The Latest: Top stories of the day
1. New Delhi has approached the British government seeking the extradition of Christian Michel, an alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland helicopter scam.
2. The Centre has also written to the United Kingdom's High Commission seeking the deportation of businessman Vijay Mallya to India in an alleged money laundering case.
3. The Indian government has barred Tiananmen Square activist Lu Jinghua from entering the country for a meeting of Chinese dissidents, a week after it revoked the visa to an Uyghur-Chinese leader.
The Big Story: Not-so-final Frontier
Mangalyaan, the plucky little mission that saw India send an orbiter all the way to Mars on a budget smaller than that of a Hollywood blockbuster, set the global narrative for India's space programme. It may not compete with the American, Chinese (and a few paces behind, European and Russia) battle for space supremacy and there may not be much talk of lasers and space wars. But it is successful. And the lack of bombast does not signal an absence of ambition.
The successful launch of the seventh and final satellite of Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System on Thursday catapulted India into that select club of countries that has their own version of the US' Global Positioning System. This means India can use its own satellites to map out navigation across an area covering 1,500 km around the Indian borders. It won't radicalise India's cartographical capabilities, but it represents independence and will also bring plenty of incremental benefits.
The idea for the system is said to have come from the Kargil war in 1999, when the United States denied GPS data to India, prompting authorities to look for an indigenous solution. The net result however might serve to bring the neighbourhood closer – Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited India's neighbours also to use the regional navigation system, just as the Chinese version is used by many in South East Asia.
The latest feather in its cap only serves to remind us of how rare a creature the Indian Space Research Organisation continues to be: An Indian government department that actually works and even manages to inspire people in the process.
The Big Scroll: Scroll.in on the day's biggest story
Jugaad engineering: How India created the world's cheapest Mars mission. Why ISRO works where other government units fall short.
Politicking & Policying
1. Sheela Bhatt in the Indian Express floats the suggestion that the long-awaited Cabinet reshuffle may come on May 19, which is also counting day for the ongoing Assembly elections.
2. The Haryana Janhit Congress, which broke away from the Congress a decade ago under former chief minister Bhajan Lal, has merged back into its parent party. Rumours persist that Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the Congress' former CM from Haryana, is unhappy about the rise of a non-Jat leadership.
3. It seems like an exodus now: Another lawmaker from the YSR Congress party has defected over to the ruling Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh, making it 15 in a row.
4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to address a Joint Session of the American Congress on June 8, on his fourth visit to the United States in two years.
5. "The Boudi with the oversize bindi" versus "the Didi in white cotton sari and Hawaii slippers" .
This chart shows how much time the Lok Sabha has spent discussing the horrific drought (none).
1. Kerala as a polity needs to seriously engage with the necessary balance between rights and citizenship if it is not to be overwhelmed by its own excesses, writes Pulapre Balakrishnan in the Hindu.
2. A leader in the Business Standard criticises the government for its terrible messaging on the Employee Provident Fund front, which has forced it to rollback reform.
3. Nikhil Pahwa in Mint explains how we can truly start a broadband revolution in India.
4. "It's not evident that anyone in the jote (Congress-Communist) leadership has any idea what they will do if the miracle upset does come about," writes Ruchir Joshi in the Telegraph.
Menaka Rao asks whether the indigenous anti-diarrhoea Rotavirus vaccine is safe for children?
"If Puliyel’s calculations are to be believed, the Vellore trial shows an excess of 11 cases of intussusception – intestinal obstructions that may need urgent surgery to prevent death among infants – per 10,000 vaccinated children as compared to the trial figures from Delhi. This is five to 10 times higher than the risk of intussusception with the Rotashield vaccine – which was withdrawn from the market – and nearly 70 times higher than the risk associated with the current internationally licensed vaccine, RotaTeq."