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Here’s Why Drones May Prove To Be Helpful in Battling Coronavirus in India

Officially there are about 16,000 drones in India

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Officially there are about 16,000 drones in India, says report. Pixabay

With the states across India pulling out all stops in the country’s battle against coronavirus, a Chennai-based drone company too is using its technological innovations to tackle the scourge in Chhattisgarh capital Raipur and elsewhere.

“Our drones will spray disinfectant on areas specified by the Chhattisgarh government, usually hospital areas, government offices and buildings,” Agnishwar Jayaprakash, Managing Director of city-based Garuda Aerospace, told IANS.

Jayaprakash, 29, has created quite a splash in the international swimming pools to win medals for India. In his home state Tamil Nadu, he says, the government is doing pilot studies on spraying disinfectant with Garuda’s drones on the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, as also Ripon Building that houses the Greater Chennai Corporation, and others.

The drone manufacturer has bagged orders from some private hospitals in Chennai for disinfecting their buildings as well, he added. The challenge before him is to reach Raipur with his drones and pilots amid the national lockdown.

“We will spray disinfectant over 770 acres initially. We will send two drones and two pilots by road initially. We can finish the spraying task in two days,” Jayaprakash said. “The total order is of Rs.2.3 crore for sanitiser spray across 180 sq km,” he added.

Interestingly, Jayaprakash was born with a lung ailment and will now be using drones to kill a virus that damages human lungs. According to him, Garuda Aerospace is getting enquiries from various state governments for disinfecting public places by using drones.

On the business model, he said: “It will be a sort of Drones as a Service (DAAS). We will provide our drones and the pilots to operate them. The customer has to provide the disinfectant.” He pointed out that a drone could cover 20 km distance compared to a human’s 4-5 km within specific time and that a fleet of 300 drones can cover 6,000 km linear distance in a day.

“During a pandemic, speed of disinfecting areas is important. Further, it is safe as health workers could be exposed to health risk while drones and their pilots are not. The speed, productivity, and precision of drones are better than human beings,” he added.

Coronavirus, Coronavirus Covid-19
With the states across India pulling out all stops in the country’s battle against coronavirus, a Chennai-based drone company too is using its technological innovations to tackle the scourge in Chhattisgarh capital Raipur and elsewhere. Pixabay

Jayaprakash said that each drone can spray 40 litres of disinfectant every day, if deployed for 12 hours. The drones can fly up to a height of 400 ft and carry out spraying operations on even on tall buildings. According to him, Garuda has manufactured and serviced drones for several government departments in Tamil Nadu, like forests, electricity, police, mining, agriculture, Indian Coast Guard and others.

ALSO READ: Demand of Hygiene Products and Staples Rise Amid Lockdown

As the company had used drones to spray pesticides on farm land, it occurred to him to use them to spray disinfectants also, he said. Queried about the industry size in India, Jayaprakash said it is worth about $100 million and 15-20 organised players with all statutory licences. According to him, officially there are about 16,000 drones in India. (IANS)

 

 

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India Witnesses a 37% Rise in Cyberattacks in the First Quarter of 2020

The report shows that India ranks 27th globally in the number of web-threats

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India has seen a 37 per cent hike in cyberattacks in the first quarter of 2020. Pixabay

India has seen a 37 per cent increase in cyberattacks in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, as compared to the fourth quarter (Q4) of last year as a result of social media disadvantages, a new report revealed on Saturday.

The Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) report showed that its products detected and blocked 52,820,874 local cyber threats in India between January to March this year.

The data also shows that India now ranks 27th globally in the number of web-threats detected by the company in Q1 2020 as compared to when it ranked on the 32nd position globally in Q4 2019.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of attacks in 2020 Q1 that may continue to rise further in Q2 as well, especially in the current scenario where we notice an increase in cybercriminal activities, especially in the Asia Pacific region,” said Saurabh Sharma, Senior Security Researcher, GReAT Asia Pacific at Kaspersky.

The number of local threats in Q1 2020 in India (52,820,874) shows how frequently users are attacked by malware spread via removable USB drives, CDs and DVDs, and other “offline” methods.

Protection against such attacks not only requires an antivirus solution capable of treating infected objects but also a firewall, anti-rootkit functionality and control over removable devices.

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The high numbers of cyberattacks are likely to keep rising in Q2. Pixabay

According to the firm, the number of local threats detected in Q4 2019 was 40,700,057.

India also ranks 11th worldwide in the number of attacks caused by servers that were hosted in the country, which accounts of 2,299,682 incidents in Q1 2020 as compared to 854,782 incidents detected in Q4 2019, said the report.

Also Read: Reimagining Business Models for a Post-Pandemic World

“We see smartphone users being targeted more due to mass consumption and increased digitalisation,” Sharma said.

“Risks like data leakage, connection to unsecured wi-fi networks, phishing attacks, spyware, apps with weak encryption (also known as broken cryptography) are some of the common mobile threats that Android users face,” he added.

“In order to mitigate some of the major risks like data breaches, targeted ransomware attacks, large scale (distributed denial-of-service) DDoS attacks, etc, businesses will need to allocate their budgets correctly to build a stronger security infrastructure,” said Dipesh Kaura, General Manager for South Asia, Kaspersky. (IANS)

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Back to the Soil With Organic Farming

Here's the story of various people who have returned back to their soil, organically

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Many professionals have returned back to their soil. PIxabay

By Sukant Deepak

A banker from Canada, a resort director, a top executive in a leading IT company and a senior corporate communications professional with a major hospital chain. Defying all stereotypes and preconceived notions of farmhands, an increasing number of highly qualified professionals from both genders are quitting their lucrative professions and getting back to the soil in Punjab full-time,making responsible farming their way of life.

Using social media including WhatsApp to spread the word, participating in pop-up organic farmers’ markets across the region and organising day-long farm tours, these new-age farmers, compost kit makers and teachers are ascertaining that those wanting pesticide-free food grains don’t have to look too hard.

Rahul Sharma’s wife would always laugh when on a typical IT sprint meeting call, he would be discussing his project at Flipkart, and a few hours later, talking about manure collection with a farmer.

This organic farmer who now grows cereal grains, pulses, oil seeds, turmeric and garlic at his five acre farm in Kapurthala full time, insists that the ongoing lockdown has made people aware about the importance of growing their own food, and that too pesticide-free. “But yes, if the government is serious about providing nutritional security, then it must ascertain economic benefits to farmers so they can go in for sustainable agriculture,” he stresses.

For someone who started doing organic farming in 2016, the thrill that comes with growing safe food for others is unparalled.”The fact that there is a patch of land which is now free of poison, where life thrives, and that I am contributing towards healthy soil.”

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Rahul Sharma now grows cereal grains, pulses, oil seeds, turmeric and garlic at his five acre farm in Kapurthala full time. Pixabay

Not regretting his switch from a corporate IT job, which never allowed him to pursue his passions like photography, Sharma has now decided to streamline production and ordering process. “I have now a set rotation of crops which provide nutrition to the soil, as well as work well in the consumer market. I am also working on an online platform to make it easier for my consumers to order grains and be in touch with me,” he adds. He also lectures and interacts with school and college students at his farm about the importance of sustainable agriculture/lifestyle.

Shivraj Bhullar, who has a four-acre farm in Manimajra and grows a variety of seasonal vegetables, leafy greens and fruits left his cushy banker job in Canada to start organic farming on his piece of land in 2014 post volunteering at different farms across India to learn the ropes. “The organic farming convention that was held in the region in 2015 brought a lot of people together. Since then, the movement has been growing with greater awareness amongst consumers in this part of the country,” he says. For someone who has always been interested in Yoga and nutrition, one of the major factors that keeps him excited is the community around the organic farming movement in Punjab. “Farmers go out of their way to help each other out. It’s been a humbling and continuous learning experience for me,” he adds.

Planning to take his farm to the next level by installing a drip irrigation system and rain water harvesting for water conservation, Bhullar is all set to buy more animals so as to decrease his dependence on outside sources for manure.

Coordinator of the Chandigarh Farmers’ Market, Seema Jolly, who owns a five-acre farm in village Karoran in Punjab and grows vegetables,fruit, grains, oilseeds and pulses wants her farm to be a school for organic/natural farming, yoga and Ayurveda in the near future. One of the directors of the Baikunth Resorts Pvt Ltd, Jolly started organic farming in 2011 and there has been no looking back since then. “There is a certain joy in knowing that what you supply is not harming the consumer in any way,” she says. Instrumental in organising trips for school children to different farmers across Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, Jolly also helps small organic farmers with logistics and selling their produce. “The organic farmers market initiative, in July 2015 was a landmark in bringing relief to the marketing problems of organic farmers and encouraging more farmers to turn organic. Frankly, what is needed is small markets like these in all districts. It may take time, but people are bound to tilt towards organic if there is easy availability.”

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There are many people who own farms including Former National level hockey player Mohanjit Dhaliwal who has two farms. Pixabay

Former National level hockey player Mohanjit Dhaliwal who has two farms — one if Ropar and another in Fathegrah Sahib, the latter being part of permaculture food forest in ‘Sanjhi Mitti Food Forest Community’, has been involved in organic farmer for more than 10 years now. Talking about the roadblocks when it comes to shifting to organic, he feels, that the government’s policy of 100 per cent wheat paddy procurement has to change. “Farmers, who used to be entrepreneurs and solutions finders are now behaving like robots.Nothing is going to change unless policy makers get out of whole process.”

Besides holding regular workshops on permaculture which is attended by people from around the country, Dhaliwal, who is working on a forest therapy centre, adds, ” Our Eco library at the farm where anyone can read or borrow books on related subjects is quite a hit with both children and adults.”

Chandigarh-based Jyoti Arora, who supplies odour-free composters in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh to houses, hotels, institutions, municipalities, and engages with Swachh Bharat teams of different municipalities, says, “I also do a lot of lecture demonstrations to sensitise people and encourage people to go green. In fact, my farming is a by product of the compost generated from my domestic waste in which the produce comes solely out of the compost.”

Also Read: Oglivy Launches Video Campaign Promoting Love of Couples in Lockdown

Everything changed for Diksha Suri, a former corporate communications head with a major hospital chain when she spent time at Auroville in 2004. “Being there and learning from experts started a journey of a more conscious approach towards the living greens and browns. I attended formal workshops and started experimenting an organic way of living,” says Suri, who, along with a friend set up Chandigarh’s first Nature Club in 2012.

From organising organic farm visits, forest walks and fossil sites for children and their parents, Suri says that she has been able to make hundreds of children conscious about what they eat. “A lot of them are now at ease with composting, growing vegetables, identifying birds, and more than anything, being in sync with nature. We now regularly hold talks and workshops on organic farming, composting, waste management, across schools, colleges and corporate offices in the region.”

Chandigarh-based Rishi Miranshah, who has made the nine-part docu-series ‘The Story of Food – A No Fresh Carbon Footprint’ which is available to watch online on Films for Action website and YouTube says, “Considering what chemicals have been doing to our food and the need to switch to organic, it was important for me to make this documentary which is an investigation, tracing the trail of devastations bringing us to the point where we are today. Food being the thread that connects us to life; and the way we obtain our food being that connects us to a way of life, the movie begins by examining our agri-culture, our very relationship with the land.” (IANS)

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Snapchat Brings ‘Lensathon’ to India

Snapchat Joins hands with Skillenza to launch its first-ever Lensathon to India

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Snapchat launches 'Lensathon' in India. Pixabay

Photo-messaging app Snapchat on Friday announced a partnership with community-based platform Skillenza to bring its first-ever Lensathon to India – an online hackathon open to national participation to create Augmented Reality (AR) experiences using Lens Studio.

Lens Studio is a free desktop app launched by Snapchat in 2017, that provides the tools and templates needed to build digital skills, create Lenses and share them on Snapchat.

Since its launch, over 900,000 Lenses have been made by the community all over the world.

The Lensathon is an opportunity to add to this growth and breadth of experiences available on Snapchat.

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All the Lensathon participants have the opportunity to attend webinars to learn Lens creation. Pixabay

“In the past year, we have worked closely with high schools and colleges across India, teaching digital skills to students through Lens Studio workshops. The Lensathon is another step in that direction,” Juhi Bhatnagar, Strategy and Business Development Lead, India at Snap, said in a statement.

Also Read: US White House Releases Report Announcing Onset of Cold War With China

Participants can build multiple lenses with the limitation that the last 5 lenses submitted will be evaluated against the criteria.

All the Lensathon participants have the opportunity to attend webinars to learn Lens creation from the experts from the Lens team at Snapchat.

The most creative and original Lenses will stand a chance to join the Official Lens Creator program, alongside winning other cash prizes, swag and Snap Spectacles. (IANS)