Mysuru's titular queen's mother passes away

Putta Chinnammanni, mother of Mysuru's titular queen, Pramoda Devi Wodiyar, passed away early on Friday, an official said. She was 98.
"Pramoda Devi's mother died in her sleep at a private hospital from age-related ailments," a palace official told IANS.
Following her death, religious and cultural activities in the Amba Villas Palace have been cancelled on Vijayadashmi.
"As the royal family members, they are not performing rituals or participating in the Dusshera festival within the palace or outside," the official said.
The royal family's adopted scion, Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodiyar, who was to be the chief guest at the world famous Mysuru Dusshera victory parade from the Palace gates, also stayed away from the event along with his wife Trishikha Devi and other family members.
"The victory procession from the palace and other functions on the 10th-day of the festival, including the Torch Light Parade in the city will go on as they are sponsored and organised by the state government," added the official.
Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said he was saddened to learn about Chinnammani's death and prayed for her soul.
"May goddess Chamundeshwari give all strength to Pramoda Devi and her family to bear the loss of the beloved," said Kumaraswamy in a condolence message to the royal family.

(Our News Desk can be contacted at

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10-day Mysuru Dussehra festival begins

The famed 10-day Dussehra festival began on Wednesday with pomp and piety in Karnataka's cultural capital Mysuru.
The festival began on a grand note with a prayer at the Chamundeshwari temple, followed by its inauguration at the royal Amba Vilas Palace.
Infosys Foundation Chairperson Sudha Murthy inaugurated the 408th year of the festival by worshipping the deity amid chanting of Vedic hymns and rendering of devotional music.
Sudha's husband and Infosys co-founder N. R. Narayana Murthy, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, his ministers, officials and hundreds of others were present at the temple and later at the palace.
"I am blessed to inaugurate the Dussehra festival. It is an honour and privilege," said Sudha.
As the festival has historical relevance dating back to the 16th century when the Wodiyar kings used to celebrate it, Sudha said the state government should include it in school curriculum to inspire the younger generations.
A replica of the deity was taken in a procession to the royal palace from the temple atop the Chamundi hill on the outskirts of Mysuru.
Meanwhile, the royal dynasty's adopted scion and titular head Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja held a private audience by ascending the Golden Throne in the Palace durbar hall at the auspicious time (around noon).
"Yaduveer will hold the khasagi (private) durbar for nine days (navarathri) in line with the Yadu dynasty's 600-year-old tradition, worship (ayudha puja) the armoury and other objects in the Palace on October 18 and witness the victory parade on Vijayadashmi day," said a Palace official,
The priests also performed Hindu rituals in the Palace in the presence of an elephant, a camel, horse and a cow.
Priests from 23 temples in the old Mysuru region made offerings to Hindu gods and goddesses and sprinkled holy water on the scion.
Kumaraswamy also flagged off the cultural celebrations and sporting events later outside the palace precincts.
The city has been spruced and decked up for the grandeur that will culminate with a victory procession of caparisoned elephants, camels, horses and tableaux from the Palace to the Bannimantapa grounds for a torch-light parade on the 10th day of the festival.
As part of Navarathri, cultural and musical programmes will be held over the next nine days outside the Palace and other venues across the city.
Sporting events like wrestling and athletics, film shows, children's shows, poets' meet, food fiesta and book expo will be part of the grand festival.

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Fenugreek and onion are good for diabetic heart: Study

The role of fenugreek and onion in preventing cardio-vascular diseases has been a part of traditional knowledge in India. Now scientists from CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore have found out the mechanism by which fenugreek and onion prevent heart-related disorders in diabetic patients.
Lifestyle disorders such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity are on the rise globally. Diabetes or hyperglycemia occurs when the body is unable to utilize sugar in the blood due to insufficient amounts of hormone, insulin. Heart-related disorders are a leading cause of death among diabetics.
In order to understand the mechanism of action of fenugreek and onion, scientists first induced diabetic condition in mice. The animals were either given their normal diet or normal diet supplemented with fenugreek or onion, in combination or alone. By examining cardiac tissues, scientists reaffirmed that the cardiovascular health of mice fed with fenugreek and onion was better.
Earlier it was known that more production of an enzyme (angiotensin-converting enzyme or ACE) and receptor (AT 1 of renin-angiotensin system) in cardiac tissues of diabetic patients is a cause of heart-related disorders. Scientists have shown that the both the enzyme and receptor are produced less in mice supplemented with fenugreek and onion and therefore the entire successive biochemical pathway initiated by these two is attenuated.
Although fenugreek and onion individually were able to ameliorate heart-related disorders in diabetic rats, it was found that they worked better in combination. The research results have been published in journal Cardiovascular Toxicology.
“The fibre-rich fenugreek seeds and sulfur compound-rich onion are now understood to possess significant sugar-lowering as well as lipid-lowering action. They also possess antioxidant potential which is likely to have far reaching implication in alleviating secondary complications associated with diabetes,” explained Dr. Krishnapura Srinivasan, who led the study, while talking to India Science Wire. The study was jointly done by him and Krishnapura Srinivasan.
(India Science Wire)
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Popular rice variety gets extra gene power to fight bacterial attacks

Researchers at the Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Rice Research have developed a new variety of the popular Improved Samba Mahsuri (ISM) rice that can resist bacterial blight disease.
Bacterial blight disease, which affects rice crop, is caused by bacteria, Xanthomonas oryzae, and drastically reduces rice productivity.
The high yielding ISM variety is already protected against bacterial blight by three genes, but the new variety has been developed by adding another gene, Xa38, that increases the resistance.
“Till now about 41 resistant genes have been identified from diverse sources. These genes differ from each other in their mode of action. While some are broad spectrum, others are narrow in their resistance spectrum,” explained Dr Gouri Sankar Laha, who led the study, while speaking to India Science Wire.
The researchers used Marker assisted Backcross Breeding or MABB technique to accomplish the gene insertion. Unlike transgenic techniques used in genetically modified crops, MABB is less laborious but more efficient than traditional methods of ‘gene’ transfer. Besides it does not require regulatory clearances necessary for transgenic crops.
ISM is popular and has been grown in over 80,000 hectares in south and east India since its release in 2008. However, of late it was observed in experiments that when deliberately infected, ISM plants had longer lesions – infected spot - than the earlier ones, indicating emergence of a new strain of Xanthomonas.
Xanthomonas is virulent, meaning its infection spreads fast and wide. It also evolves very quickly. Thus plants that seem to be resistant now might turn susceptible later as the pathogen evolves into different strains.
“It is, therefore, necessary that we keep developing new resistant varieties. Also rice plant resistant to Xanthomonas in a particular area may not be resistant to the bacteria in another place,” explained Dr C A Deepak, a rice breeder at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Karnataka, who is not associated with the work. The breed improvement for bacterial blight disease is a continuous process.
The new breed has been field tested in farms across several states and has been exposed to various strains of Xanthomonas. “We have done three backcrossing and six generations of improvement. It has taken five years including selection of parents and initial crossing,” said Dr Laha.
The effort has resulted in several improved lines of ISM with novel, broad-spectrum blight-resistant gene Xa38 that show high levels of blight resistance to different types of Xanthomonas. These plants are better both in yield and in other traits than their ISM parent lines. After more field tests in different parts of the country, it will be ready for commercial release, Dr. Laha added.
The research team included Arra Yugander, Raman M. Sundaram, Kuldeep Singh, Duraisamy Ladhalakshmi, Lella V. Subba Rao, Maganti Sheshu Madhav, Jyothi Badri and Madamsetty Srinivas Prasad. The research results have been published in the journal PLOS One. 
(India Science Wire)
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Rahul Gandhi to pay two-day visit to Karnataka, release Assembly poll manifesto

Congress President Rahul Gandhi will again pay a two-day visit to Karnataka from Thursday and release his party's manifesto for the May 12 Assembly polls, a party official said.
The Congress chief will visit Uttara Kannada district in northwestern part of the state, about 450 km from here, on Thursday to hold several public meetings in Ankola, Kumta, Honnavar, and Bhatkal.
"Gandhi will also release the election manifesto in Mangaluru on Friday in the presence of senior leaders like (Karnataka incharge) K.C. Venugopal and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah," Congress state unit Spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS in Bengaluru.
Gandhi will later address public meetings in Bantwal and Gonikoppal towns in Dakshina Kannada district on Friday.
In the evening, the Congress leader will address a public meeting in Periyapatna in Mysuru district, about 200km southwest from here.
Rahul Gandhi had earlier asked party leaders from Karnataka to prepare a "people's manifesto".
Rahul Gandhi's mother and former party chief Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior leaders Shashi Tharoor, Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad, among others, will also visit the state for campaigning.
Rahul Gandhi earlier visited Karnataka on April 7-8 for campaigning. 
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Shah 'heckled' over anti-Dalit remarks by Minister Hegde

BJP National President Amit Shah on Friday was "heckled" by angry protesters who raised slogans against anti-Dalit remarks by Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde a few months ago.
Shah, who is on a two-day visit to the old Mysuru region in the poll-bound Karnataka, sought to pacify the Dalit leaders by distancing from Hegde's controversial remarks and for which the latter had apologized too.
"Neither the BJP nor me has anything to do with Hegde's statements. We don't endorse such remarks," Shah told the Dalit leaders at a meeting here where he sought their support for the party's victory in the May 12 assembly poll.
Accusing the media of "twisting" his speech at Ballari in the state's northwest district in December, Hegde had then tweeted that he would apologise if his remarks had hurt the feelings of the people.
Hegde is also accused of comparing Dalits with "barking dogs" on an earlier occasion at Sirsi, his constituency in the state's Uttara Kannada district.
Supporting the protest by the Dalits, the Congress state unit urged Shah to answer their legitimate questions on Hegde "insulting" the community.
"Why haven't you taken any action against your party man for such derogatory comments? This clearly shows that BJP endorses his hate-mongering," said the party in a tweet.
Ruling party's spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala also tweeted that the anti-Dalit mindset of the BJP was exposed again.
"Amit Shah acts as a political chameleon and follows worst type of opportunism by publicly disowning Union Minister Anant Hegde. Will he dare to sack him? Stop the doublespeak and act," tweeted Surjewala.
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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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Modi launches railway projects in Mysuru; inaugurates development works at Shravanabelagola

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated to the nation the electrification of railway line between Mysuru and Bengaluru City railway stations in Karnataka.
At a function at Mysuru railway station, he also flagged off the Palace Queen Humsafar Express between Mysuru and Udaipur in Rajasthan.
Earlier, the Prime Minister visited Shravanabelagola for the Bahubali Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsava 2018. He inaugurated the new steps carved at Vindhyagiri Hill by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). He also inaugurated the Bahubali General Hospital.
Addressing the gathering at Shravanabelagola, Mr. Modi said saints and seers from the land have always served society and made a positive difference. 
"The strength of our society is that we have always changed with the times and adapted well to new contexts. It is our duty to provide good quality and affordable healthcare to the poor," he added. 
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13 dead, 50 injured as mini-truck crashes into tree in Karnataka

13 dead, 50 injured as mini-truck rams into tree in Mandya district
At least 13 people died and about 50 others suffered injuries when an overcrowded mini-truck they were travelling in crashed into a tree near Machanayakanahalli in Maddur taluk of Mandya district in Karnataka late last night, police sources said.
The sources said the mishap occurred around 8.30 pm yesterday on the Maddur-Kunigal highway, about 100 km from here, when the driver of the speeding vehicle, an Eicher Canter, lost control over the wheel while negotiating a curve dashed into a tree on the left of the road.
Two of the victims died on the spot while 11 others succumbed to their injuries in hospitals in Mandya and Mysuru, they said.
Some of the serious injured persons were shifted to NIMHANS in Bengaluru, they said.
Those who died in the accident included two men, 10 women and a child, police said.
The victims were members of a wedding party travelling to Maddur  when the mishap occurred. They belonged to the bride's side and were going to attend the reception at Maddur, the sources added.

Cabinet nod for transfer of Hotel Jaipur Ashok, Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel to State Governments

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today gave its approval for the transfer of Hotel Jaipur Ashok, Jaipur and Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, Mysore, units of India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (ITDC), to the Government of Rajasthan and the Government of Karnataka, respectively, and disinvestment of ITDC's shares in Donyi Polo Ashok Hotel Corporation, Itanagar.
An official press release said that, as per the disinvestment policy of the Government of India, it had been decided to lease/sub-lease the ITDC hotels/ properties jointly with the States and where States have not agreed to the proposal of leasing/sub-leasing, the properties may be returned back to the States at their officially valued price. 
The policy has been formulated keeping in view that running and managing hotels on professional lines is not the job of Government or its entities, it said.
In pursuance of this policy, the Ministry of Tourism has to date transferred the properties/units of Hotel Lake View Ashok, Bhopal, Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok, Guwahati and Hotel Bharatpur Ashok, Bharatpur to the concerned State Governments. In addition, ‘in principle’ approval for transfer of Hotel Janpath, New Delhi to the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India has also been accorded by the CCEA.
The release said the transfer of the properties of Hotel Jaipur Ashok and Hotel Lalitha Mahal Palace was in continuation of the policy.
As far as Donyi Polo Ashok Hotel Corporation, the joint venture company running Hotel Donyi Polo Ashok, Itanagar, is concerned, the Cabinet decided that ITDC would disinvest its 51% equity in favour of the Government of Arunachal Pradesh, the release added.

Prabhu flags off weekly train to Varanasi, daily service to Mysuru from Hubbali

Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu flagged off two trains -- 17323/17324 Hubballi - Varanasi - Hubballi Express (Weekly) and 17325/17326 Hubballi - Mysuru - Hubballi Express (Daily) -- through video conferencing from here today.
Railway Board Chairman A. K. Mital, Member Traffic Mohammad Jamshed and other senior officials were present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Prabhu said Hubbali in Karnataka was coming up as an important training centre. He said the train to Mysuru, also in Karnataka, would be named as Vishwa Manav Express.
The Hubballi - Varanasi Express will serve pilgrims going to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, he said.
The Hubbali-Varanasi Express will have commercial stoppages at Gadag, Badami, Bagalkot, Almatti, Bijapur, Solapur Jn, Daund Jn, Ahmadnagar, Kopargaon, Manmad, Bhusaval, Khandwa, Itarsi, Pipariya, Narsinghpur, Jabalpur, Katni, Maihar, Satna, Manikpur Jn, Chheoki and Mirzapur.
The Hubbali-Mysuru Express will have commercial stoppages at Yalvigi, Haveri, Byadgi, Ranibennur, Harihar, Davangere, Chikjajur, Ajjampur, Birur Jn, Kadur Jn, Arsikere, Tiptur, Tumakuru, Yesvantpur, KSR Bengaluru City, Kengeri, Bidadi, Ramanagaram, Channapatna, Maddur, Mandya, Pandavapura and Shrirangapattana.

Universities' transformative potential needed to combat social inequalities

Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari has said that the transformative potential of universities was most acutely needed in societies like India struggling against societal inequalities and deep-seated prejudices.
Addressing the valedictory function of the centenary celebrations of the University of Mysore here yesterday, he said the university had been contributing to the making of India’s knowledge society.
The genesis of this university lay in the extraordinary vision of two individuals, the then Maharaja of Mysore, Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, and Sir M. Visvesvaraya, one of the most brilliant engineering minds that India has produced, he said.
Mr. Ansari noted that it was the first university in India outside of the British governed areas. Today, it has grown into one of India’s largest, providing higher education to about 85,000 students, of which over 10,000 are post-graduate students, he said.
Some 1400 students from 50 foreign countries are also enrolled at the picturesque main campus and various satellite and extension facilities.
“The University has an excellent track record in research, especially in the field of microbiology, and it is no surprise that it has outstanding rankings in the NAAC surveys. Your success, and your reputation as a centre of excellence, is due to the efforts and excellence of the faculty and the hard work of students,” he added.
“In this ‘age of Information’, few would dispute the importance of universities. However, recent events in our own country have shown that there is much confusion about what a university should or should not be,” Mr Ansari said.
The Vice-President said universities can be agents of social justice and mobility. They can foster fraternity and must contribute to social and cultural vitality and building an egalitarian society.
A university that moulds itself only to present demands is one that is not listening to its historians, he added.
Mr. Ansari said universities are also forums of free speech and debate. They can act as both the weather vanes and safety-valves of political dissent and direction. He cautioned that suppression of such discourse only breeds mistrust, and begets social malcontent.

Basic sciences needed for success of ‘Make In India’, says Nobel laureate

Advances in basic sciences would be essential for applications, according to Nobel laureate Prof David J Gross.
Delivering the Nobel laureates talk at the 103rd Indian Science Congress in University of Mysore here last evening, Prof Gross explained as to how fundamental research in quantum physics had led to applications in the field of electronics, medicine, with further prospects for quantum computers in years to come.
“Transistors did not come from entertainment companies. Nuclear technology was not discovered by oil companies with large budgets seeking alternate sources of energy, but by men like Einstein,’’ he pointed out.
He emphasized that science should also be pursued for sheer curiosity and said a nation which did not encourage its youth to pursue basic science would lose brilliant minds to other nations where they were encouraged.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India slogan requires 'Invent in India' for newer technologies “and for that you have to Discover in India.”
Pointing out that for Make in India, its products will have to be competitive as there are already superior and cheaper goods being manufactured in Korea and other countries, he said India has enormous potential and could do better with more investments in basic sciences and research and development.
Prof Gross said China had overtaken the United States in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year and India was projected to do so by 2045.
“In 2000, both India and China invested 0.8 per cent of their GDP in science and research. By 2010, China’s investment had risen to close to two percent, while India’s was still at 0.8. Now, India has moved up to 0.9 while China’s investment is 2.8 per cent. Similarly, Brazil, another emerging economy invests over 2 per cent of GDP in science and research, South Korea 3.7. Most European countries too invest around 3.7 percent,” he said.
Indian scientific and research apparatus was “bureaucratic, rigid and ineffective” and not upto standards of a country that would like to increase its investments, he said.
“Lots have to change in how you manage science. I understand politicians; they are not sure how the money allocated will be spent. It is up to you (scientific community) now to change how those funds will be used,’’ he added. 
Prof Gross, an American particle physicist and string theorist was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004 along with Frank Wilczekand and David Politzer, for their discovery of asymptotic freedom.

Treating male infertility with Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) could be used to treat male infertility, according to experts at the ongoing Indian Science Congress, being held at the University of Mysore here.
“One third of the infertility in the world is due to the male reproductive problems. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) can used to induce fertility in hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and in male idiopathic infertility,” said Prof Manuela Simoni of University of Moderna and Reggio Emillia, Italy during the session on Recent Advances in Male Reproduction.
Prof. Simoni, referring to her study in the field said, “FSH treatment can improve male fertility in selected cases. Idiopathic infertility in male which is caused by DNA fragmentation can be treated by FSH treatment.
“We have recently reviewed the pharmacogenetic potential of FSH for male idiopathic infertility and the study shows that FSH treatment induces male fertility significantly,” she added.
Dr C V Rao of Florida International University brought out new insights into Luteinizing Hormone (LH) which is released from pituitary gland that is required for reproductive competence in both the genders. “The LH stimulation therapy is an effective way of treating infertility,” he said.
LH can directly regulate male and female reproduction tract functions, he added.
Prof Vassilios Papadopoulos, Prof Dianne M Creasy, and Martin Culty were also present at the session chaired by Prof P P Mathur.

Cloud computing, a solution for big data problem

Cloud computing could be a solution for big data problem, according to experts at the Indian Science Congress, being held at the University of Mysore here.
With over 2.5 quintillion bytes created every day, data storage and analysis has become a great challenge, they said.
Addressing “Big Data and Cloud Computing in Agri-Bioinformatics” in the plenary talk session of the Congress, Senior Scientist at Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Dr A K Mishra said cloud computing could be the solution to big data problem.
Cloud computing is very important in big data analytics due to its application sharing and cost effective properties. This technology will help in current genomic data storage and analysis, he added.
To head towards sustainable livelihood and development, such analyses with respect to agriculture including plants and animals are crucial. As much as 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone, he explained.
Hundreds of agricultural institutions across the country should be connected and for this cloud is a good option. Development of user friendly crop computational algorithms and tools is needed, he added.
Cloud computing poses problems for developers and users of cloud software as it requires large data transfers over precious low-bandwidth. This also raises new privacy and security issues, Dr Mishra said.
However, it is an increasingly valuable tool for processing large datasets and it is already used by the US federal government, pharmaceutical companies, internet companies, scientific labs and bioinformatics services, he added.
Dr Binay Panda spoke on “Big Data and Personalized Medicine: Challenges and Opportunities for India”, Dr. Dinesh Gupta on “Big Data Analysis in Biotechnology: Applications of Machine Learning and challenges towards clinical applications” and Dr. Michael Gromiha on “Algorithms and Applications of Bioinformatics in Big Data analysis”. Prof. T Madhan Mohan chaired the session.

Science Congress discusses Government’s perspective on Science & Technology

An overview of the Government's scientific perspective, future challenges and opportunities was presented at a special session today on “Government’s Perspectives on Science & Technology” at the ongoing 103rd Indian Science Congress being held at the University of Mysore.
Chairing the session, Member (Science & Technology) of NITI Aayog V.K. Saraswat said, “We need to focus on certain cutting edge technologies in the coming years, not only to become a leader in these sectors but also to deploy them for the benefit of our country.”
Secretaries or the representatives of seven Departments of the Union Government also made their presentations in the session. The Department of Bio Technology made a presentation on the National Biotechnology Development Strategy (2015-2020) and discussions were held on the topic.
The session was aimed at deliberating on how science and technology could benefit the nation by finding solutions to very complex problems being faced by society. The efforts being made by different Ministries and Departments of the Government to align their activities to achieve success in the ongoing National Missions – like Swacch Bharat, Swasth Bharat, Make in India and Digital India were also highlighted.
Deliberations also centred on the application of modern tools and technology in the areas of food security, rural health and health for all, energy and water security, urbanisation and several issues of national importance. The session flagged some of the cutting edge S&T programmes to be pursued in the country to achieve global recognition and respect. The focus would be on pursuing ‘value added research’ in Indian institutions of higher learning to support accelerated development of the country, an official press release added.

Science, technology have totally changed people's lives: Nobel laureate John Gurdon

Science and technology have totally changed people's lives in less than half a decade, says Nobel laureate Prof John B Gurdon, citing the example of rapid advancements in communication technology.
“Communication today is almost instantaneous, and this is the contribution of science and technology to the world," he said at the inauguration of 23rd Rashtriya Kishore Vigyanaik Sammelan (Children Science Congress) at the Indian Science Congress at the University of Mysore here yesterday.
Prof Gurdon had won the Nobel Prize for Medicine 2012 along with Prof Shinya Yamanka for their pioneering work in stem cell research.
Explaining various developments in science, he said there was a time when people used to communicate through post, but today communication has become “spontaneous and almost instantaneous”.
Right from television to genetically modified crops one can see enormous development in the field of Science. Science and technology have completely changed the lives of people and these innovations are the best examples, he opined.
During First World War, people died due to flu and discovery of antibodies to fight this disease was the greatest contribution of science and technology. Cars today can be driven without drivers and small piece of skin can be cultured to become different parts of the body. So much has happened in the past 50 years that one could even enjoy thinking about the innovations that can happen in the next 50 years, he said.
Philanthropy should also be a concern, as different universities could provide education to the young and needy, he added.
In his keynote address, Vice Chancellor of Mysore University K S Rangappa said young scientists were cutting all barriers like caste, creed and colour in coming up with innovations. On the occasion, a monthly newsletter, 'Billion Beats', in memory of former President A P J Abdul Kalam, was released which carried articles written by children across the country.
Infosys ISCA Travel Awards were given to students who excelled in an essay competition conducted by NCSTC, Jahawar Navodaya and NCERT. Five students from Karnataka and five students from other parts of the country got the awards.

ISRO plans to launch eight satellites on one PSLV

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch eight micro satellites on a single Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), according to Dr. M. Annadurai, Director of ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore.
Addressing a session on the topic “Future Satellite Programme” at the plenary of the 103rd Indian Science Congress at the University of Mysore here yesterday, he said, “In this new global era where everything is becoming smaller in size and smarter in application, we are also trying to reduce the size of satellites to the extent possible."
“The vehicle configuration for PSLV of 400 km Space Shuttle Orbiter (SSO) is 1200 kg. The number of micro satellites that can be carried in single mission is eight, each weighing about 120 kg with total payload capacity 960 kg,” he added.
At present, domestic satellite communication is dominated by Fixed Satellite Services and Direct to Home Services. In the future, service growth areas will be communication satellites for internet, multi-media and personal communication services and direct to home high definition TV services, he said.
Thematic missions such as tele-medicine and tele-education, bandwidth on demand services, e-governance, secured communications and satellite-aided navigation are also expected to grow, he added.
Dr. Annadurai stressed the need for production of space systems to meet the huge demand for satellites and also to strengthen basic research and development. This will boost the increased participation of Indian industries in space programmes in the areas of electronic systems, mechanical systems, assembly, integration and testing of satellites.
“Focusing on 'Make in India' concept for end-to-end production of satellite from industries within the country would help us to achieve further self reliance,” he added.
The other resource persons at the plenary talk were Dr. Vinay K Dadhwal who briefed the gathering on the dimensions of Indian space programme and outline of Earth Observatory; Dr S K Shivakumar on the topic “Mars Orbiter Mission- overview”, Dr V Koteswara Rao on the topic “ASTROSAT- A multi wavelength Space Observatory”and Dr S Somanath on the topic “ISROs Launch Vehicles- Growth of Capability”. 
Prof D N Rao, Chennai, chaired the programme. Delegates, students and participants from various states and countries also were present.

Smriti Irani stresses need to mentor girls in science, technology

Union Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani today stressed the need for “mentoring girls to be a part of India's scientific journey” as the country lacked a notable presence of women in the field of science and technology.
Inaugurating the 5th Women’s Science Congress at the 103rd Indian Science Congress at University of Mysore here, Ms Irani said the most fundamental challenge at present was to overcome prejudices against women.
 “Science does not seem to be teaching us to overcome these prejudices even while it enriches our knowledge,” she added.
Referring to women’s contributions in all spheres of life, the Minister said, “We easily recall names of the scientists who are men and hardly do we remember any women’s contribution in the field of science and technology. This calls for addressing the challenges at the school level.”
"It is very sad that women are often at crossroads where they have to either choose family or higher education," she said.
The Minister also referred to paucity of women teaching staff in the academia. 
“Mentoring girls to be a part of India’s scientific journey will effectively address this challenge”, she said and urged the Women’s Science Congress to ponder upon these issues and come up with suggestions.
In this context, she said “ordinary saree clad Indian women were the face behind our successful Mars Mission.” 
Speaking on the occasion, ISCA President Ashok Kumar Saxena referred to the contributions of women in all walks of life but noted that very few occupy high positions and called for women's parity in all spheres.
Among others present were Dr. Vijaya Laxmi Saxena, Executive Member, ISCA, Prof. Geetha Bali, Former President, ISCA, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Secretary DHR, DG – ICMR, New Delhi, Ms Shobana Bhaskaran, Scientist SEED, Prof. Asna Urooj, Convener, Women Science Congress and Prof. Shobha Jagannath, Co – Convener of Women Science Congress.

Mukherjee to visit Karnataka on July 27-28

President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a two-day visit Karnataka, during which he will inaugurate the centenary celebrations of the University of Mysore tomorrow.
On the same day, he will also inaugurate the centenary celebrations of Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Bangalore, an official press release said here today.
On July 28, the President will attend the second convocation of Central University of Karnataka at Kalaburagi. 
He will then visit the campus of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS) in Bangalore to attend a special function in which it will be dedicated to the nation as an institute of national importance. 
The President will on the occasion also inaugurate a magneto encephalography facility and the NIMHANS Museum before returning to Delhi, the release added.

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Central Silk Board opens high capacity Silkworm Egg Cold Storage Plant in Mysore

Union Textiles Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar inaugurated a state-of-the-art, high capacity silkworm egg cold storage plant at Mysore in Karnataka yesterday.
The new plant has been necessitated by the increasing seed production targets of National Silkworm Seed Organization (NSSO) and the leading role southern India has to assume in the coming years in this area, an official press release said.
Up to 1 crore disease free layings (dfls) can be comfortably preserved in this plant. In effect, with this plant, the total storage capacity of the Mysore facility would go up to 1.5 crore dfls, it said.
The size of the cold rooms has been specially designed to suit the requirements of sericulture industry and to utilize the space effectively for preserving hibernated bivoltine silkworm seed under different schedules, ranging from 4 to 10 months. 
The new plant runs on a DX system, is constructed with pre-fabricated double skinned insulated panel, and is highly energy efficient. The plant is equipped with PLC based data logger system for automatic monitoring of temperature and humidity inside the cold rooms with alarms. All control panel boards are microprocessor-based, connected with the data logger. 
The new facility is expected to give a boost to the production of import substitute bivoltine raw silk in India, the release said.
Cold storage plants are indispensable in silkworm egg production system, principally to enable uninterrupted and continuous supply of basic and commercial silkworm seed. The silkworm eggs are preserved in these plants for short term or long term (up to 10 months) to regulate seed supply, matching the demand. The plants also oversee systematic incubation of silkworm eggs prior to its dispatch to farmers.
National Silkworm Seed Organization (NSSO), the mulberry silkworm seed production and management arm of Central Silk Board, operates the cold storage plants set up at Mysore, Hosur and Dehradun to manage its seed production and distribution across the country. 

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Infosys to set up model "smart city" in Mysore to demonstrate advances in urban development

IT services major Infosys Ltd today said it would invest in and develop its Mysore campus in Karnataka as a "smart city".
At a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, Infosys CEO and Managing Director Vishal Sikka said the company would also provide its expertise in the areas of smart infrastructure planning and sustainable building technology to the Ministry of Urban Development. 
An Infosys press release said the concept of a smart and sustainable city is based on leveraging the power of data and the latest technologies in building and information technology to minimize energy and resource consumption, increase the use of renewable energy, and reduce and manage waste effectively.
"The Infosys Mysore campus is a mini city in itself - spread over 350 acres, with 12 million sq. ft. built-up area and the capacity to host more than 15,000 trainees (residing on campus), 8,000+ employees and several thousand contract workers. Under this initiative, Infosys will strive towards making its Mysore campus a ‘Smart City’ through effective planning to ensure efficient resource governance and utilization. The campus will be the first to achieve zero waste to landfill sustainability. The company aims to achieve its target of making the campus a Smart City by April 2015," it said.
“We, at Infosys, deeply believe that the digital revolution creates opportunities for us to reshape the world around us for the better and to improve quality of life. With our experience in computing technologies, and in managing urban spaces totalling over 2,600 acres, with a built-up area of 39 mn. sq. ft., all over India, our model ecosystem at Mysore will serve as a live, replicable example of smart city innovations that will harness all the advantages of digitization. These technologies promise to revolutionize the physical spaces we inhabit; and Mysore as the spiritual center of our company and a magnificent space in which we learn and teach,offers the best venue for this great endeavour," Dr Sikka said.
The release said Infosys had been using industry leading practices such as radiant cooling, day lighting and effective retrofit strategies to reduce its energy consumption. 
The company has also invested in a Command Centre at its headquarters in Bangalore from where it monitors, manages and optimizes resource usage across its development centers based in India. This Command Centre analyzes data of energy consumption, building operations, and uses advanced algorithms for energy saving, predictive maintenance and more, to ensure operational excellence.
"Infosys is continuously investing in renewable energy such as solar energy and has a goal to reduce its water consumption on campuses by 50% and to recycle and reuse all water on its campuses. The company is also working towards a zero waste to landfill approach," the release added.

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Srikantadatta Wadiyar, scion of Mysore royal family, passes away

Srikantadatta Wadiyar
Srikantadatta Wadiyar
Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, the scion of the erstwhile royal family of Mysore and a former Member of the Lok Sabha, passed away here this afternoon after suffering a cardiac arrest.
He was 60. He is survived by hs wife Pramoda Devi.
Wadiyar, who was feeling fine in the morning and had gone about his normal routine, complained of uneasiness around noon and decided to rest. When the family realised that his condition was not improving, they rushed him to the Vikram Hospital here.
Sources at the hospital said Wadiyar was brought to the hospital in an unconscious state and they tried for more than an hour to revive him, before declaring him dead around 3.30 pm.
Born on February 20, 1953, Wadiyar was the only son of Jayachamaraja Wadiyar and Tripura Sundaramani Avaru. He was educated at the Mahaaja College and Shada Vilas Law College and had an M.A. in Political Science and an LL.B. degree.
He was elected to the 8th Lok Sabha in 1984 on a Congress ticket and was re-elected to the 9th Lok Sabha in 1989, the 11th in 1996 and the 13th in 1999.
He had a variety of interests and had trained to play the piano. He was associated with various social and educational institutions. He headed several of the family's business enterprises.
Wadiyar became the head of the dynasty on the death of his father in September 1974, but by then the Central government had abolished the privy purse and other princely priveleges and use of royal titles.
Wadiyar also represented Mysore University in cricket and was captain of the team. 
Just ten days ago, on December 1, he had been elected as President of the Karnataka State Cricket Association.

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EC to hold bye-election to Karnataka Legislative Council on August 22

The Election Commission will hold a bye-election to the Karnataka Legislative Council on August 22 to fill a vacancy from the Mysore Local Authorities' constituency.
The vacancy has been caused by the resignation of Prof K R Mallikarjunappa on July 20. His term would, in the normal course, ended on January 5, 2016.
The notification for the bye-election will be issued on July 29 and the last date for making nominations is August 5. Counting of votes will be taken up on August 26, an official press release added.

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We have to improve our death bowling: Dhoni

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni stressed the importance of death bowling after Chennai Super Kings stole a thriller against Royal Challengers in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here tonight.

"The performance was great, we need to improve our death bowling drastically. We didn't get off to a good start, the pressure was there on the middle order. You can't really afford to play too many dot balls, you have to be there till the 15th or 16th over to cash in," said Dhoni.
Man of the Match Ravindra Jadeja, who nowadays is ridiculed as Sir Jadeja on the social media, said he was not trying to play silly shots.
"(With reference to Sir) they are just making fun in a lighter way, not a serious way. I was confident about my batting, I scored two triple-hundreds this season. I was not trying to play any silly shots, it was a good wicket," he said.
Royal Challengers skipper Virat Kohli said his team lost the match in the last six over.
"It was our game to lose in the last six overs. We are relying on big partnership as of now, a few small partnerships will do good for us. RP, T20 is a game like that, I'm still proud of him," he said.
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