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Connection with Indian diaspora is key issue for Modi government

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New Delhi: The importance of diaspora in Modi’s diplomacy is reflected in the Indian communities related programs since PM Modi had taken the charge of the nation on May 2014. The government launched year-long consultation program on diaspora related subjects. It includes the investment from Indian diaspora members for PM’S flagships projects. This comes just after a month of the tie-up between Ministry of Overseas Affairs and MEA.

The 1st consultation of this series was held on Saturday, including Ministers, senior officials, stakeholders and sovereign people.

The main motto of this plan is to generate various ideas for promoting the schemes like Start Up India, Digital India, cleaning of Ganga, flagship projects and so on along with making people aware of the healthcare, development, and tourism promotion issues.

According to authorities, one consultative meeting will be organized every month to discuss on one such issue related to Indian diaspora. The Saturday meeting was held on the issue of how to carry out the program where money is donated by diaspora timely, sources said.

Modi government uses Non-Resident Indians and Indian diaspora as the key element of foreign policy. They established many Trusts and authorities to focus on diaspora. One such authority is The Indian Development Foundation of Overseas Indians ( IDF-OI ) chaired by Sushma Swaraj, which was established in 2008 to engage NRIs in the development and social projects of India.

IDF-OI  connected with Modi government’s flagship program like Swachh Bharat and Namami Gange in 2015-16 and also make easy for Indian overseas to contribute to these projects. It is also connected with State governments to present projects of State governments.

Nearly after 12 years of diaspora improvement program, the government in January decided to merge Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs with External Affairs Ministry with the principle of minimum government, maximum governance. The merger program was cleared by Modi and following the suggestion from Sushma Swaraj who was earlier holding MEA and MOIA portfolios.(inputs from agencies)

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Developers Can Now Start Building Hindi Skills for Alexa in India

Right now, Alexa can understand some Hinglish commands but these are few and far between

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Alexa, Amazon, Virtual Assistant
Amazon Echo led the Indian smart speakers market with 59 per cent share in 2018 (Representational image). Pixabay

Amazon on Tuesday announced that developers can now start building Alexa skills for customers in India with the new Hindi voice model available in Alexa Skills Kit (ASK).

Developers would get a headstart and submit skills for certification as the company prepare to offer engaging experiences for Alexa users in one of the most spoken languages in the country, the company said in a statement.

Commercial hardware manufacturers who want to develop Alexa Built-in products for Hindi-speaking customers in India can request early access to the invite-only Alexa Voice Service (AVS) developer preview.

The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a collection of free, self-service APIs and tools that make it fast and easy for developers to create skills, or capabilities, for Alexa.

Amazon last year launched a new category of skill called “Cleo” that enables customers in India help Alexa learn Hindi and other languages. The idea was to improve Alexa’s language model and help her gradually speak in local languages.

Lawsuit, Amazon, Alexa
The lawsuit alleges Amazon of saving ‘voice prints’ of millions of children by unlawfully recording their conversations around Alexa-enabled smart devices. Pixabay

Apart from Hindi, users can respond to Alexa’s English statements in Tamil, Marathi, Kannada, Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati and other regional languages.

Alexa is currently available in over 80 countries and speaks more than 14 language variants.

One can sign up for the first webinar on Hindi skill building scheduled on July 24. Developers in India who have their Hindi-language skill certified for publication in India before July 31 would receive exclusive early bird Alexa merchandise.

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Rohit Prasad, Vice President and Head Scientist for Alexa, told IANS recently that the company is working on infusing regional languages capabilities in Alexa for the Indian market but these are early days.

Right now, Alexa can understand some Hinglish commands but these are few and far between. (IANS)