Exclusive news coverage of ISRO drew maximum hits in 2020

Newsroom24x7 Network

Just like the two previous years 2018 and 2019, exclusive news coverage of ISRO by Newsroom24x7 drew maximum traffic and readers’ interest even during 2020.

Of the 10 most visited pages/new items, which included the Newsroom24x7 Home page that was the top attention grabber, nine are exclusive and analytical reports about ISRO

The news item with the heading Kunhikrishnan will be Chairman IN-SPACe: Stage set for extension to ISRO Chief K.Sivan, ranks on top with as many as 12601 hits.

Through this news item, which projected that the Department of Space, headed by Secretary and Chairman ISRO K. Sivan, had sent the proposal to appoint P Kunhikrishnan as chairman Indian National Space Promotion & Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), and another related report published on 4 November with the title “Is there a sinister plot to knock out merit in ISRO”, Newsroom24x7 was the first to project, contrary to claims by other media platforms, that Sivan was getting extension.

While underscoring that Kunhikrishnan, third senior most in ISRO, was given apex scale and moved to the Space Commission recently and in this way, he superceded the senior-most distinguished scientist in ISRO (Tapan Misra) after Sivan, who had been denied Apex scale.

The most crucial and exclusive projection through this news item was that the ISRO leadership issue was already settled at the highest level and that it had been decided to give Sivan further extension of 1 year till 14 January 2022.

we said “Sivan has played his cards very well with the PMO. Surely it is game set and match for him. If one were to draw a parallel, we have the case of Kiran Kumar, former Chairman of ISRO, in sharp contrast, he had turned down the offer of extension.”

Newsroom24x7 followers across the world in 2020

Our coverage on ISRO that brought maximum visitors to the Newsroom24x7 portal included the following exclusive news items:

Department of Space and ISRO: PMO has to bell the cat

6501 hits

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has been grappling with attempts to reform Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Many Parliamentary committees have recommended separation of the post of Secretary Department of Space and Chairman ISRO. Perhaps there is no other organisation in Government of India where a subordinate office controls the main department as it happens in the case of Department of space and ISRO.

ISRO: The fault line and the siege within

4803 hits

The seniority of two distinguished ISRO scientists has been bypassed to appoint P. Kunhikrishnan as a Member of the Space Commission.

Kunnikrishnan is Director UR Rao Satellite center. Chandrayaan-2 was made there.

Kunhikrishnan’s appointment order was issued this past Wednesday in a hush-hush manner. Since ISRO chairman K Sivan is on extension and on the verge of retirement, all focus now is on who would be the next ISRO chief. In the normal course, the ISRO chairman should be selected from a panel of the senior-most distinguished scientists within the organisation.

Till now, two distinguished scientists Tapan Misra, Advisor to the ISRO Chairman and S Somnath, Director Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), who have a brilliant track record, were in the reckoning for the top ISRO post. Kunhikrishnan is junior to both of them.

Is there a sinister plot to knock out merit in ISRO

4375 hits

Of late ISRO is abuzz with a lot of rumours regarding the impending extension of the present Chairman and the succession plan in case the Union Government decides on a change of guard. If one goes by media reports, there appears to be a sinister plan to sabotage both merit and seniority by killing two birds with one stone.

Director U R Rao Satellite Centre gets promoted to Apex Scale in GoI under Merit Promotion Scheme

2556 hits

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the proposal for promotion of Kunhikrishnan P, Distinguished Scientist & Director, U.R. Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru

Newsroom2x7, which has an impeccable track record in terms of credibility, has emerged as a major reference point through search engines and social media

CAG indicts Department of Space for delay in oprationalising NavIC

1863 hits

The latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has indicted the Department of Space and ISRO for failure to operationalise NavIC that was to be operational by December 2011 but had not been made operational even at the end of June 2017 and as a result, navigation and timing services envisaged under the programme could not be provided to the users.

Newsroom24x7 has maintained its position with a rising visitor base

The myth called ISRO and the fictitious post of ISRO Chairman

1647 hits

Who created the myth called ISRO and the associated post of Chairman ISRO and why? This is a big question that the Department of Space (DoS) will have to answer in national and larger public interest.

Sivan gets another extention, will head ISRO till 14 Jan. 2022

Newsroom24x7 Network

ISRO chiefs in succession. Extreme right (bottom) is K Sivan

New Delhi: The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the extension of tenure of Dr. Sivan K, Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, Space Commission for a period of one year beyond 14 January 2021 till 14 January 2022 or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

Newsroom24x7 had said this well in advance on 26 November 2020. We quote: “Sivan has played his cards very well with the PMO. Surely it is game set and match for him.” Check  Kunhikrishnan will be Chairman IN-SPACe: Stage set for extension to ISRO Chief K.Sivan

We had also published a report titled Is there a sinister plot to knock out merit in ISRO on 4 November 2020. We underscored: “Of late ISRO is abuzz with a lot of rumors regarding the impending extension of the present Chairman and the succession plan in case the Union Government decides on a change of guard. If one goes by media reports, there appears to be a sinister plan to sabotage both merit and seniority by killing two birds with one stone.”

Check what ISRO insiders and those in knowledgeable circles are saying on another extension of service for K. Sivan. Here’s a quote for example: “Dr. K. Sivan has been rewarded not because of his contribution to the space program during his tenure, but because of his pliant attitude to this Government’s arms twisting motive to the ISRO in favour of the private sector’s supplanting the original Indian space program maintained by ISRO.” – Check Reddit

Importance of asking questions and collective deficiency at all levels

Tapan Misra

For more than a decade I have participated in ISRO’s recruitment process in almost in all capacities. For decades I have been participating and conducting technical reviews in ISRO and many other institutions. I have realised that for some reason or other we suffer from a collective deficiency: we need to master the art of questioning as well as answering. I firmly believe getting a right answer has a precondition of being asked a right question.

Many a times the questioner is reticent. There are many reasons. The person himself may be very much aloof from the subject and he is not even interested to know or probe the subject even from superficial levels. Any interaction with anybody, whether job interview or promotion interview or technical review or even a simple interaction, is a great opportunity of learning a new information. Many if us lack the ability of extrapolative intelligence, learning a subject quickly by filling information gap with our innate intelligence, intuition and imagination.

We are also hesitant in asking  questions lest our ignorance gets exposed. It comes from lack of self confidence. We feel, if our ignorance is exposed or gets caught, people will have less respect for us. We also have sometimes superlative idea of self as omniscient  and we do not want this idea to crumble under public gaze. 

There are people with bloated egos. They want to prove that the person, in front, is of lesser significance and hence of lesser consequence. They ask irrelevant questions deliberately, with no relation to subject matter or the person involved. They quickly switch the question even before the person in front started answering.

There are also some people with a firm belief in the dictum: asking costs nothing. They themselves have little extrapolative intelligence and poor ability to convert assorted information to succinct learning. In their effort to understand the subject, they go on asking staccato of questions and finally get confused from assorted variety of equally useless answers. Normally from this style of questioning, you can quickly identify the stature of the questioner – he must be one of the bosses. I remember in our childhood, on the way from school we used to (ad)venture into stealing mangoes from private orchards. With our childish lack of ability of aiming, we used to throw volley of small stones, bricks and pebbles towards the canopy. Only a sheer luck would gratify us with one or two rare mangoes in spite of our valiant efforts. Seeing such questioning prowess, rekindles my childhood memories.

In our childhood, we used to listen to songs, recorded on circular discs of music records, on gramophone. Sometimes the replay pin used to get stuck in one particular track and annoyingly same line of song used to repeat for ever. I used to encounter many a questioners who used to be fond of asking the same question again and again, whose answer they are aware of, irrespective of the subject under discussion or the interview candidate in front of. I used to get amused that these people tended to feign solemn facial contortions to hide their banality, which they were eminently aware of.

There are professional committee men and women. They attend various committees. They jot down the questions asked and make a diary full of question banks. When they attend any review meeting, they furtively turn a random page of the question bank, more akin to soothsayer parrot picking tarot prediction, printed on a set of cards. One should see the enjoyment on their faces at the sight of flabbergasted character in front of them.

Another set of queer characters can be seen in job interview committees. Before the interview, they go through GATE ( Graduate Aptitude Test of Engineering) help books, popular among students. They are the most helpful interviewer for the job applicants. They ask sure-shot questions, answers for which are already prepared by the candidates.

Most interesting are quintessential committee men, who cannot be employed for any useful job and so their nuisance values are kept in check by engaging them in all sorts of committees, specially in standing committees. I knew one such gentleman, who in his jobless hours used to keep the door of his cabin wide open, waiting for an unsuspecting character passing by, more in the style of professional angler. If he could manage to catch one, he will eat away his minimum one hour time by asking all sorts of questions ranging from his parents to schooling to research work. If this gentleman could catch hold of three or four such unsuspecting characters in a day, he could go back home, satisfying himself that he has earned his day’s living. He became quite dreaded. Seeing his cabin door open, other people, specially the younger ones, used to make a detour or scamper past his door in lightning speed.

One story goes about this gentleman. It seems, it was a very hopeless and jobless day when nobody could be caught hold of by this gentleman. One stray dog used to trespass the lab corridor occasionally. That day, this unsuspecting canine peeped into the the door wide open. The gentleman lured it with a piece of biscuit, cornered the dog in one side behind his chair and started bombarding it with all sorts of questions. That poor animal some how extricated itself from the room and darted off, with its tail solidly tucked away between its hind legs. That was the last the poor canine was sighted in the lab corridor.

Tapan Misra is a distinguished scientist and Advisor in the Department of Space, Government of India. Earlier, he was Director Space Application Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad.

Cricket: Amit Shah unveils Jaitely’s statue at Ferozshah Ground, Rohan Jaitely urges Bishan Bedi to reconsider his decision

Harpal Singh Bedi 

New Delhi: Union home minister Amit Shah  unveiled the statue of  former DDCA president  and Union minister Arun Jaitely at  FerozShah Kotla Ground   here   on Monday.

The ceremony  to  install Jaitley’s life-size statue , made by 96-year-old renowned sculptor Ram Sutar, was a power packed affair and it was attended by among others Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, BCCI  president Sourav Ganguly, opener Shikhar Dhawan, ex  opener Gautam Gambhir and BCCI Vice President Rajeev Shukla 

Arun Jaitley had served as the DDCA chief for 14 years, from 1999 to 2013. The former union finance minister  passed away on August 24, 2019 due to multiple organ failure

Paying tribute to his late colleague Mr Shah said “Arun was like an elder brother to me. He was known for his sportsmanship spirit in political circle. He remained aggressive in his speeches but never lowered the dignity of the Parliament,” 

Speaking on the occasion Ganguly  called  Jaitley’s contribution as immense in the development of cricket in Delhi, 

“I remember a phone call (he) made during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. We had lost the first game and the whole country went berserk but he (Jaitley) said that association supports you and you play well. These small things matter, he was a great human being,” the BCCI chief said 

This is a remarkably talented state which has produced so many players, Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma, Rishabh Pant now and many in the past. A settled DDCA is good thing for Indian cricket and hopefully they can do it.” he said.

When we play and get 100, it gets recognition but lot of people work behind the scene and help the cricketers. Jaitely was a cricketer’s person. that is the role of an administrator,” he added

Gambhir  opined that  the installation of Jailtely’s statue is a perfect tribute to him.” We won the Ranji trophy during his tenure and the stadium was also built. Honesty, (being) intellectual and absolute transparency are important for any administrator and he had that,” The Lok Sabha member from East Delhi said.

Meanwhile DDCA president Rohan Jaitely urged the former India cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi not  to  insist on the removal of his name from the stand at the ground 

Bedi had  criticised the DDCA for its decision   to install the statue of Jaitely and had demanded that his name be removed from one of the stands .

Describing Bedi as the ”Bisham Pitamah” of Delhi cricket,  Rohan Jaitley said the association will request the former India spinner to withdraw his demand of removing his name from a stand at the ground.

“Bedi ji is the ‘Bhisham Pitamah’ of Delhi cricket. If there are reservations, there are better ways of discussing. I am a youngster and I expect to be guided by the elders in the fraternity. His name on the stands is his legacy, an honour bestowed upon him,” Rohan said after the unveiling ceremony.

“These matters have to decided by the Apex Council. It’s not in my domain. It’s not in my power to remove anyone”s name.

 Rohan was emphatic in saying that ” I want his name to be there. I respect him as much as my father, if he wants to scold me, he can pull my ear but you can’t hit below the belt when it is not required.

“Raising (casting) aspersion on someone who is not among us is not fair. If there are reservations, I would have addressed rather than hearing from the media. I am accessible, available to everyone on board.” Rohan said and added that the decisions of renaming the stadium as Aun Jaitley Stadium and installation of his father’s statue were taken before he became the president .

“There are ways to address the grievances. If you start attacking someone, who has just stepped into the office…. I am trying my best to get DDCA’s glory back. I can’t do it overnight, it will take some time,” he said adding .”I  request him to reconsider it. It’s a long affiliation between the DDCA and Mr Bedi.” 

He asserted that  at the DDCA  players will be at the centre of all development. “World  class infrastructure for players and members, a world class gym will be there in the next few months. We are upgrading cricketing infrastructure, the new lights are being planned. We are already communicating with the DDA on setting up of academies. Two grounds have been identified already.

“We are trying to bring in a more transparent system. Development plans will begin. The old clubhouse has issues, we are already communicating with IIT Delhi to rectify”.