allocated for the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan and for the Tribal Sub-Plan in the entire country, while the Karnataka Government had spent half of that amount -- Rs. 27,700 crore -- for the welfare of tribals and Dalits in the state alone from its own resources.
Mr. Gandhi said Mr. Modi talked regularly about corruption, but ignored the fact that the previous BJP government in Karnataka had "created a world record in corruption".
He said the biggest corruption issue in India today was the deal with France for 36 Rafale fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
He said Mr. Modi had gone to Paris personally and got the contract finalised by the previous Congress-led UPA government changed. He said the offset contract was denied to the public sector HAL in Bengaluru and given to a private company.
"For 70 years, HAL has supplied aircraft to the Air Force. If Bengaluru has progressed, HAL was a major factor. Modi-ji has snatched this contract from HAL and given it to his friend," he said.
Mr. Gandhi said the Government had refused to give out details of the price it would pay for the 36 aircraft and whether it was more or less than the amount finalised by the previous government.
He promised that if the Congress were returned to power, it would worker harder in the next five years for the welfare of all sections of the people of the state.
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Dual-gated device developed to make gadgets power efficient

Over the years transistors -- the building blocks of digital devices -- have become smaller by the day, making devices faster and compact. But this has also meant increased wastage of power. A group of Indian scientists have found a way to address this problem.
Transistors work by acting like electronic switches controlling the flow of current across circuits. The most common type of transistors called MOSFETs (metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistors) cannot switch from ‘on’ to ‘off’ abruptly and thus leak current even after the device is turned off. The smaller the transistors are, the more power they waste. Tunnel FETs (field-effect transistors) waste much less power but are more suited for low performance devices like watches or notebook computers.
Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) at Bengaluru have combined these two different types of transistors into a single device that can easily switch between power-efficient and high performance modes, depending on the need. The device has a special type of metal-semiconductor junction which can be tweaked to make it behave either like a MOSFET or a tunnel FET. 
“MOSFETs typically work like floodgates in a dam -- they have a source, a drain, and a gate that controls flow of electrons between the two. When the gate is in the off position, there is a large energy barrier which prevents electrons from crossing over. When gate is turned on with voltage, height of the barrier is reduced and electrons can jump over. The smaller the supply voltage to turn the transistor on, more efficient is the device,” explained Dr Navakanta Bhat, head of the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering at IISc who led the research team.
However, he said, bringing down supply voltage for MOSFETs  proportionately with transistor size is difficult because of a fundamental design flaw. A factor called sub-threshold swing -- which determines the minimum gate voltage required for the transistor to switch from on to off -- restricts the supply voltage to be not less than 1 volt.
To overcome this, scientists have tried using tunnel FETs in which instead of the height, the width of the electron barrier is reduced to a point where electrons are able to “tunnel” through instead of jumping over it. Tunnel FETs can operate at lower supply voltages but the current flowing when the transistor is on is greatly reduced.
In the present work, researchers designed a hybrid device capable of switching between MOSFET and tunnel FET modes by using two gates instead of one, and a special type of electron barrier created by joining a metal and semiconductor under certain conditions. The dual-gated device, Dr. Bhat said, is able to operate at a voltage lower than possible with conventional MOSFETs, greatly reducing power consumption.
The research results have been published in journal Applied Physics Letters. The team included Dr. Bhat and Shubhadeep Bhattacharjee. 
(India Science Wire)
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Saras PT1N makes its maiden flight

Saras PT1N, a 14-seater aircraft designed and developed by CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL), a frontline aerospace research laboratory, successfully made its maiden flight here today.  
 Union Minister for Science & Technology Harsh Vardhan congratulated the scientists of CSIR-NAL and other agencies involved in the successful maiden flight. 
The flight was commanded by Wg Cdr U P Singh, Gp Capt R V Panicker and Gp Capt K P Bhat from IAF-Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE). The aircraft took off at about 11 am from HAL airport and flew for about 40 minutes at the maximum height of 8500 ft at the speed of 145 knots. 
The chase aircraft (Kiran) was piloted by Gp Capt Badrish and telemetry was commanded by Gp Capt Naraynen, Wg Cdr Pandey and Wg Cdr R Sridhar (Retd).  
"All the system parameters have been found to be normal. It was a text book flight," a press release from the Ministry of Science & Technology said.
"The primary objective is to evaluate the system performance in about 20 flights and the data collected from this shall be used to freeze the design of production version aircraft.  The production version aircraft will be of 19 seat capacity and will undergo civil / military certification," it said.
The flight was monitored by Director, CSIR-NAL, Mr. Jitendra J Jadhav, Director, IAF-PMT & Chairman, FRRB, Air Marshal Upkarjit Singh, Director-HAL, Mr. Venkatesh, Commandant, ASTE, Air Vice Marshal Sandeep Singh, Chief Executive, CEMILAC, Mr. P Jayapal, and ADG-AQA, Mr. V L Raja.
CSIR-NAL sources said that this was the culmination of the efforts of team CSIR-NAL, IAF-ASTE, CEMILAC, HAL and DGAQA.
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Japan commits ODA loan of Rs. 2587 crore for Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Project

The Government of Japan today committed Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan of Yen 45 billion (approximately Rs. 2,587 crore) for the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Project (Phase 3) (I) through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The notes in this regard were exchanged today between Mr. S. Selvakumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India and Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India, an official press release said.
The release said the project would provide residents of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) area, especially in 110 villages, with safe and stable water supply and sewerage services by carrying-out construction of water treatment plant and sewage treatment plants, thereby improving living conditions of the residents as well as the investment environment in the concerned areas.
"India and Japan have had a long and fruitful history of bilateral development cooperation since 1958. In the last few years, the economic cooperation between India and Japan has steadily progressed. This further consolidates and strengthens the Strategic and Global Partnership between India and Japan," the release added.
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Business houses must supplement Govt. efforts to achieve equitable growth: Naidu

Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu today asked builders and contractors to take part in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in a big way.
Speaking at the All India Builders’ Convention here, Mr Naidu said the Government efforts to build an equitable society must be supplemented by private Industries through CSR.
“The efforts of the Government to build an inclusive and equitable society must be supplemented by private industries. An organization like yours can play a key, constructive role in eradicating poverty, illiteracy, improving livelihoods and in making this planet a better place to live through environment-friendly measures,” he added.
The Vice-President said CSR was not mere charity or philanthropy but a responsibility towards making a difference to the lives of people. There is a huge scope to launch CSR initiative in different areas, including healthcare, education and environment. One important area is vocational training to improve skills and employability of the needy and poor.
The builders have a big role to play in developing the country’s Infrastructure, especially the Smart Cities project. “You are the valuable partners in building the Infrastructure of New India and work with the Government in the massive push to improve Infrastructure in the Railways and Roads Development and in boosting the regional connectivity through 50 new Airports,” he said.
The flagship schemes of Housing for All and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation will provide a huge thrust to housing and infrastructure growth in the country, he added.
Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala and Lok Sabha member P C Mohan were present at the inauguration of the conference.
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L&T Technology Services wins $50 million avionics contract from aerospace electronic systems manufacturer

L&T Technology Services Limited (LTTS), a pure-play engineering R&D services company, today said it had won a project worth $50 million spanning over five years from a leading aerospace electronic systems manufacturer. 
"The transformational deal significantly extends the engagement between the companies," a press release from the company said.
According to it, the award of the contract followed a rigorous validation process, with LTTS, a subsidiary of infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T), emerging as the winner to be the strategic supplier for the client's  ER&D pursuits.
Amit Chadha, President, Sales & Business Development and Whole-Time Director, L&T Technology Services commented on the deal, “The need for compelling user experience is of utmost importance like never before and aerospace customers are looking for end to end engineering partners for their new age aviation initiatives. This partnership with LTTS will help bring in our proven expertise in advanced data analytics and avionic simulations to drive product improvements across their product lines.”
The project with LTTS will result in transformation of the customer’s operations into a managed services model. This model will encapsulate support to both existing products and also for work related to next generation in-flight system, the release said.
"LTTS’ strategy of focusing on its top 30 customers and large deals pursuits are paying rich dividends. The latest deal also complements the momentum achieved by the company in the areas of autonomous cars, electric vehicles, infotainment & embedded devices to name a select few," it added.
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myGate raises Rs. 16 crore to digitize security at gated premises

myGate, a mobile-based security management solution for gated premises, today announced that it has raised Rs. 16 crore (approximately $2.5 million) in its first round of funding, led by  Prime Venture Partners. 
Since its launch in Bengaluru in 2016, myGate has validated 24 million visits through their mobile app across 100,000 homes. The company will use the funds to invest in technology and scale to 2 million homes across the top seven cities within the next two years, a press release from the company said.
"As a testament to its popularity amongst gated communities, 5000 guards are already using myGate in Bengaluru," it said.
The release said the security services market in India is a $6 billion industry, according to a Grant Thornton report, of which the gated-premise security market, comprising manual guards and security equipment, is estimated at $2 billion. In the top seven cities in India, myGate estimates show that there are more than 100,000 gated communities with 35 million residents. 
"The company is focussed on tapping into this unaddressed market and redefining security at the gates," it said.
According to the release, security at gated communities has long followed conventional “man-guarding”, paper and pen system. The process is inefficient and error prone, making the life of security guards difficult. In addition, authentication of residents, visitors, and support staff is a huge challenge. Despite significant investments in physical infrastructure like access cards, boom barriers, biometrics, landline intercom, and others, residential premises are unable to keep track of domestic helps, visitors, delivery trucks, taxicabs and other vehicle movements. In addition, authentication of residents, visitors, and support staff is a huge challenge.
"myGate is a mobile-app-based system and offers a simple yet comprehensive solution by digitizing and often automating manual tasks. The solution comprises of Android app for security guards and an Android or iOS app for residents, with a fallback to a regular voice call for non-smartphone users. With this system all visitor entries and exits are logged digitally, with complete visibility and control of the resident. myGate also offers several advanced capabilities such as e-intercom (automatic visitor authentication), kids safety alerts, staff attendance, infrastructure-free vehicle management, touchless resident identification, clubhouse access management, management reporting, and visitor overstay alerts. 
"myGate’s two-day onboarding process combined with a pay-as-you-go (SaaS) commercial model has enabled it to be rapidly deployed at several hundred gated communities within one year of its launch," the release said.
Some of these include properties by builders like Sobha, Prestige, Purvankara, Rohan, Lodha, Salarpuria, Mantri, Adarsh Palm Retreat Villas, Purva Riviera, Prestige St. Johns Woods, Mantri Tranquil and many more. While the myGate’s primary focus is on residential communities, the technology and the solution are already being piloted at other gated premises, notably office buildings, schools and factories, it said.
Vijay Arisetty, CEO & Co-founder, myGate, said, “Security for gated-premises is a multi-billion market that is fundamentally underserved by often obsolete legacy providers and solutions. myGate provides an outstanding experience for people living in gated communities, allowing them to keep track of their visitors and all the relevant developments in the community with the help of an app. In Prime, we found a hands-on investment partner with a long-term vision and practical execution expertise; we are excited to have them join us as our extended team.”
Sanjay Swamy, Managing Partner, Prime Venture Partners, said, “I’m delighted to welcome MyGate to the Prime portfolio and feel privileged to be part of this journey. We first experienced MyGate as consumers and loved the product experience; when we met the team, we were very excited by their incredible vision to transform the physical security experience as well as their focus and relentless pursuit of excellence. MyGate is addressing a huge market opportunity and is already the undisputed leader in this space - this funding will help them further expand their thought-leadership and market-leadership!”
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‘Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav-2018’ inaugurated in Karnataka

The 7th edition of ‘Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav-2018’ was inaugurated here on January 14 by Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar and Union Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma.
Mr Ananth Kumar said organizing such a unique cultural event gave people from different regions a chance to showcase their talent, artworks and delicacies on one platform. “The Ministry of Culture plays a very important role in preserving our rich cultural heritage and in uniting our country,” he added.
Dr Mahesh Sharma said, “We are delighted to bring to you our beloved Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of a strong and united India with respect and appreciation of multicultural and respect for each other's rich cultural heritage exemplified by ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ programme through Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav 2018, a cultural festival that will powerfully revive India’s heritage, like never before.
“The event brings together the art, artisans, dance, handicrafts, flavours and music from different regions, making itself the largest ensemble of Indian culture. While this event introduced and connected country’s youth to the various facets of our rich and vibrant culture, it also gives people from different regions a chance to showcase their talent, artworks and delicacies at a larger-than-life podium,” he added.
The inaugural day of the 7-day festival witnessed soulful performances including  Pandvani by Teejan Bai and Vedic chants and Bhajans by Krishna Kant Shukla and fusion performances of more than 350 folk artists, highlighting different dance forms, including folk and tribal.
As a part of Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav Dr Sharma also inaugurated an exhibition at National Gallery of Modern Art on Nicholas Roerich, a Russian artist, writer, theosophist and archaeologist who lived and died in the Himalayas.
The Mahotsav will be spread across the following cities in Karnataka beginning with Bengaluru from January 14 to 16, Hubli-Dharwad, on January 17-18 and Mangaluru, on  January 19-20.
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Ten dead in bus accident in Hassan district of Karnataka

10 dead after bus crashes off bridge in Karnataka
At least ten people died and 28 others suffered injuries when a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) Volvo bus veered off a bridge and crashed in Hassan district of the state in the early hours of today.
The bus was on its way from Bengaluru to Dharmastala when the mishap occurred at around 3.15 am near Shantigram in Hassan taluka on national highway (NH)-75, official sources said.
They said seven people died on the spot while three others succumbed to their injuries in hospital later. The deceased included the bus driver and conductor as well as two women, they said.
The injured were admitted to the Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences for treatment.
Residents of nearby villages rushed to the scene to help the victims and police and other emergency personnel also reached there son.
The State Government announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 3 lakh for the next-of-kin of those who died in the accident. The State Government also said it would bear the medical expenses of all those who suffered injuries.
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IndiGo commences flights from Rajahmundry to Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai

Low-cost carrier IndiGo today expanded its regional network by commencing ATR operations from Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh.
Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister China Rajappa, along with Mr. Sanjeev Ramdas, Executive Vice President of Customer Service & Operations Control, IndiGo flagged-off the flight from Rajahmundry to Chennai at Rajahmundry Airport today.
Other dignitaries who were present at the flag-off ceremony included Mr. Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, Minister for Finance, Planning, Commercial Taxes, Legislative Affairs; Ms. Pantham Rajani Sesha Sai, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Rajamahendravaram; Mr. Kartikeya Misra, Collector and District Magistrate, East Godavari District; and Ms. B.Raja Kumari, IPS., Superintendent of Police, Rajamahendravaram Urban Police District.
A press release from the airline said it would connect Rajahmundry to Hyderabad with twice daily frequencies, and one direct daily frequency each on Rajahmundry–Bangalore–Rajahmundry and Rajahmundry–Chennai–Rajahmundry sectors. 
IndiGo is the only airline that connects Rajahmundry with direct flights to three major metros of southern India: Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad from day one of its operations, the release said.
The airline operates more than 1000 flights daily to 48 destinations.
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