2014 - January 9 and 10 - Current Affairs



International 

India on 8 January 2014 asked the US to discontinue the commercial activities being undertaken from the US embassy premises in Delhi by 16 January 2014. The government of India has asked the embassy to stop its commercial activities being undertaken under the aegis of the American Community Support Association (ACSA), which includes bar, video club, restaurant, swimming pool, bowling alley, sports field, gym and beauty parlour. 

As per the sources, the Indian Government has asked US to provide the tax returns filed by it with the Indian authorities to start the commercial activities and afforded by ACSA. The services were offered to non-diplomatic persons, which also includes the private American citizens and their families. 

As per the authorities of India, the actions of ACSA are a violation of Article 41(3) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, as it has given commercial facilities to non-diplomats. This tough action of India came ahead of 13 January 2014, the date that has been set as the deadline for the indictment in New York of Khobragade, the Deputy Consul General in New York America on visa fraud charge.


National 

Seventh Global Insurance Summit was held at Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh on 8 January 2014. The summit was organised by National Council on Insurance of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). The focus of the summit was on the need for simplifying the insurance process and to provide financial security for the masses in India. 

At the summit IRDA advocated for a single policy covering all basic need of insurance which would be more effective to increase insurance penetration in India. Cost effective ways of distributing insurance covers would be key to success in increasing insurance coverage among low income groups. Issuance of e-policies through insurance repositories would reduce policy issuance costs significantly.



Election Commission on 9 January 2014 decided to call off the tie with Google for registering the new voters through online and to guide regarding the voting procedures. The Election Commission had signed an agreement with Google Company on 2 January 2014. Earlier, Google made a presentation to the EC seeking technical link to its voter’s database to improve searching one’s name in the electoral rolls. However, concerns were raised over privacy, data security and its commercial use by the Indian security agencies. 

Amidst the possible impact on national security and democracy, the Election Commission (EC) decided not to share details of around 800 million voters with internet giant Google. EC may seek the US-based company’s support only for creating voter awareness. Ahead of Lok Sabha general election, the Election Commission of India has been making necessary arrangements to make all eligible voters across the country to vote in the election.



The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the renaming of Mill Gate Price Scheme (MGPS) as Yarn Supply Scheme (YPS) on 9 January 2014. The CCEA also approved the continuation of the MGPS with the new name in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) and allowed 10 percent subsidy component with modifications. The Scheme has been allotted an outlay of 443 crore rupees in the 12th Plan. 

Under the Scheme, the target for the 12th Plan is to supply 3506 lakh kg yarn worth of 4364 crore rupees. Besides, the Scheme aims to provide the services to identified beneficiaries. 23 lakh handloom units have been identified as beneficiaries. 

The Scheme provides subsidized yarn to the under-privileged weavers and vulnerable groups so that they can compete with the powerloom and mill sector. 

Mill Gate Price Scheme (MGPS): The MGPS was launched in 1992 by the National Handloom Development Corporation under the Union Ministry of Textiles. The Scheme is to make yarn available to handloom weavers at mill gate price by reimbursing transportation charges to depot operating agencies, primary weavers cooperative societies, apex societies and other handloom organizations.



Union Cabinet on 9 January 2014 approved a comprehensive regulatory framework in the form of guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India. The guidelines have been launched with an aim to make television ratings transparent, credible and accountable. This was a long-awaited proposal for bringing out a comprehensive regulatory framework which has been done to streamline the way TV channels are rated in the country. 

The framework will cover a detailed procedure for registration of rating agencies, eligibility norms, terms and conditions of registration, methodology for audience measurement, cross-holdings, complaint redressal mechanism, audit, disclosure, sale and use of ratings, reporting requirements and action on non-compliance of guidelines. 

With a reasonable notice, the TRAI and I and B can conduct inspections of the rating company as per the issued guidelines. The proposal has been designed following the recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). This will help in streamlining the process of rating viewership of TV channels.



India’s first gun for women, Nirbheek was launched on 9 January 2014. It is a tribute to the gang rape victim of December 2012, Nirbhaya. Gun has been manufactured by the Indian Ordnance Factory, Kanpur. It is a 0.32 bore light weight revolver which has been developed to give more power to women to defend themselves. It only weighs 500 grams and is made of titanium alloy. 

Besides, being the lightest revolver, Nirbheek is also the smallest revolver made in India. For it simple mechanism and light frame it has been described by arms experts as an Indian hybrid of a Webley & Scott and Smith & Wesson.



Ministry of Environment and Forest cleared the Tawang-II hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh on 9 January 2014. The Tawang – II hydroelectric of 800MW project in Arunachal Pradesh will be executed by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC). The Project is to be set up on the Tawangchu River, downstream of Forebridge near Jang in Arunachal Pradesh. 

The expected cost of the project is 6112.30 crore rupees. The Project will benefit all the States of Northeast and may generate 3622 million units annually. The Tawng project will require diversion of 116 hectares forest land including 19.6 hectares for underground use. The project approved by the Ministry of Environment and Forest on certain conditions. 

These conditions are: 
  • NHPC would transfer the cost of compensatory forest to the state forest department.
  • NHPC will have to set up at its own cost a four feet high reinforced cement concrete pillars to demarcate the boundary of the diverted forest land.
  • NHPC will have to maintain the flora and fauna in the vicinity of the project.




The Union Cabinet approved the introduction of the National Youth Policy, 2014 (NYP, 2014) on 9 January 2014. The NYP, 2014 will replace National Youth Policy, 2003 which is currently in force. The vision of NYP, 2014 is to empower youth to achieve their full potential, and through them enable India to find its rightful place in the community of nations. 

The Policy is basically aimed at development of an educated and healthy young population, who are not only economically productive, but are also socially responsible citizens contributing to the task of nation-building. For achieving the vision of NYP, 2014; five well-defined objectives and 11 priority areas have been identified. 

The priority areas are: education, skill development and employment, entrepreneurship, health and healthy lifestyle, sports, promotion of social values, community engagement, participation in politics and governance, youth engagement, inclusion and social justice. The Youth Policy, 2014 will cover the entire country. It will cater to the needs of all youth in the age-group of 15-29 years. 

According to the Census 2011 the youth in the age group of 15-29 years constitute 27.5 per cent of the population, that is about 33 crore persons. The Policy has proposed broad policy interventions for the youth which are consistent with the 12th Plan priorities. It has not proposed any specific programme/scheme, having financial implications. Rather all concerned Ministries/Department has been mandated to bring focus on youth issues within the framework of their plans/programmes/schemes.



The Cabinet approved the guidelines for television rating agencies on 9 January 2014. The guidelines were proposed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. These guidelines will bring out a comprehensive regulatory framework for television rating agencies in India. 

These guidelines are based on the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies. These guidelines will make television ratings transparent, credible and accountable. 

Highlights of the guidelines

• All the rating agencies including the existing rating agencies shall obtain registration from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 

• All the rating agencies should go through detailed registration procedure, eligibility norms, terms and conditions, cross-holding norms, period of registration, security conditions and other obligations. 

• No company will be allowed to hold not more than 10 percent of paid up equity in both rating agencies and media Company. 

• Rating need to be technology neutral and shall capture across multiple viewing platforms (cable TV, Direct-to-Home, Terrestrial TV etc). 

• The rating agencies should scale up a minimum panel size of 20000 households to be implemented within six months of the guidelines coming into force. The panel size shall be increased by 10000 every year until it reaches 50000 households. 

• The rating agency shall submit the detailed methodology to the government and publish it on their website. 

• It shall set up an effective complaint redressal system with tool free number and an internal audit mechanism. 

• The guideline would come into effect immediately from the date of notification and 30 days time would be given to the existing rating agency. 

Background

In August 2008, TRAI recommended the self-regulation approach and established the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). The BARC could not operationalise the TRP generating mechanism. 

In 2010, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting constituted a Committee under the chairmanship Amit Mitra to review the existing TRP system In India. The committee recommended the self-regulation of TRPs by the industry was the best way forward.



Bilateral 

India and Japan decided to strengthen defence Cooperation especially in maritime security, at the Defence Ministerial Meeting held in New Delhi on 6 January 2014. And also two countries decided to strengthen the Strategic and Global Partnership between Japan and India. 

The highlights of the visit of Japan’s Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera were

• The Defence Minister of India will visit Japan in 2014 and continue to carry out high-level mutual visits on annual basis. 

• In 2014, Delhi will hold the third 2 plus 2 dialogue and the fourth Defence Policy Dialogue (Defence Secretary level). 

• To promote exchanges on UN Peacekeeping Operations between Japan Peacekeeping Training and Research Centre, Joint Staff College (JPC), Central Readiness Force of Japan Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF) and Centre for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK) of the Indian Army. 

• In 2014 the Indian Navy will visit Japan to conduct joint exercises and conduct bilateral exercises between Japan Maritime Self- Defence Force and Indian Navy on a regular basis. 

• Conduct Expert exchanges in Humanitarian Assistance, Disaster Relief and Counter Terrorism between both Indian Army and Japan Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF). 

• Continue to conduct staff exchanges and discuss possibility of conducting staff talks between Japan Air Self-Defence Force and Indian Air Force and professional exchanges of test-pilots, professional exchanges in the field of flight safety and between their transport squadrons. 

Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe will be the chief guest of India's Independence Day on 26 January 2014.


Business 

Facebook acquired Bengaluru-based Little Eye Labs for 90 crore rupees on 7 January 2014. It has become the first Indian and the third Asian company to be acquired by Facebook. Facebook is the world's largest social networking site. Little Eye Labs was founded in May 2012 by Giridhar Murthy, Kumar Rangarajan, Satyam Kandula, and Lakshman Kakkirala. 

Kumar Rangarajan is the current CEO of Little Eye Labs. Little Eye Labs, a company that develops a tool to helps Android app developers to measure, analyse and optimise Facebook apps. 

The acquisition is expected to help the overall mobile strategy of Facebook with a technology that could help track and improve the performance of Facebook Apps. This is one of the most high profile acquisitions involving an Indian product start-up. It is a development that could go a long way in boosting the confidence of the fledgling tech newbie.



Co- Founder of Twitter, Biz Stone unveiled a new mobile service called Jelly on 8 January 2014. The Jelly smartphone app seeks to improve the way people search for and find information, by querying people instead of Internet search engines. The free app plugs into Facebook or Twitter, or both, and allows users to test the knowledge of people in their social network and answer their questions. 

The experience is focused around pictures in Jelly. The app aims to capitalize on the popularity of mobile smartphones and the pervasiveness of social networks. The app is also meant to personalize the search experience.


Economy 

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 9 January 2014 made it compulsory for all investments into Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) funds to be made through banking channels and not in cash. SEBI has raised the step to prevent money laundering activities through such scheme. The norms came into effect from 9 January 2014. The newly released norms will help in improving transparency in fund-garnering activities through CIS activities. 

It will also make it easier to identify the source of funds and real investors involved in the schemes. SEBI has amended the regulations of Collective Investment Schemes Regulations 1999 that is mentions under Section 30 section 11 of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 (15 of 1992). 

With this amendment the regulations can be called as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Collective Investment Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations, 2014. The step was taken by SEBI in light of the past investments cases in which investors have been defrauded through illegal CIS activities in which the operators claim to return the money on being caught by the regulators and law enforcement agencies. 

Under this scheme, the person will have to make an application for registration as per the Collective Investment Management companies as any scheme, which is prohibited under any law will not be considered as the CIS. The CIS Company will comply with the Know Your Client guidelines. 

Collective Investment Schemes: A Collective investment scheme is any scheme/arrangement, which satisfies the conditions, referred to in sub-section (2) of section 11AA of the SEBI Act. Any scheme/arrangement made or offered by any company under which the contributions, or payments made by the investors, are pooled and utilised with a view to receive profits, income, produce or property, and is managed on behalf of the investors is a CIS. Investors do not have day to day control over the management and operation of such scheme/arrangement. 

The following do not constitute a collective investment scheme

• Any scheme/arrangement made or offered by a co-operative society or a society being a society registered or deemed to be registered under any law relating to co-operative societies for the time being in force in any State 

• Any scheme/arrangement under which deposits are accepted by non-banking financial companies 

• Any scheme/arrangement being a contract of insurance to which the Insurance Act, applies 

• Any scheme/arrangement providing for any Scheme, Pension Scheme or the Insurance Scheme framed under the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 

• Any scheme/arrangement under which deposits are accepted under section 58A of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956) 

• Any scheme/arrangement under which deposits are accepted by a company declared as a Nidhi or a mutual benefit society under section 620A of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956) 

• Any scheme/arrangement falling within the meaning of Chit business as defined in clause (d) of section 2of the Chit Fund Act, 1982 (40 of 1982) 

• Any scheme/arrangement under which contributions made are in the nature of subscription to a mutual fund.

Collective Investment Management Company: A Collective Investment Management Company is a company incorporated under the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956 and registered with SEBI under the SEBI (Collective Investment Schemes) Regulations, 1999, whose object is to organise, operate and manage a Collective Investment Scheme. 

Collective Investment Scheme: Entities, which were operating a collective investment scheme at the time of commencement of CIS Regulations i.e. (15 October 1999), are deemed to be an existing collective investment scheme.



Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on 8 January 2014 issued a press note that restricts the use of non-compete clauses. The freshly issued press note has restricted use of non-compete clauses in both Greenfield and Brownfield projects. This action is believed to be a restrictive action. The DIPP has retained the existing FDI policy in pharmaceutical sectors. This note has declared that the non-compete clauses would be allowed only in special conditions with the approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board. It means that foreign investors in Indian pharmaceutical company cannot sign non-compete agreement with promoters of these companies in most of the situations. 

The present FDI Policy allows 100% Foreign Domestic Investment both in Greenfield (automatic route) and Brownfield (approval route) pharmaceutical projects. Some conditions can still be imposed on Brownfield projects, while granting approvals. In November 2013, DIPP proposed reduction in the FDI cap to 49 percent from 100 percent in critical pharma verticals. This proposal was laid by DIPP because of a significant increase in acquisition of Indian pharma companies by the multinational companies. These large scale acquisitions can adversely impact availability and price of generic medicines in the country. 

But, this proposal was rejected by the Union Cabinet and it was decided to use the current FDI policy. Cabinet however, imposed an additional condition that non-compete clauses in any mutual agreement will not be permitted in the Brownfield projects The non-compete clause is a standard feature of mergers-acquisitions. This clause restricts a party from competing with a business after termination of employment or completion of a business sale for a fixed time. 

For instance, when Abbott Laboratories acquired Piramal Healthcare’s domestic formulations business, it signed an 8 year non-compete agreement. This agreement prohibited promoters of Piramal Health care to enter into similar business for 8 years. This duration of fixed period can be different from one agreement to another. It is not necessarily 8 years for all non-compete agreements. 

Other examples of use of non-compete clauses are

• Daichi Sankyo acquired Ranbaxy in 2008 with non-compete agreement of 2 years. 

• Mylan acquired Agila Specialties pvt ltd in 2013 with non-compete agreement of 4 years. 

Experts said that this note had sent confusing signals to the foreign investors. They believed that a framework defining more clear guidelines for the Brownfield projects is need of the hour.



The Reserve Bank of India on 8 January 2014 allowed the Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) to lend up to 75 percent of the value of gold. With this order of the central bank, the people seeking loan against gold can now borrow more. Earlier, the limitation of loan on gold was 60 percent. 

The order has been passed in a view of the moderation in the growth of the gold loan portfolios of NBFCs in recent past. The value of loan will be the intrinsic value of the gold content and no other cost like making charges will be given. 

The decision was taken following the recommendation of the KUB Rao Working group, which said that the loan-to-value (LTV) may be increased to 75 percent from 60 percent. The working group has also recommended the standardization methodology to determine the value of gold.



SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) on 9 January 2014 launched (Settlement of Administrative and Civil Proceedings) Regulations, 2014 that provides guiding factors for dealing with settlement processes. As per the new notifications the serious offences such as illegal money pooling, insider trading and fraudulent trades are excluded from the scope of settlement. The set of regulations have been notified with retrospective effect from 20 April 2007, the day when the existing consent settlement system was introduced by SEBI. 

Under the new norms, SEBI has expanded the list of violations which cannot be settled. It also provides for the involved entity to file settlement plea within 60 days of the show cause notice served to them by SEBI. It has also cleared that the charges and related costs would not be considered upon the payment of settlement also in the cases in which the applicant has already been a party to two earlier settlements. Any case pending before the court or a tribunal would not be settled under the new norms. 

The new norms have also mentioned the minimum amount to be paid by entities, which will vary as per the charges against them. These charges will be highest for the promoters. The norms has also defined the role of the internal committee and high powered advisory committee in order to impart transparency in the process. It has provided for the terms of settlement in monetary as well as non-monetary terms or both. 

The terms of settlement would include the payment of settlement amount and other related costs, closure of business, voluntary suspension of registration and other appropriate directions, as per the new norms. The amount of settlement will be credited in the Consolidated Fund of India and the legal cost will be included in the general fund of SEBI. The illegal gains (if any) will be credited in SEBI’s Investor Protection and Education Fund. 

Consolidated Fund of India

In the Constitution of India it is mentioned under Article 266(1) that Non-Tax Revenues will be credited into the Consolidated Fund of India. Apart from this also all revenues of the Government by ways of taxes like Income Tax, Customs, Central Excise and others will also be credited in the Consolidated Fund only. 

Similarly, all loans raised by the Government by issue of Public notifications, treasury bills (internal debt) and loans obtained from foreign governments and international institutions (external debt) are credited into this fund. All expenditure of the government is incurred from this fund and no amount can be withdrawn from the Fund without authorization from the Parliament.



The Reserve Bank of India relaxed the rules of Foreign Direct Investment on 9 January 2014. The decision is aimed at providing exit option to the foreign investors. The investors can exit their investments by selling their holding of equity or debt. The relaxation was expected to facilitate higher foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into India. India saw a drop of 15 percent in FDI inflows from April 2013 to October 2013. 

The exit option given to the foreign investors is subject to the condition that any FDI will have a minimum lock-in period without any assured return. The lock-in period for defence and construction sector has been kept at three years and for all other sectors it will be at least a year. 

For a listed company the non-resident investor can exit at the market price prevailing at the stock exchanges. In case of unlisted company an investor can exit from equity shares at a price not exceeding the price arrived at on the basis of return on equity.



NABARD has initiated a slew of measures for improving rural credit and rural infrastructure particularly warehousing as decided at the 198th Meeting of the Board of Directors chaired by Dr Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Chairman, NABARD, on January 9, 2014. The Board has approved the launch of three crop specific Pilot Projects with production and post-production interventions to be implemented through Primary Agriculture Co-operative Society (PACS). 

The three Pilot Projects include business models for potato in Hooghly district, West Bengal, tomato in Karnal district, Haryana, and onion in Nasik district, Maharashtra. The total outlay for the projects is Rs 37.20 crore, comprising loan and grant support from NABARD of Rs 18.43 crore and Rs 2.43 crore respectively and a subsidy support of Rs 16.34 crore from the Central/State Governments. The Pilot Projects envisage crop-specific market surveys, identification of specific market players and marketing support through establishment of Project Market Facilitation Centres (PMFCs). The Projects will provide for productivity enhancing measures and post-harvest interventions. 

These measures include support for irrigation particularly micro-irrigation, scientific storage facility, cold storages and setting-up of agro-service centres. The pilots will also support promotional interventions including field demonstrations, crop and activity specific training and capacity building of farmers, exposure visits, etc. for ensuring technology adoption by them. 

NABARD has sanctioned 548 warehousing projects in seven states amounting to Rs 1,046 crore under the NABARD Warehousing Scheme (NWS). These projects on completion will create an additional storage scientific space of 11.30 lakh MT for agriculture commodities and also help in better price discovery for farmers. NABARD Warehousing Scheme 2013-14 has been formulated as per the announcement made in the Union Budget with a corpus of Rs 5,000 crore. 

The scheme envisages financial support for construction of warehouses, godowns, silos, cold storages and cold chain infrastructure to store agriculture produce, both in public and private sectors. As decided by its ALCO, NABARD has revised the rate of interest on refinance provided to banks for investment credit with effect from January 7, 2014. The refinance rate has been reduced by 20 basis points, and the revised rate of interest on refinance for a period of five years for Commercial Banks, State Cooperative Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Primary Urban Cooperative Banks will be 9.70%. 

The revised rate of interest for refinance for a period of three to five years will be 9.90%. Further, banks drawing refinance of Rs 500 crore and more in a single drawal will be allowed further reduction of 10 basis points, making the effective rate 9.60% and 9.80% respectively. However, for State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks (SCRDBs), 10 basis points reduction is allowed for a single drawal of Rs 200 crore and above. These measures are expected to give a boost to banks for extending investment credit and creation of much-needed warehousing infrastructure for agricultural commodities in the country.


Awards 

The Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Kumari Selja on 7 January 2014 gave away the Dr. Ambedkar National Merit Awards to meritorious students belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The awards were given to students, who have appeared in Secondary and Senior Secondary School Examination - 2013 conducted by State/Central Education Boards/Councils. 517 meritorious students from 13 boards of 10th class and 17 boards of 12th class of the year 2013 were found eligible for the Awards. 

Dr. Ambedkar National Merit Awards: Dr. Ambedkar National Merit Awards is given by the Dr. Ambedkar Foundation, which is an autonomous organization under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. The award is distributed to the meritorious students every year to recognize and encourage the students belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. They are given the awards for their commendable performance in Class 10th and Class 12th examinations. The award carries a citation and cash award.


Persons 

Uninor appointed Morten Karlsen Sorby as the new chief executive officer (CEO) on 8 January 2014. 

Uninor is a joint venture between Telenor Group and Unitech Group. Telenor is a telecommunications company headquartered in Oslo, Norway. Morten Sorby is the fourth CEO of Uninor. Uninor started operations in 2009. Telenor is in operational and managerial control of the Uninor. It offers mobile voice and data services based on the GSM technology. 

Uninor serves more than 32 million customers in 6 circles covering the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarkhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.



Sports 

The 75th Senior National table tennis championship, which concluded on 9 January 2014 at the Patliputra Sports Complex, was a special moment for Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB). The PSPB men retained the Barna Ballack cup by winning over West Bengal. PSPB Women regained the Jayalakshmi Cup by beating North Bengal. 

Results (Team event finals)

Men: Petroleum Sports Promotion Board beat West Bengal 3-0 . 
• Soumyajit Ghosh defeated Soumyadeep Roy 16-14, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4 
• Sharath Kamal defeated Sourav Saha 11-8, 11-7, 11-2 
• Amal Raj defeated Sougata Sarkar 11-9, 11-8, 12-10 

Women: Petroleum Sports Promotion Board beat North Bengal 3-0
• Madhurika Patkar defeated Nandita Saha 6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 11-5 
• K. Shamini defeated Sagarika Mukherjee 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8 
• Ankita Das defeated Sukanya Bose 11-9, 11-8, 11-7


Science and Technology 

Scientists for the first time measured the distance to galaxies more than six billion light years away accurate to 1%. The analysis was revealed on 9 January 2014. This new map was created from the BOSS – Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey using Sloan Foundation Telescope. This survey is one of the four projects being carried out by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-111), at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico. 

The analysis incorporates spectra of 1277503 galaxies and covers 8509 square degrees of the sky visible from the northern hemisphere. This is the largest sample of the universe ever surveyed at this density. Since 2009, BOSS has been collecting the data and will continue to gather till June 2014. The BOSS map used baryon acoustic oscillations (BAOs) as a standard measurement of the distance between galaxies. 

A BAO is an imprint of pressure waves from the early universe suspended in the barren depths of intergalactic space. Further, the phenomenon known as BAO is a subtle ripples in the distribution of galaxies throughout the Universe. 

These ripples were created during the formation of the early universe as particles of light (photons) and protons and neutrons (collectively known as baryons) created mammoth pressure waves pulsing through the cosmos. The new results were presented by Schlegel and his team at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society.


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