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Fact Box: ISRO’s Satellite-based chips for Unmanned Rail Crossings

Context: ISRO’s satellite-based chips are set to alert people at unmanned rail crossings

Salient Facts

Satellite-based chip systems developed by ISRO will be used to alert road users at unmanned level crossings about approaching trains. These chips will also help the railways in tracking train movement on a real-time basis.

Initially, on a pilot basis the ISRO-developed integrated circuit (IC) chips will be installed in the Mumbai and Guwahati Rajdhani trains. Hooters will be installed at 20 unmanned level crossings on Rajdhani routes for Guwahati and Mumbai.

The system will warn the road users by hooters once a train approaches an unmanned level. The hooters will get activated when the train is present at a distance of about 500 metres from the level crossing, warning both road users as well as the train driver near the crossing. The sound of the hooters will become louder as the level crossing nears, and finally it will become silent after the passage of the train.

In a phased manner, more trains would be equipped with the ISRO-developed integrated circuit (IC) chips.

The satellite based system will also be used for tracking trains about their movement on real time basis. It will be useful to passengers as at present the movement of trains are tracked manually.


Safety at unmanned level crossings is a matter of concern for the Indian Railways as around 40% of accidents involving the railways happen in unmanned crossings. India has a total 10,000 unmanned railway crossings in the country. The railways has set a target for eliminating all the railway crossings in the next 2-3 years. It has eliminated 1,148 unmanned crossings in 2014-15 and 1,253 in 2015-16.

The new technology will also help Indian railways at the time of train accidents as it can be used to get details about the exact location of trains and topography.


HRD Ministry Constitutes K. Kasturirangan Panel to Frame National Education Policy

The HRD ministry has constituted a new nine-member panel headed by space scientist K Kasturirangan to frame a new National Education Policy (NEP). The other members of the panel include chosen experts and educationists from wide-ranging backgrounds.

The panel includes former IAS officer K.J. Alphonse Kanamthanam, who was instrumental in making Kerala’s Kottayam and Ernakulam districts achieve 100% literacy.

Another member of the panel will be Ram Shanker Kureel who has wide experience in the field of agricultural sciences and management. He is also the Vice-Chancellor of Baba Saheb Ambedkar University of Social Sciences, Mhow, Madhya Pradesh.

The committee also comprises of M.K. Shridhar, former member secretary of the Karnataka State Innovation Council, T.V. Kattimani, an expert on language communication, Dr. Mazhar Asif, professor of Persian at Guwahati University, Krishan Mohan Tripathi, a former director of education, Uttar Pradesh, mathematician Manjul Bhargava from Princeton University and Vasudha Kamat, former vice chancellor of Mumbai’s SNDT University.

The panel members belong to different sections and regions of the country reflecting the diversity of the country.


In 2015, Narendra Modi Government had set up a committee under former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian to chalk out a new education policy. This committee had submitted its report in May 2016.
The committee had presented its report in two volumes with around 90 suggestions.

The other important past committees in Education includes Radhakrishnan Commission (1948-49) on higher education; Mudaliyar Commission (1952) on secondary education and the Kothari Commission (1964-66).  The Kothari Commission had a mandate to advise the government on the development of education at all stage and in all aspects. The Kothari Commission’s report was used to formulate the Education Policy of 1968.


RBI: Fiscal Deficit of States Soars to Rs 4.93 trillion in FY16

According to ‘Handbook of Statistics on States 2016-17‘, the gross fiscal deficits of all the states have soared to Rs 4,93,360 crore in fiscal 2016 from Rs 18,790 crore in FY1991. This is the second edition of RBI’s statistical publication.

Salient Highlights

‘Handbook of Statistics on States 2016-17 follows a ‘one-indicator-one table’ approach. It covers all sub-national statistics on socio- demographics, state domestic product, agriculture, industry, infrastructure, banking and other fiscal indicators across the states during the period 1950-51 to 2016-17.

The handbook also provides data on the state-wise availability of power, per capita availability of power, installed capacity of power, and power requirement, the length of national highways, roads and state highways, and railheads.

Uttar Pradesh had a fiscal deficit of Rs 3,070 crore in FY91, which has soared to Rs 64,320 crore in FY16. It is projected to improve to Rs 49,960 crore in FY17.

Rajasthan had a fiscal deficit of Rs 540 crore in FY91, which has soared to Rs 67,350 crore in FY16. However, the gross fiscal deficit is projected to decline to Rs 40,530 crore in FY17.

Maharashtra has a fiscal deficit of Rs 37,950 crore in FY16 which is projected to soar to Rs 35,030 crore in FY17.

Gujarat which has seen rapid industrialisation in the period of data analysis has got its fiscal deficit increased from Rs 1,800 crore in FY91 to Rs 22,170 crore in FY16 and the deficit is projected to further deteriorate in FY17 to Rs 24,610 crore. In fact from FY01, Gujarat has not shown improvement in its macro numbers even for a single year.
Andhra Pradesh has a deficit of Rs 17,000 crore in FY16 which is set to increase to  Rs 20,500 crore in FY17. Tamil Nadu is also projected to have a higher deficit at Rs 40,530 crore in FY17. Karnataka is also estimated to post higher deficit in FY17 at Rs 25,660 crore.

Bihar which has a fiscal deficit of Rs 28,510 crore in FY16 is slated to improve its finances with the fiscal deficit of Rs 16,010 crore in FY17. Similarly, West Bengal is also slated to improve its fiscal deficit to Rs 19,360 crore in FY17 .

Fiscal deficit is the difference between total expenditure and total revenue receipts including recoveries of loans and other receipts.