Science and Technology Current Affairs

Science and Technology
Amazon to invest $2 billion more in India
E-commerce retailer Amazon plans to invest $2 billion more in India to support its growth and enhance its customers’ and sellers’ experience in the country. According to Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jeff Bezos, after the company's first year in business, the response from customers and small and medium-sized businesses in India has far surpassed its expectations. Recently, Amazon has said that it plans to open more fulfillment centres (FCs)-warehouses in Delhi, Jaipur, Chennai, Tauru and Ahemdabad.


Science and Technology
Tata to invest $35 billion in 3 years

As a part of its vision 2025, Tata Group will invest $35 billion in the next three years with a view to achieve market capitalistion at par with the world’s top 25 companies. Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry defined future course for the diversified conglomerate while addressing the Annual Leadership Conference of the company. The group aims at building the reputation of the Tata brand at the gobal level, nurturing future leaders.  It intends to improve the Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM) process to strengthen performance discipline within the group.

Science and Technology
App downloads to grow in India

According to a joint-study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and Deloitte, the number of app downloads in the country is expected to increase from 1.56 billion per annum in 2012 to 9 billion by 2015. The study entitled ‘Digitisation and Mobility’ revealed that majority of the apps are downloaded by users belonging to the age group of 16 to 30 years.

Science and Technology
DRDO plans to set up research centres in academic institutes

To strengthen India’s research, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is ready with a plan to establish an advanced technology centre. For setting up these technology centres, leading academic institutes have been selected like IITs. IIT-Bombay will have one research centre for research in advanced propulsion technologies and next generation aero engine technologies.  Another research centre will be established at Jadavpur University in Kolkata which will work on "Unmanned Autonomous Soldier-Assist Technologies". In 2012 DRDO established the Research and Innovation Centre at IIT-Chennai.

Science and Technology
Study says there is a gender pay gap of 20% in the IT industry

According to a study, “Monster Salary Index India IT Sector Report 2014”, conducted by online job portal Monster, and IIM-Ahmedabad, female employees are paid up to 20% less as compared to male employees in the IT industry. As per the study, average hourly wage of a male non-supervisor is Rs. 255.32 while it is Rs. 206.28 for female non-supervisors. Similarly, in the supervisor category, male employee is paid an hourly wage of Rs. 461.89, while a female supervisor is given Rs. 375.29. Sanjay Modi, Managing Director of Monster India said, “It is surprising to see that the most modern sector of India is not only predisposed to a certain gender, but is also paying lesser to women employees than their male counterpart”.

Science and Technology
Seedless mangoes developed by Indian scientists

Indian scientists have developed seedless mangoes which are distinctive in flavour and are finely textured and juicy. V.B. Patel, Chairman of the horticulture department at the Bihar Agriculture University (BAU) in Bhagalpur district said, “We have developed a seedless mango variety from hybrids of mango varieties Ratna and Alphonso”. He also added, “The seedless variety also has good export potential.”Bihar ranks third in mango cultivation and Malda, Jardaloo, Bumbai and Chausa are major varieties grown in the state.

Science and Technology
MTNL and BSNL focus on improving data speed and coverage

MTNL and BSNL, the state-run telecom companies are working towards improving their services along with their coverage in the country. As per Telecom Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, these companies are adding about 28,300 mobile sites in this concern. They are also focusing on enhancing the 2G and 3G data coverage. He also said, “To improve coverage and data speed, BSNL is augmenting its network by adding IP-based 10,502 new Node Bs (3G antenna) and 14,263 base transceiver stations (generally for 2G) in the network as part of phase 7 expansion plan.”

Science and Technology
Indian scientists to decode the blueprint of wheat

The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) in collaboration with the Indian agricultural scientists will decode the genetic blueprint of wheat, which will help the breeders in the production of better quality cereals. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) said that scientists from Delhi University, Punjab Agricultural University and National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology have collaborated with IWGSC and have published a chromosome-based draft sequence of the ‘bread wheat genome’. Earlier the Indian scientists had also helped in cracking the genetic code of rice and tomato.

Science and Technology
Toy exhibition displays a baby home monitoring system

A baby home monitoring system to detect temperature, singing a lullaby and to keep a vigil on your baby has been launched at the Toy Boz exhibition. This electronic device has a range of 300 metres and is fitted with a screen for parents to see their babies, speak to them and even play a lullaby when not with them. The price of this very useful product is between Rs 5,000 – Rs 15,000.

Science and Technology
DataWind and BSNL combo offer for tablet and free internet

DataWind has joined hands with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and is offering free unlimited internet service to the buyers of its tablets, UbiSlate 7Cz and UbiSlate3G7. To increase its market share, the company has extended its partnership with BSNL to offer internet access on its tablets. DataWind and UniverCell have also joined hands, so that the tablets for the company should be easily made available in Southern India. More than 500 retail outlets of UniverCell will be selling the products for the company.

Science and Technology
Xiaomi launches three handsets in India; challenges Indian smartphones

Xiaomi, the leading Chinese smartphone maker has put a challenge before the Indian smartphone makers. The company has launched three handsets, namely Mi 3, Redmi 1S and Redmi Note, which are priced at  Rs. 13,999, Rs. 6,999 and Rs. 9,999 respectively, much lower than the Indian smartphones. In the current fiscal year, the company is expecting to sell around 70 million handsets in India. The phones will be available only on the ecommerce retailer Flipkart.

Science and Technology
TRAI cuts ceiling tariff for DLC

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) cuts the tariffs for the dedicated broadband lines, which are called DLC. The tariffs have been reduced by almost 60% for DLC, which is primarily used by the telecom operators and business houses. The reduced tariffs will come into effect from 1 August 2014. Ceiling tariffs have been reduced from Rs. 8.5 lakh per annum to Rs. 3.41 lakh per annum on leased line for 2Mbps that have a length between 5 km and 500 km. For 45Mbps, the rates have been reduced to Rs. 26.54 lakh from Rs. 61.59 lakh.   

Science and Technology
India launched 14 foreign satellites since 2011

During the period between 2011 till date, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched 15 foreign and 14 Indian satellites and earned 39.82 million euros. Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh who is also minister for  Earth sciences (Independent charge), Prime Minister Office, Personnel-Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space, made a written reply to a question raised in Lok Sabha and added that the department of space is ready with the future space programme till 2020. The plan foresees the development of thematic earth observational satellites with improved resolution, high-power, high-throughput communication satellites, advanced launch vehicle systems, development of critical technologies for human spaceflight and satellites for space science and planetary exploration purposes.

Science and Technology
BrahMos supersonic cruise missile successfully test-fired

The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has been successfully test-fired from defence base, the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur in Balasore district in Odisha. The missile developed jointly by India and Russia has a range of 290 km with the ability to carry a conventional weapon of up to 300 kg. The missile’s maximum speed is three times faster than the US subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile. Submarines, ships and aircraft can be used to launch the missile. As per BrahMos Aerospace spokesperson Praveen Pathak, it was the 44th launch of BrahMos.

Science and Technology
Technology Firms in India seek clarity on taxes and GST

The companies dealing in technology are seeking clarity over the execution of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) taxes on licences of software and the infrastructural development in small cities, in the upcoming budget. Technology giants like BlackBerry and Microsoft and industry bodies like Nasscom expect the Modi government to focus on the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for the economic growth. The government had earlier indicated that it will boost the electronic manufacturing industry to check the dependency on imports and treat this industry on priority.


Science and Technology
Indian entrepreneur develops device to detect hearing inability in babies

Neeti Kailas, a Bangalore-based woman entrepreneur, has designed a non-invasive device to detect hearing inability in babies. This battery operated device can detect hearing inability by measuring auditory brain-stem response (ABR). Strap it on to the baby’s head just like a headband and it will read responses from the auditory system of the brain when activated. The product is indigenous and cheaper than many hearing-loss detecting devices presently available in the market.  Kailas, director and co-founder, Sohum Innovation Lab, has also won the 2014 Rolex Award for Enterprise. The product is expected to be marketed by 2016.

As per available medical data, around 150,000 hearing-impaired babies are born in India. If the hearing inability is detected well on time then difficulties in learning speech, language and cognition can be prevented to a great extent.

Science and Technology
President Mukherjee congratulates ISRO team for launching PSLV-C23

ISRO has successfully launched the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C23. Carrying five foreign satellites, the rocket placed all the satellites into their intended orbits. President Pranab Mukherjee congratulated K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and his team for this success, as per media reports. He said that India is progressing and proving its space capabilities with such successful attempts.

Science and Technology
Indian Rocket carrying five foreign satellites to launch on Monday

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will be launched from ISRO's rocket port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Monday 9.52 a.m. The 49-hour countdown for the launch has begun at 8.52 a.m. on Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also observe the launch. This is an Indian rocket carrying five foreign satellite including the 714-kg French earth observation satellite SPOT-7, 14-kg AISAT of Germany, NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) and NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) from Canada and the 7-kg VELOX-1 of Singapore as per media report.

Science and Technology
BlackBerry Z3 smartphone launched in India

Z3 smartphone by BlackBerry is now available inIndiafor Rs 15,990, as per media reports. The smartphone has a five inch large display with all-touch technology. The phone has been launched in partnership with Foxconn, said Sunil Lalvani, managing director forIndiaat BlackBerry. The smartphone for the first time has been equipped with BlackBerry Maps, an application showing two-dimensional (2D) maps and local search. User can also use voice guided turn-by-turn directions. They have to do pre-booking ( from June 25 to July 2) to get the phone at MobileStore, Flipkart and all BlackBerry exclusive stores. 

Science and Technology
Kerala's Chief Minister Chandy, the most talked about Congress leader on Facebook

Today every political leader is on Facebook and other social media. Recently the Facebook page of Kerala’s Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, crossed the half-a-million mark of likes, leaving behind the former India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in social media. He is now the most talked about Congress leader on Facebook, and is included in the list of the top 20 politicians in the country. Total likes on his page are close to 5,01,500, while the likes on Singh’s page are 4,63,011, and on Rahul Gandhi’s Facebook page total likes are 3,60,454.

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