Category Archives: Amazing Feats

12-year-old boy bags data scientist position in Hyderabad software company

Siddharth Srivastav Pilli, a class 7 student of Sri Chaitanya Techno School, was offered the position by the city-based software company Montaigne Smart Business Solutions.

Siddharth Srivastav Pilli (Photo | Twitter)

Hyderabad :

A 12-year-old boy from the city has been hired by a software company as a data scientist.

Siddharth Srivastav Pilli, a class 7 student of Sri Chaitanya Techno School, was offered the position by the city-based software company Montaigne Smart Business Solutions.

His LinkedIn page has this to say about him: “I’m 12 years old and I’m very passionate about coding since I was young. I started coding with Java and currently I’m working to master data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence.”

But what led him to coding? Pilli said, “I used to play a lot of games and I was very curious to know how it works. So my father told me to research on how to develop games. That is how came upon coding.”

After learning how to code, Pilli developed a game which he broadcast on his own YouTube channel. Post that, Pilli said he took a lot of time to think about what he wanted to be, and taking inspiration from another young achiever, he decided upon working on data, AI and ML.

“My biggest inspiration for joining a software company is Tanmay Bakshi. He is helping the world understand how beautiful the Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution is,” he said. He credits his achievements to his father, who he said helped him a lot in understanding coding and pushing him towards it.

Pilli is also an avid blogger and Vlogger. One of his blog posts is on ‘Why kids have more intelligence than adults’. In his YouTube vlogs, Pilli breaks down coding and provides tutorials for viewers.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Good News / by Express News Service / November 26th, 2019

Biryani magic! Hyderabad declared ‘creative’ city in gastronomy category by UNESCO

Hyderabad is one of the two cities from India, among the total 66 smart cities selected by the UNESCO across the globe.

Image of biryani used for representational purposes.

Hyderabad :

The city of Hyderabad has been adjudged as ‘Creative City’ in gastronomy category by the UNESCO on the occasion of World Cities Day on Thursday.

Hyderabad is one of the two cities from India, among the total 66 smart cities selected by the UNESCO across the globe. The other city from India, Mumbai has been selected as a smart city in the film category.

Municipal administration and industries minister KT Rama Rao expressed happiness over Hyderabad’s ranking.  “It is a great effort by principal secretary municipal administration Arvind Kumar and his team,” Rama Rao said.

It may be mentioned here that Hyderabad has a number of starred restaurants and known for the delicious “Hyderabad Biryani”. The city of pearls is also famous for its rich food culture and heritage.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Good News / by Express News Service / October 31st, 2019

P.V. Sindhu becomes first Indian to win Badminton World Championships gold

India’s Pusarla Sindhu in action during her final women’s singles match.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Badminton Association of India has announced a cash reward of ₹20 lakh for Sindhu and ₹5 lakh for B. Sai Praneeth who won a bronze in the BWF World Championship,

P.V. Sindhu on Sunday became the first Indian to win a Badminton World Championships gold by beating familiar rival Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in a lop-sided final here on Sunday.

The Indian won 21-7 21-7 in the summit clash that lasted just 38 minutes.

Two years after being robbed off the gold by Okuhara in an epic 110-minute final at Glasgow that went down as one of the greatest battles in badminton history, Sindhu finally exorcised the ghost of that heart-wrenching loss with a completely dominating win over the same opponent.

It was Sindhu’s fifth World Championships medal — joint most for a woman singles player with former Olympics and world champion Zhang Ning of China — to go with the two successive silvers and a couple of bronze medals.

Sindhu has also won an Olympic silver in 2016 Rio Games, a silver at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, an Asian Games silver at Jakarta and the BWF World Tour Finals last year.

The fifth seeded Indian, who enjoyed a 8-7 head-to-head lead over third seeded Okuhara ahead of Sunday’s contest, was simply unstoppable as she dished out an attacking game right from the start to race to 8-1 lead.

The Indian targeted the deep corners and unleashed her big smashes to gather points at will.

A precise net shot helped Okuhara to snap Sindhu’s run of straight eight points but the Sindhu quickly got the control back when Okuhara went wide and then unleashed two good-looking smashes to enter the break with a massive 11-2 lead.

Okuhara tried to step up the pace but an alert Sindhu was up to the task. The Indian targeted Okuhara’s forehand corner to take two more points.

Sindhu used her height to produce those attacking clears which Okuhara could not negotiate. At 16-2, Sindhu committed a couple of unforced errors before again taking control of the match.

Sindhu eventually grabbed as many as 13 game points when Okuhara went long and she sealed the first game with a body blow which her rival sent out.

In the second game, Sindhu continued her rampaging form, grabbing two quick points before Okuhara earned a point with a cross court smash.

Okuhara had no answer to Sindhu’s razor sharp returns. The latter made Okuhara run to the deep corners with her acute angled returns and then swiftly followed them at the net to make life difficult for her opponent.

Okuhara seemed clueless as she ended up hitting the nets or missing the lines to allow Sindhu grab 11-4 lead at the interval.

At 16-4, Sindhu made a couple of rare errors when she hit long but that did not matter as she pounced on a weak return from Okuhara and sent it to the backline and then left her rival stranded with another powerful smash.

Sindhu grabbed the match point when Okuhara went long again and sealed the title when another superb return before throwing her hands in the air in celebration.

With Sindhu’s gold and Praneeth’s bronze in this edition, Indian shuttlers also continued the six-year streak of winning at least one medal in the prestigious event.

Watch | P.V. Sindhu’s journey to victory

BAI announces cash reward for Sindhu, Praneeth

Badminton Association of India on Sunday announced a cash reward of Rs 20 lakh and Rs 5 lakh for PV Sindhu and Sai Praneeth for their historic feats in the World Championships in Basel, Switzerland.

“BAI President @himantabiswa announces cash award of ₹20 lakh for World Champion @Pvsindhu1 and ₹5 lakh for @saiprneeth92 for their historic performance at the #bwfworldchampionship2019,” tweeted BAI.

While Sindhu became the first Indian to win a World Championships gold, Praneeth ended a 36-year wait after Prakash Padukone’s feat to secure a bronze for the country in men’s singles.

source: / The Hindu / Home> Sport> Other Sports / by PTI / Basel – August 25th, 2019

INCOIS Director elected to UNESCO body

The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) Director Satheesh Shenoi has been unanimously elected Vice-Chair (Group IV), of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission for 2019-2021. Group IV encompasses the countries of Australia, China, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea and Thailand.

UNESCO-IOC has around 150 member States and promotes international cooperation and programmes in marine research, services, observation systems, hazard mitigation, and capacity development in order to understand and effectively manage the resources of the ocean and coastal areas. Representatives of the member states are currently meeting at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France for the 30th session of the IOC Assembly (26 June – 4 July 2019).

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – July 05th, 2019

A doctor like no one

Gynaecologist M. Vijaya Lakshmi distributing medicine to a patient at a medical camp in Karimnagar. 

Vijaya Lakshmi treats patients free of cost every day between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

At a time when her peers did not feel it wise to work in rural areas, she moved to Karimnagar and opened Sanjeevani Hospital with the help of her husband Naveen Kumar, a surgeon.

Gynaecologist M. Vijaya Lakshmi, who was born and brought up in Hyderabad, studied medicine at Osmania University in 1984 and DGO in 1988. Dr. Lakshmi, popularly known as amma here, treats patients free of cost between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. every day.

She also conducts free medical camps for pregnant women every month at all the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) under Pradhan Manthri Surakshith Matritva Abhiyaan (PMSMA).

For her services under PMSMA, District Collector Sarfarz Ahmad even felicitated her with an appreciation letter during Republic Day celebrations on January 26 this year.

She runs Sanjeevani Charitable Trust under which she conducts medical camps across the district, and she performs surgeries free of cost on some occasions when patients cannot pay for the same. Also, she provides free breakfast to the in-patients at the hospital and distributes sarees as gift to pregnant women after their delivery. Dr. Lakshmi has launched an ambitious programme called Mogga to educate adolescent girls on the important of health and hygiene by visiting government schools and colleges.

Talking to The Hindu, Dr. Lakshmi said, “I received everything from the society and it’s time for me give back and I am doing that in small ways possible. Conducting medical camps is a part of that”.

She said she was planning to intensify her campaign to educate adolescent girls and added that she was planning to install automated sanitary vending machines at government educational institutions soon.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by K. M. Dayashankar / Karimnagar – May 05th, 2019

Trial by sun

Mango pulp being processed for solar drying at Society for Energy, Environment and Development (SEED); (extreme right) Shyamala Rambhotla   | Photo Credit:  Nagara Gopal

Helmed by 94-year-old Prof Ramakrishna Rao, SEED’s zero carbon emission solar cabinet dryers may have answers to counter post-harvest losses

Professor M Ramakrishna Rao is 94. Yet, the retired scientist from Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru, is the tour de force of Society for Energy, Environment and Development (SEED), which he established 32 years ago. Drawing from his expertise in physics and renewable energy, he guided the research and development team to design solar cabinet dryers for food processing. Three hundred of these cabinets ensuring zero carbon emissions are being used in 19 states across India by organisations working in the agriculture sector.

Germination of SEED

Prof Ramakrishna Rao   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

Ramakrishna Rao spends his days at the SEED office and incubation centre in Hyderabad , overseeing the operations. He ascends the stairs, one step at a time, to inspect dryers on the terrace. Age may have slowed him down but he’s always enthusiastic to discuss how solar dehydration can help minimise post-harvest losses and develop food products that can fetch farmers additional revenue.

Rao founded the organisation in 1987, after retiring from IISc, eager to use his scientific knowledge to help the farming sector. He did his Masters in physics and PhD from Osmania University, followed by post-doctoral studies in Columbus University, Ohio. SEED is a non-governmental organisation with a governing council headed by Padma Vibhushan awardee Prof Palle Ramarao; several food scientists work in honorary positions. The organisation receives partial funding from Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, and has 20 employees.

Helping Rao at SEED is his niece Shyamala Rambhotla, a computer science quality engineer. She returned to India in 2011, after working in a credit bureau in the US for 20 years, to help Rao with his work, and a long-term focus on strengthening the organisation.

In its first decade, SEED developed and tested dryers that used biomass and alternative fuels before zeroing in on solar cabinet dryers. Their solar cabinet dryer design was patented in 1997. The organisation reached out to those working in the agriculture sector to raise awareness about using solar power. It was a slow process. “Not many people knew about using solar power back then. We’ve seen a spurt in the last four years,” says Shyamala.

Branching Out

  • SEED has worked on 100 fruits, vegetables and other produce. Solar dehydrated mango, pineapple, chikoo, guava, fig, mango and mixed fruit are sold as rolls or fruit bars. An environmental chamber checks the shelf life of food products. Some of the products are sold at Karachi Bakery outlets. However, SEED primarily remains a non-profit, research and development outfit.
  • The centre’s library and lab is frequented by food science students for their projects. The organisation’s think tank comprises like-minded researchers and scientists. SEED also has an extension centre at Tholkata village near Moinabad.
  • Six commercial solar cabinet dryers were exported to Australia, Indonesia, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, Zanzibar and Kigoma.

Outreach initiatives

SEED has so far conducted 70 training sessions for more than 2,000 farmers, teaching them techniques of solar-drying fruits, vegetables, millets and other produce. A dedicated team develops products. On the day we visit the centre, ripe mangoes have been pulped, transferred as thin layers to trays and placed in the cabinets. A temperature gauge indicates 65° Celsius in the cabinet; another gauge monitors the weight reduction due to dehydration. It typically takes a day for the pulp to dry into a thin film; another layer of pulp is then added and left to dry. The dried pulp is then cooled, cut into segments and packaged as bars or rolls. “Traditional ‘mamidi thandra’ (aam papad) is made by drying mango pulp in open air, prone to dust. Solar cabinet drying ensures hygiene and retains nutritional value,” says Shyamala.

Fruit rolls developed by SEED   | Photo Credit:  Nagara Gopal

Other solar dryers are stocked with finely diced carrots, amla, spinach, rings of onions and tomatoes. An in-built fan removes moisture and ensures uniform dehydration. For leafy vegetables, the solar dryer is fitted with a blue filter to create greenhouse effect that helps retain chlorophyll and hence, the colour. “Dehydrated vegetables can be stored for later use. Soak it in water for 30 minutes and use for cooking just like fresh vegetables,” she says.

SEED designs dryers with loading capacities of eight, 50, 100, 200 and 500 kilograms and is working towards designing a one tonne capacity dryer for use in large firms. Elaborating on the applications, Shyamala explains, “Farmers incur losses when there’s a sudden drop in price, transportation issues or excess seasonal produce. At the mandal level, if community solar dryers are set up with government or corporate help, it will help farmers dehydrate their produce for later use and develop food products. India is big on agriculture production, but we aren’t processing enough.”

A dryer of eight kilograms capacity is priced at ₹40,000 and it goes up to ₹4,50,000 for 200 kilograms. SEED allows entrepreneurs to try the solar dryers at the incubation centre, develop their recipes and test market before purchasing. The pricing remains an issue, admit Rao and Shyamala. “If banks or the government can give subsidies, more farmers will be willing to buy,” says Shyamala. Rao points out that unlike electric dryers, solar dryers don’t have recurring costs.

Solar cabinets are efficient all through the year, barring occasional rainy days. “On such days, we use electric backup (powered by rooftop solar panels). We are working towards developing dryers that can use biogas for power backup,” sums up Shyamala.

(Planet Healers celebrates eco-conscious initiatives. If you know an eco warrior, writer in to

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad – Planet Healers / by Sangeetha Devi Dundoo / April 22nd, 2019

Mission Shakti: Dedication of Hyderabad scientists helped pull off remarkable feat

The A-SAT interceptor missile hit its target at an altitude of 300 km in a span of 3 minutes.

G Satheesh Reddy, DRDO chief |Express

Hyderabad :

‘Mission Shakti’, as it is rightly being hailed, is a remarkable achievement for the country, and a matter of pride for Hyderabad, as the project was conceived in the city.

Speaking to TNIE, chairman, DRDO and secretary to the Department of Defence R&D G Satheesh Reddy said scientists of Research Centre Imarat (RCI), along with those from Defence Research Development Labs (DRDL) and Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) — three premier DRDO labs in city — had been working on the project for the last two years. “But in the last six months, our scientists have worked day and night to achieve this on a mission mode,” the distinguished scientist added.

The A-SAT interceptor missile hit its target at an altitude of 300 km in a span of 3 minutes. “With an extremely high degree of accuracy, it can hit targets in the low earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of up to 1,000 km,” Reddy pointed out.

On the obstacles faced, Reddy said, “It was a technological challenge because, primarily, the relative velocity between the missile and target satellite was 10 km per second. It is a hit-to-kill weapon and we have worked very hard to achieve an accuracy of centimetres.” Though the accuracy in centimetres is yet to be calculated, he said it could be around five-to-six cm.

The interceptor missile was a three-stage missile with two solid rocket boosters. Tracking data from range sensors, according to DRDO has confirmed that the mission met all its objectives.“There are no warheads. Accuracy has to be very high. You need to develop a lot of mechanism like ‘divert thrusters’ which gives the manoeuvrability to the vehicle.

The algorithms have to be very precise and accurate for various environments. You need to hit with high accuracy. The BMD(ballistic missile defence) programme technology has been used,” said Reddy.

While India now has joined the elite club of USA, Russia and China, what is next for DRDO? “We have mastered the technology which can give an accuracy of centimetres. We have to plan (future course of action) and work it out,” he said.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Telangana / by Rahul V. Pisharody / by Express News Service / March 28th, 2019

All-women crew in Air India flights today

To mark International Women’s Day

AI525 from Hyderabad to Bhubaneshwar and back would be flown by an all-women crew on March 8 (Friday) operated by Captain Sapna Patel and First Officer Prajakta Chougule with cabin crew Manisha, S.L. Sunita, Prachi and Durge. This is one of the 40 domestic and short-haul flights to be operated by 12 all-women crew across the country to mark the International Women’s Day.

Women cockpit and cabin crew of Air India would operate both wide and narrow body aircraft to all corners of the world and across the nation as a mark of respect for women in India, a press release said.

For most of these flights, technical services would be provided by women aircraft engineers, technicians and flight dispatchers, while women duty managers, counter staff, helpers and doctors would work for most of these flights. “It’s a moment of pride and honour for Air Indians that our women employees are leaving their mark in the aviation sector on a global scale,” said Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani.

Air India would be deploying its B787 Dreamliners and B777s to be operated by women pilots and attended by women cabin crew in the sectors: Delhi- Sydney, Mumbai- London, Delhi-Rome, Delhi- London, Mumbai-Delhi-Shanghai, Delhi-Paris, Mumbai-Newark, Mumbai-New York, Delhi-New York, Delhi-Washington, Delhi-Chicago and Delhi-San Francisco, the release added.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – March 08th, 2019

Teen mountaineer on a new high

Malavath Poorna after conquering the 6,962-metre Mt. Aconcagua, the highest peak of South America, on Friday

Poorna becomes youngest tribal girl to scale world’s four highest peaks

Malavath Poorna has added another feather to her snow-capped hat. She has become the world’s youngest tribal woman to scale four highest mountain peaks across four continents.

The 18-year-old successfully climbed Mt. Aconcagua, the highest peak in Southern and Western Hemisphere on February 15. “I cannot even describe how difficult the climb was; it was much tougher than Mount Everest but I was determined to go ahead with the mission,” Poorna said, speaking from Mt. Aconcagua.

Before this, she had scaled Mt. Everest (Asia), Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa) and Mt. Elbrus (Europe).

‘Sky’s the limit’

The sky should be the limit for girls hailing from marginalised communities, she asserted. “We can achieve great goals in life,” she said. Poorna was a student of Telangana’s Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate studies at Telangana Social Welfare Residential Degree College for Women in Kamareddy.

“My goal is to make Telangana and India proud by becoming the youngest tribal woman in the world to scale the seven highest peaks across all seven continents. Now, I have set my sights on scaling Mt. Denali in North America, Vinson Massif in Antarctica) and Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia,” she declared.

Sekhar Babu, director of Transcend Adventures, had sponsored Poorna’s Aconcagua expedition.

Reacting to Poorna’s latest achievement, TSWREIS secretary R.S. Praveen Kumar said, “What makes her feat unique is that she hails from a poor tribal community and her parents, Laxmi and Devidas, work as agricultural labourers in Pakala village of Nizamabad district. Poorna has become a role model and source of inspiration for millions of girls from marginalised communities throughout the world.”

Poorna also participated in the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, 2015, to speak on equal rights for girls. In 2017, Bollywood actor-filmmaker Rahul Bose released a film on the young mountaineer that he titled ‘Poorna: Courage Has No Limit’.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – February 16th, 2019

Collector turns brand ambassador promoting low-cost sanitary pads

Over 90% women in the Peddapalli district now use pads, from a poor 11%

The newly formed Peddapalli district has emerged as the only district in Telangana State where over 90% of the women, including women Self-Help Group (SHG) members, girl students and others use sanitary napkins during their menstrual cycle.

Low-cost solution

Following reports about several women suffering from several health problems due to adoption of unhygienic methods during their menstrual cycle during the review meetings of health department, Collector A. Sri Devasena had pounced on the idea of production and distribution of low-cost sanitary napkins to all womenfolk in the district. So, she roped in women SHG Spoorthi and provided the necessary training and ensured a bank loan of Rs. 25 lakh under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Scheme. This was topped up with Rs. 5 lakh from the Zilla Samakhya to start their unit on September 14, 2018.

The 21-member Spoorthi SHG started producing ‘Sabala’ brand sanitary napkins (of the women for the women) in the district and marketed through SHG women and village organisations.

The product? Of international quality of different varieties and at just Rs. 3 per piece. Now, the SHG members have almost repaid the bank loans and are even making profits. They are also getting a monthly wage of Rs. 5,000 and above for each member.

Free of cost

Incidentally, Ms. Sri Devasena had acted as the brand ambassador for Sabala napkins and promoted its sales and usage by educating women and girls at all the meetings. In a novel promotion, the Collector took measures to distribute 15 lakh sanitary napkins free of cost initially to encourage women to use them. Talking to The Hindu on Saturday, Ms. Sri Devasena said during her initial survey it was found that not more than 11% of women were using sanitary napkins and majority leading an unhealthy lifestyle. After the introduction of Sabala sanitary napkins, usage had crossed 90% and they are planning to ensure the remaining 45-plus age group women also used sanitary napkins for good hygiene.

Spreading the market

“We are creating good hygiene among the womenfolk and providing entrepreneurship for the SHG women by making them self-reliant,” she said and added that the district administration was providing all the marketing support, training and conducted awareness camps about the usage of sanitary napkins. Next target? Plans to expand the market of Sabala napkins in the neighbouring districts.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by K. M. Dayashankar / Peddapalli – February 09th, 2019