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BENGALURU: The nationwide lockdown and local restrictions due to Covid-19 that saw industries remain shut for four months before restarting work with limited workforce and Isro’s own centres not being able to work optimally has affected the timeline of Gaganyaan, the first proposed mission under India’s first human spaceflight programme.

There is a delay in realisation of key technologies ranging from human rating of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) to development of the crew and service modules, and from life-support systems to other critical systems needed for a human mission.

Isro chairman K Sivan while stating that Gaganyaan will be slightly delayed — Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on August 15, 2018 had set a deadline of August 2022 — told TOI that the agency is assessing a new schedule.

“…Industries which are supposed to supply hardware for various systems and sub-systems have not functioned. So there will be a delay in getting hardware for the crew and service modules, systems for human-rated GSLV, among other things. Also, our own people have not been able to work optimally in the past few months. Unlike IT firms, there is only a limited scope for working from home in our sector, we need to be on the floor and that’s not happening,” Sivan said. This has impacted design and assessment work.

Key Milestones

On whether Isro is looking at a specific revised timeline, Sivan said the agency is still assessing the situation. “It is not that the programme will only be delayed by four months because industries were shut only for four months. There will be a cumulative impact, as there are processes. There is a cascading effect, we are working on making it happen at the earliest,” Sivan said.

The space agency, for instance, was to test the human-rated systems of GSLV this year, which has now been pushed to next year. This will further impact integration of other systems. Among other major pre-launch milestones to be missed was the first of the two crew-less missions originally scheduled for 2020. The TOI was the first to report that this launch will be pushed to next year, but at the time Isro had maintained that it would still try and achieve Gaganyaan’s deadline set by Modi.

“…Human rating activity involved some tests after implementing human-rating features. Tests on S200 solid rocket boosters, and other systems, the integrated aircraft test, among other crucial tests have now been pushed, which will have a cumulative impact on the timeline,” Sivan said.

Covid Within Isro

Aside from industries working with Isro unable to deliver systems in time because of Covid, Isro also has not been able to work with full strength.

“While we are already working with only a partial workforce, in places like Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru etc, there are containment zones from where people have not been able to come to labs too,” Sivan said.

He further said that cases of Isro employees testing positive have also increased. “Slowly, many Covid cases are being reported from various Isro centres. I do not have the accurate number immediately, but there are 60-70 cases from each centre,” Sivan added.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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Covid: Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka too say they’ll give free vaccine doses




NEW DELHI: A Covid vaccine might still be some time away, but it’s already raining promises of free vaccination across states. Hours after BJP’s election manifesto for Bihar offered free coronavirus vaccination to all if the NDA retained office, at least two states — Tamil Nadu and Karnataka — vowed to vaccinate every citizen for free while a third — Madhya Pradesh — reserved its commitment for the poor.

Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami was first off the blocks, promising free vaccination for all as and when a mass-produced vaccine was made available.

DMK president M K Stalin promptly accused the CM of “trying to show off”, saying it was the responsibility of any government to safeguard people during a pandemic by making available critical vaccines free of cost.

“EPS did not have the heart to offer a dole of Rs 5,000 to the common people who lost their livelihood (during the lockdown)” he said. With bypolls to 28 MP seats just 11 days away, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan jumped onto the bandwagon late on Thursday and announced it would be free for the poor.

“BJP has said a very good thing in Bihar. And I am saying the same thing here. Let the corona vaccine come, every poor person in MP will be administered the vaccine for free,” he said at a poll rally in Gwalior. Around 9.30pm, he took to Twitter to reiterate the promise, inviting criticism from Congress.

In Karnataka, the vaccine would be free for everyone if and when commercially available, health commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey said. State health and family welfare minister K Sudhakar said the state was working with experts on a plan of action for distribution of the vaccine, including determining which vulnerable groups must be covered first.

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Terrorism enemy of humanity: LG




SRINAGAR: LG Manoj Sinha on Thursday said October 22 will always remain a black day during his inaugural address of the national symposium and exhibition on “Memories of 22 October, 1947” in the city.

Sinha said we must make both the elderly and the younger generation aware that Pakistan not only shed the blood of the people of Kashmir, on this fateful epoch of history, it tried to divide us, which we have foiled with our unity and goodwill.

The LG said the two-day symposium and exhibition is a medium to expose the atrocities inflicted by the Pakistani government and its army upon innocent women, children, and men of Jammu & Kashmir on October 22, 1947.

“Even after 73 years, the pain and terrors of Operation Gulmarg of Pakistan are fresh in our memories,” Sinha said.

The two-day event on 22nd and 23rd October is being organized by the National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology at SKICC, Srinagar.

A publication, Memories of 22 October 1947, was also launched on the occasion.

Speaking on the representations received from more than 100 prominent people across J&K regarding protection and restoration of places with heritage significance like Mubarak Mandi, Jammu, and Shergarhi, Srinagar, the LG reiterated the government’s commitment towards conservation and protection of the rich culture and heritage of J&K.

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After BJP’s Bihar poll promise, MP CM Shivraj says will give free vaccine to poor




BHOPAL: Taking a cue from BJP in Bihar who announced on Thursday to provide free Covid vaccine to the poor in the state, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that poor families in the state will get free Covid-19 vaccine.

“BJP has said a very good thing in Bihar. And I am also saying the same thing here. Let the Corona vaccine come, every poor in Madhya Pradesh will be administered free vaccine,” chief minsiter Chouhan announced during a poll rally in Gwalior on Thursday evening.

He further said, “I want to save from Corona, then poor will be saved first. we will also try to make arrangements for the rest as well. The BJP government is for the development”.

However, after chief minister’s announcement in Gwalior, an official tweet by Chouhan stated that Corona vaccine will be administered to all citizens in Madhya Pradesh. But, the government later clarified that CM had made the announcement for only poor.

“We have controlled the Corona infection to an extent but, vaccine is the only cure for it and vaccine should be given to the public,” read the tweet by CM.

The Congress though raised objections to the chief minister’s remarks and said that Chouhan’s statement was confusing. “Earlier the chief minister said that Corona vaccine would be provided only to poor families. In his tweeted posted later, he said Covid-19 vaccine will be given to all citizens. This is confusing,” said Congress state media coordinator, Narendra Saluja.

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