Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Eunuchs rob office goers on busy Hyderabad street

Through this blog post, I want to draw the attention of civic authorities and police department in Hyderabad and particularly Cyberabad, about the rising menace of eunuchs and to what extent it has escalated.

To start with, these eunuchs are not the ones who are biologically different from others. These eunuchs are actually males who dress like female and cover their face with horribly bad make up. They mostly roam in a group of three, four or more, during peak office hours near Cyber Towers and Hitech City flyover in Hyderabad.

Their main target is office goers, school students and vulnerable women who cross this busy junction everyday with a purpose.

Earlier, these eunuchs used to request people to donate some money at will, but now they have gained enough confidence with the city police department doing nothing to stop their wicked act. Surprisingly, now they have literally started robbing easy victims on broad daylight.

For instance, one day these eunuchs targeted a young IT professional who just alighted from an auto near this crossing. When they saw the man was unwilling to spare some money, they snatched his mobile phone from his pocket and only gave it back, when he handed a 100 rupee note to them.

On another day, this group targeted a young couple. When the boy didn’t want to entertain them, tried to walk away, one of the eunuch pulled the girl’s hand bag. Being scared the girl started screaming. The boy in a desperate situation gave some money to the eunuch and then the girl got back her bag.

These eunuchs are abusive as well. A woman one day refused to hand over some money to them. Being rejected, three-four eunuchs started hurling abuses at her and making obscene gestures, which is definitely a criminal offence.

These eunuchs being verbally abusive and at times physically attacking people, very few manage to garner the courage to counter them. But, the question is… why these ordinary people who are on streets for a specific purpose should risk their lives to deal with such miscreants. Isn’t it the job of police department to handle these eunuchs strongly and teach them a lesson?        


Saturday, July 12, 2014

7 Reasons why you should buy a Tata Nano Twist

Indeed, the Tata Nano has been a path-breaking invention and has been constantly developed to provide class-leading value, best-in-class technology and design engineering to make it a complete city car. Be it the Tata Nano's modern, colourful and stylish exteriors and interiors or its best-in-class fuel efficiency at 25.35 kmpl as certified by the ARAI and sheer ease of drivability versus any other car in its category, the awesome surprise lies in its best-in-class affordability as well! Here’s 7 reasons why you should go for a Tata Nano Twist while buying a city car:

  1. The Tata Nano Twist XT has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 2.36 lakh (ex-Delhi)
  2. Uniquely cute & cool styling. A car that will make you smile
  3. New Electric Power Steering makes driving and parking a breeze
  4. Innovative packaging results in spacious interiors for 4 adults. Generous legroom & headroom
  5. Peppy performance at speeds 80 kph.
  6. Powerful air-conditioner will chill you to the bone
  7. Small footprint & tiny turning radius make the Nano a great urban runabout

Undoubtedly, the most important change to the Nano in its Twist form is the addition of a power steering unit (which we'll get to in the following posts). On the outside though, the Twist has incorporated just a few subtle changes. Some of them are purely aesthetic, whilst others have functional or cost-based reasoning behind them.

The front of the car features a chrome strip running along the lip of the bonnet. Viewed from the front or side, it's hard to tell the Twist from any other Nano. It's at the rear that we find details distinguishing the car. The hatch is garnished with a “Twist” and “Nano XT” badge, along with a chrome strip running along the lower border. The rear bumper has been altered and now has additional vents shielded by a mesh grille to cool the rear-mounted engine. The passenger-side keyhole (present on our earlier test car) has been removed. However, this shouldn't pose much of a problem, as the Nano is equipped with remote keyless entry & central locking.

The Twist is available in six shades – Dazzle Blue, Papaya Orange, Pearl White, Meteor Silver, Royal Gold and the newly introduced Damson Purple.

The dimensions of the car remain unchanged. With the additional features it has gained though, the kerb weight has risen to 660 kg, which is 60 kilos more than before.


The interior of the Nano Twist has received more changes than its exterior. The instrument cluster, which remains at the center of the dashboard, features a new Multi-Information Display with an odometer, trip meter, distance to empty counter and average fuel economy. A temperature gauge has been placed at the top right corner of the instrument cluster, while the top left corner gets a fuel gauge. The dials wear updated graphics, while the speedometer needle does a full sweep on start-up.

The dashboard recesses (on either side of the instrument cluster) have been provided with covers, converting them into gloveboxes. The Twist has an AmphiStream music system with a basic equaliser, USB, Aux-in and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Four speakers have been installed – two placed at the extreme ends of the dashboard (just beyond the gloveboxes) and two on the rear parcel shelf. The basic sound quality, however, is nothing to write home about. Further, the system faced difficulty in detecting Bluetooth devices (we tried both, an Android phone & an iPhone).

The front power window switches have been moved from their hard-to-reach position in front of the gear lever, to behind it, making them far more accessible. A 12V power socket now sits in the space ahead of the gear lever. The passenger-side sun visor gets an integrated vanity mirror. Tata has left out the day / night switch of the inside rear view mirror, which was present on the 2012 Nano.

On the mechanical side of things, Tata claims to have repositioned the clutch pedal and has given it a smoother action, based on customer feedback. The newly added power steering motor is hidden away under the dashboard.

Electric power steering

The Tata Nano was always a great car for urban use. With its small dimensions and tight turning circle, it could fit into the tightest of parking spots and was easy to punt around town. However, it had one problem when it came to driveability - a heavy steering @ low speed. This meant that the Nano required quite an effort to steer while parking and crawling in bumper to bumper traffic. With the introduction of the Twist, Tata Motors has addressed this flaw. The Electric Power Steering (EPS) system of the Nano Twist is developed by ZF Lenksysteme. It has a brushless motor and features an active return function.

In a tight, low speed, zig-zag course the Twist feels chuckable, sure-footed and eager to change direction instantly. The steering is light and direct...exactly what is needed to tackle such a course with confidence. While taking U-turns, the active return function reduces the effort required to re-center the wheel. These qualities will come in handy when driving the car through congested city streets, which is where the Nano is likely to spend most of its life.

It's the addition of the power steering that makes the Nano easier & more fun to drive than before. In a straight line, as you build up speed, the steering weighs up rather well too. The assistance from the power steering motor cuts off beyond 80 km/h, giving you sufficient feel. On long, fast curves, it was not over-sensitive or twitchy.

So what are waiting for? Select your city to find out the ex-showroom price of Tata Nano and Nano eMax powered by CNG, not to forget the all new Tata Nano Twist in India today!

Image: Tata Motors

Friday, July 11, 2014

India emerging as global satellite outsourcing destination

India's Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh said that the country has earned around 40 million euros launching 15 foreign satellites from 2011 till date.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched 15 foreign satellites and 14 Indian satellites during fiscal years 2011-2014 and in this fiscal.

He said that the revenue earned through launch of foreign satellites was 39.82 million euros. He also quipped that the Department of Space has laid down the future space programme till 2020.

The plan foresees development of advanced launch vehicle systems, thematic earth observational satellites with improved resolution, high-power, high-throughput communication satellites, microwave multi-spectral remote sensing satellites, weather and climate studies, constellation of satellites for regional navigation, development of critical technologies for human spaceflight and satellites for space science and planetary exploration purposes.

The minister also said that India has spent Rs 349.9 crore on its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) till March 31, of the total project outlay of Rs 450 crore.

The Mars Orbiter Mission, informally called Mangalyaan was launched on November 5, 2013 by the ISRO. It is India's first interplanetary mission and if successful, ISRO would join the Soviet space program, NASA, and European Space Agency, becoming the fourth space agency in the world to reach Mars.

Recently, the spacecraft completed 75% of its journey to the Red Planet and is expected to enter orbit around Mars on 24 September 2014.

Scaling up outsourcing

Indian space agency ISRO would significantly scale up outsourcing to industries to fuel the quantum jump in the programmes being undertaken by it and has mooted a risk-sharing model, its chairman K Radhakrishnan said.=
He said more than 500 industries (micro, small, medium and large) already account for 60 per cent production of the space agency's programme and their share would further go up.

ISRO is witnessing a "quantum jump" in the production of rockets (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and satellites, in the last two-three years, he said.

Radhakrishnan said the ISRO has already launched three satellites this year, and four more spacecraft are getting ready for launch by March 2012.

"So you can see a quantum jump in both satellites and launch vehicles (rockets). And when you do this PSLV missions, you also send some of the foreign satellites," he said, adding the ISRO had already bagged order to launch 11 foreign satellites.

Radhakrishnan said in the case of proven launch vehicles (PSLV), standard satellite buses and communication transponders -- which are largely repetitive in nature -- he definitely sees outsourcing to industry to grow significantly.

"We are getting into risk-sharing model," he said.

The ISRO has proposed to set up a huge manufacturing complex near the Sriharikota spaceport on the Andhra coast so that its industrial partners have production there.

At present, ISRO's suppliers are located in different parts of the country, and the idea now is to cut down the turnaround time and get the products on time.

The complex is planned to be built on 200-300 acres in Sriharikota, close to the launch site, and ISRO is currently engaged in discussions with the Andhra Pradesh government for land acquisition.

"Industry is positive. We are informally talking to the industries," he said, adding the ISRO is working on different models such as industries setting up facilities on this land or ISRO giving them space to put up factories.

ISRO has also mooted an idea for industrial partners that they can work in consortium mode if they wish -- like coming together of players in the field of electronics, production, metals and precision fabrication, among others.

India’s Mars mission

The Indian space journey to the ‘Red Planet’, with the launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM or Mangalyaan) by the ISRO, no doubt marks a big leap into planetary exploration. Although only the beginning of a long and arduous odyssey into the unknown regions of outer space, the Rs. 450 crore project, along with Chandrayan-1 or the Moon Mission, has put India in the elite club of countries venturing into space exploration and planetary studies.

Mangalyaan, moreover, has also demonstrated the mastery that Indian scientists have achieved in putting small satellites (weighing up to 1,500 kg) into the near (polar) orbit using indigenously built Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). With 25 perfect launches, crowning with the MOM, the four-stage PSLV rocket has become a veritable ‘workforce’ that has enabled ISRO to do commercial business by putting into orbit small satellites from other countries as well.

It has taken over 25 years to reach this level of perfection.

But the success of Mangalyaan and Chandrayan should not detract from the far bigger challenge of building launch vehicles that can carry higher payloads and propel probes deeper into outer space. That is where there the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) fits in.

Dubbed as the ‘game changer’ that holds the key to India’s growth as a genuine space power, the GSLV helps put heavier satellites (above 2.5 tonnes) into the more distant geosynchronous transfer orbit. At these heights, the satellites follow the earth’s rotation, while appearing to be stationary in a fixed position. It also makes this orbit ideal for telecommunication satellites or monitoring weather patterns on a continuous basis.

While the PSLV may rake in some business, it is the GSLV that can make the Indian space programme truly vibrant through the capability to launch heavier payloads and making the country a cost-effective launch services provider. The country is, in fact, now launching its own communication satellites by outsourcing the job to Europe’s Arianespace, Russia or US at huge costs.

A fully operational GSLV is also crucial to power India's Chandrayan- II slated for 2014. ISRO has to, then, put the GSLV mission on high priority, if the country is to be reckoned in the league of the top nations in space technology.

Unfortunately, right now, China and Japan have raced ahead of India in this technology, while the US and Russia are, of course, way forward, as Madhavan Nair, former ISRO Chairman, puts it.

“On the ground, the cryogenic engine (to power the GSLV) is ready. It has to be proved a couple of times in flight for using to carry higher payloads. The expertise, funds and people are available in the ISRO”, he points out.

Global recognition

Lockheed Martin, the world's largest defence and aerospace corporation, held informational discussions with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its export arm, Antrix and this was one of the points for possible cooperation.

Lockheed Martin's India Chief Executive Roger Rose told India Strategic that while it follows the US Government lead in space activities, it regularly holds discussions to learn more about individual companies and their capabilities.

Rose noted that India has a strong and growing space industry that has great potential for future cooperation. It was suggested that one area that could be explored is using Indian capabilities in low-cost launch, as ISRO has displayed a commendable track record in this regard. Other possibilities that could be examined include cooperation on manned space flights.

Lockheed Martin noted, however, that any cooperation beyond these kinds of informational discussions would be subject to an overall policy and agreement framework acceptable to both the Indian and United States governments and compatible with U.S. export control regulations.

Commercially, it would be a win-win situation for both sides. And if cooperation between the two countries grew substantially, Indian companies could also become part of a global supply chain with Lockheed Martin, Rose said.

At present, ISRO is on the US "Entities List" due to which US companies cannot share hi-tech dual technology as defined by the Department of Commerce. New Delhi has already asked Washington to remove ISRO, as well as the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), from that blacklist, to make bilateral cooperation meaningful.

Image courtesy: ISRO


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