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E-learning platforms step in as schools, colleges forced to shutdown in India | Livemint, 13 mar 2020
How chatbots are changing India Inc | The Economic Times, 13 mar 2020
Top 5 challenges plaguing healthcare entrepreneurs, and the way forward | YourStory, 13 mar 2020
The Expanding Role of Technology in India's HR Industry | India Briefing, 13 mar 2020
India faces revenue fall as coronavirus bites economy: Sources | The Economic Times, 12 mar 2020
Is the worst really over for the country’s agricultural sector? | Livemint, 12 mar 2020
Video: The state of educational infrastructure in India | The Hindu, 11 mar 2020
Is India's health care system capable enough to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak? | FirstPost, 11 mar 2020
The Indian Economist's Guide To Living In The Present | BloombergQuint, 08 mar 2020
Why innovation is primary in education and where India stands at the global scale | India Today, 07 mar 2020
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 mar 2020
India needs to upgrade its education system to build trained human resources and benefit from the demographic dividend. Amit Dasgupta, former Indian diplomat, author, educator and Inaugural India Country Director of UNSW (Sydney, Australia), explains, 'In a world of ageing societies, this demographic dividend can be leveraged to global advantage. But for this to happen, the young population needs to be in tune with the demands that future societies would require. This is fundamentally where Indian education fails as it clings on to an obsolete system of pedagogy with an acute resistance to change.' He says that education is about individual's overall development and Australian education makes it possible for students with diverse career aspirations, to gain deeper knowledge in the sectors of their interest. Moreover, it is not restricted to classroom and relies on broad engagement activities, personality development seminars, and soft-skill workshops. He provides lessons that India can learn from Australia's education system - (1) Need for dynamic faculty: Consult with potential employers, understand their expectations and design courses accordingly. Enhance learning experience through experiential or project-based learning. (2) Globalising education: Include, accept and celebrate diversity. Nurture and value different ideas and perspectives. Welcome students from all walks of life and different backgrounds. (3) Quality education: Avoid exclusivity and broaden intake of students. Have clarity in educational objectives. Institutions shouldn't function like business ventures but they should be knowledge imparters and focus on human development. (4) Robust research culture: Research is crucial part of the teaching and learning process. It provides students with in-depth knowledge on the subject and assists individuals in forming clearer opinions and promotes innovation. Read on...
4 things we can learn from Australia's education system
Author: Amit Dasgupta
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 feb 2020
Recently published book 'Make Health in India: Reaching a Billion Plus' by Prof. K. Srinath Reddy, president of Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and adjunct professor at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, analyzes India's health sector since the 1990s, explores the challenges in delivering healthcare to the large Indian population and provides recommendations on various policy and management matters. The book starts with health data and indicators. This provides how some overall figures have improved but digging deeper shows marked inter-state variations. Due to this it is recommended that there is a need to customize policy-making specific to each state. India has poor immunization rate (62-64%), which is even lower than some under-developed economies of sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, public health expenditure in India is among the lowest in the world (0.9-1.2% of the GDP). Another chapter explains how 55-63 million people in India have been pushed to poverty over the past decade because of out-of-pocket expenditure on health as families spend 10-40 per cent of their income on health. WHO recommends out-of-pocket expenditure not to exceed 15-20% of the total health expenditure. The book says, 'To achieve that even in stages, India must aim to bring it to 50% or lower as first step,' suggesting his would require 5-6% of GDP. The book discusses tussle between center and states over increasing in health budgets with Niti Ayog asking states to double their contributions. Currently center contributes 1/3 of total public health spending. Niti Ayog's proposal to hand over district hospitals to private medical colleges in public-private partnership (PPP) mode makes the author to term it as the 'partnership-for-private profit' model, showing discontent with the concept. Another chapter tackles the issue of inaccessibility of medicines - out of 55 million who became poor due to healthcare expenditure in 2011-12, about 38 million were impoverished because of spending on medicines alone. Although India is known as the producer of inexpensive drugs and is recognized as 'global pharmacy'. The book explains, 'While the low purchasing capacity of a large segment of the Indian population may be a contributing factor, the main reason is that many drugs in India are priced higher than they should be. While a reasonable level of profit is acceptable, high mark-ups over the manufacturing cost makes the drugs costlier than they need to be.' The book also addresses Ayushman Bharat scheme and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) - 'While the activation of HWCs (health and wellness centers) is welcome, but the budgetary allocation to the National Health Mission (which covers rural and urban health missions) in 2018 and 2019 does not reflect the commitment to boost rural primary healthcare to the level needed. It is also disappointing to see that the Urban Health Mission component has been virtually ignored in these budgets.' 'In absence of effective primary health services, the uncontrolled demand for services under PMJAY will drain the health budget, and in turn, reduce the funds available for primary care and public sector hospital strengthening.' To address shortage of healthcare providers can debilitate the health system, the book recommends creation of a National Commission for Human Resources in Health. To tackle 'maldistribution of doctors', the book recommends establishment of a National Medical Service which should recruit fresh graduates in rural areas, post-graduates in district hospitals, and create a permanent cadre of specialist doctors. Read on...
Unhealthy affair: Book review - Make Health in India
Author: Banjot Kaur
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 jan 2020
Father of Artificial Intelligence, John McCarthy, said, 'Artificial intelligence is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs.' AI is a growing field of technology globally and India is also making strides to stay ahead in this space. According to the 2018 PwC report, 'Artificial Intelligence in India - Hype or Reality' (Authors: Sudipta Ghosh, Indranil Mitra, Prasun Nandy, Udayan Bhattacharya, Deboprio Dutta, Shruti Kakar), 71% of respondents (business decision-makers and employees) believe AI will help humans solve complex problems & live richer lives; 67% would prefer AI assistance over humans as office assistants; 43% agree that the government will apply AI to improve global climate, health and education; 60% would prefer AI assistance over humans as financial advisors or tax preparers; 72% believe that AI can provide a better experience of one-to-one personalisation. The report also finds out that nearly all (93%) have major concerns regarding data privacy. Indian researchers are also influencing and contributing to the development of AI field. Here is the list of top AI researchers and influencers in India - (1) Sankar Kumar Pal (Scientist and former Director of the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata): Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning; Image/Video Processing; Data Mining; Soft Computing; Granular Computing; Fuzzy-Rough Computing; Neural Nets; Web Intelligence; Bioinformatics; Social Networks; Machine-Mind Development. (2) Krothapalli Sreenivasa Rao (Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur): Signal Processing and Machine Learning in Speech Applications; Robust speech interfaces in the context of Indian languages; Signal processing and machine learning paradigms for automatic processing of Hindustani music; Big Data Analytics for speech, music, audio and video document representation, indexing, and retrieval tasks. (3) Bidyut Baran Chaudhari (Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata): Digital Document Processing; Optical Character Recognition; Natural Language Processing; Statistical and Fuzzy Pattern Recognition; Computer Vision and Image Processing; Cognitive Science. (4) Pushpak Bhattacharyya (IIT Bombay): Natural Language Processing; Machine Learning; AI. (5) Sriparna Saha (IIT Patna): Text Mining Pattern Recognition; Natural Language Processing; Multi-Objective Optimization; Biomedical Information Extraction. (6) Sunita Sarawagi (IIT Bombay): Neural Models for Sequence Prediction with applications to dialog generation, translation, grammar correction, and time series forecasting; Domain Adaptation and Domain Generalization; Continuous, Reusable, Human intervenable and Modular Learning; Machine Learning models for reliable aggregate statistics over predicted variables; Graphical models for selective node labeling in social networks; Structure extraction from tables and lists on the web; Inference algorithms for graphical models in information extraction task. (7) Anush Sankaran (IBM Research): Applications of Machine Learning and Deep Learning with applications to computer vision and natural language processing. (8) Anuprriya Gogna (GE Healthcare): Optimization algorithms and learning architectures for various applications in the domain of healthcare, recommendation engines, and signal/image processing; Sparse Recovery; Matrix Factorization/Completion; Deep Learning; Recommender System Design. (9) Balaraman Ravindran (IIT Madras): Machine Learning; Spatio-temporal Abstractions in Reinforcement Learning; Social Network Analysis; Data Mining. (10) VP Subramanyam Rallabandi (National Brain Research Centre, Gurgaon): Mathematical Modeling; Neuroimaging; Machine Learning; Computational Biology; Knowledge-based Image Retrieval; Artificial Neural Networks; Fuzzy Logic; Soft Computing. Read on...
THE 10 REMARKABLE AI INFLUENCERS AND RESEARCHERS IN INDIA
Author: Smriti Srivastava
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jan 2020
Team of researchers led by Prof. Saptarshi Ghosh of Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur have developed an AI-based (Artificial Intelligence) system to automate reading of legal case judgements. Although in countries like US, Britain, Japan, Singapore and Australia, AI is utlilized for legal research, review documents during litigation and conduct due diligence, analyse contracts to determine whether they meet pre-determined criteria, and to even predict case outcomes. But this research can become pioneering in Indian context as AI use in legal field is just taking off. India follows a Common Law system that prioritises the doctrine of legal precedent over statutory law, and where legal documents are often written in an unstructured way. The paper, 'Identification of Rhetorical Roles of Sentences in Indian Legal Judgments', based on the research received 'Best Paper Award' at JURIX 2019, the International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems, at Madrid. Other researchers in the project are - Paheli Bhattacharya (IIT Kharagpur), Kripabandhu Ghosh (Tata Research Development and Design Centre, Pune), Shounak Paul (IIT Kharagpur), Adam Wyner (Swansea University, UK). Prof. Ghosh says, 'Taking 50 judgments from the Supreme Court of India, we segmented these by first labelling sentences...then performing extensive analysis of the human-assigned labels and developing a high quality gold standard corpus to train the machine to carry out the task. We are trying to build an AI system which can give guidance to the common man about which laws are being violated in a given situation, or if there is merit in taking a particular situation to court, so that legal costs can be minimised.' The neural methods used by the team enables automatic learning of the features, given sufficient amount of data, and can be used across multiple legal domains. This method can help in several downstream tasks such as summarization of legal judgments, legal search, case law analysis, and other functions. Read on...
IIT Kharagpur develops AI-powered tech for reading legal cases
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 aug 2019
Researchers from IIT-Madras (Tamil Nadu, India), Prof. Asokan Thondiyath and research scholar Nagamanikandan Govindan, have designed and developed a multimodal robotic system, termed as 'Grasp Man', that has good grasping, manipulation and locomotion abilities. Their research, 'Design and Analysis of a Multimodal Grasper Having Shape Conformity and Within-Hand Manipulation With Adjustable Contact Forces', is recently published in ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics. The robot is fitted with a pair of graspers that provide morphological adaptation, enabling it to conform to the geometry of the object being grasped, and allowing it to hold objects securely and manipulate them much like the human hand. The two graspers are equipped with a robotic platform that provides behavioural adaptation. The robot will have various industrial applications such as pipe inspection, search-and-rescue operations, and others that involve climbing, holding, and assembling. Prof. Asokan says, 'The motivation behind this research is to realise a robot with a minimalistic design that can overcome the need for task-specific robots that are capable of navigating and manipulating across different environments without increasing the system complexity.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 may 2019
The research, 'Development of a pathological healthcare system for early detection of neurological gait abnormalities', by Prof. Anup Nandy of National Institute of Technology (Rourkela, India) in collaboration with Prof. Gentiane Venture of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT, Japan), aims to address human aging utilizing low-cost software solutions to early diagnose neurological gait abnormalities. Anomalies and abnormalities found in a person's walking style are termed as gait abnormalities. As human beings have different anatomical structure depending on age, gender and body-weight, they are prone to various gait abnormalities. Due to lack of awareness of such diseases and problems, the abnormalities get unnoticed at the initial stages. Moreover, the assessment becomes a little less credible without proper software and automation that uses data analysis. Scientists applied high level Machine Learning Algorithms for detection and periodic assessment of abnormalities. The software with the techniques of deep learning detects the various gait (walking) patterns, assess the collected data on specific parameters and the identified data is used in the detection or observing patient's improvements in various abnormalities like Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson's Disease and Equinus gait. Prof. Nandy says, 'As computer science enthusiasts and researchers, it's our responsibility to serve society and contribute to the betterment. This noble approach bridges the gap between Computer Science and Medical Science and is instrumental in the detection and assessment of various diseases. The low-cost software becomes affordable to everyone and can be beneficial to many in general.' Read on...
Monday Morning - NIT Rourkela:
IMPACTING LIVES AND BEYOND: PROF. ANUP NANDY'S RESEARCH ON GAIT ABNORMALITIES
Author: Animesh Pradhan
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 jan 2019
According to the 'Global Highly-Cited Researchers 2018 List' by Clarivate Analytics, India has only 10 researchers among the world's 4000 most influential researchers. Even though India has many globally renowned institutions, but it lacks breakthrough research output. Top three countries in the list are - US (2639), UK (546), China (482). Prof. CNR Rao, world renowned chemist from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Sciences and named in the list, says, 'About 15 years ago, China and India were at the same level, but China today contributes to 15-16% of the science output in the world, while we currently contribute only 4%.' Prof. Dinesh Mohan, environmental science academic at JNU and included in the list, says, 'Areas such as climate change, water and energy are areas where research is more relevant nowadays. Where you publish your work is also important for impact.' Dr. Avnish Agarwal, also named in the list, says, 'We need to improve our research ecosystem...There is a lack of focus on quality research in Indian academia. If teachers do not do high-quality research, they will not be updated with new developments.' Others in the list are - Dr. Rajeev Varshney (Agriculture researcher at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics-ICRISAT); Dr. Ashok Pandey (Researcher at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research); Dr. Alok Mittal and Dr. Jyoti Mittal (Researchers in environmental science, water treatment, green chemistry and chemical kinetics at the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology); Dr. Rajnish Kumar (Researcher and professor at IIT Madras's Department of Chemical Engineering); Dr. Sanjeeb Sahoo (Researcher in nanotechnology at the Institute of Life Sciences); Dr. Sakthivel Rathinaswamy (Professor and researcher in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Bharathiar University). Read on...
ONLY 10 AMONG THE WORLD'S TOP 4000 INFLUENTIAL RESEARCHERS ARE INDIAN: REPORT
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 oct 2018
According to the report by Prof. Anne Boddington (PVC of Research, Business & Innovation at Kingston School of Art, Kingston University, UK), 'Future of design education in India', India needs to produce 65000 designs annually to satisfy the capacity of indigenous creative industry. The current production is around 5000 per year. Prof. Boddington is working on the development of arts and design education in India and collaborating with Indian Institute of Art and Design (IIAD). She says, 'Design and Art as a field is emerging in India. There is not only a huge opportunity but also a sense of enthusiasm and can-do attitude in Indians for it. But to match-up to the emerging field, there is a need to train teachers first...A design teacher needs to make the student autonomous and increase their level of creativity and understanding.' She recommends that arts and design education should not be limited to creative fields, but should also become part of all fields of learning. She considers critical listening, research, and quality assessment are part of design and art curriculum. According to her, there is a great potential to create interdisciplinary programs where creative skills will be imparted as a part of foundation courses. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 aug 2018
As the saying goes, 'Necessity is the Mother of Invention' - A temporary ban on firecrackers by Indian Supreme Court, an appeal to scientisits from Dr. Harsh Vardhan (Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, GOI) to develop e-firecrackers and social campaigns against their use due to environmental concerns, has driven a team of scientists from Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISERM) led by Prof. Samrat Ghosh (Chemical Sciences) to innovate and develop 'green' firecrackers that are safer, smoke-free and reusable. Prof. Samrat says, 'I have filled combustible material in the disposable bottle. This material is ignited with a source, like a spark. The launcher ignites the material which burns and generates pressure, pushing the bottle upwards, like a rocket. This is one of the safest methods of bursting crackers. In the community where I have tested this, even four-year-old kids feel comfortable operating this. Additionally, the combustive recipe in the device is very benign and not at all harmful for the user and the environment.' Regarding additional usage of the invention, Prof. Samrat says, 'From driving away animals in agriculture fields to airports using them to clear runways, the device is beneficial in many different situations.' Read on...
The Better India:
Exclusive: Meet The Scientist Behind Smoke-Free, Debris-Less & Low-Cost Firecrackers!
Authors: Ahmed Sherrif, Gayatri Mishra
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 may 2018
Design as a separate field is getting more recognition in India. Policy initiatives like 'Design in India' and 'Make in India' will give design further impetus and assist in creating a thriving design ecosystem. India now have 30 to 35 design schools, most of them came up in the last few years. Prof. Anirudha Joshi of Industrial Design Centre at IIT-Bombay explores the condition of design education in India and suggests ways to make it better and more in tune with industry. He lists prevalent gaps between academia and industry - what is taught in design schools and what a professional designer need to do - (1) Uninentional gaps: Things that left out in design curriculums. Course duration is shorter than what is needed to become a good designer. (2) Lack of industry/hands-on environment: Certain things are best taught in industry setup and academic setup doesn't suit them. (3) Intentional gaps: Design school is not supposed to prepare students only for industry. Focus is on developing thought leaders having theoretical concepts and not just skills and training. (4) Limited availability of design teachers. (5) Lack of strong tradition in design research. (6) Lack of design education infrastructure. There is demand/supply gap in terms of skilled human resources. As the industry is growing, at least five million designers are required as compared to the current approximately 20000 designers. Many sectors like manufacturing, small scale industries, small printing and publishing houses etc, although have need for designers but can't afford one in the present scenario. Moreover, the focus of current designs is more global and there are few instances of designs that are specific to the Indian market. More emphasis should be given to designers that specifically focus on India. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 feb 2018
Team of scientists at Indian Institute of Science (IISc Banagalore) led by Prof. Pradip Dutta and Prof. Pramod Kumar, have developed a super critical carbon di oxide Brayton test loop facility that would help generate clean energy from future power plants including solar thermal. The new generation high efficiency power plants with closed cycle CO2 as the working fluid have the potential to replace steam based nuclear and thermal power plants, thus reducing the carbon foot print significantly. While inaugurating the facility Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science and Technology (Govt. of India), said, 'I am sure all these intense scientific efforts and collective endeavours would enable us to realise the vision of an affordable, efficient, compact, reliable clean energy systems which will be robust and suitable in diverse geographic conditions.' The advantages of using S-CO2 in a closed loop Brayton Cycle include - 50% or more increase in efficiency of energy conversion; Smaller turbines and power blocks can make the power plant cheaper; Higher efficiency would significantly reduce CO2 emissions for fossil fuel based plants; Power plant's use of solar or nuclear heat source would mean higher capacity at lower operating costs. Read on...
India Education Diary:
Indian scientists develop next generation technology loop to generate clean energy
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 oct 2017
India's medical research is a cause of concern. According to the study, 'The research output from Indian medical institutions between 2005 and 2014' (Authors: Samrat Ray, Ishan Shah, Samiran Nundy; Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, India), published in 2016 in the Current Medicine Research & Practice journal, 'Only 25 (4.3%) of the institutions produced more than 100 papers a year but their contribution was 40.3% of the country's total research output. 332 (57.3%) of the medical colleges did not have a single publication during this period.' Authors used the SCOPUS database and analyzed the research output from 579 Indian medical institutions and hospitals. Peter Ashman, CEO of BMJ, explains, 'The academic vigour of any educational institution can be measured by its research output, the number of patents being filed, and how quickly research can translate into innovation. The next steps, that is commercialization and wide-scale adoption can follow and may take years, but first and foremost, there needs to be a robust research pipeline. For researchers in healthcare, it is important to have access to publishing tools, and programs that train them to develop core clinical research skills, and provide guidance in how to publish.' Clinicians need credible knowledge and research content, and continuously learn to stay competitive and relevant. India is undergoing rapid transformation in mobile and internet technologies. Digital tools can help customize the content for specific requirements. Mr. Ashman says, 'We believe that doctors need access to evidence based, updated and peer-reviewed content which deals with everyday issues in primary care and hospital medicine. The content delivery cycle should be mapped to the clinicians work schedule. E-learning platforms can help facilitate the access to education to doctors, right when they need it.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 aug 2017
According to Prof. Pritam Singh, Oxford Brookes University (UK), BRICS nations will lead the global economy and play vital role in spatial shift of the global capitalist economy. While speaking at expert session on 'Global Economic and Environment Crisis Faced by BRICS Economies' at Chandigarh University, Prof. Singh said, '...By 2050, if the Indian economy continues to maintain the current growth pace (GDP growth 7%), it will be the dominant global supplier of services while China would dominate the global manufacturing industry...' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 mar 2017
Team of researchers from IIT-Kharagpur, Prof. Sudip Misra, Prof. N. S. Raghuwanshi, Anandarup Mukherjee and Arijit Roy, has designed India's first indgenous drone, BHIM, that can create a Wi-Fi zone within a nearly 1 km radius when it flies overhead. It is specifically designed for emergency and conflict situations. It has a battery backup of 7 hours, can fly into a disaster zone and create a seamless communication network for those involved in the operation. The automated drone has an actual vision-based guidance with built-in intelligence that helps it identify if an area is crowded or not. It will then fly away and land in a safer place. According to Prof. Sudip Mishra, 'Such advanced built-in intelligence is not available in drones now. The design is completely in-house. The controlling and guiding algorithms of the drone have been developed in our lab.' Internet of Things (IoT) is an important component of the drone. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 oct 2016
Indian researchers, Naveen Kumar Malik of the Department of Electronics and Communication at Maharshi Dayanand University and V. R. Singh of the National Physical Laboratory, recently provided details about their 'Human Inspired Cognitive Wheelchair Navigation System' in the International Journal of Human Factors Modelling and Simulation. According to the researchers, 'The novel wheelchair navigation system can make the movable chairs avoid obstacles on their own and also sense when the user is tired or stressed. The smart wheelchair could also monitor user's heart rate, temperature or other vital signs for diagnostic purposes. The commercial version of the prototyped autonomous wheelchair would reduce the burden on care-giving staff in healthcare industry and improve the quality of life for disabled persons.' Read on...
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