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India’s industrial output accelerates due to expansion in manufacturing sector


By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: An official data on Friday showed that India’s factory output growth has increased to 4.2 percent in July from a rise of 3.8 percent a month before in a rapid expansion in the manufacturing sector.

In the corresponding month of 2014, the industrial output had inched up by 0.9 percent.

With the maximum weightage in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), the manufacturing sector expanded by 4.7 percent in July from a rise of 4.6 percent in June and a decline of 0.3 percent in the corresponding month of 2014.

industry-525119_640This rise in the industrial growth for the month of July was seen due to a jump in the overall manufacturing sector’s output, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which released the data on the IIP.

The mining sector’s output had declined by 0.3 percent in June. However, in July, it rose by 1.3 percent from a slight increase of 0.1 percent in the corresponding month last year.

While the mining sector showed a good sign, the surge in the electricity sector was considerably low as compared to the data of July 2014. Last year, the rise in electricity sector was 11.7 percent. This year, the sector’s yields accelerated to 3.5 percent last month from a 1.3 percent growth in June.

The overall industrial output was however slower than the output last year. The period of April-July 2015 saw a rise of only 3.5 percent from an increase of 3.6 percent in the months of April-July 2014.

The mining sector’s cumulative output in the period under review inched up by 0.6 percent. On the whole, the manufacturing sector swelled by 4.00 percent, while the electricity sector expanded by 2.6 percent.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Government is likely to set up team to improve India’s innovation ranking

In the ninth Global Innovation Index report in 2016, India has improved its ranking by 15 places over last year, following five previous years of decline in position

Representational Image. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi, August 19, 2016: On Friday, the government announced that a team would be set up to advise on how to further improve India’s ranking in the global index of countries in the sphere of innovations.

“I am announcing that from the Department (of Commerce) a team would be formed that would look at repositioning India in the sphere of innovations,” Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here, releasing the Global Innovation Index 2016 Report at an event hosted by jointly by the Niti Aayog, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and industry chamber CII.

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“This team, which will include members from both government and outside, will not reinvent the wheel, but will go into the report, identify challenges and weaknesses to India’s innovation and what the government can do where it should step in and where it should step back and away,” Sitharaman said.

Global Innovation Index. Image source:
Global Innovation Index. Image source:

In the ninth Global Innovation Index report this year, in 2016, India has improved its ranking by 15 places over last year, following five previous years of decline in position.

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“I commit myself to the government’s assistance and facilitation to improve India’s innovation ranking next year,” the minister said, adding the composition of the committee would be announced in a few days. (IANS)


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King of Spice: Pepper Farming on Rise in Cambodia

The ministry of agriculture reports, the number of plantations has increased from 1400 hectares in 2012 to 6000 hectares in 2016


Kampot province in Cambodia is popularly known for its pepper farming business. Kampot pepper has been renowned for decades as one of the best peppers in the world. The rich farming soil in this region produces high-quality pepper that has joined an elite group of food items recognised and protected by the European Union.

According to the Indian spice company group Nedspice’s annual pepper report, since 2006, pepper commodity prices have been in a “bull market” and were still reaching new highs as of February. The estimation by Nedspice said, 40 to 45 percent of global consumption takes place in Asia.

  • Kampot pepper can sell for up to 20,000 dollars per tonne on the market. Whereas, pepper from other provinces averages out to 75 per tonne on the market.
  • Pepper farming is becoming increasingly popular in Cambodia. The ministry of agriculture reports that the number of plantations has increased from 1400 hectares in 2012 to 6000 hectares in 2016.

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  • The total yield average is approximately 11,400 tonnes of black pepper per year. Although pepper farming in Cambodia has increased in the last several years, 2016 was a difficult harvest.
Pepper farming in Cambodia. Image source:
Pepper farming in Cambodia. Image source:
  • “This year, it’s difficult to get a good crop because of the drought… and the crop itself doesn’t grow big like it’s supposed to. This year we didn’t expect to get a good crop”, said Ngoun Lay from Pepper Association in an interview conducted by NewsGram.

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  • Cambodia’s ministry of agriculture says it is looking for funding to help farmers find alternative water sources to irrigate their fields but farmers claim that so far no help has come.


  • “What we want is water, we need resources. The government can help us to dig ponds and well again. The water is important to us because when we’re farming we need water” said Ngoun Lay highlighting the lack of water sources.
  • Although, Cambodians have tax-free access to the European Union. Farmers growing pepper in other provinces sell yo Vietnam where companies have greater access to international markets whether it’s the elite Kampot pepper or the ordinary kind, spice will continue to keep farmers in business across the country if they can find enough water to irrigate their fields.

– by Akansha Sharma of NewsGram. Twitter: Akansha4117


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For their Future Projects, NASA tests Underwater tools made by students

The U.S. space agency invited college students from around the country to design, build and test devices and tools that could be useful on future missions

NASA Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory Astronaut Training Image source: Wikipedia

Scuba divers worked a crank on a metal box that soon sent up a cloud of dust from the pallet of gravel where the device was anchored. Watching them closely on control room monitors, Mathew, an engineering student from West Virginia University, provided instructions.

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“The only reference is the driver’s non-dominant hand should be grasping the handle on the side of the case,” he said, who is also the project manager for a team of West Virginia University.

T NASA selected 25 teams and invited them to Houston to test their creations.

Asteroid material sampling

The main mission for which these tools would be needed is NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission, said NASA’s Microgravity Next Program Manager Trinesha Dixon.

“The Asteroid Redirect Mission is looking for solutions as to how the crew members might collect samples on an asteroid,” she said.

NASA plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to an asteroid in September to extract small samples for analysis. A mission with astronauts on board is planned for sometime after 2020, utilizing the Orion spacecraft, a model of which is in the Johnson Space Center training facility.

Aerial View of NASA. Image source: Wikipedia
Aerial View of NASA. Image source: Wikipedia

Dixon said part of the difficulty in designing tools for such a mission is that no one knows what kind of material will be found on an asteroid, how hard it will be to penetrate, and what kind of effect might be produced by drilling or chopping into it.

After divers returned their device at pool’s edge, the West Virginia University students took it back to the large hall where each team had a separate table. There, they took it apart and carefully cleaned all the parts, including the two augurs that would be utilized to drill into the surface of an asteroid and extract material. Coming from a state known for mining, the team initially modeled its device on mechanisms used in mines that clamp to a surface and hold the drill steady.

Mathew Morrow explained, “When astronauts visit an asteroid, they need a tool out on the asteroid that can anchor, to hook their tools to, so we chose that design challenge.”

NASA supplied criteria for five separate types of tools or devices and let the students use their creativity and knowledge of engineering to come up with designs. Once the designs were accepted, they then had to build a prototype for testing.

“This is all student driven,” said West Virginia University College of Engineering and Mineral Resources professor Thomas Evans, who accompanied the three-student team to Houston. “I was just the faculty adviser and mentored them and drove them to deliver a product on time so they could be down here.”

Their device worked even better than expected, according to Evans.

“It was exceptional! I think this team did a fantastic job,” he said.

Evans said the West Virginia University team benefited from frequent visits to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the neighboring state of Maryland, where Mathew Morrow had an internship.

Ideas NASA can use for space tool development

The experience was exciting for the students involved, but they may also one day see some of the elements in their designs used in devices that astronauts employ in space.

NASA’s Dixon said, “We can take components from different tools, concepts that the student teams might come up with, and put them together in our conceptualization of that tool.”

In addition to that, she said, having such a program encourages students interested in space flight to continue their studies and possibly become part of NASA’s future workforce.

Mathew Morrow is one who has such hopes.

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“I am really hoping that there might be an opportunity there (NASA) or somewhere else in the space industry, whether it be in a private company or with the government,” he said.

Opportunities in the private sector for space engineers have diversified from being mainly contractors building rockets and other equipment for NASA to service companies with their own spacecraft that can ferry supplies to the International Space Station, and may one day take passengers into space and become involved in efforts to extract minerals and other resources from the moon, asteroids or other planets. (VOA)