Sunday, July 2, 2017

PSLV – Another Milestone

PSLV, Photo Courtesy - ISRO

When it comes to technology we don’t have many things to proud about. When I talk to others, they often boast about India 5000 years back; which of course is more of a story than a verifiable history. There may be lot of things existed 5000 years ago, we may be far ahead of the world at that time; but two problems are associated with these types of claims. 1. It’s not fully verifiable and 2. Its 5000 years ago. No one talks about 30 or 50 years back.

However, there are a couple of institutions which kept Indian flag flying high in technical arena. One such institution is ISRO. Most of the missions of ISRO are successful and economical; fulfilling the dreams of a country (other countries and universities as well) by providing an economical ticket to space.  In addition to this, ISRO is believed to be free from corruption and inefficiency which otherwise eating away the core of government run enterprises.

There are many good stories about ISRO. Especially its resilience and growth even under heavy international embargos especially after India's nuclear test at Pokhran.

Around one week back, ISRO's work horse (PSLV series) completed its 40th launch, out of this 38 are successful and 1 launch is a partial success. This is 2nd launch of this rock in this year. Probably space mission is one area where pioneer’s visions were successfully me by the institutions they formed.

Two more launches are scheduled for this year. August launch will place IRNSS-1H and December launch is for TeamIndus and Team HAKUTO (Google's $30mn Lunar XPRIZE teams).

PSLV Notable numbers
  • First Flight: 1993
  • First Successful Mission: Oct, 1994
  • Launch of first foreign satellite: 1999
  • Total Foreign satellites launched so far: 209 (28 countries)
  • Indian Satellites: 48
  • Heaviest foreign satellite: TeLEOS (Singapore, 400kg)
  • PSLV was used for Chandrayaan-1 (PSLV-XL, 2008) as well as Mars Mission (PSLV-XL, 2013) as well.
  • PSLV C37 broke the record for placing highest number of satellites in orbit
  • Height: 44m
  • Diameter: 2.8m
  • Stages: 4
  • Cost/launch: around 90Cr (USD 15mn) for PSLV-CA
  • Total launches: 50 (48 successful)


ISRO have other series commercial challenges ahead. One is to enter in to the space of commercial launch of heavy satellites to geo-stationery orbits. Another one is keep the order book busy for launch of small light weight satellites. Advancement in software, hardware and electronics considerably reduced the size of satellites. In future, it will go down further. Companies like Space X, Vector Space Systems are actively venturing in to this area.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Banning the Sale of Cattle for Slaughter - Government has no role in Kitchen

Raw Beef Slices - Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

Recently, Central Government through a brand-new notification made it difficult for people to sell cattle for slaughter.

The notification in question is, ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017' from Ministry of Environment and Forests. As the name implies this rule have many progressive directions like,
Section 7 states, 'District Animal Market Monitoring Committee' to ensure all basic needs for animals in animal market.
Section 14 Prohibits the practices that are cruel and harmful
Section 15 offers Protection of animals from injury or unnecessary pain or suffering.
There are many more sections in this rule which will make the life of animals easy in animal market.

The controversial sections in this piece of paper is Section 22 on 'Restrictions on sale of cattle'. Subsections states that, 
b. no person shall bring a cattle to an animal market unless upon arrival he has furnished a written declaration signed by the owner of the cattle or his duly authorised agent—
(i) stating the name and address of the owner of the cattle, with a copy of the photo identification proof;
(ii) giving details of the identification of the cattle;
(iii) stating that the cattle has not been brought to market for sale for slaughter. 

In other words, one can't sell his/her cattle for slaughter.

d. where an animal has been sold and before its removal from the animal market, the Animal Market Committee shall—
(ii)take an undertaking that the animals are bought for agriculture purposes and not for slaughter;

e. the purchaser of the cattle shall –
(i) not sell the animal for purpose of slaughter;
(ii) follow the State cattle protection or preservation laws;
(iii) not sacrifice the animal for any religious purpose;
(iv) not sell the cattle to a person outside the State without the permission as per the State cattle protection or preservation laws.

(i) make sure that the purchaser is not allowed to sell the cattle for slaughter and (iv) makes the interstate trade difficult.

This in turn affects beef consumption, leather industry and export market. The question any reasonable Indian should ask is 'why'? What suddenly happened, which made the government to bring such a drastic change. Did they find suddenly that cattle are an endangered species? No. Did they find that eating beef is injurious to health? No. Did they find out that, slaughtering cattle results in ecological imbalance? Again, the answer is no. Alternately, there are a lot of people who eat beef; there is a big industry and lakhs of jobs depends on it. In addition to that, there is a huge export market as well as leather industry depend on that.

This ban raise some serious questions about the intention and extend of government's role in day to day life. Do government have the right to decide what people should eat and what not (if they are not eating endangered species or resorting to cannibalism)? I believe the answer is no.

Do government have the authority to destroy an industry - leather - without providing any reasonable explanation? Leather industry may be polluting but so as many other industries. So, pollution is not a digestible explanation.

Another explanation provided for this ban is to protect the farmers. In which way, it will affect the farmers. Just think about the situation, when the cattle are no longer giving any return for the farmer. It is very old to provide milk or do some work. In this situation, what the farmer should do? Fed the cattle for many more years without having any chance for getting any further return?  or simply let it go to the open streets? I don't think both options will be more beneficial for the farmer than selling it to slaughter house.

Well, there is also an argument that animal husbandry is a state matter and central government’s notification is an encroachment to State Government’s fiefdom. Well, state government also don’t have any role in citizen’s kitchen.

In this way government's argument, doesn't hold any water and hence the notification should be taken back.


PS: As per the wordings, ban in the sale of cattle for slaughter is applicable only in Animal Market (may not be in households). But the notification gave a very expansive definition for Animal Market.

"animal market means a market place or sale-yard or any other premises or place to which animals are brought from other places and exposed for sale or auction and includes any lairage adjoining a market or a slaughterhouse and used in connection with it and any place adjoining a market used as a parking area by visitors to the market for parking vehicles and includes animal fair and cattle pound where animals are offered or displayed for sale or auction"

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Anyone Left in the system?

"Turkish government expanded its crackdown on dissent and free expression over the weekend, purging nearly 4,000 more public officials, blocking access to Wikipedia and banning television matchmaking shows" - NYT

More than 1,40,000 people already lost their job from public and private sectors; more then 1,500 civil groups became history since the failed coup against Erdogan last year. Looks like there is no end in sight for Great Turkish Purge. It's bad time for civil servants in Turkey. If things are going in this way, there won't be any leftists, rightists, centrists or whatever others "ists" left in Turkey - Only Erdoganists!!!

--Mumbling Mainstreet

PM started thinking and MP did it!!!

"Madhya Pradesh has become the first state in the country to formally switch to a January-December financial year format, with the state Cabinet  on Tuesday approving the proposed move. The next Budget session of the state Assembly will be held in December 2017 or January 2018, while the next financial year will start from January 2018" - Business Standard

Lightening Speed. There is no other words to describe the speed. I which MP could show the same energy in constructing the roads as well.

-- Mumbling Mainstreet

Running towards Christian Europe instead of Islamic Saudi

"During her talks with Gulf leaders, Ms. Merkel is expected to press them (Saudi Arabia) to do more to take in refugees and provide humanitarian relief for those fleeing conflicts in Muslim-majority countries. Her country has provided refuge to hundreds of thousands of people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years." - The Hindu

I don't think, she will be able to anything on refugee problem. However, it is quite interesting to see the pattern. Persecuted Muslims from war-torn countries from Africa and Asia are trying to get in to Christian Europe not to any Middle-East Countries.

-- Mumbling Mainstreet

Germany’s Merkel to press Saudi Arabia on refugees, rights - The Hindu