India set to become water scarce by 2025: report

Another Pakistani militant held in Kashmir

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3.Another Pakistani militant held in Kashmir

Four others killed in gunbattle with security personnel

Another Pakistani militant was captured and four more were shot dead in a fierce gun battle deep in the Rafiabad jungles of Baramulla as the Army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police wound up a four-day joint operation on Thursday.

The captured militant, who initially identified himself as Sajjad Ahmed, 22, is said to be from Muzaffargarh, on the banks of the Chenab river, in southwest Punjab of Pakistan. Security agencies said the five made up a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) module from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

4.IMD deficit forecast comes true

As the season enters its final phase, the forecast of a below-normal monsoon made by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has come true with the rainfall deficit standing exactly at the 12 per cent it has predicted. Private forecaster Skymet, which had forecast a normal monsoon, concedes that with the season nearly done, the rainfall is not likely to increase. “The country-wide cumulative rainfall [deficit] figure now stands at 12 per cent. The daily average rainfall figure will start taking a dip after a couple of days. Thus, we can expect that this [the average rainfall] figure will not rise much,” Skymet said on Wednesday.

The IMD says the southern peninsula and central India have been the worst hit, with rainfall 20 per cent and 15 per cent below normal, respectively. Northwest India, east and northeast India received 6 per cent less.

Only three — West Rajasthan, West Madhya Pradesh and Gangetic West Bengal — of the 36 sub-divisions in the country have received surplus rainfall, and 15 have received normal. Half the sub-divisions received deficient rainfall, the IMD says. The department defines rainfall as deficient if it is 20-59 per cent less than normal. But despite the deficient monsoon, food inflation has been falling.

5.We could well achieve MDGs by this year: PM[VIP]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday vowed to put an end to maternal and child deaths in India on a war footing.

He was addressing the inaugural session of the two-day ‘Call to Action 2015’ summit here, being attended by 24 countries that contribute nearly 70 per cent of the preventable maternal and child deaths globally.

The summit aims to discuss strategies while the world transits from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals this year-end. Based on the fast pace of decline in Under-5 mortality figures, Mr. Modi said on this front, India could well reach its MDGs target by the end of 2015.

While taking pride in India’s elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus, ahead of the target date of December 2015, he said that to sustain current efforts, the government was seeking to accelerate the pace of full immunisation coverage in the country under the “Mission Indradhanush.”

Focusing on vaccinating the left-outs, the programme seeks to accelerate the current increase in the annual rate of immunisation from the existing level of 1 per cent to more than 5 per cent per year, he said, adding that the government’s aim was to ensure that “no child in India dies of a vaccine-preventable disease.”

Mr. Modi also drew attention to the India Newborn Action Plan (INAP) launched in September 2014, which now targeted reduction in Neonatal Mortality Rate and still births to a single digit by 2030.

6.ISRO-NASA mission to use GSLV-D6 rocket[VIP]

Thursday’s successful launch of the GSAT-6 satellite by GSLV-D6, earning the launcher the “operational rocket” tag, will signal joint collaboration between India’s ISRO and NASA of the United States.

NISAR Mission:

NASA ISRO SAR Mission (NISAR) is expected to be launched on board GSLV-D6 in 2020-21, ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said, adding NISAR would be optimised for studying hazards and global environment change. Answering a query, a senior ISRO scientist said that using India’s GSLV and not going for space agencies abroad for launching satellites weighing up to 2 tonne would help save on foreign exchange. “GSLV will cost just one third of the cost we have to spend on foreign agencies,” he said.

Mr. Kumar said that GSLV cannot be compared to PSLV for commercial purposes as both have been assigned intended payload capabilities. “GSLV is also a good candidate for commercial payloads,” he said.

A senior official said that there were about 10 Indian satellites which were lined up to be launched on board GSLV -D6.

7.India gets another eye in the sky

Staging yet another spectacular launch of the three-stage heavy weight rocket GSLV-D6 which integrates the indigenous cryogenic upper stage (CUS), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Thursday successfully placed a GSAT-6 communication satellite in the intended orbit.

The GSLV-D6 is the second successful consecutive launch of the GSLV series with an indigenous cryogenic upper stage. The ISRO had on January 5, 2014, launched GSLV D-5, after a similar attempt failed in 2010.

About 17 minutes after the 49.1-metre-high spacecraft lifted off from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 4.52 pm with a lift-off weight of 416 tonne, the rocket placed GSAT-6 in the orbit.

The satellite will be eventually manoeuvred into the final geostationary orbit at 83 degree east longitude. GSAT-6 will provide S-band communication services in the country.

“The performance of GSLV-D6 has been normal and the intricacies of the rocket have been understood,” ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said soon after the launch, from the Mission Control Room.

“We are planning to test GSLV Mk III capable of carrying payload up to 4 tonne by the end of next year. We have already tested the cryogenic stage for the Mk III for over 800 seconds at our facility at Mahendragiri,” Mr. Kiran Kumar said.

Speaking on the Antrix-Devas deal, he said: “It was cancelled since the satellite was needed for defence purposes. We have made some minor changes in the satellite after the issue. Now the satellite is out of the controversy.”

Mission director R. Umamaheswaran described the successful launch as the ISRO’s “Onam gift” to the country.

The 2,117-kg GSAT-6 communication satellite is aimed primarily at benefiting the country’s strategic users and other authorised users. The cuboid-shaped satellite, with a mission life of nine years, also includes a first-of-its-kind S-Band unfurlable antenna with a diameter of six metre. This is the largest antenna the ISRO has ever made for a satellite.

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