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BJP MP Tarun Vijay warns of ‘cyber war’, seeks setting up of Ministry for cyber security


Raising the issue during Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha, he said cyber attacks have become a national security issue as cyber criminals were using social networking sites to target users in India

Tarun Vijay

Warning that the Third World War would be a ‘cyber war’, BJP member Tarun Vijay on Wednesday demanded setting up of a separate ministry for cyber security, saying India was the “second largest victim” of these attacks.Raising the issue during Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha, he said cyber attacks have become a national security issue as cyber criminals were using social networking sites to target users in India. Maintaining that the country has become the “second largest victim” of cyber attacks in the world, he said in the last five months 50,000 cyber attacks have been reported and nearly half of India’s internet population was being hit by cyber attackers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Citing a report by cyber security firm Norton, the BJP member said on an average, an affected individual loses about Rs 16,000 as a fallout of cyber crime. “This is a dreadful statistics for a country of a young population…I demand that there should be a separate ministy for cyber security in the country. We must take initiative. India must be the first counry to start a cyber security ministry,” Vijay said.He also stressed that for the success of ‘Digital India’ initiative, “we have to take care of cyber crimes”. He also made a case for cyber audits across industries, similar to that of telecom to banking sectors. The member suggested that all MLAs and MPs should be given training on various aspects of cyber security and demanded setting up of a proper cyber laboratory in the country. “India is a software capital of the world, but still we don’t have a state-of-the-art cyber lab in the country,” Vijay added.

Adele leaves Bieber, One Direction in dust on Billboard chart | Reuters

NEW YORK Adele beat all comers on the U.S. Billboard 200 album charts on Monday with a record-breaking debut for “25,” leaving other top acts like Justin Bieber and British boy band One Direction looking like also-rans.

The British songstress sold 3.48 million copies in the first week of release for “25,” making it the biggest-selling album of 2015 and the only album to surpass 3 million sales in one week since Nielsen began tracking sales in 1991, Nielsen Music said.

Adele’s success pushed Bieber’s “Purpose” into second place, with 290,090 sales in its second week, while One Direction had to settle for third with sales of 108,445 units of its release “Made in the A.M.,” also in its second week.

Sales of “25” comprised 41 percent of all U.S. album sales last week, Nielsen said.

Adele’s Grammy-winning 2011 album “21” also saw a boost, rising to ninth place on the Billboard 200 from 25th the week before.

But Bieber had the upper hand on the Digital Song charts, which measure online download sales. His single “Sorry” unseated Adele’s “Hello,” for the top spot, five weeks after both were released. The Canadian pop singer’s “Love Yourself” also took the No. 3 spot ahead of Adele’s new single “When We Were Young.”

The only other Top 10 newcomers to the Billboard 200 charts were American rapper Jadakiss, whose album “Top 5 Dead or Alive” debuted at No. 4 with just over 66,000 sales, and Irish singer Enya’s comeback album, “Dark Sky Island,” which landed at No. 8 with 47,700 units sold.

The Billboard 200 chart tallies units from album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album).

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Peter Cooney)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Future wars may be cyber wars, so a ‘digitised army’ is the need of the hour: Parrikar

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday expressed concern over the use of internet by Islamic State militants for recruitment and said it was important to enhance information and communications technology (ICT) capabilities to face any threat.

“…you take the example of terrorist organisation like Daesh or Islamic State; they use internet to ensure lot of recruitment and support. They are the ones who are the best users of Internet technology for promoting their cause,” Parrikar said at an event.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

“My worry is about information blackout due to various disruptive mechanisms… information corruption can be another danger to platforms; and information overload is also a problem,” he said.

The minister was speaking at a conference on ‘Enabling ICTEC Infrastructure and Harnessing the Human Capital for Digital Army’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

“One way to progress is through ICT use and make a more digitised army… we need to enhance our capability so that we are protected,” he said.

“ICT has a very important role to play. The future wars may be cyber wars. I see the signals for it and this is not necessarily in a way we think… I believe very strongly that ultimately a conventional army cannot be replaced but it can be equipped with all the information to fight in a well planned way without interruption,” Parrikar added.


PM Modi says had wide-ranging talks with ‘friend’ Li Keqiang

Citing China’s “Made in China 2025” and “Internet Plus” drives and India’s “Make in India” and “Digital India” programmes, Li pointed out that the two countries have compatible development strategies and bilateral cooperation enjoys bright prospects.


Terming Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as his “friend”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he had “wide ranging talks” on bilateral issues with him during their meeting at Kuala Lumpur.”Happy to meet my friend, Premier Li Keqiang. We had wide-ranging talks on India-China ties during our meeting. Here is a picture,” Modi said in post on Chinese Sina Weibo microblog on Sunday. He has also posted a photo of him shaking hands at the meeting on Saturday held on the sidelines of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) meeting in Kuala Lumpur.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister opened his account on Weibo, akin to Twitter, ahead of his visit to China in May this year which attracted several thousand followers. Since then he has been regularly updating his account with posts greeting Chinese on their festivals and his meetings with various Chinese officials visiting India. On his meeting with Modi, Li said China and India — the world’s two largest developing countries — have more common interests than divergences.Citing China’s “Made in China 2025” and “Internet Plus” drives and India’s “Make in India” and “Digital India” programmes, Li pointed out that the two countries have compatible development strategies and bilateral cooperation enjoys bright prospects. Beijing, he said, also looks forward to strengthening coordination with New Delhi on multilateral affairs and jointly tackling terrorism and other global challenges.China, he said, also stands ready to join hands with India to beef up cooperation in trade and investment, infrastructure construction and financial services, and broaden people-to- people exchanges, so as to further consolidate public support for bilateral relations. Meanwhile, China is willing to work with India to strive for “early harvests” in the construction of the Bangladesh- China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, he said.

#DigitalIndiaFail: When Rajiv Pratap Rudy thought Nitish Kumar was advertising in a Pakistani daily

On Friday, Rajiv Pratap Rudy got trolled on Twitter for suggesting that Nitish Kumar advertised in Pakistani daily Dawn: “Nitish advertises in PAKISTAN daily “DAWN” e-edition to woo voters in Bihar. Why Pak? Whom does he want to reach?”

File Photo

The Bihar Polls are underway and both sides haven’t pulled any punches in trying to make the opposition look bad. We’ve had dubsmashing, spoof lyrics, childish acronyms, meet-the-tantric videos and even suggestions about Pakistan celebrating.On Friday, Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy got trolled on Twitter for suggesting that Nitish Kumar advertised in Pakistani daily Dawn (a tweet that he subsequently deleted: “Nitish advertises in PAKISTAN daily “DAWN” e-edition to woo voters in Bihar. Why Pak? Whom does he want to reach?”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Now the problem was that Rudy was sharing a picture of the online edition of DAWN and erroneously thought that Nitish Kumar paid to publish advertisements. What he was referring to was the space on the website reserved for online ads through Google.Obviously, this didn’t escape the notice of the Twitterati who were quick to mock Rudy’s mistake. Incidentally, Rajiv Pratap Rudy is a Member of Parliament who’s also the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in Modi’s government which is a key ministry in Make in India so this ignorance (either from him or the whoever is handling the account), doesn’t really fill us confidence about Digital India.This really doesn’t speak well of Digital India. Seriously guys, this is embarrassing. Just in case, Rajiv Pratap Rudy needs help according to Webopedia, Google Adsense is an“… is an advertising placement service by Google. The program is designed for website publishers who want to display targeted text, video or image advertisements on websitepages and earn money when site visitors view or click the ads.The advertisements are controlled and managed by Google and Web publishers simply need to create a free AdSense account and copy and paste provided code to display the ads. Revenue using AdSense is generated on a per-click or per-impression basis. It is free to become a verified website publisher in the Google AdSense program.”

Modi didn’t start ‘Digital India’, it was Rajiv Gandhi: Sam Pitroda

Mumbai: Noted technocrat Sam Pitroda, who is credited as the father of the nation’s telecom revolution, on Tuesday flayed the Narendra Modi government for snatching away all the credit for the digital revolution started by Rajiv Gandhi, saying Modi “did not” initiate the digital India drive.

“Modi didn’t start digital India…It’s a journey which started 25 years ago and it will take 20 more years,” Pitroda, who was roped in by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1984 as head of the Telecom Commission, said while launching his autobiography ‘Dreaming Big: My Journey to Connect India’, here this evening.

Sam Pitroda. Agencies.

Sam Pitroda. Agencies.

The book was launched by Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, who showered praise on Pitroda crediting his “friend, philosopher and guide” and “daring dreamer” to be a “pioneer” of telecom revolution. “Pitroda saw the future and had a hand in creating it,” he said.

An aggrieved Pitroda said, “Digital India was started in Rajiv Gandhi’s time with the launch of the National Informatics Centre.”

Launched in July 2015, the Digital India initiative is an attempt by the Modi government to ensure that public services are made available to all electronically by improving online infrastructure and by increasing Internet connectivity.

Warning the present generation from getting carried away with the ongoing high decibel campaign by the current administration, Pitroda said, “Digital India is not a novel concept, let’s not get carried away. It takes decades of work to create a digital India, and doesn’t happen overnight”.

However, the technocrat said he was glad that the Modi administration is pushing for digital India with vigour.

At the launch of the book in the Capital yesterday (by ex-prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi) Pitroda said to ensure the success of the ‘Make in India’ the government has to build infrastructure like good roads, power and have skilled labour.

Satyanarayan Gangaram Pitroda, popularly known as Sam Pitroda, was born in a remote Orissa village called Titilagarh in May 1942 and is a telecom engineer, inventor, entrepreneur and policymaker.

Pitroda led the telecom revolution under Rajiv Gandhi when he set up the NCI and worked on the Knowledge Commission and also founded C-DOT. Gandhi roped him to these roles when he was working in the US’s tech industry.

A key policy maker when it came to technology during Gandhi’s tenure, Pitroda played a key role in the telecom revolution. He also headed the Knowledge Commission during the tenure of Manmohan Singh.

His other books include ‘The March of Mobile Money: The Future of Lifestyle Management, ‘Exploding Freedom: Roots in Technology Education’.


Country on the verge of a digital revolution: Ambani at Sam Pitroda’s book launch

Mumbai: Ahead of his company’s much-awaited 4G services launch, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani on Tuesday said the country is on the verge of a digital revolution where every village will be connected with an optic fibre cable thus making it a strong knowledge economy.

“Today, our country stands on the verge of a digital revolution,” Ambani said while launching the autobiography of technocrat Sam Pitroda in Mumbai.

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani. Agency

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani. Agency

Ambani, the 39th richest person in the world according to Forbes and the richest in the country, said very soon the country will cross the 1-billion mobile connections-mark and the optic fibre cable network will reach every village.

Stating that this can make the country into a knowledge economy, Ambani said the country will not only be a “networked society”, but also a “smart society”.

Ambani’s comments come amid a high-octane campaign by the Modi government titled ‘Digital India’ under which it is trying to leverage the country’s prowess for social good.

Ambani complimented Pitroda, widely considered as the pioneer of the telecom revolution that preceded the launch of mobile telephony in the country, for the book titled ‘Dreaming Big’, saying it will set the imagination of the youth and inspire all to make an attempt.

He said the future is digital and the seeds were sown through Pitroda’s work in ushering the telecom revolution, which connected the far-flung areas with fixed line phones and also making calls cheaper.

Showering Pitroda with high praise, Ambani credited his “friend, philosopher and guide” and “daring dreamer” to be a “pioneer” of telecom revolution. “He saw the future and had a hand in creating it,” Ambani said.

Recounting his 30-year-old association with Pitroda, Ambani also made a rare comment on his personal preferences in matters concerning looks. “Being in the chemicals industry, I still use the (hair) dye,” Ambani, a trained chemical engineer himself, said.


Digital locker to be soon linked to e-registration of documents

“We are planning to link e-registration with the digital locker,” said Dr Ramaswami N, Inspector General of Registration and Controller of Stamps. He added plans were afoot to promote the e-registration system.

People going in for e-registration of documents such as leave and license agreements will soon be able to save these papers in a soft format on the Centre’s digital locker. It will make it easier for people to store, retrieve and share these documents with other agencies safely. “We are planning to link e-registration with the digital locker,” said Dr Ramaswami N, Inspector General of Registration and Controller of Stamps. He added plans were afoot to promote the e-registration system.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Aadhaar-linked DigiLocker, a a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Digital India scheme, will enable people to safe-keep their documents such as those related to address, identity, education and property in a paperless format in the repository’s free storage space. The cloud-based system will enable people and agencies to push these documents into the locker and share them electronically. “Once the registration is completed using the UIDAI card, we will automatically send the papers to the digital locker. So people can automatically retrieve them,” said Ramaswami, adding that the process to ensure the integration between the two systems was underway. The e-vault, which enables users to upload, e-sign and share documents, has around 9,88,608 users so far, who have stored 9,74,579 documents. It will also reduce the dependence on physical documentation. Apart from leave and license documents, people can also register first sale of flats by developers and MHADA allotment letters from the Konkan board through e-registration. The department of registration and stamps is gradually making it mandatory for executors of leave and license documents to go in for e-registration at empanelled service providers by doing away with manual registration at its offices. The move has already been initiated in Mumbai with four of its 25 offices. This will reduce footfall as these agreements form a bulk of the registration burden in the city. Officials said the Aadhaar-based e-registration will help people file documents at their convenience, do away with the necessity of coming to government offices and being fleeced by agents. This may, however, inconvenience those who do not hold Aadhaar cards or are unaware about the facility.

Here’s how Digital India is WhatsApping communal revolution from Dadri to Muzaffarnagar

We are not a country of beggars and elephants and snakecharmers.

This is a new India of Whatsapp and smartphones and That’s the Digital India Narendra Modi sold, to a starstruck Silicon Valley just the other day.

Mr Modi told an inspiring story about an India where farmers in Maharashtra are on a Whatsapp group to share agricultural tips and techniques.

Days later barbaric violence erupted in Dadri village, not too far from Delhi. A mob, apparently fired up by announcements of cow slaughter made at the local temple, barged into the house of the Muslim ironsmith, convinced that he had beef in his refrigerator. Soon the iron smith was dead, his son in hospital and #DadriLynching was the latest hashtag of shame on Twitter.

It sounds medieval but this too was powered by Whatsapp and social media.

The villagers of Bisada, writes Betwa Sharma in Huffington Post, have pictures of meat and bones, clinching proof in their minds that Mohammad Akhlaq’s family slaughtered a cow. “The photos have spread like wildfire across the village, and almost everyone has images on their own phones,” writes Sharma. Pictures circulated via Whatsapp.


Union Minister Mahesh Sharma in Dadri. Image from PTI.

Vandana Rana, the sister of Vishal Rana who has been named in the police FIR as being part of the lynch mob, tells Supriya Sharma of Scroll that she often gets messages and videos on the subject of cow slaughter. “The videos are from Kashmir, from Muzzafarnagar, basically from Mohammedan areas, where cows are being killed,” she says. She gets the images via Whatsapp.

Whatsapp is just technology. It’s neither good nor bad. It just depends on how we use it – to share farming tips or get blood boiling. The government is not unaware of its power for rumourmongering. At the height of the Hardik Patel reservation agitation in Gujarat, there was a clampdown on social media, such as Whatsapp and Facebook.

But the larger and more troubling issue outlives the ban. There is a whole alternate media universe that has been spawned via social media where rumours, Photoshopped pictures and canards go viral faster than a news story can. This is a global phenomenon. A decade old picture of two Hmong children comforting each other in north Vietnam has been peddled on the Internet as “two Burmese orphans”, “victims of the Nepal earthquake” and even the Syrian civil war.

In India we have seen again and again, the deadly consequences of this alternate media underworld. In 2013, a Whatsapp video of two boys being beaten, fanned the Muzaffarnagar riots. By the time it was determined the video was at least two years old, filmed perhaps in Afghanistan or Pakistan, it was too late. It had served its deadly purpose. “”We did not imagine so many people would have access to the net on their mobile phones and WhatsApp,” a police offer admitted to Indian Express. Is the uber-connected digital India Mr Modi plans going to be as swift to burst these bubbles as a politician is about using Section 66A against someone forwarding a cartoon?

When Mr Modi tells the Silicon Valley technorati about how Twitter has turned everyone into a reporter, he misses a very important caveat. It is a “reporter” who is in the end unaccountable, whose “report” does not have to stand the scrutiny of a newsroom and an editor.

News trader. Presstitute. Paid media — All these epithets are used routine and with relish, not just by trolls but even by ministers. In the civic elections in Bengal this weekend, a female journalist was threatened with gangrape allegedly by Trinamool goons and others were beaten up for daring to take pictures of outsiders at polling booths. It might suit a political party to take potshots at the media, and sometimes those potshots might even be deserved, but the more we vilify media as a whole, the more we ensure that conspiracy theories and Photoshopped pictures thrive. Their oxygen is this distrust of mainstream media.

It should give us pause that ordinary people accept something blindly because they “saw it on the Internet” while they dismiss everything they don’t like in the papers or on television as “paid news”. As Shashi Tharoor writes in India Shastra, a friend’s father says once he did not believe anything if it was not in the Times of India. Now he does not believe anything if it is in the Times of India.

The quip always elicits a chuckle. But the consequences of that, and media has indeed played its own part in its degradation, are devastating for all of us. “Even if one felt that Hinduism was under threat, that media was engaged in a conspiracy against the current regime” it should have been easy, writes Santosh Desai in The Times of India, to say “‘you cannot get together in a mob and stone a man to death because of what he eats. It is wrong’.”

But that did not happen. In an anguished piece after visiting Basehara village, NDTV’s senior executive editor Ravish Kumar asks “How is it that I didn’t find a single person who looked ashamed or had even a shred of remorse? Why was no one distraught that thousands of people from the village could have been transformed into a killer mob?”

The answer could lie in what they are reading and watching. Why do they believe their phones and not his channel? Why is Whatsapp the paper of record? In our haste to determine via forensics what the Akhlaq family was eating, we forget to check what the mob that attacked them was being fed.

This is where the silence of Narendra Modi becomes damning. He cannot be responsible for every Whatsapp rumour. But he has the bully pulpit to do his best to puncture its bubble. And every day he tweets about Safaigiri awards, the World Billiards championship and Sushma Swaraj’s UN speech but not Dadri, the bubble grows bigger. Every time he vilifies media, the bubble grows stronger.

Until one day it gains enough power to leap outside the virtual reality of a mobile phone and go into a man’s house, ransack his refrigerator and beat him to a pulp with a sewing machine.

“The pace at which people are taking to digital technology defies our stereotypes of age, education, language or income,” Modi had said proudly at a gathering of Silicon Valley CEOs.

He was right. Dadri, Muzaffarnagar,Vadodara proved it. Chillingly so. And it will happen again.

Ankit Fadia named brand ambassador of Digital India’s campaign

Speaking to dna from the UAE on phone, Fadia said that even though the decision was a humbling one, he was told about it more than a few months ago. “A few weeks before the Digital India campaign was launched by Narendra Modi, an official of the department of electronics and information technology got in touch with me and asked me whether I would like to be a part of the initiative,”he said.

When on Monday, self-styled digital expert Ankit Fadia announced that he has been appointed as the brand ambassador of the Digital India campaign, it took many by surprise.Speaking to dna from the UAE on phone, Fadia said that even though the decision was a humbling one, he was told about it more than a few months ago. “A few weeks before the Digital India campaign was launched by Narendra Modi, an official of the department of electronics and information technology got in touch with me and asked me whether I would like to be a part of the initiative,”he said. The official asked Fadia to come and meet him to collect the certificate, he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked why did the government not announce it during the Digital India announcement, Fadia said that perhaps the focus was more on prospective investments. He added that as brand ambassador, his roles and responsibilities were three-fold. “Firstly, to promote the components of the initiative on social media and on personal media. Secondly, to participate in any Digital India event when I am asked to,” he said, adding. “Thirdly, sometime provide with inputs on digital projects when asked to.”The announcement was however, not too well taken by the people on social media, many of whom felt that Fadia did not have the prowess. Fadia shot to fame at the age of 17 when he claimed to have hacked the website of an Indian tech magazine, and said that he was later offered a job by the editor. The said editor, Charles Assisi, denied that it ever happened. Fadia also claims that he was consulted by a classified agency to hack Osama Bin Laden encrypted messages in 2001. He also claims that he has done important work in the field of “digital intelligence”.Fadia has authored 16 books and is currently takes classes on ethical hacking. He has taken ethical hacking classes in all the major colleges and universities. He also starred in an MTV show What The Hack, and has a YouTube show Geek On the Loose where he shares technology tips and tricks. The show has more than 750,000+ views on YouTube.Ethical hackerAnkit Fadia has authored 16 books and is currently takes classes on ethical hacking. He has taken ethical hacking classes in all the major colleges and universities. He also starred in an MTV show What The Hack, and has a YouTube show Geek On the Loose where he shares technology tips and tricks. The show has more than 750,000+ views on YouTube.

Mamata Banerjee declassifies files on Netaji and allied cabinet meetings held during 1938-47

“Digitisation of files is one such step taken by us towards Digital India program,” said Banerjee.

On September 18, after 67 years, as many as 64 Netaji files with the Bengal government were made public in the Kolkata Police museum.

After declassifying the intelligence files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal state government declassified files on cabinet meetings that were held during the pre-independence era between 1938-47. “We have declassified state cabinet papers from 1938 to 1947 today. Total 401 cabinet files of the pre-independence era were declassified. The declassification of these files will throw light on the history of pre-independence era. The files will be available with the state library and public archive. I will hand over a copy of the CD containing digital data of Netaji files to the President of India, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha speaker,” said Banerjee while addressing reporters at Nabanna – state secretariat, before leaving for Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chief Minister will be leaving for Delhi today to attend Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-convened Chief Minister’s meet. Banerjee also highlighted that the digitisation of files is a step towards Digital India program. “Digitisation of files is one such step taken by us towards Digital India program. Digitisation of files after independence will be done in a phase wise manner in future. In this age of internet and social media, we believe in transparency. That is why we declassified files. People must know the truth. We hope the stand taken by our government regarding declassification of files will be adopted by other governments also,” she added.On September 18, after 67 years, as many as 64 Netaji files with the Bengal government were made public in the Kolkata Police museum. While the hard copies of the Netaji files were placed inside the wooden and glass cabinets, ten desktops were installed inside the museum, where visitors can browse through the data of the files in digital format.All 64 intelligence files, 55 with the then Special Branch of Calcutta Police and nine with the state’s IB, were thrown open for public from September 21. The 12,744-page dossier, however, opened up new avenues about Netaji’s interactions with people, his personal life and his dreams about freeing India from the British rule.

India is heaven for investors; want to make it $20 trillion economy: PM Modi

Projecting India as a “heaven” for investors, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said his government is working on deregulation and ensuring ‘ease of doing business’ as he aims to convert the country’s economy from 8 trillion dollars to 20 trillion dollars.

PM Modi at at Roundtable meeting on Renewable Energy, in San Jose.

Projecting India as a “heaven” for investors, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said his government is working on deregulation and ensuring ‘ease of doing business’ as he aims to convert the country’s economy from 8 trillion dollars to 20 trillion dollars.In a Townhall Q&A at the Facebook Headquarters here along with its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Modi spoke about efforts to revive the faith among foreign investors, saying reforms are taking place speedily and the government had managed to “restore the lost confidence” during the last 15 months as he appeared to take a dig at the previous UPA dispensation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said his government was laying thrust on three sectors particularly — agriculture, services and manufacturing — along with building the physical and digital infrastructure simultaneously.During the 45-minute session, he also spoke in detail about the benefits of social media, particularly how it has been useful to him to connect with the people within the country and abroad, and how it can help take corrective steps if some government steps go wrong.He became emotional while answering a question from Zuckerberg on his over 90-year-old mother as he highlighted how she had raised him by going through difficulties like washing utencils of others and working as a labourer.”It is my dream to convert Indian economy into USD 20 trillion from the present USD 8 trillion,” Modi said in presence of the audience, which mostly constituted of Indians.Noting that India is a “heaven” for investors, he said, “I do not believe that there is dearth of money. Countries have money but do not know where to invest. I am giving them the address. Here is the place (India)”We are bringing technology, transparency, efficiency, ease and effectiveness in governance,” Modi said.The Prime Minister asserted that during his 15-month tenure, the “scale and speed” of reforms has improved significantly and even the global bodies like World Bank and IMF have forecast a high growth for India.At the same time, he said India is a huge country and it will take time for the changes to become visible, as he answered a question about the slow pace of reforms.”It is not a scooter whose direction you can see changing easily. A 40-compartment train takes time… India is such a huge country,” he said.While talking about the speed of reforms, Modi appeared to take a dig at the previous governments as he said that nationalisation of banks was undertaken 40 years back but 60 per cent of the population was without a bank account till his dispensation introduced the Jandhan scheme last year.”180 million accounts were opened within 100 days of our government. This is the speed and scale of change,” he said.The nationalisation of banks was undertaken by Indira Gandhi. Zuckerberg, while welcoming Modi to the headquarters, said he considers India a “temple” of knowledge from where he took inspiration to build Facebook more than 10 years back.He said India needs to be leader online and appreciated Modi for his ‘Digital India’ campaign.The Facebook chief said he was personally impressed at how Modi used social media to connect with people directly.The Prime Minister said he was aspiring to connect 6 lakh villages of the country with optical fibre network in five years as he understands the importance.”Earlier, humans used to settle along the rivers. Later habitations used to take place along the highways. In future, people will settle down along the places having optical fibre lines,” he said.Modi said, “In the last 15 month, the perception about India has changed. We have regained the lost confidence. This I believe will bring change.”He said when he adopted social media, he never thought that he would one day become the Chief Minister or Prime Minister but was just curious to know the world.”Social media helped me gain information about the world. This brought a big change in my thought process. This connected me with the world and the world accepted me as I am,” said Modi while noting that he was not much educated and came from a poor background.While explaining the benefits of social media, he said, “Government has a problem, there is usually a gulf between government and the people. By the time, you realise that, the five years (term) is over.”But the power of social media is such that you know about reactions instantly. There is instant voting on decisions because of social media. If some decisions are wrong, they can be corrected. Earlier, it could happen only after five years.”This is why I tell leaders all around the world, don’t run away from social media…Get connected. Good governments run on feedback. For realtime feedback, social media is great help and if a government is alert, it can take corrective measures and speed up work.”Modi said India has to emphasize on two things – physical and digital infrastructure. “Highways and I-ways are equally important,” he said, adding that in view of the situation in India, these could not be done one after another but simultaneously.Talking about the strength of social media, he said it has played a big role in governance and helped in connecting with people within the country and abroad.He gave the example of how he connected with people of China through Weibo, its version of Twitter.”China has a different social media structure. But I am active in Chinese social media. I greeted Chinese Prime Minister on his birthday. It went viral on Chinese social media,” Modi said.He said he also greeted the Israeli Prime Minister in Hebrew which too went viral in Israel. “The best fun was, when he responded ‘thank you’ in Hindi on twitter.”Describing it as “the new face of diplomacy,” the Prime Minister said earlier diplomacy involved connections between capital cities and leaders of different countries. But now through social media, one can connect directly with people of other countries… Social media is a big catalyst of social change.”To a question on status of women, he said India is the only country in the world where women are seen as a Goddesses. “It is true that there have been diversion and deterioration,” he said, adding his government was working for empowerment of women.”As far as government is concerned, if we want to achieve our developmental goals, we can’t keep 50 percent of our population within four walls. Government policies need to be proactive. The government is taking steps in that direction,” he said.”For women empowerment, we have to ensure that they have a role in decision-making process,” he said.Zuckerberg asked Modi about his mother while saying that family is very very important for both of them and introduced his parents who were present there.Congratulating Zuckerberg’s parents for giving birth to such a genius, Modi got emotional as he said, “I am from a poor family. I used to sell tea at a railway station. No one would have imagined that the world’s lagest democracy elected a tea seller as their leader. I salute the people of India.”With choked voice and wet eyes, he continued with pauses: “My father is no longer in this world. My mother is more than 90 years of age. She is illiterate… When we were small, she would clean utensils, do manual labour…”He said in India, there are lakhs of such mothers who sacrifice their lives for their kids. “That is why I would like to thank mothers everywhere and I hope that their blessings would keep us on the right path.”Zuckerberg appreciated Modi’s Digital India campaign, saying there is still a billion people in the country to be connected to internet.

Watch: Narendra Modi’s live speech at Facebook headquarters

On Sundary, Narendra Modi visited Facebook headquarters and took part in a townhall.

On Sunday, Narendra Modi visited Facebook HQ where he is going to interact with Mark Zuckerberg and thousands of others. On Sunday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Indian Prime MInister Narendra Modi changed their Facebook profile picture in support of Digital India.Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook: “I changed my profile picture to support Digital India, the Indian government’s effort to connect rural communities to the internet and give people access to more services online. Looking forward to discussing this with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Facebook today. Show your support for Digital India at”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

India, US have responsibility to shape Asia Pacific’s future: PM Modi

“Indians and Americans have worked together to shape the knowledge economy. They have made us aware of the vast potential of technology,” Modi said in his address on Digital India before top American CEOs from the Silicon Valley.

India and the US, the world’s two largest democracies, have the responsibility to shape the future of peace, stability and prosperity in Asia Pacific region which would determine the course of this century, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday night in California.Observing that India and the US are located at the two ends of the Asia Pacific region, the Prime Minister said, “We have the responsibility to shape a future of peace, stability and prosperity in this region.”Modi, who is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama tomorrow in New York, said the dynamic Asia Pacific Region will shape the course of this century.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Indians and Americans have worked together to shape the knowledge economy. They have made us aware of the vast potential of technology,” Modi said in his address on Digital India before top American CEOs from the Silicon Valley.”From large corporate to young professionals in this great centre of innovation, each can be part of the Digital India story. The sustainable development of one-sixth of humanity will be a major force of good for our world and our planet,” he said.”Today, we speak of India-US partnership as a defining partnership of this century. It hinges on two major reasons.Both converge here in California,” he said.Modi said India US relationship is defined by the power of youth, technology and innovation. These can ignite a partnership that will advance and sustain prosperity in the two countries.”Even more, in this Digital Age, we can draw on the strength of our values and partnership to shape a better and more sustainable future for the world,” he said.

Government firefights moments of embarrassment on eve of Narendra Modi visit to Silicon Valley

Draft encryption policy withdrawn. Many feel that the policy has strengthened the argument of Modi-bashers in the US

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad greets MoS Rajayavardhan Rathore as they leave after a Cabinet meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday

Though, the government on Tuesday withdrew a draft encryption policy that would have made it mandatory for storage of all electronic messages as well as registration of devices, the timing of its unveiling has been embarrassing.Highly placed sources in the government said while a policy to secure transactions and to prevent cyber crimes was long overdue, making it public at a time to coincide with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley has landed planners of his tour in a soup. Already, they are battling 130 US-based South Asian academics, who in a letter Silicon Valley scientists, have expressed concern over Modi’s Digital India Initiative, saying it was aimed at to conduct mass surveillance. PM is traveling to the Bay Area for a visit aimed at attracting investment in technology and electronics manufacturing in India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even, the Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also admitted that some of the expressions used in the draft have given rise to uncalled-for misgivings, there is none in the government to explain, why timing was chosen, just days ahead of Modi’s US visit.Soon after it was unveiled, there was a flurry of activities within the PMO, Cabinet Secretariat as well as in the Ministry of external affairs to control damage and the impression that India was planing to snoop on its citizens. Many feel that the policy, even though just a draft, has not only strengthened argument of Modi-bashers in the US, but has also hit the country on diplomatic front as well.After 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, during previous UPA government, India had a series of back-and-forth demands to open up the encrypted data network of Blackberry and other networks so the security officials could inspect the messages. Union home ministry had been seeking interception solutions because it was learned that Pakistani terrorists had used mobile and satellite phones to coordinate the strikes. Currently, agencies submit name of the suspect to network companies, who in turn provide the decoded communication records of the customer. But this does not include their enterprise services.Generally, all messaging services like WhatsApp, Viber, Line, Google Chat, Yahoo Messenger and the like come with a high level of encryption and many a time, security agencies find it hard to intercept these messages. “Yesterday, it was brought to our notice that draft has been put in the public domain seeking comments. I wish to make it very clear that it is just a draft and not the view of the government. I have noted concerns expressed… by the public,” Prasad said.Congress party’s chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjiwala described it another sinister attempt by Modi government to control, subjugate and suppress the individual liberty. “If all data of an individual will be monitored and stored, if everything you say do browse, sent on the Internet will be stored and monitored, who will trust you and why should two individuals or agencies trust each other,” he said.But more than snooping on mails, the policy also stated that government will notify a list of encryption products and services and only these will be allowed to be used for businesses or communication in the country. Surjiwala said registration of communication products and services is an anti-thesis to Digital India as also to ease of doing business. He also questions what will the government do in case any operators outside India refuses to register? “Will you block them from this country forever?” he asked. What the draft saysAccording to the original draft, the new encryption policy proposes that every message a user sends – be it through WhatsApp, SMS, e-mail or any such service – must be stored in plain text format for 90 days and made available on demand to security agencies.The policy was proposed under section 84 A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 through an amendment in 2008. The sub-section 84 C, which was also introduced at around the same time, carries provisions of imprisonment for any violation of the Act.

Full text: Silicon Valley boycotting Modi constitutes ‘economic war against India’, says new letter

A letter signed by a group of US-based academics, implacably opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, has advocated a boycott of India by Silicon Valley.

The attempt to instigate a boycott by Silicon Valley, one of the leading sectors of the US and world economy, against cooperation with a vital flagship information technology programme of the Government of India effectively constitutes a call for economic war against India itself.

Image courtesy: ReutersImage courtesy: Reuters

Image courtesy: Reuters

Shri Narendra Modi is visiting the USA as the democratically elected Prime Minister of 1.25 billion Indians. The victory he has secured at the hustings has been the grandest triumph in three long decades. Not only that, under his leadership his party and alliance have formed Governments in four provinces across India including the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This clearly establishes the fact that people of India, transcending barriers of caste, class, creed and community have reposed their faith in the Prime Minister.

The Digital India initiative, which the enlightened signatories decry, is going to transform government and governance in India. It will take technology to the remotest corners of India and eliminate corruption. It will profoundly change the lives of ordinary citizens who have to run from pillar to post in their dealings with official India and ensure speed, accuracy and disbursement of welfare to the poorest. Prime Minister Modi intends India’s embryonic digitization endeavor to become a vehicle for the transformation of Indian society by deepening and democratizing it.

The process of digitization of the government-citizen interface is already in place in most advanced countries. Yet, academics based there allege civil liberties in India will be endangered if its own government adopts the rational and efficient measure of digitizing to improve governance that is standard elsewhere. Moreover, India is home to several digital innovators and a vibrant start-up ecosystem that stands to gain tremendously from the Digital India initiative.

Silicon Valley, which is where the transition to a digital world began, is, thus, a natural place for the Prime Minister to visit and explore cooperation and growth opportunities in IT.

Shri Narendra Modi has already unveiled schemes that were previously unheard of in nature and extent in the sphere of governance. For the first time the Government of India launched a financial inclusion scheme, Jan Dhan Yojana.

Continuing this focus on the poor and the marginalized the Government has initiated a social security programme as well. These schemes have already touched millions of Indians. The wheels of economic reforms have begun moving at an unprecedented pace, with global agencies and organizations taking note of India’s strides. Shri Narendra Modi’s clarion call to ‘Make in India’ has drawn the world to invest in India and create employment for the people.

The faculty statement concerning Prime Minister Modi’s alleged culpability for the tragic events of 2002 is even more of a disgrace. It is a belabored and questionable effort to throw mud at PM Modi as a person; in the desperate hope some of it would stick. The canard of his alleged responsibility for the communal rioting in Gujarat in 2002 has been comprehensively debunked by a high powered Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed and intensively monitored by the Supreme Court of India at a period when Narendra Modi was not even the Prime Minister. By ignoring the fact that India’s Apex Court has exonerated Mr. Modi of all charges over 2002 amounts to defamation. It also reflects their scant regard for India’s judicial process and her time tested constitutional institutions.

Other slanders in the petition against India’s incumbent executive authority are unworthy of comment. The cavalier disregard for facts and paucity of measured judgment also demonstrate that signatories to the malicious counsel against India have very little stake in it. It seems as if they are determined to pursue a vengeful agenda against a democratically elected Prime Minister of the country even if it seriously harms the interests of the people of India. As scholars and public intellectuals from around the world, we submit that we have far more faith in the wisdom of the ordinary people of India than in the motivated slander concocted by a tiny group of first world academicians.

We urge the signatories of the letter to lift the veil of ignorance and grasp the bigger picture. They should stop seeking fame by thriving on misplaced victimhood and false grievances. It is ironic that those who claim to be most exercised about “human Rights” and “civil liberties” have arrogated to themselves the power to judge and mock the democratic choice of those very same masses they purport to speak on behalf.

Nobel laureate Michael Levitt to attend PM Modi’s Silicon Valley event

68-year-old Levitt, professor of structural biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, will be one of the distinguished guests attending the SAP center event, said Khanderao Kand, convener of the Indo-American Community of West Coast the organiser of the mega event.

Nobel laureate Michael Levitt has said that he will attend the Silicon Valley community reception for Prime Minster Narendra Modi during his upcoming visit to the US next week.”I am so excited about this event. As a fan of so many aspects of Indian life and culture, it will be a distinct pleasure to hear Prime Minister Modi’s address,” Levitt said on Tuesday.Levitt won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for “the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Extending my own experiences in discovering something significant through research, I would say that problem solving starts with inquisitive mind, selection of problem, intuition, and hard work. I am sure Modi is up to this challenge,” Levitt said.68-year-old Levitt, professor of structural biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, will be one of the distinguished guests attending the SAP center event, said Khanderao Kand, convener of the Indo-American Community of West Coast the organiser of the mega event.He is one of the first to apply computers to biology, resulting in a research that led to delineating the precise molecular structures of biological molecules for which he won the prize.Modi will be on a visit to Ireland and the US from September 23 to 29 during which he will address the UN General Assembly and also visit Google headquarters in the Silicon Valley. He will address a community reception by Indian-Americans in Silicon Valley on September 27.Meanwhile, a group of Indian American entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley welcomed the scheduled visit of Modi and supported his ambitious Digital India program.”It is exciting to see Prime Minister Modi driving initiatives like Digital India or Make in India. Making technology accessible is the first step to empower and engage users ultimately transforming the way business will be done in India. Prime Minister Modi’s vision presents us with a great opportunity,” said Vineet Jain, CEO and Co-founder at Egnyte.”Modi’s vision for a Digital India has the power to empower every Indian in a way that integrates their unique perspectives into a whole while setting each Indian free to pursue their destiny and untethering the power of a billion people,” said Manish Chandra founder and CEO of Poshmark.”I am very excited by Modi’s leadership of India, both in focusing on systematic changes in India and in building brand India across the globe,” said Anita Manwani, VP Global Sourcing at Agilent Technology.Modi is a person who “really is self-less” and believes in the wellbeing on the common man, said prominent Indian American businesswoman Vinita Gupta.There is an “excitement” in the Silicon Valley on his visit and his vision for India, she said in a video posted on the website of Indo American community of West Coast.

Sheena Bora murder case: Prime accused Indrani Mukherjea to be produced in court

Mumbai: All accused in the Sheena Bora murder case –Indrani Mukerjea, Sanjeev Khanna and Shyam Rai– whose police custody ends today, will be produced in a court here on Saturday afternoon.

Police is likely to seek extension of their custody today. Till now, 12 days have been exhausted out of the
permissible 14-days of police custody.

Indrani Mukerjea and Sheena Bora. Image courtesy: FacebookIndrani Mukerjea and Sheena Bora. Image courtesy: Facebook

Indrani Mukerjea and Sheena Bora. Image courtesy: Facebook

Digital superimposition of the profile of Sheena Bora has matched with the skull recovered from a forest in the neighbouring Raigad district, Mumbai Police has said.

Police maintained it has not yet given a “clean chit” to former media baron Peter Mukerjea in the case.

The matching of digital superimposition with skull would be important in establishing that the human remains found in the forest in Pen tehsil of Raigad are of Sheena, the daughter of Indrani Mukerjea, Peter’s wife.

Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai have been arrested on the charge of murdering Sheena and disposing of the body in a Raigad forest in April 2012.

“Digital superimposition of Sheena’s profile has matched with the skull found in Raigad forest,” a senior officer of Mumbai Police said last evening.

The officer, replying to a question, also said, “We haven’t given any clean chit to Peter yet.” Peter Mukerjea, though not an accused, was questioned extensively yesterday at the Khar Police Station for the third day in a row in Sheena murder case.

Police are also probing Peter and Indrani’s financial transactions.

The car used to take Sheena’s body to Raigad has been recovered and traced to a third-party owner, the officer said.

Further, police had also found out that an employee of Indrani’s company sent e-mails in Sheena’s name after her murder, he said.

Indrani Mukerjea, the prime accused in the case, Peter and others who have come under the investigators’ scanner in the murky family saga faced day-long interrogation at the Khar Police Station yesterday.

Indrani and Sanjeev’s daughter Vidhie, whom Peter has adopted, came to the police station for the first time yesterday and left in the evening after recording her statement.

On Thursday, the police had claimed that Indrani confessed to murdering Sheena.


Sheena Bora murder: Digital superimposition of profile matches victim’s skull

Peter Mukerjea, though not an accused, was questioned extensively today at the Khar police station for the third day in a row in Sheena murder case

The matching of digital superimposition with skull would be important in establishing that the human remains are of Sheena.

The digital superimposition of the profile of Sheena Bora has matched with the skull recovered from a forest in the neighbouring Raigad district, Mumbai police said on Friday, and maintained it has not yet given a “clean chit” to former Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea in the case. The matching of digital superimposition with skull would be important in establishing that the human remains found in the forest in Pen tehsil of Raigad are of Sheena, the daughter of Indrani Mukerjea, Peter’s wife.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai have been arrested on the charge of murdering Sheena and disposing of the body in a Raigad forest in April 2012. “Digital superimposition of Sheena’s profile has matched with the skull found in Raigad forest,” a senior officer of Mumbai police said this evening. The officer, replying to a question, also said, “We haven’t given any clean chit to Peter yet.”Peter Mukerjea, though not an accused, was questioned extensively today at the Khar police station for the third day in a row in Sheena murder case. Police are also probing Peter and Indrani’s financial transactions and yesterday he was accompanied to the police station by his CA. The car used to take Sheena’s body to Raigad has been traced to a third-party owner, the officer said. Further, police had also found out that an employee of Indrani’s company sent emails in Sheena’s name after her murder, he said.Indrani Mukerjea, the prime accused in the case, Peter and others who have come under the investigators’ scanner in the murky family saga today faced day-long interrogation at the Khar police station. Indrani and Sanjeev’s daughter Vidhie, whom Peter has adopted, came to the police station for the first time and left in the evening after recording her statement.Yesterday, the police had claimed that Indrani confessed to murdering Sheena. The police custody of Indrani, Khanna and Rai would end tomorrow.

CM Oommen Chandy declares Kerala as India’s first ‘complete digital’ state

Detailing various programmes to be implemented in the state in the coming months, the Chief Minister said as many as one lakh houses would be constructed for the homeless.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Declaration of Kerala as a ‘complete digital state’ and announcement of a new youth programme in memory of former President, the late A P J Abdul Kalam marked Independence Day celebrations in the state. With the state making remarkable strides in implementation of various e-governance initiatives, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy declared Kerala as the ‘complete digital state’.”The state has achieved 100 per cent mobile density, 75 per cent e-literacy, highest digital banking rate and broadband connection upto panchayat level,” Chandy said in his 69th independence day speech at the Central Stadium.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The implementation of e-district programmes in all districts and linking of Aadhaar and bank accounts have laid a strong foundation for Digital Kerala.I am proud to declare the state as the complete digital state, based on these indicators,” he said.Government would set up wi-fi hotspots in all local self government institutions and implement complete mobile governance in the next phase to achieve the best results of the Digital Kerala initiative, he said. The state government would launch an innovative programme in the name of Dr Kalam to enable the youth translate their innovative ideas into sucessful business ventures.”Seeking to retain the memories of late A P J Abdul Kalam, the Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment will launch a new youth programme titled Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Youth Challenge,” he said.The programme aims at creating at least one enterprise from state universities every year based on innovative ideas submitted by college students or groups of students, he said. Seeking to check widespread exploitation of natural wealth and create mass awareness for their conservation, government plans to set up an inclusive development council, he said.Detailing various programmes to be implemented in the state in the coming months, the Chief Minister said as many as one lakh houses would be constructed for the homeless.”Mammoth development projects to the tune of Rs 16,000 crore, including Kochi Metro, Kannur Airport and Vizhinjam projects are becoming a reality in the state,” he said adding that government would go ahead with the light metro projects in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi.Chandy unfurled the national flag, inspected the guard of honour and accepted the salute from contingents including state police, the Fire and Rescue Service, NCC cadets, Scouts and Guides and from student Police cadets.Besides giving away the President’s police medals and medals for other meritorious service, he also distributed CM’s Police medals, Fire and Rescue medals, Prison medals, Forest medals, Excise medals and Transport medals at the function.

Narendra Modi’s I-Day promises: No mere jugglery with words

The major ones were launch of Jan-Dhan Yojana, Skill India Mission, Make in India, Digital India drive, Clean India Mission and Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort last year was extempore and overarching. Unlike his immediate predecessor, he looked into the eyes of crowd and spoke without a bullet-proof cage. The speech, reflecting concerns for the country, was padded up with a host of announcements.The major ones were launch of Jan-Dhan Yojana, Skill India Mission, Make in India, Digital India drive, Clean India Mission and Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana. The appraisals submitted by the departments concerned to the PMO mostly reflected success stories even as the government faltered on taking along all sections of the society. dna takes a look at the promises and the delivery status.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> 1. ‘Swachh Bharat’ (Clean India) – launched on October 2. This entailed building toilets in all schools, including separate toilets for girls. He said by August 15, 2015 there should be no school without a toilet. Report Card: Out of 4.39 lakh toilets to be built in schools, 1.41 lakh are complete. There is a flurry of activity to compete another 2.45 lakh toilets as soon as possible. 2. Pradhanmantri Jan-Dhan Yojana is seen as most effective programme that has helped financial inclusion of 16.73 crore marginalised people. Report Card: Of these, 29 lakh accounts have reported having zero balance. But overall the programme has been a roaring success. 3. Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana whereby every member of Parliament was asked to adopt a village and develop it as an ideal/model village. Report Card: 682 MPs have adopted villages, 103 yet to. MPs apprehensive as there are no special funds and they have to spent MPLADS amount on a select village which may not go well with rest of constituency. 4. Digital India Report Card: Two programmes – E-governance and creation of digital infrastructure & digital literacy initiated. E-governance is being promoted in a big way in ministries and departments. 5. Skill India Mission: Target was to train over 40 crore people over the next 7 years Report Card: The agriculture ministry could skill 11.4 lakh persons. No data from rest of ministries. But the programme as National Skill Policy was redesigned only last month. The ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises has asked all the PSUs under it to prepare modules and provide training to youths in their respective sectors, for which funds would be allocated to them. 6. Make in India Report Card: 25 sectors identified where new initiatives are being taken to facilitate investment, foster innovation and protect Intellectual Property Rights and build in manufacturing infrastructure. 9,336 serious queries have been received on the portal of which 9,190 were answered. As per the Dept. of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) records, the FDI inflows grew by 24% increase during last one year 1018 investment proposals. 1.7 lakh crore proposed investments (till June), proposed employment 2.6 lakh. 7. Promotion of tourism to provide jobs to the poorest of the poor Report Card: Modest 10% increase in arrival of foreign tourists over past year till July, leading to earning of $9.7 million forex. 8. Manufacturing sector to be strengthened Report Card: As in month of May manufacturing sector grew by 2.3%, factory output by 2.7% and capital goods by 1.8% 9. Self-reliance in electronic goods Report Card: No progress. As per the Commerce Ministry, the imports of electronic goods rather increased by 13%. 10: ‘Zero Defect; Zero Effect’: PM called on industry to manufacture goods with zero effect that they should not have a negative impact on the environment Report Card: The Central Pollution Control Board issued 68 notices to polluting industries 11. Shun communalism, casteisim. “Let’s resolve for once in our hearts, let’s put a moratorium on all such activities for ten years, we shall march ahead to a society which will be free from all such tensions.” Report Card: No let up in communal incidents. Campaigns like ‘Ghar wapasi’, ‘Beti bachao-bahu lao’, ‘love jihad’ etc vitiated atmosphere 12. Replacing the Planning Commission: Report Card: Replaced with the National Institution for Transforming India or NITI Aayog, a think-tank chaired by the PM

All AIIMS to deliver basic minimum standards under ‘AIIMS One’ banner

All the seven AIIMS in the country have decided to work in a collaborative manner under the banner ‘AIIMS One’ as a part of which they will be following basic minimum standards for patient care, teaching, training and research.


All the seven AIIMS in the country have decided to work in a collaborative manner under the banner ‘AIIMS One’ as a part of which they will be following basic minimum standards for patient care, teaching, training and research.”The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has become a brand with which people identify quality health care at an affordable cost.”This is a momentous step towards achieving consistency in the quality of patient care, teaching and research. The aim is to prevent dilution of this brand value which has been built painstakingly over the last half a century and 15 years.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”All AIIMS have agreed that AIIMS Delhi will be the ‘mother AIIMS’ or ‘mentor AIIMS’ for all the existing and upcoming AIIMS in the country,” said Dr Deepak Agrawal, additional professor, Neurosurgery, and Chairman, Computerisation, AIIMS.”I am very happy to see this proactive collaboration and I am sure that this will ensure that all AIIMS have the same standards or exceed the standards that AIIMS, Delhi, has set,” said AIIMS Director MC Mishra. Other areas where cooperation was agreed to include IT implementation at AIIMS, Delhi, and network infrastructure.Under the Prime Minister’s initiative of Digital India, AIIMS online appointment system was selected as one of the projects to be rolled out across the country. In this direction all AIIMS have to have their OPDs on appointment system which can be accessed online.

Indian trio’s social media start-up for campuses bags $100,000 funding in US

All praise for Modi’s Digital India, team plans to milk the prime minister’s initiative by collaborating with Indian varsities

Hiten Patel, Perceus Mody and Rahul Gopal with German student Katja Walter

A campus networking platform, founded by three Indians of a US university, has received a whopping $100,000 funding from a private investor, Rajan Kher, an NRI businessman based in US. CampusKnot, the campus networking website founded by Hiten Patel, Rahul Gopal and Perceus Mody at Mississippi State University, has been designed to connect faculty and students just like social media platforms. The investment by Kher is in exchange for 10-percent equity in the company, which effectively values CampusKnot at $1 million.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The site, which currently has 150 users, is still in testing phase and a formal launch is slated for January, next year. “We will go for a soft launch of the site as the new academic session begins. But before the final launch, we would ensure that everything works perfectly especially because we have money with us,” ecstatic Hiten Patel told dna over phone. The university has now provided them a formal office space to develop an even more sophisticated product. “To date, theirs is the largest recorded private investment to a startup developed by students of this 137-year-old land-grant university,” an official release from the university said. Users can chat, share notes, check class schedules, post questions, buy and sell books, among other facilities which are currently available. We are working on other options as well,” said Rahul Gopal. The CampusKnot replaces the popular social media which many teachers across the world are using at present to connect with the students and share the educational content in the absence of any other appropriate platform. Gopal is a senior aerospace engineering major, while Patel graduated in 2013 with an information systems degree and now pursues a second degree in marketing. Mody is a senior in medical technology. Patel founded the start-up two years back with pocket money and savings along with Gopal and Mody. The team has now hired two interns to look after PR and marketing activities within the campus and other universities in the US. Gopal says, “We’re not looking to have a job; we’re looking at creating jobs and helping to solve educational problems.” Inspired by the Prime Minister’s Digital India campaign, the team now wish to be part of it. “We are studying Indian Higher Education System as of now so that we can understand the nitty-gritty of Indian campuses before seeking collaborations with them.” Hiten, who has completed the course, now will fly down to India in September and plans to see the affairs here. “Talks with the Walchand Institute of Technology, Solapur University is on. We hope to finalise a tie-up in September,” he said.

Telangana government aims to provide Internet to each household: IT Secretary

Digital Telangana rests on two important pillars – supply component (“Internet For All”) and demand component (“Let us usher in Digital Democracy”), Ranjan said.

Representational image
File Photo

The Telangana government aims to provide Internet connectivity to all households in the state under its ‘Digital Telangana’ initiative, IT Secretary Jayesh Ranjan said on Wednesday. “We are trying to ensure providing Internet to each and every household in the state,” he told a Ficci-organised seminar on ‘Integrated Digital Solutions for a Smarter Telangana’. “We are making this ambitious target of providing Internet to every person in different ways through broadband connectivity, 4G, Wi-Fi and e-panchayats. We will ensure that ‘Internet For All’ does not mere just remain a slogan,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Digital Telangana rests on two important pillars – supply component (“Internet For All”) and demand component (“Let us usher in Digital Democracy”), Ranjan said. “We are working on laying optic fibre to every household. There are more than 8.5 million households in the state and the opportunity that has arisen for us to accept such a daunting challenge,” he added. He further said that along with the government’s flagship Watergrid programme, wherein piped water is aimed to be supplied to each household, the project’s duct lines would also be used (same trenches) to put optical fibre cables to reach every household in the state. “Another way we are ensuring that Internet reaches everyone is by encouraging private telecom players to roll out 4G services,” Ranjan said, adding that two telecom firms have already announced that they want to roll out 4G services in the entire state by the end of this year. Similarly, in order to provide Internet facilities to everyone, the government wants to make Wi-Fi availability in Hyderabad, Warangal and other important towns. Another programme that the government has taken up is ‘e-Panchayats’, in which even if one does not have facility to access Internet at home, one can always utilise this platform to avail financial and citizen services, among others.

TRAI appoints R S Sharma as new chairman

New Delhi: Government on Monday appointed IT Secretary R S Sharma as new chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Representational image. Agencies

Representational image. Agencies

“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Shri Ram Sewak Sharma … as Chairperson Telecom Regulatory Authority of India for a period of three years,” a government order said.

Sharma, a 1978 batch IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre, has played key role in implementing Aadhaar project and designing road-map for government’s Digital India programme.

He is credited to have designed key digital services, such as digital locker, digitize India and fast execution of schemes to push electronics manufacturing in the country.

The post of TRAI Chairman fell vacant on 14 May after Rahul Khullar retired from the post.

Sharma’s appointment comes at a time when there is a debate over net neutrality and TRAI has to give its view on the same to the government.

Besides, he will have to work on improving quality of service by telecom operators across the country to address frequent call drops.


Over 47 lakh people participated in Digital India events: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Over 47 lakh people directly participated in various programmes organised under Digital India week, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Friday.

Over 47 lakh people directly participated in various programmes organised under Digital India week, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Friday.”I am overwhelmed by the response that we got in entire country for Digital India. As minister I would like my profund gratitude and compliment the state governments, people of India for one of the most historic and enthusiastic participation in this programme,” Prasad told reporters.The minister said that 170 events were conducted at state headquarters in which more than 98,000 people participated.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Industry captain on the opening day committed to investing about Rs 4.5 lakh crore and creating 18 lakh jobs. About 25 such events were graced by Chief Ministers, Lt. Governors and Administrators. More than 250 services were launched in areas of health information, utility services,land record services, mobile app for civic amenities etc,” he said.Events were held at district headquarters to village panchayat level. Maximum participation of 34.2 lakh was seen in events organised at more than 57,000 Common Service Centers. Government received 391 million impressions of Digital India campaign on social media platform.”#DigitalDialogue received 391 million impressions during period of 3 days, July 4-6,” Prasad said. On Facebook, 1 person joined every second with a total reach of 2.6 Million during the week and on Twitter 1 follower added every 4 seconds with 3.6 Million impressions during the week, he said.

Vyapam’s working to be digitised, says MP government; mobile app launched

The App has been developed under the ‘Digital India’ programme, the minister said in the presence of Vyapam Chairman Madan Mohan Upadhyay.

Vyapam logo

With the Vyapam scam denting its image, the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has decided to digitise the working of the Professional Examination Board to make it more transparent even as a mobile App has now been launched for the convenience of examinees.”The entire functioning of Vyapam (Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal) will be made transparent and digital,” state Technical and Higher Education Minister Umashankar Gupta said here yesterday after launching the App for online examinations conducted by Vyapam.The App has been developed under the ‘Digital India’ programme, the minister said in the presence of Vyapam Chairman Madan Mohan Upadhyay.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The launch of the Vyapam App is a big leap towards ‘Digital India’. Through it, we can make all Vyapam exams convenient and examinees can complete the entire process online without any difficulty,” Gupta said.Application forms, aspirants’ details, dates of various exams, question-answer banks, etc. will be available on the App, which will also allow download of admit cards, he said.Earlier, the facility of image scanner was also made available for Vyapam.The admission test of PAHUT (Pre-Ayurvedic, Homoeopathy and Unani Test) will be held using this technique on August 30, 2015, Upadhyay said.It will be the first online test of Vyapam. As compared to last year, the Board is conducting double the number of exams — totalling 31 — this year, he said.Admissions will be made through Vyapam in 2015 for over 95,250 seats in various courses and recruitments will be made against 60,700 government vacancies in the state, Upadhyay added.Supreme Court had yesterday ordered transfer of the probe into all Vyapam scam cases and the deaths allegedly linked to it to CBI and sought the response of Madhya Pradesh government on why an FIR should not be lodged against the governor of the state for his purported involvement in the scandal.The opposition has alleged that 49 persons linked to the Vyapam scam, a massive admissions and recruitments scandal, have died under mysterious circumstances, a claim refuted by the state government.The official figure of deaths is 25, which the state government says includes suicides, accidents and some other unnatural deaths.

PM Modi invites tech enthusiasts to partake in a ‘Digital Dialogue’

Digital India aims to transform the country into a digitally empowered knowledge economy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that the ‘overwhelming’ response he has received on the ‘Digital India’ initiative has inspired him to hold a ‘Digital Dialogue’ with the tech enthusiasts of the country. The Prime Minister shared his views via a series of tweets.
On July 1, Prime Minister Modi launched the ‘Digital India Week’ in the national capital, with a view to empower the people of the country through the ‘Digital India’ programme.

Maharashtra government to go slow on hiring, create no new posts

Devendra Fadnavis

The state government’s expenditure is on the rise vis-a-vis income, forcing it to cut corners by going slow on recruitments and focusing more on e-governance.According to a circular, the government speech and white-paper of the finance department show that expenses, particularly on salary, are on the rise compared to revenue. “This is not an acceptable model. The expenses of the government should be less than its income. The state budget revenue is expected to grow by 9.64% and, as per the Seventh Pay Commission, the government’s expenditure is going to shoot up drastically. Most of the money will be spent on paying wages of government employees. As a corrective measure, the government has decided to go slow on recruitments and stop creating new posts,” read the circular issued by state chief secretary Swadhin Kshatriya.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the circular clarified that the decision to control recruitment will not be applicable to government bodies like Cidco, MMRDA, financially independent government departments and Central government subsidised bodies. “Even recruitments in police, education, revenue, health, animal husbandry departments will be cut down by half of the total requirement. Besides, on the recruitments of senior officials, chief secretary, general administration, will take a call after consulting the finance department,” said a finance department official without wishing to be named.Circular laid emphasis on e-governance so that administration work didn’t suffer due to non-recruitment.A senior government official said as part of e-governance and Digital Maharashrta, laptops, computers and tablets would be provided to officers. “We are framing a policy in this regard. We want all our employees to become technology-savvy, which will increase the speed of governance and reduce corruption as there would be less human interference,” he said, requesting anonymity.The state government has also set up a committee headed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to execute the Digital India plan.

Ending net neutrality will kill NDA’s ‘Make in India’: Aditya Thackeray

“Many young people have startups or small businesses via websites. To milk them, to be at the same access speed of a (telecom) giant isn’t simply fair,” said Aditya Thackeray in a letter to TRAI

Aditya Thackeray

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Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray has urged the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to stall attempts to axe net neutrality which according to him will draw public ire and do lasting damage to the nation which is on the threshold of moving forward digitally.Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all traffic on their networks equally. That means users should be able to access all websites at the same speed and cost. No website should be given preferential treatment over another. Thackeray, in a letter to TRAI, said that killing net neutrality and allowing telecom operators to do so is not only draconian but also messes up the entire utility angle of access to internet that has been widely used in the country. “People from almost every social and economic strata have a mobile phone and unknowingly use the Internet to communicate,” the letter stated.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Furthermore, such an option to charge websites for either access or speed would simply kill NDA government’s Make in India, whereby many young people have startups or small businesses via websites. To milk them, to be at the same access speed of a (telecom) giant isn’t simply fair,” it said. Thackeray said that people’s choice of access to the internet cannot be governed by telecom operators and that there can be other ways of increasing their revenue share. “We cannot let the commercial interests of these few telecom companies govern our citizen’s ability to access information on the Internet.. This move would not only be regressive but also drain our citizens economically and leave them without free access to the Internet,” the letter said.”In an age where the NDA government is trying to bring in the Digital India revolution to benefit the nation, we must hammer down this move and keep the internet neutral. Slavery is a thing of the past, extortion is a crime and by allowing the Regulatory Framework for Over the Top Services (OTT), we will virtually legalise their whims,” it added.

Avoid perception-driven verdicts, have self-assessment: PM tells judiciary

New Delhi: Advising judiciary to avoid “perception-driven” verdicts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it should have an internal mechanism of “self-assessment” as judges are considered “divine” and seldom face any criticism unlike the political class.

Addressing a conference of top judges from across the country in New Delhi, he said while the judiciary is getting powerful, it is necessary that it also becomes “perfect” to live up to the expectations of the people.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

“It is easy to deliver judgements based on the law and the Constitution. There is a need to be cautious against perception-driven verdicts,” he said, adding that “perceptions are often driven by five star activists”. Noting that the judiciary is considered “divine” and next only to the God, he advised it to have an internal mechanism for self-assessment, which he said, is a “difficult” task.

“We (the political class) are lucky that people watch us, assess us and rip us apart. You (Judiciary) are not as lucky. “If you order a person to death, he also comes out and says that he believes in the judiciary…When there is little scope for criticism, the need of the hour is to develop an internal mechanism for self-assessment where the government and the politicians have no role,” the prime minister said addressing the joint conference of Chief Justices of the 24 high courts and chief ministers.

He said if such a mechanism is not evolved and the faith in the judiciary is affected even a little bit, it will hurt the nation.

“If the politicians or the government make a mistake, there is a scope to repair the damage by the judiciary. But if you commit a mistake, then everthing will end,” he said.

Modi’s remarks came close on the heels of an impeachment motion being moved in Parliament against a judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court for alleged sexual harassment of a woman judicial officer.

Talking about the scrutiny that the government and political class faces, the prime minister said the Executive has set up institutions like Election Commission, RTI and Lokpal despite knowing that these would place a check on the Executive.

“Politicians are under increased scrutiny today. Earlier, items, which did not find a place even in gossip columns of newspapers, become breaking news today,” he said.

The prime minister also favoured a comprehensive review of the system of government-appointed Tribunals to assess their efficacy and effectiveness.

Committed to scrap obsolete Acts, Modi said laws are sometimes not drafted well and therefore lead to multiple interpretations.

“There should be minimum grey areas, and therefore, drafting of laws requires special attention,” he
said, adding that though no law an can have “zero defect”, the grey areas in legislations can be reduced.

Noting that nearly 1,700 redundant laws have been identified for repeal, he said he hopes to repeal one
redundant law per day in his tenure.

He said good infrastructure for the Judiciary was a priority for the government, and an amount of Rs 9,749 crore had been earmarked for strengthening the Judiciary under the 14th Finance Commission.

He hoped that states would not divert the funds meant for improving judicial infrastructure given under the 14th Finance Commission.

Under the Digital India Programme, technology should be deployed to bring about a qualitative change in the judiciary, the prime minister said.

He stressed that quality manpower was required for the judiciary as he voiced concern about the human resource as also physical infrastructure. Modi stressed the need for more educational institutions dealing with law and legal services.

Without going into the details of pendency in litigation and corruption in the judiciary, Modi hoped the conclave of judges would suggest some fresh approaches to deal with these issues.

He said Lok Adalats were an effective way of dispensing justice for the common man, and this mechanism should be strengthened further.

Laying stress on the importance of family courts, Modi said such institutions were necessary as families were fast breaking up and there was a need to check the trend.

He stressed the need for preparing for emerging areas of litigation such as maritime law and cyber crime. He said acquaintance with forensic science is now a must for those associated with the legal profession.


Kerala to be first state to be fully covered under national optical fibre network

Kerala will be the first state to be fully covered by broadband connectivity under the national optical fibre network (NOFN) project, which aims to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats across the nation by December 2016. Minister of Communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad will launch NOFN on January 12 in Idukki district of the state, which is completely connected by optic fibre. The entire state will be covered by March.”We are launching NOFN in Idukki district of Kerala on January 12. It is a very important beginning with one district completely covered. Kerala would complete NOFN by March this year, and the state is also one of those where BSNL is in profit,” Prasad said here.The project aims at providing the basic infrastructure for the Digital India programme. NOFN aims to provide high- speed broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats by December 2016 and the estimated cost of the project is around Rs 30,000 crore. The government has set a target of rolling out optical fibre network across 50,000 village panchayat by the end of this financial year, 1 lakh by March 2016 and another 1 lakh by end of 2016. To fast-track the central project, Department of Telecom has also warned of action against those officials who are not taking decisions or delaying it.Sources said the work has been fast-tracked now and most of the logistical issues have been addressed. “Issues like the right of way have been substantially addressed as most of the Chief Ministers are on board regarding the matter,” said a source.Meanwhile, Prasad said that he has written to Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari that a provision should be made for space for telecom ducts while making new highways. The minister had also suggested to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister of N Chandrababu Naidu that while approving building by-laws, every house plan should have provisions for duct like that for water and electricity. These things are going to solve the right of way issues.

Human connect has become superficial in digital age: Kailash Satyarthi

Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Monday stressed the need to employ science and technology to bail out children reeling under abject poverty even as he lamented that “human connect” has become “superficial” in the digital age.”Science is the purest form of knowledge and knowledge is universal. Digital disparity and inequality are growing. In the age of digital connectivity, we are losing the humane connect and feelings of compassion and respect towards each other. In the digital age, human connect has become superficial,” Sathyarthi told reporters on the sidelines of the 102nd Indian Science Congress in Mumbai. Satyarthi, who shared Nobel with Pakistani activist for female education Malala Yousafzai, said he was impressed by India’s young scientific brains and convinced that the country was in promising hands.”The importance of science and technology is growing and the need of the hour is to ensure that it helps children living in abject poverty as well,” he added.”There are over 17 crore child labourers in the world. While six crore kids had never been to school, 15 crore children have dropped out after (attending) primary school. We may be doing the best possible research about Mars but there are millions of children who are bought and sold at a price lesser than animals,” Satyarthi said while seeking enhanced investment in child education.Calling for innovative ways to protect children from hunger, disease and denial of education, Satyarthi said Ebola was discovered about a decade ago but no priority was given to it because the disease was affecting poor countries and had not reached US and Europe. He said the country should take the moral leadership in ensuring that fruits of science and technology reach children.”We still have morality and humanity deep-rooted and there should be a mix of science and moral values,” he added. Describing child labour as a “development disaster”, Satyarthi said government alone cannot be blamed for it.He said as per statistics 13 children disappear in India every hour.Lamenting that science has been “misused” for violence, Satyarthi said he wondered what could be the “scientific base” for violence.

Delhi University to send teachers to Scotland for digital literacy training

Four teachers of Delhi University will be heading to Scotland in a few months from now to undergo training on digital literacy at Edinburgh College with a workshop set to be held in Delhi to draw up the shortlist for the trip.”With an aim to foster the components of digital literacy in classroom teaching and in real university settings, we will be sending four teachers to Scotland for a course in ‘Digital Literacy’,” CS Dubey, Director of DU’s Campus of Open Learning (COL), told PTI.Ahead of that, the varsity is inviting applications from teachers for a two-day workshop here on Digital Literacy and Innovation for Tomorrow’s Education (D–LITE) during which it would shortlist the four nominees who would be sent to Scotland.”Around 50 teachers will be selected for the workshop on the basis of their applications. The workshop will be held in Delhi from Feb. 17-19. Four candidates will then be selected as ‘Digital Literacy Champions’ to undertake staff development for a week-long workshop in Scotland,” he said.”The training programme at Edinburgh has been designed to introduce a range of different digital tools, productivity software and digital communication methods.”It will introduce educational practitioners to the concepts and contexts of digital literacy and support them in developing their own practice,” added Dubey.The ‘Digital Literacy Champions’, upon their return from training in Scotland, will assist DU teachers in delivering the course to students at the Campus of Open Learning.The course will cover areas such as planning, e-pedagogical issues, sharing of professional practices, encouraging teachers to be enterprising with their ideas and facilitating aspects of global citizenship within the curriculum.”A blended learning approach will be used to deliver the course, which combines and aligns learning undertaken in face- to-face sessions with learning opportunities created online using Webinar technology and Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle),” he said.