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Centre launches GIAN to boost higher education

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Kharagpur/Ahmedabad: The human resource development (HRD) ministry on Monday launched the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) scheme to boost the quality of the country’s higher education through international collaboration.

The human resource development (HRD) ministry’s initiative GIAN was launched at the Indian Institute of Technology-Gandhinagar by HRD Minister Smriti Irani and was flagged off parallelly at IIT Kharagpur in the presence of R Subrahmanyam, additional secretary for technical education in the ministry.

GIAN is not limited to only those from the IITs and national institutes, but will also be available for government institutes who not usually expect an opportunity to meet, interact and learn from international faculty,

Subrahmanyam said GIAN aims at bringing high-quality academicians to participate in delivering courses in Indian institutions.

It is interconnected with the ‘Make in India’ campaign and the IMPRINT program.

The inaugural courses are 10-day courses — ‘3D Digitization for Cultural Heritage’ at IIT Gandhinagar and ‘Orthopedic Bio-mechanics: Implants and Biomaterials’ at IIT Kharagpur.

They are among 201 courses approved to be conducted under GIAN so far from among 495 courses proposed by various higher education institutes in India.

IIT Kharagpur is the nodal institution and national coordinator for this flagship program.

Irani said the courses will have a credit-based approach.

The Orthopedic Biomechanics course will be taught by professor Nico Verdonschot from the Netherlands who is a leading international figure in the field of computer modeling of Orthopedic Biomechanics.

More than 350 academicians from 38 countries are participating in this program in 13 broad disciplines. It currently includes 68 national institutes.

(Inputs from IANS)

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Government Pressure: Whatsapp to Limit Message Forwarding In INDIA

WhatsApp reacted: "In India, where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world, we'll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once.

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Whatsapp
"We will also remove the quick forward button next to media messages," WhatsApp said in a statement. Pixabay

 Hauled up second time by the government on its failure to check the spread of fake and provocative content on its platform amid growing lynching episodes, Whatsapp on Friday said it is launching a test to limit message forwarding to five chats that will apply to its users in India.

In its second notice on Thursday, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) took a tough stand, asking WhatsApp to come out with more effective solutions that can bring in accountability and facilitate enforcement of law in addition to their efforts towards labelling forwards and identifying fake news.

“It has been conveyed to them in unmistakable terms that it is a very serious issue which deserves a more sensitive response,” MeitY said in the notice.

WhatsApp reacted: “In India, where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world, we’ll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once.

“We will also remove the quick forward button next to media messages,” WhatsApp said in a statement.

The test, once comes to practice, will curtail WhatsApp’s services for over 200 million users in India. Globally, the company allows users to forward messages for up to 20 chats (either individuals or groups).

WhatsApp said that with new changes, which it will continue to evaluate, “will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app”.

“We are deeply committed to your safety and privacy which is why WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, and we’ll continue to improve our app with features like this one,” it added.

Whatsapp
“We will also remove the quick forward button next to media messages,” WhatsApp said in a statement. Pixabay

In its first reply to the IT Ministry, WhatsApp said the company is “horrified” by terrible acts of violence.

The IT Ministry had asked WhatsApp to ensure that the platform is not used for malafide activities over the growing instances of lynching of innocent people owing to large number of irresponsible messages filled with rumours being circulated on its platform.

The mobile messiging service listed several measures — including labelling Forwarding messages — in its first reply to control the spread of misinformation and abuse on its platform but failed to meet the requirements from the IT Ministry.

Several people have lost their lives in the past one year by lynch mobs after rumours of child lifting triggered via messages on WhatsApp.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for the first time admitted in the Lok Sabha on Thursday that fake news on social media has resulted in many mob lynching incidents in the country, saying the government has asked service providers to put a check on rumour mongering on social media.

Also Read-WhatsApp Begins Rolling Out ‘Restrict Group’ Feature For Admins

Expressing concern over the misuse of social media, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu also asked the government to evolve a national policy after discussing with all stakeholders including political parties to combat the menace.

The Supreme Court also issued 22 guidelines this week for the central and state governments to put an end to “horrendous acts” of vigilantism, lynching and mobocracy and directed them to work in tandem to take “preventive, remedial and punitive measures”. (IANS)