Category Archives: World Opinion

City to catch the eye of the world yet again

IT and Industries Minister K.T. Rama Rao, Yvonne Chiu, Chairman of WITSA, James (Jim) Poisant, secretary general of WITSA, and R. Chandrashekhar, Nasscom president, addressing the media in the city on Thursday.

WCIT and Nasscom India Leadership Forum to be hosted here

The Telangana government and the National Association of Software and Services Companies are in discussion for establishing a Centre of Excellence on Artificial Intelligence and Data Sciences in the State.

The facility would create awareness on the emerging technologies, help start-ups and map capabilities in the areas as well as prescribe standards in their use. “We are in discussion with the State,” Nasscom president R. Chandrashekhar said, adding that the CoE would be in tune with the State government’s focus on AI and data sciences.

Along with Telangana IT and Industries Minister K.T. Rama Rao, he was addressing the media on the upcoming World Congress on Information Technology and Nasscom India Leadership Forum-2018.

Nasscom, with which the Karnataka government had set up such a CoE in Bengaluru, proposes to have a few such facilities to aid in absorption of the technologies in different domains such as financial sector, healthcare, agriculture and manufacturing across the country. The CoE would build a repository of capabilities in the field.

“This is like Olympics of IT,” he said describing the WCIT to be held in India for the first time. The leadership forum is also being held in Hyderabad for the first time. The three-day event begins on February 19. Nasscom has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate. Mr. Rama Rao said thought leaders and those from the industry and government would be participating in the event comprising 22 power-packed sessions and 24 different forums. For Hyderabad, the WCIT comes close on the heels of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit that it hosted, in which Mr. Modi and U.S. President’s Advisor Ivanka Trump participated.

“Hyderabad will get visibility across the world once more,” the Minister said. Major announcements could be expected from the State government in the context of its discussions with Nasscom and the focus being on AI, robotics and cyber security, he said.

Discussions on AI, blockchain, experience age, innovation, future of work, sports and technology, policy dialogues, new tech deep dives, CIO sessions and boardroom CEO sessions would form part of the event.

Citizen robot

Among the participants would be Sophia, the first citizen robot. Leading names from the industry scheduled to attend the WCIT are Honeywell Chairman David M. Cote, CEO of Adobe Shantanu Narayen, Coursera founder Andrew Ng and founder and CEO of InMobi Naveen Tiwari. Figuring in the list of speakers are Sadhguru of Isha Foundation and Soumitra Dutta, dean, Cornell SC Johnson School of Business. Over 2,500 delegates are expected at WCIT-NILF-2018, with nearly 500 of them from over 30 countries.

Secretary General of World Information Technology and Services Alliance James H. Poisant said from being a biennial conference, WCIT since 2017 has been converted into an annual event in the backdrop of the rapid changes in the technology space.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – January 12th, 2018

Around the world in 26 years

Bitten by travel bug Indranil Chowdhuri

Hyderabad-based Indranil Chowdhuri combines his passion for travel and sports and has visited 107 countries so far
North Korea: Check

Greenland: Check

Cuba: Check

No, this isn’t a list of all countries difficult to get a visa but a few places among the 107 nations that Indranil Chowdhuri, 56, visited in the past 26 years. While travelling was integral to his job early on, later it became an all-consuming passion.

Sharing details about his journeys, Indranil says, “My first trip abroad was when I went to Myanmar in 1992 for work. Then I travelled a lot as I was into exports. When I casually counted one day, I realised that I went to 40 countries. That was when I wanted to reach the three figure mark and stepped up on visiting newer countries. The critical mass of my visits has been in the last 12 years, and though after I hit a century, I lost the urge for numbers, I still am passionate about exploring new places.”

As an avid sports fan, Indranil combines travel with sporting events, be it Olympics, football world cups or major tennis events so that he can merge both his great loves. What research is a part of a frequent traveller’s routine? Indranil explains, “I start with Lonely Planet guides. I have a lot of them with me and then I read up extensively about the place. I make notes and do my own ticketing and reservations. I don’t engage the services of an agent or a tour company unless there is no option, as they have a pre-planned programme and I don’t like that at all. Travel should include the freedom to do my own thing my way.”

Confessing that travelling excites him as it gives him a chance to explore different countries, cultures and cuisines, Indranil says the challenge is to converse with local people in their language. He explains, “I do basic research and try to speak their language. When they see me try, they always speak English which makes it easy to blend in.

The intrepid traveller also has a thing for souvenirs and points out to rooms filled with trinkets in his apartment. Shot glasses, magnets, swords and daggers (exquisitely carved), busts of famous personalities, tees and baseball caps — there is no shortage of reminders for trips he has undertaken. Indranil says, “I never wanted a big collection, but somehow when you travel you pick up things. I have 3000 plus shot glasses of cities, celebrity houses and football games I’ve been to.”

For someone who has been to Peru and stayed with an Inca family, spent time with a nomadic tribe in a desert in Mongolia and swam in the rivers of Amazon (where he narrowly escaped an alligator), Indranil recounts his most unforgettable experience which nearly got him killed, “I ran into former President of USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, at a cemetery in Russia and raised my hand to greet him. He was surrounded with KGB agents who pounced on me as they thought I was about to shoot. Luckily they realised I was a tourist and since this was before the concept of selfie was introduced, I took a picture of myself with Gorbachev in the background surrounded by his guards.”

On his to-do list is Bahamas which he couldn’t visit so far due to visa issues and a trip to Russia next year during FIFA World cup.

Ask him about his plans for travel in India and he signs off saying that’s a post-retirement trip.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Society / by Mallik Thattipalli / January 04th, 2018

IICT scientists come across antibiotic-producing bacteria

Called RAB 12, it produces the chemical compounds RSP 01 and RSP 02

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology have discovered in their backyard, a novel strain of bacterium that produces compounds with antibiotic properties.

They have isolated a strain of Streptomyces species from the Institute’s soil that produces two anti-biotic compounds.Actinomycin D, a drug on the list of WHO’s ‘List of Essential Medicines’, exhibits both antibiotic and anti-tumour activity. It is among the oldest drugs used for treatment of many types of cancers.

The team of researchers, led by Prakasham Reddy Shetty, described their findings in the journal Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. The novel strain, called RAB 12, produces the chemical compounds RSP 01 and RSP 02 that showed antimicrobial activity. Both these compounds have exhibited antibiotic activity ten times more potent than Actinomycin D.

“Antimicrobial activity profile revealed higher antimicrobial activity against bacterial strains Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Micrococcus luteus, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhi, and Bacillus subtilis and Candida albicans compared to standard Actinomycin D,” the researchers wrote in their research paper.

In their study, the researchers also described the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) for one of the compounds to be ten times smaller than that of Actinomycin D. “MIC and MBC for RSP 01 were observed to be 0.0039 and 0.0078 (mug/ml) against C. albicans, while for actinomycin D, it was found to be 0.031 and 0.62 (mug/ml), respectively indicating a tenfold higher potency,” the researchers said.

The IICT has put together a large repository of bacterial isolates from soils collected from various parts of the country.

Scientists are yet to analyse the antibiotic potential of many of those isolates. In the case of RAB 12, the study authors say the two compounds, RSP 01 and 02, are promising candidates for industrial and clinical applications.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Rohti P.S. / Hyderabad – January 02nd, 2018

An eventful year for the seed sector in Telangana

Seed exported to a few OECD countries for the first time this year

The year that is coming to an end has been the most eventful for the seed sector of Telangana since it has seen the State taking the leadership role at the national level and also making a mark at the international level with export of seed under the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) programme.

Setting the house in order first, the State government ensured timely availability of seed before the commencement of every agriculture season for the last three years, although the problem of inferior quality seed raised its head every now and then. As it had little or no powers to deal with the spurious seed issue/offenders, the State government amended an existing law bringing the subject under the purview of Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act.

Admitting that all incidents of farmers suffering losses due to spurious seed may not have been addressed, a senior officer of the Agriculture Department said: “A good beginning has been made this year by making two seed companies pay compensation to chilli farmers in Gadwal, Khammam and Warangal (Rural) districts after they suffered crop loss due to inferior quality seed”.

On the other hand, the Telangana government hosted stakeholders’ conferences on OECD seed certification twice and national meeting of public sector seed entities towards improving the quality of seed to international standards. It was decided to promote inter-State sale of seed by public sector entities to make them affordable to the farming community.

“We have mooted setting up seed export promotion council and a centre of excellence to promote seed exports through single window system to OECD countries in South and South East Asia and Africa and the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare is examining it,” Agriculture Production Commissioner C. Parthasarathi, who has been recently appointed as co-chairman of the national task force on OECD seed schemes, said when contacted.

After becoming the nodal agency for OECD seed certification for four States, Telangana State Seed and Organic Certification Agency (TSSOCA) has achieved the distinction of exporting sorghum and paddy seed for the first time to Sudan, Philippines, Vietnam and Egypt. “About 17,000 qunitals seed raised with international standards in 2,271 acres in Telangana has been exported to those countries and we have plans to increase it to 50,000 quintals this year from over 6,000 acres,” Director of TSSOCA K. Keshavulu explained.

One more recognition that has come to the Telangana State seed sector this year is selection of Mr. Keshavulu as the chairman of the advisory council of the International Seed Testing Association to coordinate the international seed agencies and the seed industry. The Union Agriculture Ministry has already appointed him as the nodal officer for taking up a field-level study for the country’s membership in the Europe Equivalence.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by B. Chandrashekhar / Hyderabad – December 29th, 2017

Hyderabad man engineers a new spin on Ravana, scripts his story

Hyderabad :

Ravana is not the villain that he is made out to be. There is his side of the story too. A city engineer has given Sri Lanka just the kind of account they would like to read about Ravana. Bala Sankuratri, who has authored the book ‘My Name is Ravana’, gets Ravana to tell his story from his perspective. Next on agenda is a translation of the entire Ramayana in a way that Ravana is understood in context.

To unveil the book, Isura Devapriya, chief minister of Western Province, Sri Lanka, flew down to Hyderabad on November 25.

It will soon be released in Sri Lanka. Telugu version is also in the pipeline.

“My name is Ravana. Yes, I am the Ravana. I was the one who abducted Sita. I was the one who set fire to Anjaneya’s tail and I was the one who fought with Rama. You may think I am mad. I don’t care. You may think, being me is bad. I still don’t care…Fact is, I am The Great and being me is next to impossible,” book begins with Ravana introducing himself.

“Every action of Ravana is justified. He has a reason for his behaviour. He allowed himself to be misunderstood and even for this there was a reason,” Sankuratri told TOI. To understand Ravana, Sankuratri read Valmiki’s Ramayana and other versions also.

He also got to understand the legends surrounding Ravana in Sri Lanka, of which he was the king. “I made three trips to Sri Lanka and found out from the people there what understanding they had of Ravana. The research took five years,” he said.

So why did Ravana detain Sita? Wasn’t that what brought him a bad name? “There cannot be any suspicion about the character of Ravana. He had no evil thoughts about Sita,” Sankuratri said.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Hyderabad News / by Ch. Sushil Rao / TNN / December 29th, 2017

This Telangana weaver weaves profits overseas

The tie and dye ikat designs of Kolanupaka Bixapathi were also exhibited at Lakme Fashion Show in Paris which was conducted three weeks back.

Kolanupaka Bixapathi with his designs

Yadadri-Bhongir:

A sixty-year-old weaver Kolanupaka Bixapathi, who has created more than 1,000 designs for tie and dye ikat handlooms, is setting an example for other weavers by receiving higher prices for his products than his counterparts’. Innovative designing and dying methods have helped in fetching a good price for his clothes, nearly 30 per cent more than the price other weavers could get in the market.

Tie and dye ikat curtains prepared by Laxmipathi were used as door and window curtains at White House in US for five years. He received the order from Mumbai Export Company that supplied it to the US government.

Receiving inspiration, other weavers at Vellanki village of Ramannapet mandal in Yadadri-Bhongir district are also switching over to innovative methods to get the best price for their produce.

The tie and dye ikat designs of Kolanupaka Bixapathi were also exhibited at Lakme Fashion Show in Paris which was conducted three weeks back.

He also set up an exclusive shop of his designs in New Delhi which gets seven to eight foreign visitors daily.

Speaking to Telangana Today, Bixapathi said that he had set up Surya Textile in New Delhi in 2012 but had incurred a loss of Rs 80 lakh due to a fire accident in 2014. After a gap of four months, he renovated the shop with a lot of hardships. He has been getting orders from export companies as his tie and dye ikat designs have a high demand in foreign countries. He was surprised when a German woman, who visited his shop in New Delhi, told him that a piece of his design, which costs less than Rs 10,000 here, was selling in US at Rs 80,000.

Bixapathi, who has a habit of adopting the latest technology in the textile sector, also learnt to manufacture Jakat, used for weaving high cost saris and successfully complete an order of 200 Jakat boxes from a Chennai-based firm. Laxmipathy is trying to invent a machine for rubber rolling yarn in Ikat methods which is now made manually. He informed that he would use Aso Reactive Dies (Chemicals without Benzene) for preparation of the cloth as foreigners would also prefer it as it would not cause skin related problems.

Moggam weavers

Expressing happiness over the State’s initiatives to promote handloom sector, he felt that the initiatives have started showing results as weavers were reversing to moggams again.

He felt that there would always be demand for handlooms if the weavers ensure good design and quality in clothes. He stated that he migrated to Yallanki from Chandoor in the year 2008 due to problems of availability of workers. When I come to the village, the weavers were selling the bedsheets at Rs 100-150, which would not meet their daily requirements. He found that the weavers were using low-quality yarn. When he explained the local weavers that they can get better price by using quality yarn, the weavers’ works began fetching of Rs 600 per bedsheet, he added.

He suggested the government to conduct awareness programmes on new technologies and market trends for weavers as it would help them receive benefits.

source: http://www.telanganatoday.com / Telangana Today / Home> Telangana> Yadadri Bhongir / by Srinivas P / December 27th, 2017

The Hyderabad connection to U.S. water polo team

Naresh C. Rao, U.S.-based sports medicine expert (centre), and his parents with his book Step Up Your Game .V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Naresh is a sports medicine doctor whose clients included Olympic and professional athletes
Not many might be aware of a Hyderabadi connection to the U.S. water polo women’s team winning gold medal at the Olympics. Well, Naresh C. Rao, born to Govind Rao and Jyothi Rao from the city, was the head physician of the U.S. team in the 2016 Rio edition.

For someone based in New York and having been a water polo player, Dr. Naresh qualified for the job by the virtue of being a sports medicine doctor, whose clients included Olympic and professional athletes over the years.

“It was a huge honour. I always longed to be at the Olympics as a player. But I am glad that at least I made it as a support staff member of a gold-medal winning team. It was a complete team effort which I cherish forever,” said Dr. Naresh, whose father was a renowned paediatrician in the city’s Niloufer Hospital and was also involved in many philanthropic activities, especially on the medical front here, before moving to the U.S.

“The U.S. players’ eyes turned red and there were rashes when they were training in the green water in the pool in Rio. I immediately took up the issue with the IOC and the Rio Olympics Organising Committee. And the response was amazing. They drained out the pool completely and ensured fresh and clean water. I made it clear that it was not a case affecting just the U.S. squad, but all those taking part in water polo,” he reminded.

“The biggest challenge for me in Rio was to ensure that the players did not take any medicine, even for normal cough and cold, which would have merited a ban for drug abuse under different guidelines. So my job meant a lot of lecturing and motivational classes too,” said the sports science expert willing to give back to his home State – Telangana.

Dr. Naresh interacted with the students of Telangana State Sports School at Hakimpet on Sunday morning and stressed on how one could be a champion through natural performance-enhancing techniques without resorting to drug abuse.

“My book Step Up Your Game deals with this subject in detail and it has been acknowledged by many for emphasising the ‘entourage’ approach to training. It helps athletes get ready for the starting line,” he said. “The book has all the practical tools for all levels, from a beginner to the Olympian,” he added.

What next? Dr. Naresh has been asked to be with the U.S. teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well. “I am honoured with the offer, but will take a call soon in this regard,” he signed off.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Telangana / by V.V. Subrahmanyam / Hyderabad – December 25th, 2017

First Mahatma Gandhi digital store opened

Ela Gandhi and Jayesh Ranjan inaugurating the store. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Information Technology secretary Jayesh Ranjan on Tuesday inaugurated the country’s first Mahatma Gandhi Mobile Digital Museum Store at Bapu Ghat in the city.

A joint venture of the Visual Quest India and Aditya Birla Group’s corporate social responsibility initiative Eternal Gandhi, the digital store is aimed at spreading Gandhi’s ideology and teachings. Souvenirs inspired by the ‘Father of the Nation’, crafted to reflect various facets of his life reflecting values of peace, truth and non-violence, would be put on sale. The income generated through the sale would be used for the mobile digital museum.

Gandhi’s granddaughter and former member of South African Parliament, Ela Gandhi, was present on the occasion. She recalled how Gandhi always believed that education was not all about learning, but a way of living. “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” she said, quoting her famous grandfather while addressing youths at the function.

Representatives of Aditya Birla Group and Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts were also present.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – December 20th, 2017

Tracing Hyderabad’s tryst with Telugu publications

A bird’s eye view of the LB Stadium, venue of the ongoing World Telugu Conference in Hyderabad, on Sunday | sathya Keerthi

Hyderabad :

Leave alone ordinary persons, even many of the Telugu litterateurs might not be knowing the fact that Sedya Chandrika, which was published from Hyderabad in 1886, was considered by many as the first journal published in the Telugu language in the then princely state of Hyderabad. The magazine was run by two Muslim men, Munshi Mohammed and Mustaq Ahmed Malik. Its primary motto was to create awareness among forming community about issues relating to agriculture.

Likewise, Hitabodhini was the first Telugu monthly published in the then Hyderabad state. The periodical was published from Mahbubnagar district by Srinivasa Sarma. It published articles on patriotism, health, social reforms and some other subjects. The journal used to have more than 500 subscribers in those days.

Poola Thota was another magazine published by Kambhampati Appanna Sastry between 1930 and 1935 from Hanamkonda. The periodical was considered to be the first children’s magazine in the then Hyderabad state.

Similarly, Matru Bharati was run by Hyderabad city’s first mayor Madapati Hanumantha Rao (1951-1954), a poet who was affectionately called Andhra Pitamaha for his contribution to the Andhra movement during the freedom struggle. The periodical was published from Hyderabad in the 1930s. The magazine produced articles on the importance of education, prohibition of liquor and other issues. The periodical was appropriately considered to be the first students’ magazine in Hyderabad state. Desa Vangmaya Patrika, dedicated to literary issues, came into publication by Telangana Literary Association in 1921.

Golconda Patrika, run by historian Suravaram Pratapa Reddy, was the first magazine to publish news on its own by establishing a ‘reporters network’. The periodical, whose name was changed from Andhra Patrika to Golconda Patrika following Nizam-ul-Mulk’s diktat, used to carry articles on political, social, cultural and literary issues.

In a book, Telangana Vaibhavam: Parichaya Deepika, released by Telangana government during the conference, a chapter was exclusively devoted to magazines and journals that flourished in Telangana region.

According to the book, prior to the formation of Andhra in 1956, as many as 171 dailies, magazines and other journals were in circulation. Of those, 115 were published in Telugu and the others in Urdu, Marathi and English languages.

KCR hosts dinner for non-resident Telugus

Hyderabad:

Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has asked the non-resident Telugus to contribute to the promotion of the language even on virtual world. As a majority of them are software engineers, businessmen and litterateurs, Rao called upon them to take an initiative to promote the Telugu language in the cyberspace, too. The chief minister hosted a dinner at Pragathi Bhavan on Sunday for Telangana people who came from 42 countries to attend the World Telugu Conference.

Telugu to be must on government portals

Hyderabad: On the occasion of Prapancha Telugu Mahasabhalu, the IT department on Sunday announced that it would take steps to promote Telugu on the websites of all government departments. The government is firm on promoting Telugu on all portals of various departments. Government will gradually make it mandatory for all departments to use Telugu online,” IT department principal secretary Jayesh Ranjan said, while taking part in a round-table conference. It was decided to take help of Google, Microsoft and Facebook to promote Telugu.

CM to announce step to protect the language

Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has disclosed that he would soon announce a major step to promote Telugu in the State. “On the valedictory session of Telugu Mahasabhalu, I will announce a major step to protect the language in the State,” he said. KCR, himself a post graduate in Telugu literature, attended a Sathavadhanam, conducted by Telugu scholar GM Rama Sharma on Sunday.

source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Hyderabad / by JR Prasad / Express News Service / December 18th, 2017

Selected for robotic meet in the USA

Two students of Paramita High School to fly in May 2018

Students of Paramita High School in Karimnagar who have been selected to participate in international competitions in the USA. | Photo Credit: Byarrangement

Two students of Paramita High School (IIT) in Mankammathota of Karimnagar town have been selected to participate in the international robotic presentation which would be organized jointly by Lawrence Technologies, Michigan and RILE university, West Florida in the USA in May 2018.

Class IX students K. Aneesh and Md. Aziz, who participated in the National-level Robo Making Challenge and its functioning analysis organized by Novatech Robo Institute in Bengaluru at Christ University from December 7 to 9, have bagged the first prize in the competition in which more than 300 students from reputed schools across the country participated.

Incidentally, another set of students from the school — Meghana and Nikitha — participated in the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Arizona in USA in May 2016. Two students of the school Paramita Schools chairman E. Prasada Rao said that the Atal Tinkering Lab set up by the Union government in their school in 2016 had come in handy for the students to have hands on experience in the robotic designing and participate in the national and international competitions.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Karimnagar – December 12th, 2017