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Don’t wish to be known as ‘Call drop minister’: Ravi S Prasad

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New Delhi: Communications Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that he did not wish to be known as the ”call drop minister” as he emphasised the need for telecom service providers to improve infrastructure and strengthen voice quality.

Speaking at the 88th annual general meeting of FICCI, he also said if regulators and government insist that the telecom companies have to provide a certain quality of services, then the firms need to oblige.

“We will continue to be tough on service quality as committed,” he said.

Incessant call drops incidents have created a lot of furore in the country this year. Recently, Prasad said there is a need for the telecom service operators to ramp up networks to improve service quality.

The minister also said on Saturday: “While I applaud telecom operators for spreading mobile services in the nook and corner of the country, I am equally concerned that quality of service must be maintained.”

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had decided to impose a penalty of Re.1 for dropped calls from January 1, 2016. A notification from the TRAI earlier said the calling customer will get a credit of Re.1 per call drop, limited to three such occurrences per day in a 24-hour cycle. Following that, the mobile operators have to send them an SMS within four hours.

Talking about the postal department, an upbeat Prasad said that he has asked the department to encourage e-commerce activities in the rural areas.

Regarding the payments banks licence which was granted to the department, Prasad mentioned how his government pushed for the licence despite opposition to it. (IANS), (image courtesy: kachwanya.com)

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National Book Trust (NBT) Chairman: Nurturing Creativity and Innovation in Children at an Early Age are Much Needed

How should current school curriculum be modified for an overall development of Children?

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Nurturing creativity and innovation in children
Nurturing creativity and innovation in children. Pixabay
  • Education should work in the direction of expanding the horizon of knowledge children
  • There is a need to shift educational learning for school goers from content mastery to competency mastery
  • To compete with the children worldwide, they need to have an understanding that is beyond books

New Delhi, August 21, 2017: There is a need to look beyond the world of text books and inculcate in children qualities like empathy towards society, humanity, sensitivity towards other human beings and nature.

Baldeo Bhai Sharma, Chairman of National Book Trust (NBT), talked about nurturing creativity, innovation in young minds for nation’s economic and spiritual development.

He was speaking at the FICCI’s first-ever Children’s Publishing Conclave called ‘Scrapbook’. Mr. Sharma said that it is crucial to observe and spot the creativity in children. To not just bound them to the school curriculum. The Supplementary books in school should teach them about the life lessons, that they should be good human beings. Such books will help them in the developing a good and positive personality; it will also strengthen their thinking and imaginative skills.

ALSO READ: 11 Facts about Education System Around the World: Do they prove to be Beneficial for Children?

In the conclave, he talked about how brave soldiers can inspire kids to be like that when they grow up and fight for their country someday. If not, even then such books will inculcate a feeling of patriotism in them. According to ANI reports, Mr. Sharma (pointing towards NBT’s efforts) said, “‘The Veergatha’ series had been introduced by NBT, which talks of the great acts of bravery by Indian soldiers.” The first series has a set of 5 books in English and Hindi, they are written so as to inspire the young minds and evoke feelings of patriotism in children from an early age.

Children are sometimes overburdened with books.  UNESCO encourages learning in mother tongue, especially at the early stage.  Sharma said that education should work in the direction of expanding the horizon of knowledge in a child and he agrees with UNESCO that teaching a child in mother tongue should be encouraged to retain cultural values.

Dr. Hrushikesh Senapaty, Director of NCERT, said: “There is a need to shift educational learning for school goers from content mastery to competency mastery, where competencies should be classified into character, intellectual and social.” He stressed upon the need to make the classroom environment vibrant where teachers would play the role of a facilitator- will provide them with an opportunity where they can develop and strengthen their competencies as well as communication ability. He added, “The Indian education system is moving from knowledge construction to knowledge processing with the help of technology, enabling children to explore, innovate and create.”

ALSO READ: Ragas for Preschool Children: Combining Classical Music with Fun Exercises

Appreciating FICCI’s initiative, Dr. Senapaty said that the goal of this publishing conclave is to produce content which is rich in quality and is innovative. It will enable them to learn in a collaborative environment. He added, “Indian children have performed well when they follow a prescribed school curriculum but to compete with the children worldwide, they need to have an understanding that is beyond books and focus on skills like building their applied knowledge.”

Children should explore, innovate and create
Children should explore, innovate and create. Pixabay

Ms. Urvashi Butalia, Chairperson, FICCI Publishing Committee and Director, Zubaan, said that the conclave focused on:

  • promoting book reading amongst young minds
  • government and children’s publishers- enhance learning outcome in educational space
  • policy advocacy- nurture collaboration between schools
  • addressed- gender misrepresentation in children’s books
  • concerns- children’s content in school books
  • implementing theory of multiple intelligence on children’s content- enhance learning outcome
  • changing role of technology in children’s content and its impact on K-12 (kindergarten (K) and the 1st -12th grade) education

Dr. A. Didar Singh, Secretary-General, FICCI, said that this platform will help to explore possible collaboration between children, content creators, offline and online service providers, publishers, technology disruptors, schools, teachers, parents, and policymakers. The conclave focused on the important aspects like learning requirements of an individual child, crucial role publishers can play to address it.

The conclave also had some interesting workshops for school children. The workshops had activities like creative writing, story-telling and received appreciation from the young minds.


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FICCI and Carnegie India launch a report on ‘Bringing the Diaspora Home: India’s Expatriate Evacuation Operations’

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Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister of India at the 2014 Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in London. Wikimedia

January 6, 2017: With the increase in diaspora, India faces more challenges to protect to protect the geographically dispersed and diverse population. The Indian government has been strengthening its diplomatic and military capabilities and trying to improve coordination with other countries. Since 1947, India has conducted more than 30 diaspora evacuation missions across Asia and Africa.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inaugurating the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) this weekend. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), launched the report by Dr Constantino Xavier ‘Bringing the Diaspora Home: India’s Expatriate Evacuation Operations’, in partnership with Carnegie India. The report outlines the economic importance of the subject. It tries to bring awareness of accomplishments of India in its evacuation operations, mentioned ANI.

The event was attended by former Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Ranjan Mathai. He outlined the importance of different approaches for different contexts associated with each operation. Also, we need to have a good understanding of the destination country.

Retired Vice-Admiral Anup Singh stressed on the significance of maritime diplomacy and international relations in easing the evacuation operations.

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Around 10 million Indian passports are issued every year. There are more than 11 million Indian citizens residing worldwide. Every year, more than 20 million Indians travel internationally.

The Indian diaspora plays an important role in India’s economic development. Overseas Indians have become a priority for India’s Foreign and Security policies. Their remittance accounts for more than 3 percent of its GDP. After the recent crisis in Gulf region, the Indian government has been giving committed and unparalleled attention to the diaspora’s safety.

However, the credit for the success of the India’s evacuation project should be given to the officials who sacrificed their lives and bought back the diaspora. There hasn’t been any formal doctrine or an emergency plan. The Indian government needs to go beyond quick-fix solutions and punctual efforts. We cannot always depend on heroic and ad hoc efforts.

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On the basis of new data and interviews with Indian officials, Dr Xavier, in his paper, has assessed India’s experience in dealing with the evacuation missions. He has recommended some policy changes.

According to ANI report, he said that these measures must be included to institutionalise best practices as emergency plans and standard operating procedures. We need to improve operational coordination between agencies and ministers and train the diplomatic cadre to function in the hostile environment. The Indian government needs to increase cooperation and operational coordination with foreign governments. Armed forces should be given a greater role. There is a need for a balance between civil and military in decision making.

Prepared by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

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Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar moots the idea of women’s entry in NDA, on warships and in Sainik schools

Parikkar believes that this status quo, which resists women in these roles, needs to be challenged

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Women officers at medal parade in Monrovia. Image Source: un.org
  • Parikkar believes that this status quo, which resists women in these roles, needs to be challenged
  • The army and the navy are yet to accept the women power in combat roles
  • He also gave thumbs up to admitting girls in Sainik schools and allowing them into NDA as well

Seems like women will soon foray into combat roles and march into new frontiers in the armed forces.

Addressing the Ladies organisation at FICCI on July 4, the Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, said, “I support women rights, empowerment, but I believe changes have to be done in a gradual manner because if you don’t do that there will be problems.”

While it took more than two decades for women to be inducted as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force (IAF), the army and the navy are yet to accept the women power in combat roles.

First batch of women fighter pilots. Image Source: Indian Express
The First batch of women fighter pilots. Image Source: Indian Express

Parikkar believes that this status quo, which resists women in these roles, needs to be challenged.

Though there still are some “no-go” areas in the armed forces, barring women to take up bigger roles, the Defence Minister wants these obsolete notions to be buried in the history.

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Talking about India being the land of women with impeccable strength, Parrikar said that women have been kept away from the armed forces for far too long.

He also feels that before this acceptance to come along, a great battle of mind needs to be fought.

Debunking general notions that soldiers will not listen to their lady commanding officer, the Defence Minister said, this is not the case. The only limiting factor is the “infrastructure”, he said.

He added, “In combat roles also there can be women. Why not have a complete women’s team; a battalion of women? So the question of women officers leading a men’s team – if there is a question of initial resistance – can also be taken care of,” quoted India Today.

Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar. Image Source: Wikipedia.org
Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar. Image Source: Wikipedia.org

Parrikar also advocated that women officers should be allowed on warships, once the ships are modified into women friendly warships, said IndiaToday report.

Stressing that this change would be a gradual one, he said that for now, he can’t allow women on submarines and warships as the current infrastructure lacks necessary facility.

Parrikar explained, “I don’t understand why we can’t place women on ships. At this stage, I will not support a submarine operation because submarines are designed for male staff.”

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Apart from the entry of women in the combat roles, Parrikar also gave thumbs up to admitting girls in Sainik schools and allowing them into NDA as well.

The defence minister did not merely end at giving suggestions, but he also assured to take up the issues with the service chiefs.

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