Go organic in a big way, farmers told

Agriculture is a profitable venture, sustain it

K. Ventakeshwara Rao, Chief General Manager, Nabard, inspecting a mini tiller at a stall at the agriculture fair that began in Salem on Friday.– Photo:S. Guruprasath

The four day ‘Agri-expo 2015’ got underway in the city on Friday evening, with a call to the government, government agencies, and other organisations involved in the promotion of agriculture to create confidence in the minds of farmers that agriculture is not only a vital profession but profit making too.

The exhibition is brought up jointly by the Salem District Agriculture Graduates Advisory and Service Society, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Salem, and Kontak Exhibitions and Fairs at the Deiveegam Marriage Hall, Fairlands here.

Good sign

Inaugurating the fair, K. Venkateshwara Rao, Chief General Manager, Nabard, said that organic cultivation was slowly returning, which was a good sign.

Organic cultivation has to be promoted in the country irrespective of its impact.

The farmers could also be motivated to adopt a combination of organic and inorganic cultivation techniques in a scientific way.

Mr. Venkateshwara Rao said that the farmers, so also the people, have totally forgotten the minor millets, which played a crucial role in the food production of the country till recent past. For various reasons, the people have started opting for only wheat and rice.

Various minor millets feasible in the particular areas should be promoted and this will go a long way in meeting the food demand of the country, he said.

Revenue

Farmers at present are worried at the steep fall in revenue in the farm activities and many of them switching over to other trades. It is the duty of all concerned to encourage the farmers. The latest farming technologies should be taken to the fields, so that farmers stand benefited.

Produce fund

Explaining the financial support rendered for farm activities by the government and banks, Mr. Venkateshwara Rao said that the Union Government has created a separate ‘produce fund.’ K.M.S. Rajesh Kumar, chairman, CII Salem, said that the agriculture panel of the CII will always extend a helping hand for such endeavours.

A. Bhama Bhuvaneswari, District Development Manager, Nabard, said that the farmers of the region have taken advantage of similar fairs held in the past.

Two Farmers Clubs promoted by Nabard have put up stalls, she said and added that Nabard will extend all support for such interactions.

S. Mohan, former chairman, CII, Salem; M. Ramasamy, chairman, Rasi Seeds, Attur; S. Vimalan, vice-chairman, CII Salem, and others spoke.

A. Sadiq Basha, district governor, Lions District 324 B2, inaugurated the medical camp.

Banks, State Horticulture Department, Silk Development Department, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Sandhiyur, Dindivanam and Papparapatti, Tapioca and Castor Research Station, Yethapur, Farmers Clubs too have put up stalls.

Source: TH

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Words and waste make a whacky combo

A team that displays environment-friendly messages on garbage sheds at Medavakkam Tank Road

Four garbage sheds between Kellys signal and Ayanavaram junction have messages painted on them. Photo: K. Pichumani

The ‘change room’ at the office of Ward 74 on Baraka Road in Secretariat Colony, Kellys, now doubles as discussion room. Here, civic officials debate the pros and cons of various civic initiatives. Talks on solid waste management dominate the discussions.

Phrases such as “Keep your backyard clean” and “Say goodbye to mosquitoes” that are written on blue-coloured-garbage sheds along Medavakkam Tank Road in Kellys, were chosen here by these officials.

There are more original lines – such as “Clean streets make for a healthy neighbourhood – that have come out of this ‘word factory’.

Bala Muthuraman, assistant engineer, is credited with conceptualising this word factory. Executive engineer D. Rajasekhar and assistant executive engineer C. Palaniswamy are said to have encouraged him.

Medavakkam Tank Road, which has risen on what was a waterbody centuries ago, is the first stretch in the city to have messages written on its garbage sheds. The Road falls within the limits of 74 Ward in Zone 6 (Ayanavaram). The stretch between Kellys signal and Ayanavaram junction has four garbage sheds. Each shed has four independent garbage bins to collect wastes from the neighbourhood. Every day, on an average, around four tons of kitchen waste, is generated from the 5,000 households. Artists are hired to paint these phrases.

“The idea is good. Earlier, such messages were found only on the compound walls of government buildings,” said S. Vasanthi, a resident of Kellys. The civic team plans to extend the initiative to all the 86 street lanes. They also plan to have similar phrases in garbage bins with cartoons depicting various methods of waste segregation.

“We have the phrases ready at least a week in advance. This may appear to be a small initiative but it has great potential for change,” said Palaniswamy, assistant executive engineer.

Source: TH

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Sachin Tendulkar plays cricket again, calls it ‘special’

Sachin Tendulkar was back to playing cricket on the eve of India’s 69th Independence Day.

Tendulkar is seen with a youngster from Make-A-Wish Foundation, while playing cricket

This time the batting legend wielded the willow for a different cause. On Friday (August 14), Tendulkar had announced that he will “pick the bat” for a special session. And today, he posted pictures of the same, on his Twitter page. Tendulkar is seen with a youngster from Make-A-Wish Foundation, while playing cricket Tendulkar spent time with young citizens from Make-A-Wish Foundation. The former India captain said he enjoyed the evening chatting and playing cricket. “#HappyIndependenceDay to all of us! Spent the eve with young citizens from @MakeAWishIndia,” the 42-year-old wrote on Saturday.

Source: OI

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Cassini to Make Last Close Flyby of Saturn Moon Dione

A view of Saturn's moon Dione captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft during a close flyby on June 16
A view of Saturn’s moon Dione captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft during a close flyby on June 16, 2015. The diagonal line near upper left is the rings of Saturn, in the distance. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
› Larger image

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will zip past Saturn’s moon Dione on Monday, Aug. 17 — the final close flyby of this icy satellite during the spacecraft’s long mission.

Cassini’s closest approach, within 295 miles (474 kilometers) of Dione’s surface, will occur at 11:33 a.m. PDT (2:33 p.m. EDT). Mission controllers expect fresh images to begin arriving on Earth within a couple of days following the encounter.

Cassini scientists have a bevy of investigations planned for Dione. Gravity-science data from the flyby will improve scientists’ knowledge of the moon’s internal structure and allow comparisons to Saturn’s other moons. Cassini has performed this sort of gravity science investigation with only a handful of Saturn’s 62 known moons.

During the flyby, Cassini’s cameras and spectrometers will get a high-resolution peek at Dione’s north pole at a resolution of only a few feet (or meters). In addition, Cassini’s Composite Infrared Spectrometer instrument will map areas on the icy moon that have unusual thermal anomalies — those regions are especially good at trapping heat. Meanwhile, the mission’s Cosmic Dust Analyzer continues its search for dust particles emitted from Dione.

This flyby will be the fifth targeted encounter with Dione of Cassini’s tour at Saturn. Targeted encounters require maneuvers to precisely steer the spacecraft toward a desired path above a moon. The spacecraft executed a 12-second burn using its thrusters on Aug. 9, which fine-tuned the trajectory to enable the upcoming encounter.

Cassini’s closest-ever flyby of Dione was in Dec. 2011, at a distance of 60 miles (100 kilometers). Those previous close Cassini flybys yielded high-resolution views of the bright, wispy terrain on Dione first seen during the Voyager mission. Cassini’s sharp views revealed the bright features to be a system of braided canyons with bright walls. Scientists also have been eager to find out if Dione has geologic activity, like Saturn’s geyser-spouting moon Enceladus, but at a much lower level.

“Dione has been an enigma, giving hints of active geologic processes, including a transient atmosphere and evidence of ice volcanoes. But we’ve never found the smoking gun. The fifth flyby of Dione will be our last chance,” said Bonnie Buratti, a Cassini science team member at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Cassini has been orbiting Saturn since 2004. After a series of close moon flybys in late 2015, the spacecraft will depart Saturn’s equatorial plane — where moon flybys occur most frequently — to begin a year-long setup of the mission’s daring final year. For its grand finale, Cassini will repeatedly dive through the space between Saturn and its rings.

“This will be our last chance to see Dione up close for many years to come,” said Scott Edgington, Cassini mission deputy project scientist at JPL. “Cassini has provided insights into this icy moon’s mysteries, along with a rich data set and a host of new questions for scientists to ponder.”

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information about Cassini, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/cassini

http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov

Source: JPL

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India’s Mars Orbiter Captures Striking View of Red Planet’s Canyons

ndia’s Mars Orbiter, which arrived at the Red Planet late last year, has just sent back a beautiful shot of the Ophir Chasma, a system of deep valleys and scalloped terrain in the Valles Marineris region.
India’s Mars Orbiter, which arrived at the Red Planet late last year, has just sent back a beautiful shot of the Ophir Chasma, a system of deep valleys and scalloped terrain in the Valles Marineris region. Areas with major geological features like this tend to show off the various layers of materials making up the surface.

The picture above was taken July 19 from 1,857 kilometers (1,154 miles), but the scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation also reconstructed what it might look like from nearby.

India’s Mars Orbiter, which arrived at the Red Planet late last year, has just sent back a beautiful shot of the Ophir Chasma, a system of deep valleys and scalloped terrain in the Valles Marineris region. Areas with major geological features like this tend to show off the various layers of materials making up the surface. The picture above was taken July 19 from 1,857 kilometers (1,154 miles), but the scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation also reconstructed what it might look like from nearby.

India’s Mars Orbiter, which arrived at the Red Planet late last year, has just sent back a beautiful shot of the Ophir Chasma, a system of deep valleys and scalloped terrain in the Valles Marineris region. Areas with major geological features like this tend to show off the various layers of materials making up the surface. The picture above was taken July 19 from 1,857 kilometers (1,154 miles), but the scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation also reconstructed what it might look like from nearby.

Source: DN

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J&K’s Chain Singh clinches India’s 7th Olympic quota place

Rifle shooter Chain Singh today became the seventh Indian marksman to clinch an Olympic quota place after he finished eighth in the 50m Rifle 3 Position event of the ISSF World Cup in Gabala, Azerbaijan.

Chain shot a qualification score of 1174/1200 to enter the final and thereby secure India’s seventh Olympic quota in shooting.

In the final, Chain finished eighth with a score of 403.7 but it was enough to fetch him the much sought after Olympic quota place after narrowly missing out on a place in the final in all the three preceding World Cups.

A delighted Chain Singh said, “It is my dream to win a medal for at the Olympics. Today I am very happy because winning an Olympic quota place is the first step in that direction. There is still a lot of work ahead for me. I want to say a big Thank you to NRAI, the Army and Olympic Gold Quest for giving me tremendous support.”

The gold medal in this event went to China’s Hui Zicheng (459.8), while the silver went to Austrian Alexander Schmirl (457.9). China’s Zhu Qinan settled for the bronze medal with a score of 446.8.

A couple of days ago, Prakash Nanjappa had bagged a quota place for India in the 50m air pistol event after finishing eighth.

Source: BS

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Inflation: Wholesale takes retail route, dips to record low

Economy stabilised, ‘significant improvement’ can be expected during the current fiscal, says Centre inflation, Reserve Bank of India, RBI, Wholesale Price Index, WPI, Arun Jaitley, business news, india news, news

Inflation is under control. Manufacturing and index of industrial production (IIP) figures are quite encouraging. (Reuters)

Headline inflation in July contracted to a decade-low of -4.05 per cent on back of lower food and fuel prices, raising the clamour for a reduction in key interest rate by the Reserve Bank of India. The data prompted the government, which is already armed with moderating retail inflation and a growing factory output, to claim that economy has stabilised and a “significant improvement” can be expected during the current fiscal. This is the steepest fall since 2005.

According to the data released by the government, headline inflation, as gauged by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), fell sharply due to moderating food prices, which declined 1.16 per cent and fuel and power registering a steep contraction of 12.81 per cent during the month. WPI during July 2014 stood at 5.41 per cent. It been in the negative zone since November 2014.

Reacting to the development, finance minister Arun Jaitley said, “(it is a ) Very positive sign and, obviously, along with other important data which has come out, speaks of stability in the economy. Inflation is under control. Manufacturing and index of industrial production (IIP) figures are quite encouraging. The indirect tax figures are quite encouraging. Both the time-table and geographical spread of the monsoon is quite good. Expect a significant improvement this year”. He added that later during the year, these developments will also impact rural purchasing power. The headline inflation number reflects the global movement in commodity prices, which are apprehended to reach a 13-year low, exceeding the low reached during the financial meltdown of 2008. The S&P GSCI index, which is a measure of 24 commodities, lost 14 per cent of its value last month. Buoyed by the data, industry made a strong pitch for the central bank to cut interest rate ahead of its September 29 review. “The distinct downturn in both retail and headline inflation… make a strong case for RBI to resume its accommodative policy stance and reduce interest rates even before the next monetary policy,” Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, CII, said adding that inflation is unlikely to move up during the year. RBI governor Raghuram Rajan left the benchmark rates unchanged at 7.25 per cent in RBI’s bi-monthly policy review on August 4. However, given the current trend of CPI, WPI and the index of industrial production, the central bank may soften its stance on the key interest rates. Chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian said that the data on CPI and WPI along with the  growth in the deposit into the banking system, and moderation in gold import, point towards a big structural shift in underlying process of inflation, and “that is something is very encouraging.” During the month, retail inflation fell 3.78 per cent while index of industrial production grew 3.8 per cent in June, bringing in cheers to the government.

Source: IE

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