Indian media: 'Landmark' satellite launch

India has successfully launched its first dedicated navigation satellite
Image caption India has successfully launched its first dedicated navigation satellite

Media in India are describing the launch of the country's first navigation satellite as "a landmark journey" into a "new era of space application".

The Indian Space Research Organisation on Monday successfully launched its first dedicated navigation satellite from the Sriharikota space centre in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, the PTI news agency reports.

A total of seven satellites of the IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System) constellation will be launched by 2014, the agency adds.

The Hindu says the system "will deliver applications ranging across terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, disaster management, tracking of vehicles, guiding hikers and travellers, and visual-voice navigation for drivers".

With the launch, India has joined the "elite group" of countries, including Russia, China and the US, which have their own satellite navigation systems, reports say.

Meanwhile, the government in the flood-ravaged Uttarakhand state has set up a special authority to oversee the rehabilitation and reconstruction process, The Pioneer reports.

And the federal government has admitted that its disaster management plans are "in a mess", The Times of India reports.

The home ministry has told a parliamentary panel that it was considering several proposals to strengthen the country's disaster management capability but could not approve the plans due to technical problems, the paper adds.

"Flood mitigation measures like shelters, early warning systems and digital maps that could have helped save hundreds of lives in Uttarakhand have been on the drawing board since 2007 with a fresh proposal sought in February this year," it says.

The Indian Express reports that the federal government also declined to take help from the "150 well-equipped Russian rescue workers" who were on stand by in Moscow to carry out search and rescue missions in Uttarakhand.

Twitter fight

Elsewhere, senior members of the ruling Congress party and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are running a virtual fight on Twitter over rescue efforts in Uttarakhand.

The Congress criticised some of the senior BJP members for not visiting the disaster-hit Himalayan state, and in response an opposition party leader called for the state government's dismissal for over "inept and incompetent" handling of the crisis, The Indian Express reports.

However, in a case of rare unity, the political parties are on the same page over their reluctance to come under the Right to Information Act (RTI), the India Today website reports.

The RTI law allows Indians access to information held by the government and last month, its ambit was extended to six national parties.

In more domestic news, a new study shows that nearly a quarter of the elderly population in India have faced abuse in different forms.

Some 23% of the elderly have experienced disrespect, verbal abuse, neglect and in many cases, physical abuse, the Hindustan Times reports, citing a report by non-governmental organisation HelpAge India.

'Sexist question'

"Why do women in India make better primary school teachers?" was one the questions in what many see as a "sexist" remark in a nationwide test to hire university teachers.

"Because they are available on lower salaries" was one of the four possible answers and this has outraged many in the country, reports The Indian Express.

A women's rights activist told the paper that "the question is sexist and promotes stereotypes".

In West Bengal, a court has rejected the pleas of the state medical watchdog's 17 members, who were seeking the withdrawal of a criminal case filed against them by US-based doctor Kunal Saha.

Mr Saha had requested the body to take action against three doctors who allegedly gave "wrong treatment" to his wife in 1999, resulting in her death, The Telegraph reports.

But the 17 members of the body acquitted the doctors in 2001, prompting Mr Saha to file a criminal case against them, the paper adds.

In sports, feels stand-in cricket captain Virat Kohli will be tested in the absence of injured MS Dhoni in the ongoing one-day tri-series in the West Indies.

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