YOUTH GOVERNANCE

5 April 2014

French scholarships for Indian students

 The French government is planning to announce more than 300 excellence scholarships worth over one million euros for the academic year 2014-15. Students from all fields and subjects at the bachelor’s, master’s and PhD levels are eligible to apply for these scholarships.
 

“The French government is keen to welcome Indian students in a wide range of fields like engineering, management, and design,” said a spokesperson from the embassy. The benefits of these scholarships include a monthly stipend to cover daily expenses, free student visa, medical insurance coverage and assistance in finding affordable accommodation in France.

Other offers are the Charpak scholarship programme which offers three types of funding (research internship programme, exchange programme, amaster’s programme), Eiffel scholarship programme which provides benefits like living expenses (1,200 euros/ month), travel expenses, health insurance and accommodation.

Today France is a much sought after academic destination as far as Indian students are concerned. Small classroom sizes, well developed research facilities and an internationally  acclaimed academic heritage are  the major attractions of this country . “With over 800 courses being taught in English, there has been a spurt of 50% in the number of Indian students going to study in France in the last two to three years. Today, more than 2,600 students opt to study in France and we hope to see this figure doubled over the next five years,” said Francois Richier, Ambassador of France to India.

Visa rules simplified
Indian students can go to France on a student visa that is valid for the entire Schengen area. After finishing their course, students can stay for up to one year if they are seeking employment.

“Earlier, international students were allowed to stay for just six months. The French government however, extended the period in June last year to foster cooperation. And finally, it was decided that any Indian student who has a graduate or postgraduate degree from a French institute of higher education will be automatically eligible for a short stay tourist and business Schengen visa with five-year validity. Even if one has obtained a degree prior to this decision, he/she can still apply for the alumni visa. This visa can be extended to spouses and children,” informed the ambassador.

Job opportunities
International students have a temporary work permit for 60% of the normal work time, which amounts to 18 hours a week. “Studying in France stands one in good stead when it comes to securing placement. A French degree is valued by corporate sectors  and countries across the globe. Thus, many Indian students who’ve graduated from French institutions go on to work with MNCs in the UK or the US,” said Richier.

Why study in France?
Classroom sizes are small and students get focussed attention 
The country offers a wide range of scholarships across a bouquet of academic disciplines. 
Today there are nearly  800 courses that are taught in English in french universities
Visa rules have been made easier and students can now stay for an additional year in the country after completing their course 

38 Indians win Japan government scholarship

Japan is wooing bright young minds from India and 38 Indian students have won a special Japanese government scholarship.The 38 students won Japan’s MEXT scholarships of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
Addressing a send-off reception for the students at his residence here, Japanese Ambassador Takeshi Yagi Friday said he hoped the students would have a useful stay in Japan.

Yagi said: “Not only for your academic career, but also for expanding your knowledge about Japan. Please convey your experience to your friends in India so we will be having more Indian students in Japan.”
Of the 38 students, 29 are going to start their higher education in Japan from April this year. The remaining will be leaving for Japan in October this year.
Of these, 32 are joining as research students and will attend a programme for research as well as master’s and doctoral course, a Japanese embassy statement said.
Four students are going for an undergraduate course while two are going for specialised training.
Details of the MEXT scholarships are available at the Embassy of Japan’s website http://www.in.emb-japan.go.jp/.

13th January 2014

A PAGE FROM THE DIARY

OF AN

EXAM INVIGILATOR

Atma Prakash NayakAtma Prakash Nayak, Junior Lecturer in English.

Situation One

“Sir, please help me answer this questions. You will earn Dharma” Told an examinee to the exam invigilator. The examiner gently smiled and told, “I will definitely help you answer the questions but not now. After the examination is over I will keep your request.”

Situation Two

A lady in denim jeans and a stylish vanity bag approaches the exam centre. At the entrance of the exam centre an invigilator who stands there for gate check asks the candidate not to take mobile phones inside. The girl looks surprisingly and then disbelievingly utters, “Are you not going to give support in the examination?” The invigilator shakes his head in firm denial and informs the lady that the examination will be conducted in all fair means. The lady turns her back and walks out feeling disgruntled.

It may be mentioned that she had come with Rs 30000/- (Thirty Thousand) in her vanity bag so that she could bribe the examiners.

Situation Three

A bearded teacher who works in a neighboring institute comes directly into the superintendent’s chamber and asks the superintendent unashamedly, “Sir, will the examinees not get help in the examinations? It is injustice to be so strict to the examinees who join in distance courses just for getting a degree or a promotion.” The superintendent replied, “No way Sir. We strictly follow the rule: No Chits and No Tips.”

Situation Four

“I want to talk to you privately,” said a middle aged over-weight examinee to the superintendent. The superintendent allowed him for a private conversation. Both of them talked for few minutes inside the chamber. When the man came out of the exam centre superintendent’s chamber, he was very dejected and irritated. After his departure I came to know that he had introduced himself as a political stalwart having immense power in his possession and he would see to us if he is not allowed copying in exam hall.

Situation Five

Somebody is heard saying in a challenging tone in the local market, “Let us see how they can stop us copying in the examination.”

Full n Final conclusion

One Kejriwal is enough to over throw all RED LIGHTS. One conscious step is enough to check all unfair means. Just you need a will power to ignore the above 5 situations.

JAI HIND.

11th January 2014

Literature honour for DU girl

An undergraduate student of Delhi University’s Lady Sri Ram College has won an essay competition aimed at initiating a dialogue about South Asian writing among the youth in the city. Shyamolie Singh, a second-year student of the said college, topped the competition with her 1000 word entry titled ‘Changing Identities in Contemporary South Asian Literature’ organised by DSC Prize, a top international prize on South Asian ­literature.

Shyamolie will get a ­certificate of merit as well as an all-expense paid trip to the prize ceremony, scheduled to take place at the Jaipur Literature Festival on January 18, this year. The first runner up, Bhavna Singal, from Gargi College has been awarded a ­certificate of merit, and a token cash prize. Literature students from four Delhi University colleges — Jesus and Mary College, Hindu College, Gargi College and the Lady Shri Ram College for Women, participated in the competition, in which ­contestants had to submit an essay on ‘Emergence and Growth of South Asian ­literature in the last decade’.

The DSC Prize has ­initiatives all along the year including an annual DSC Prize Winner’s Tour, where the winner is taken to select south Asian cities for ­interactions with literary enthusiasts. The prize also promotes south Asian writing by partnering through events at literary festivals.

4th January 2014

Norwegian Embassy announces essay contest

Have chess champion Magnus Carlsen’s moves at the recent World Championship attracted you to this game? Would you like to be in Carlsen’s shoes one day?

If yes, then you have a chance to express your thoughts through an essay competition organised by the Norwegian Embassy. Participants need to send their thoughts in not more than 500 words on ‘How Magnus Carlsen has inspired you by winning the World Championship title at the age of 23’, and ‘What lessons you have learnt from seeing his hard work and dedication to a game that originated in India thousands of years ago.’

Entries should be only in English and typed (not handwritten). Only Indian students between 13 and 15 years can participate. An age certificate from your school is compulsory. Only one entry per student is allowed. Bulk entries from schools will not be accepted.

To participate, candidates must provide their full name, name of their school, address, a passport size photograph and contact details along with their entry. Deadline for submission is January 30, 2014. Results will be announced only to the winners directly, and via the embassy’s website.

For details   visit www.norwayemb.org.in.

13th December 2013

Out-of-the-box ideas to crack urban

issues, the students’ way

An “Insta-Help” device that sends SOS messages to your family and the police if you are attacked. Hygienic, smartly designed foodcarts to help the urban poor earn a livelihood without hindering traffic flow.

A network of water stations in public places to make safe drinking water affordable at Rs 3 per litre. Offering  these out-of-the-box, yet simple and eminently workable ideas, 25 student teams from across India are in Bangalore for a unique National Student Challenge.

When the City-based Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) kicked off this contest in 2011, the objective was clear: To reach out to and guide the youth to understand urban issues and eventually become urban transformation agents. “The youngsters have great ideas and concern for the cities. But they often don’t know where and how to go about it. Our intervention is designed to engage them, help them work out implementable solutions for our urban problems,” IIHS Chief People Officer, Nina Nair explained to Deccan Herald.

The young challengers were highly energized by the spirit of innovation. “ChaloBEST,” the team that showcased a mobile app to guide Mumbai’s BEST bus commuters on the schedules had proved an instant hit at the 2011 edition. The team eventually finished as a finalist at the UN Habitat Youth Fund. But more importantly, they found two venture capitalists ready to fund the project and take it to action mode.

Determined to make a similar foray into real action was the team “AbsolutZero” from St Stephen’s. Shaken by the Delhi gangrape, the team of Chetan Chawla, Aditya Shailaj and Sambodhi Sarkar had done a reality check to find this startling statistic: In Delhi, there were three security guards for every VIP. But there was just one policeman to make 671 Delhiites feel safe! As Sarkar recalled, the team had no choice but to innovate a stand-alone, distress alarm device that triggers SOS messages.

The team consciously chose not to go for another mobile app. “The device had to be stand-alone because when you are attacked, the first thing the attacker does is to snatch the mobile phone. By pressing a button on our device, the message goes out instantly,” said Chawla.

For “Innokart,” the Jamia Milllia Islamia team of Faiza Jamal, Huma Parvez, Ahmed Faraz Khan and Nida Haque, innovation had to address the question of livelihood of the urban poor. So, they chose to redesign the ubiquitous roadside food cart, make it compact, hygienic, and waste segregation-friendly.

“You cannot wish away street food in India. You cannot evict the vendors just like that. A National Policy on Urban Street Vendors is now in the pipeline. Our plan is to make their livelihood sustainable,” elaborated Faiza.

Innokart has its work cut out now: To get funding from venture capitalists and corporates, produce the low-cost but durable wooden carts at Rs 12,000 a piece and give them to deserving vendors at a third of that price in ten crowded markets. “For security against misuse, each cart will have a unique number, and will be insured.”

Amrut dhara” is another project from IIT Madras, designed to free people from the tyranny of costly bottled mineral water. But there are 22 more unique ideas competing for a podium finish at the National Student Challenge finals on Thursday, and grab the Rs 3 lakh IIHS Implementation Grant on offer.

IIHS would also help the teams with business mentors and even forward their proposals to an incubation panel. If 171 teams tried it in 2011, there were 570 last year, and a whopping 1,200 this year.

22nd November 2013

Young Indian Geniuses Showcase

Science Projects At IRIS 2013

Intel India, in association with Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and CII inaugurated the Initiative for Research & Innovation in Science 2013 (IRIS 2013), which aims to nurture science and scientific research amongst young Indian innovators. IRIS aims to recognize and rewards students’ outstanding projects and originality of thought.

The 4 day event was inaugurated by Shri.  Kimmane Ratnakar, Honourable Minister for Primary and Secondary education, Government of Karnataka,  Ms Kumud Srinivasan, President-Intel India and Dr. D K Pandey, Scientist-NCSTC, Department of Science & Technology.  Also present were Dr. Raj Kumar Khatri, Principal Secretary, Primary & Secondary Education, Karnataka, Ashutosh Chadha, Director-Corporate Affairs Group, Intel South Asia and officials from Ministry of ICT, and Department of Science and Technology. A special video-conferencing session was organised with Mr. Sam Pitroda, Chairman, National Innovation Council, Adviser to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations.

In its 7th year now, IRIS receives innovative project entries from government and private school students across the country. 200 children (126 projects) were selected this year from direct entries and from the affiliated fairs after several rounds of evaluation and screening. These shortlisted projects will vie for national honors across 17 categories, being evaluated on research merits.  Winning projects go on to represent India at Intel ISEF 2014 in Los Angeles, United States. In addition, this year, the best IRIS 2013 project will also receive the Sam Pitroda Award for Research and Creativity– SPARC. Total prize money at Intel ISEF 2013 is more than US$4 million in prizes and scholarships.

Commenting on the occasion, Shri Kimmane Ratnakar, Honourable Minister for Primary and Secondary education, Govt. of Karnataka said, “Economically, the significance of emerging markets like India is constantly increasing. One of our most important tasks is to nurture young talent and provide access to international platforms. I appreciate this collaborative approach by Intel, CII and DST for empowering young innovators with insights and resources to advance their discoveries that can make a difference to the society”.

Till 2013, a total of 73 Indian students have won 87 awards and accolades at Intel ISEF competing against more than 6 million high school students from across the world.  Winners at the Intel ISEF not only win laurels for the nation but also get the opportunity to have a minor planet named after them. From 1999-2013, 16 students from India have had the unique honour of having minor planets named after them.

“It’s very encouraging to see this tech-savvy young generation focused on innovations that solve complex problems. As an industry, we need to act as a catalyst for this generation to help create disruptive technologies that can have a positive impact on people’s lives,” said Ms Kumud Srinivasan, President, Intel India. “To this effect, Intel is making efforts to help mentor these young scientists and expose them to global opportunities in Intel ISEF.”

13th November 2013

Pune girl wins Google Doodle contest

Taking a cue from today’s strong Indian women, Pune girl Gayatri Ketharaman, who bagged the top award in Google India’s Doodle-making competition on Tuesday, has designed a Doodle that will go live on the search engine’s front page this Children’s Day. It’s theme: Sky’s the limit for Indian women.

Doodles are the decorative changes made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, lives of famous artists and scientists, as well as memorable events.

“My Doodle depicts the traits of Indian women, who are graceful and elegant, adept at balancing work and home. They are go-getters and also personify motherhood,” said the teen, a student of Bishop’s Co-education School in Pune.

 The fifth edition of the contest, whose theme was “Celebrating Indian Women”, received 1.5 lakh entries from 1,500 schools across 100 cities.

Apart from the national winner, three students in different categories were also awarded. Madhuram Vatsal from Lucknow won the prize in the class I-III category, while Binita Biswajeeta from Odisha, with her doodle “Women are future, empower them better” won in the class IV-VI category. 

Akash Shetty from Mangalore, with a Doodle titled “Indian women leading our country”, won in the class VII category.The winners were chosen from 12 finalists from different parts of the country by a national-level jury comprising actor Kirron Kher and political cartoonist Ajit Ninan.

Among the finalists, eight-year-old Shreya Pandey’s and 11-year-old Dikshitha to Bangalore. Their joy knew no bounds when they were felicitated in the national capital for their achievement. “I felt happy making the Doodle. I like drawing, so I participated in the competition,” Shreya, a class 3 student of Kendriya Vidyalay, Hebbal, told Deccan Herald.

Dikshitha wants to become a computer engineer. “I enjoyed the competition. It was a new experience for me,” said the class 6 student of St Charles High School in Kammanahalli.

Kher said the theme this year was something so powerful and rich in concept that it really enabled youngsters across the country to showcase their talent and creativity irrespective of location.

Google India Managing Director Rajan Anandan said, “The competition is the perfect platform for Indian youth to showcase their talent on an international platform. It allows youngsters not only from the metro cities but tier 2, 3 and even tier 4 cities to participate, which is evident from the entries seen this year.”

Source:DH

6th NOVEMBER 2013

Kerala Entrepreneur’s Device For Women’s Safety

Kerala entrepreneur K. Kalidasan’s mobile application – Sentinel – for the security of women was declared the runner up in the World Summit Youth Award in Power2Women category, it was announced in Colombo Thursday.

Kalidasan’s application was amongst 422 projects from 147 UN countries. It was among the best youth digital projects addressing the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The application was developed by Kalidasan and his team at MindHelix Technosol Pvt Ltd – a technology start-up based here.The application, which works both in the Android and the iOS platform, can automatically call one’s friends and family in dangerous situations.

It can send alerts even if the attacker forcefully destroys the phone.Selected as one of the five best projects in the category Power2Women, Kalidasan will be awarded along with other winners for outstanding contribution in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals through online creations.

“I believe that this is one of the biggest recognition  for me and my team,” said Kalidasan.

The World Summit Youth Award ceremony will take place in Colombo. The function date will be announced later.It is an annual award function which is also a network for young entrepreneurs under 30 years of age. Using the internet, mobile phones or other digital media, the entrepreneurs can put the UN Millennium Development Goals into action.

24th OCTOBER 2013

India’s First Emotional Networking Site

Bangalore: Innovation and technology go hand in hand. But using innovation to bring out deep rooted emotions on technological platforms makes it all the more fulfilling. Social networks run a very serious business as they make people connect psychologically through an easy communication medium.  But social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace offer a solid identity to individuals and not many would prefer to talk about the dark-side of their personal life at the cost of maiming their identities.

But here is SharingDard.com, a 5-month-old social networking platform from India, which has gone one step ahead and started an ‘emotion-sharing’ network, along with a 24×7 tele-counseling service. Research shows that tele-counseling market in India focuses on mental health and emotional wellness and is likely to be worth 1,100 crore. Till date, very few companies have ventured into this niche and this 5-month old start up has ambitiously stepped into this lucrative horizon. As compiled by BI, here’s a run-through of the startup’s vision and viability that makes it an interesting venture.

SharingDard.com was founded by a team of four from IIM Lucknow, Sumant Gajbhiye, Gaurav Rajan, Ritika Sharma and Lima James. After working for 2 years in MNCs, the co-founders left their jobs and set up SRG SharingDard Networking Pvt Ltd in Mumbai and the in May 2013, the website was launched.

When you ask these budding entrepreneurs on what inspired them to begin this venture, their answer is the same: College parties. “In those parties, we often shared our experiences. Those heart-to-heart chats helped us open up since all of us came from different backgrounds but needed support during emotional turmoil. That’s when the idea struck us – why not start a website where people can share all their problems anonymously, without facing any social stigma,” says Sumant.

SharingDard provides a parallel world for individuals where they can openly share emotions, feelings, grief and secrets and basically any sort of psychological turmoil they are going through, without revealing their true identities.

18th OCTOBER 2013

Indian teen wins UK’s prestigious wildlife photography award

A 14-year-old Indian boy, who camped out overnight on the banks of the Chambal river in Madhya Pradesh to click the winning shot of a crocodile, has bagged this year’s ‘Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award’.

Udayan Rao Pawar shot the fresh water crocodile or gharial with hatchlings on its head by creeping up on the nestling colony.

 

“When the dawn broke early in the morning I hid myself behind a rock, and when the morning light came I took those images,” he explained.

The awards are one of the most prestigious competitions in world photography, held annually by Natural History Museum and BBC ‘Wildlife Magazine’ in London.They are selected for their creativity, artistry and technical complexity and must be submitted as a raw file with no manipulations.

17th OCTOBER 2013

INKLive 2013

What would the world really be without any technology? Would we all be ‘globally’ connected? Certainly not! The credit goes to a few men who rebelled from the clichéd outlook of the society to invent and innovate meticulously. Such people who made our lives wonderful with their innovations and principles are not often honored or even recognized by the society. Bridging this last mile from innovation to recognition is INK Live 2013, an annual conference organized by Ted.

The three day conference starting on October 25 in Cochin, Kerala, will witness great innovators, influencers, entrepreneurs, artists and great implementers talking about their journey, experience, their achievements and their future plans.

Here are some of the greatest change-makers of today whom we all bestow our faith upon for the future.

Anu Sridharan
Founder-CEO of NextDrop

Anu Sridharan is the perfect example of a modern entrepreneur who constantly strives for the upliftment of the rural clan. With her entrepreneurial venture – NextDrop, residents get instant mobile updates on availability of piped water. NextDrop closely works with many operators in the field to send them text messages 60 minutes before the arrival of water in pipes. This system has not only bettered the life of the villagers but also helps water board utilities to better manage and track leakages in water supply.

Anirudh Sharmar: LeChal project

Anirudh Sharma personifies social entrepreneurship in the modern era. With his one of its kind invention, ‘Haptic shoe for the blind’, Anirudh is looking forward to make life simpler and accessible to the visually impaired. Anirudh’s technological invention provides voice based navigation aids, vibrations, once connected to an android device. The user has to simply speak and confirm the location and then, the haptic shoes ensure you are at that place without any hazel. The shoe vibrates while the person is reaching his destination and thus ensures accuracy.  To ensure its availability to all, Anirudh did not restrict this waterproof product to any brand. This device which consists of a small circuit board can be installed in any existing pair at a very nominal price.

14th OCTOBER 2013

Delhi’s young word wizard

While most of us are busy fighting awkwardness and acne during teenage, 15-year-old Dwija Vashisht has done what not many an adult can muster the will to do – ‘write a book’. The young Delhi girl’s debut title, ‘The World from the Eye of a Child‘, revolves around Nitya — a seven-year-old who feels her life is complicated, and aspires to be like her elder sister Neha, who excels in every field.

Throughout the novel, the language remains simple and is supported well with illustrations.

“Thankfully, my school board (CBSE) does not give me board exam stress, so I could write the book … there were a lot of starts and stops and blocks, but I’m glad it all worked out in the end,” says Vashisht.

30TH SEPTEMBER 2013

How often does it happen that two youngsters, aged 14 and 12 years, appear on a stage and introduce themselves as “I am the co-founder & president of …..” and “I am the co-founder & CEO of …”?
Shravan Kumaran (left) and Sanjay Kumaran
Well, it did happen last week when Shravan Kumaran 14, and Sanjay Kumaran, 12, took to the stage at the SAP Techniversity event in Bangalore last Saturday. The audience comprising engineering and management students, apart from senior executives from SAP Labs India, were spellbound when the siblings held forth on their 22-month-old start-up called Go Dimensions and gave some business bytes as well. Sanjay is co-founder and CEO, while Shravan is co-founder and president.

The siblings, studying at Vael’s Billabong International High School in Chennai not only spoke of seven mobile applications developed by them, but also gave tips to aspiring entrepreneurs on how to run a successful start-up.

The two brothers went about with their presentation in an informal way, which had its share of humour also.For instance, most entrepreneurs would have heard of funding from venture capitalists, banks, friends, et al. But ever heard of “Dad funding”? Sanjay came up with precisely that, when he referred to the financial support from his father Kumaran Surendran, himself an IT professional. The audience was in splits.

 Shravan spoke on the need for a good business plan. “It should be realistic; also, one should have a conservative and optimistic outlook.”Sanjay also spoke about his views on the prerequisites for a start-up. “You should have a strong idea, self-confidence, a good business plan and know about sources of funding.”

The business jargon was there too, when he talked of “idea to opportunities cycle.”
The siblings have developed seven mobile applications since July 2012 – Catch Me Cop, Alphabets Board, Prayer Planet, Color Palette, Emergency Booths, Super Hero EI5 and Car Race HD – and most of these have got ratings of 4.5 to 5 (maximum) by Apple’s Apps Store and can be downloaded free.

Aiming High
The brothers are all set to develop their first paid-for application “Go App”, one that Sanjay said will give updates on all applications developed by them. “We want at least 50 per cent of smartphone users in India to use our apps, only then will we launch our first paid app,” said Shravan during interaction with reporters.

Surprisingly, they are not keen on Facebook. “Instead, we spend our time on developing apps and learning,” Sanjay said.

30th SEPTEMBER 2013

Nandan Nilekani: young population can either build cities or bring them down

A dusty-haired boy, a bag over his shoulders, walks a few kilometres from his village to a bus stop. He boards a bus that will take him to the nearest train station. There he boards a train to a faraway city, a city he knows so far only through hearsay and television. He approaches it with dreams in his head and responsibilities on his shoulders, for the family he leaves behind.

That man or woman leaving the village has many names, many faces. The story repeats itself across our country every day. Mumbai and Delhi alone account for approximately 2,000 people arriving daily to these cities, to seek their fortunes. Their dreams are modest — a steady job, decent pay. Eventually, perhaps, a family.

You don’t have to look far for them. Step outside your house, walk down the road and follow the smaller lanes; chances are, you won’t have to go too far. You will come across them soon enough, perhaps the guards outside your apartment complex, or the young maid on her way to work, or the man with a mobile cart of pineapples piled high.

These are the faces of our youth, the majority of our young people. We rarely hear about them, and we notice them only in passing. But each of them is part of a movement that is rolling forward, into the future, taking the rest of us inexorably with it.

To talk about India today is to talk about the young. In this decade, we will become the youngest country in the world. This heady truth is reflected in the faces I see when I walk down the street: men and women with unlined faces, full heads of hair, people who have arrived in the cities looking for work, and who radiate a sense of impatience on the footpaths and in the traffic, in the waiting queues everywhere.

There is an inevitability to the movement they represent. Countries that have seen this explosion of youth populations before — the US in the 1950s, Japan in the 1970s, China in the 1980s, Ireland in the 1990s — all experienced tremendous political and economic upheaval.

The key word here is upheaval. There’s an old Kannada saying — the higher the mountain, the greater the descent. A young population and its ambitions can either build cities or bring them down, depending on how their energy is channelled.

In the mornings, I see young children heading towards schools, weaving their way through traffic. If you look, you can see the differences among them, despite their uniforms. Some carry bags more tattered than the others’, and some are barefoot, their uniforms faded. Even the poorest families are trying to get their children educated so that they might have a chance at a better life. When these children come of age, they expect to have jobs and opportunity waiting for them.

The greatest tragedy, to me, would be for us to lose out on the possibilities and the energy that this influx of young people presents. And there is a chance of that happening, because of the immense demands the young place on a country.

We can already hear the infrastructure around us struggling with these demands. In particular, young people without middle-class advantages like good schooling and a strong family network now embark on lives and careers with enormous risk, because they lack critical safety nets.

We have seen people applying for Aadhaar numbers turn up with elderly parents and infants in tow, and talk about the health costs that are bankrupting them. At one enrollment centre, a young woman came in with an elderly father whose fingers trembled so much with Parkinson’s that two enrolment workers had to help press his fingers down for the biometric prints. The woman wanted to know if this number would help reimburse his health costs. Nearly her entire salary went towards his care.

People like her walk a tightrope. The work they find in cities is often temporary and unreliable. They lack affordable housing, which means they have to live in shanties in unpleasant localities, usually without piped water or electricity. In Bangalore, such a neighbourhood, with anywhere from five to twelve people sharing a small room, is a 20-minute walk from my home. Good education is expensive for them, and unpredictable health costs can threaten livelihoods.

These problems implicate all of us. The responsibility of a democratic, pluralistic society is to advocate for policies that generate more opportunity for everybody — policies that strengthen people across classes, and give everyone a fair shot in life.

So far, however, we have been ambivalent about getting this done. We Indians can talk a good mile. Every one of us has a diagnosis for the problems our country faces. It makes for great conversation over coffee.

We mourn the fragmentation of our voters and the disconnect of the middle classes.

But once the coffee is done, then what? We see broader civic engagement as too unpleasant to directly participate in. But whether we like it or not, we are part of an electorate. Our reactions to the policies of the day are counted, even when that reaction consists of us turning away.

We all have individual goals; we worry about our future, our careers, our children. But if we don’t think more about the greater social good, about the people outside our homes and on our streets, we are displaying a great poverty, in our vision and our goals.

We can do more for the future of our children by trying to make an impact on the country they will inherit. Our responsibilities as citizens do not end with an inked finger. We ask out loud where our changemakers and emerging leaders are. The question answers itself. We have to champion the policies that we need, and build the nation that we hope for.

When that young man or woman from the village arrives in a city, he or she shouldn’t be alone. She should have health insurance. She should be able to sign up for vocational training. Once she finds employment, she should immediately be enrolled in a pension programme, even if she is a contract worker. She should have access to loan programmes and infrastructure if she wants to build her own business.

The problems we face are not easy ones. But we must resist the temptation to use them as excuses, and as reasons for inaction.

It is especially urgent now, because a young population has immense implications for us. Across the Middle East, young people have started revolutions, many armed with nothing but their placards and their voices. As Egypt churned, a young Egyptian woman stood in Tahrir Square and talked about all the things that made her angry: bad colleges, unemployment, governments that ignored the concerns of people like her. Hopes and dreams are a powerful force, even when they are frustrated.

India’s youngsters are straining at the doors closed to them, and one way or another, the wood will give way. We are going to help decide how they gain entry and opportunity.

Our country has a remarkable legacy of civic activism, from Bengal’s early social reformers to Kerala’s anti-caste movements. In Karnataka, there was a great and early push for social reform, with the poet and reformer Basavanna writing that while the rich can build temples, the poor and the ‘low-caste’ are themselves temples, the body becoming the shrine. The struggle for equality is deep-rooted in our people, and men and women in the past overcame great odds to give us the country and the opportunities we have now. They acted for the causes they believed in. We need to take up where they left off, and we need to do it now, together.

We must recall, in this, the 66th year of Independence, what it takes to build a country, and to sustain it. Being Indian is not an inheritance that is owed to us. It is one that we shape ourselves, every day.

Nandan Nilekani is chairman of the UIDAI, the agency that issues Aadhaar numbers to residents across the country. He is a philanthropist, and author of Imagining India.

 

8th SEPTEMBER 2013

A CHILD PRODIGY’S GIANT LEAP

At 13, she has joined as a student for a post-graduate course. She may be studying about things that cannot be seen through naked eyes but her achievement is there for everyone to see without the help of a microscope.

At an age when she should be playing with her friends at the school, 13-year-old Sushma Verma, the daughter of a poor daily wage labourer in Uttar Pradesh, has been rubbing shoulders with girls almost twice her age exploring the mysterious world of micro-organisms. Sushma has been enrolled in the M Sc programme in microbiology at Lucknow University this year.

Considered to be the youngest graduate in the country, Sushma has now become a symbol of admiration and inspiration for girls and boys at the varsity. Sushma had cleared high school, when she was only seven and passed the intermediate examination (12th standa­rd) at the age of nine. She was barely 12 when she completed her graduation. She had also taken the pre-medical test, when she was barely 10 years old.

 Sushma’s name appears in the Limca Book of Records as she passed 10th standard at seven, the youngest to achieve the feat. And she also made it to the merit list of students given admission in a course at the varsity. Although the varsity had granted her admission in the course, the family of the child prodigy was not in a position to pay the required fee. Her father Tej Bahadur is a daily wage earner and hardly can support family’s needs.

It was almost déjà vu for her when her name figured in the list of candidates selected for micro-biology course in Lucknow University. She did not know how to mobilise Rs 25,000 fee for the first semester. Left with no alternative, her father had to do something, which he had not done all these years to ensure her education. He had to sell his ancestral land, for which he had sentimental attachment, to raise money.

“Somehow, I managed to mobilise money for the first semester. I had no idea as to how I would mobilise Rs 75,000 fee for the remaining three semesters,” Tej Bahadur Verma said.

He did not want his daughter’s dreams to go up in smoke because of his financial position. “I will sell whatever I have but will not let money come in the way of achieving her dreams,” he emphatically said. Verma said that he did not want his children to work as labourers. He may not have studied but certainly knows the importance of education in this age.

Sushma’s brother Shailendra Verma had also cleared the high school at the age of seven. He went on to become a graduate in computer applications from Lucknow University when he was only 14. He is currently pursuing M.Sc in computers in Bangalore.

Now, the lines of worries on Verma’s face have slowly started disappearing. With reports appearing in media, help is literally pouring in. Various institutions and voluntary organisations have come forward to extend her financial assistance to study not only in the Lucknow University but also elsewhere, if she desires to pursue higher studies.

Although she was satisfied with her achievement, she knows she has a long way to go and she is thankful to the Almighty for having given her the quality of learning. After completing her post graduation, Sushma intends to pursue doctoral studies in the same field. The girl has beaten all odds to pursue her dream.

The child prodigy, however, craves for a better atmosphere and neighbourhood. But she also knows that all her dreams may not be fulfilled. Although it was not uncommon for Sushma to be studying with peers who were older than her, there was some nervousness when she went to the college. Other students were very curious to know about her.

“We will make sure that she gets all the encouragement…we will provide her all the opportunity so that she makes use of her talent,” says Prof A K Sharma, a senior faculty at the zoology department.

The varsity administration might waive fee and accommodate her in hostel. Her father thinks that she is too young to take care of herself and wants that her family should be allowed to stay inside the campus. Officials have promised to take up the matter with the authorities concerned.

5th SEPTEMBER 2013

Smart Governance-SHE TOILETS FROM KERALA

Kerala company Eram Scientific has bagged the prestigious Skoch Awards 2013 for developing user-friendly “She Toilets” for women, the first of its kind in the country, and for connecting eToilets across the country.

It won awards in the categories of “Smart Governance” for developing “She Toilets” and “Digital Inclusion” for implementing the country’s first Connected eToilet Infrastructure (CeTI).

The “She Toilet” and CeTI projects also received the “Order of Merit” from among top 100 innovations from all sectors across the country.

 Skoch Awards seek to recognise best practices in the fields of governance and technology for promoting the inclusive growth of the nation.

Eram Scientific, based here in the capital city, tried to address the challenges associated with sanitation, by designing and implementing user-friendly and cost-effective women-friendly “She Toilets”.

As part of the project, 23 “She Toilets” have been implemented in the city.
The toilet uses web-mobile-electronics technologies. It has an automated door, power flushing, automatic closet washing and sterilisation, and automatic platform cleaning mechanism, all backed by SMS alerts to inform the control room about the status of the water tank and the bio-gas plant in the event of any errors.

As soon as the coin (entry charge) is dropped, a sliding door opens, the light comes on and the exhaust fan starts. Inside the toilet there is a bucket, mug and other necessary items. In case the user does not flush the toilet after use, the system automatically does all the cleaning operations.

Another award-winning project was the “Connected eToilet Infrastructure”, through which Eram Scientific has connected eToilets across the country.

The project allows management and monitoring of the performance of eToilets and to create accountability and transparency in public infrastructure.

It facilitates users to access the eToilet map over a web interface and enables them to view the health status and transaction details of the respective eToilets.

Siddeek Ahmed, chief managing director of Eram and ITL group of companies, said: “This achievement reinforces our commitment towards improving sanitation facilities for the common man and this will drive us ahead to create more meaningful solutions powered by technology convergence.”

“Winning the Skoch Awards has showcased eToilet on a nation-wide platform and we seek to leverage on this opportunity,” said Ahmed.

30th August 2013

India’s youngest CEO’s message to youth

It is no animation but a real life story of a teenage girl who sits in the chair of a chief executive officer at the age of 17 and holds the Guinness World Record for becoming the youngest CEO in India.

Meet 17-year-old, Sindhuja Rajaraman, a Tamilian who became the youngest CEO at the age of 14 in India.When girls of her age would go to school, study at home and spend time on social networking sites, she would be seen working from 9am to 6pm, busy taking meetings with colleagues, taking tough decisions to raise the profitability of her company, of a Chennai-based animation company called Seppan.

Sindhuja was in Lucknow on Monday as a panelist at the All India Management Association convention to shape the young minds. When the girl-next-door look arrived at the Scientific Convention Centre — the venue for the programme — there were not many to receive her.

It was after sometime that the organizers recognized her and ushered her inside the auditorium where she was the main speaker for the final session. And when the moderator introduced her, people were surprised.

Her advice to youngsters was simple and precise: Keep the hunger of growing and pursue your dream with sincerity.

Sindhuja’s journey from an ordinary school girl to the CEO of a company, that makes commercials for other companies, started at the age of 10. Her father Rajaraman, an avid animator and cartoonist, taught her animation when she was 10. Today there are five people — all men in their early 20s — in the company.

She has made it clear that she is not like a typical boss. “It is more of a team and I’m just a facilitator only giving the right direction to the company so that it scales new height. I’m happy all the men in the company have accepted me and it is a good young team to work with,” she said sporting a big smile.

Now it is her dream to become a successful entrepreneur and provide employment to the youth of the country.

“The education system has several flaws as it does not make youngsters employable. There is a big gap between educated youth and unemployment in the country which needs to be bridged, she said.

When asked how it feels like snatching the title of youngest CEO from another South Indian prodigy Suhas Gopinath, she says, “I had a chance of meeting him at a function in Madurai and he was very happy and also advised me how to run my company.”

By the time she was through, Sindhuja Rajaraman had indeed shaped several young minds in the audience as most of them said they too would like to employ rather than get employed.

 Source:HT
 13th August 2013

Citrus people, mango people… a corporate

message

Many fruits like citrus, cucumber, grapes, pineapple, pomegranate etc., can ripe only when they are with the mother plant.  Once they are plucked or separated from the mother plant they don’t ripe and become fruit.

Quite contrary to that, the fruits like mango, banana, guava, papaya etc., ripen and become fruit even after they are separated/removed from the mother plant.

Instead of attempting to know or answer the above discrepancy among different fruits, the corporate employees and the HR function must understand the deeper management message they convey or hidden inside ‘such discrepancy’.  If we research the ‘structure and function’ of a corporate, we can find several citrus and cucumber people occupying different roles in the corporate.

Some people in the corporate can exist only under the identity of the corporate.  They are known to the world only in association with the corporate they work.  Once they are out of the corporate, they remain and become nothing.  In a sense, they can function and perform only in the corporate ecosystem and cannot perform as ‘individuals’ once they are outside of such ecosystem.

Contrary to that, some people can perform both in the corporate ecosystem as well as outside the corporate ecosystem as ‘individuals’.  The former group of people are like cherries or citrus or cucumber or grapes.  These fruits cannot ripe if they are plucked from the mother plant.  To ripe, they have to be attached with the mother plant.

The later group of people are like mango or banana or guava or papaya.   These fruits do ripe even if they are not attached with the mother plant or are removed from it.  The people belong to the second category perform beyond the corporate ecosystem as well.  They are highly talented and resourceful people.

Human Resource (HR) function in the corporate must know different ‘capability’ domains of people only then the right leadership qualities can be pruned out of right people.   Guava, papaya, mango or banana people only should be made as top leaders and given independent responsibilities.  They see no limitation and perform well despite all odds and adversities.   Whereas, the people like grapes or citrus are not the right choice for top leaders.

They could perform only in the corporate ecosystem.  Independent and individualized performance, these people cannot showcase unless the support of the corporate ecosystem is there.

Many occasions, the leaders have to take quick decisions, articulate individually, require guts and risk taking attitude.    Only people who can perform independently and individually can exhibit the above leadership qualities.

Just by looking at the behaviour of different fruits how they ripen, the corporate HR function can develop high level of management insights and learn how to identify and develop leaders.

Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai

7th August 2013

Innovation with Artificial Intelligence: New Breed of Indian Start-ups

1. IPsoft  from Bengaluru is exploring heights of innovation in artificial intelligence. With its technology, developed by an Indian origin mathematician, Chetan Dube, it is solving the stereotype style of computer functioning. It has created a humanoid called Eliza which can have natural conversations with users and solve problems in a few seconds.

2. Gramener, a startup from Hyderabad has been involved in helping and uplifting ‘chicken farming’. It analyses data provided by its biggest client, Suguna Chicken and provides recommendations about the farming methods and practices that include the amount of sunlight required for the birds to stay healthy, the types of feed to be given etc.

3. eDreams ,Edusoft and PrazAs from Bengaluru are quickly attracting attention of the people through their innovation. While Edusoft provides personal tutoring for over 1,400 children, PrazAs has developed adaptive learning software that alerts the tutor when a student is stuck.

4.Like the film ‘Minority Report’, IBM is innovating to the next level by predicting crimes in the country. It has already associated with a state police department to ensure that the crime rate reduces in the country. IBM predicts the chances of an individual committing the crime based on their crime records. It has already deployed its services to the police departments of New York and Chicago.

5. Two Mangoes, an online match making site is breaking all clichéd rules and concepts to hook up users based on their interests, education and profession unlike the regular style of matching using horoscope details, caste and creed. The company is using interesting algorithms to ensure the young crowd stays happy with a partner.

6.Most of the times human emotions come with biased opinions, vulnerability and above all lack of knowledge. Bangalore headquartered Vimagino has developed an intelligent system called the ‘Angels’ which is capable of sensing and responding to human emotions.

Source : SiliconDD

images (5)

Note:Ideas related to Fresh blood leading to better governance.

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