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India’s love for ‘smart’: Transforming rural India into mini-Chandigarhs

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By Dr. J.K. Bhutani

Smartphones, smart cars, smart homes and now smart cities; ‘smart’ is the latest hype in India!

Smart cities, the ambitious proposal of the government of India, is as much a fancy of the middle class urbanites, as it is of the populist current government. The project which has a budget allocation of Rs. 7,016 crore, has won the heart and mind of one and all.

The smart cities are governed and run by the touch of a touch-screen and are the face of the development, modernisation and rising economic power of India.

India, nevertheless, needs to have its strengths and self-sufficiency.

India has traditionally governed itself with the focus on its more than 600,000 villages.

M.K. Gandhi firmly believed that self-reliant villages form a sound basis for a just, equitable and non-violent India.  He was convinced that

‘if the villages perish, India will perish too. Her own mission in the world will get lost…. which included economic self-reliance, social equality and decentralized political system’.  

The modern rural India should be showcased too for the world needs to know the gains of freedom, governance and technology.

The vision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi that ‘if we have to build the nation we have to start from the villages’ echoes the same concern and goal. Our PM has requested all Members of Parliament (MP) to develop one model village in their constituency by the year 2016 and two more by 2019.

The ‘Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS)’ not only funds, but also takes care of mobilization of local resources from the philanthropists.

Corporates with CSR (corporate social responsibility) obligations can be more than enough for the development and provision of the basic amenities to people who are living in the villages.

We have the technology, we have the funds and we have the model….every village can be a mini-Chandigarh with all the basic and the modern facilities of power, piped water, road network, drainage, self sustaining waste disposals and telecommunication networks.  

As per the official records, out of Rs. 2147.50 crore released for the MPLADS ( 2014-15), nearly 75 per cent of the funds have remained unspent.

If all 900 plus parliamentarians and some NGOs and corporates adopt 5 villages each every year, then, by 2025 we shall have more than 50000 villages which could rightfully have a tag of mini-Chandigarh as far as modern amenities matter for a good life are concerned, and that too without putting any extra burden on the taxpayer.

Our vision of modern cities, as dreamt by Nehru and put to life by the genius of Le Corbusier and the skilled engineers and workers of this nation, has been able to give almost a heritage city status to Chandigarh.

There are more than 6 lakh mini-Chandigarhs in the making.

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‘Good morning’ messages are cluttering smartphones in India

According to Google, there has been a 10-fold rise in the number of searches for "Good Morning images."

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'Good Morning' messages clutter smartphones.
'Good Morning' messages clutter smartphones.
  • ‘Good Morning’ messages are the reason for cluttering of smartphones
  • These messages make smartphones run out of memory
  • Google is trying to weed these messages out

With millions of “good morning” texts, spiced with colourful images and even videos sent and received every morning across India, one in three smartphone user in India runs out of space daily, as compared to one in 10 in the US, the media reported.

According to Google, there has been a 10-fold rise in the number of searches for “Good Morning images” over the past five years.

'Good Morning' messages are eating out your smartphone's memory. Wikimedia Commons
‘Good Morning’ messages are eating out your smartphone’s memory. Wikimedia Commons

It is because Indians have a habit of sending millions of ‘good morning!’ texts along with sun-dappled flowers, adorable toddlers and birds to friends, family and strangers, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Inexpensive smartphones and data plans have brought an unlikely group of users online who begin their typical day — before sunrise and reaches a crescendo before 8 a.m. — by sending good morning greetings.

“We were trying to deconstruct what is the DNA of a good morning message for months. It’s been a lot of hard work to get it right,” Josh Woodward, the Google product manager in Mountain View, California, was quoted as telling the Wall Street Journal.

Also Read : India now the leading market of smartphones in Asia

Currently, there are nearly 400 million Internet users in India, along with over 300 million smartphone users and about 650 million mobile phone users.

The company used its giant image database and artificial intelligence tools to train the app to weed out good morning messages.

Google is trying to weed images with this message out. Pixabay
Google is trying to weed images with this message out. Pixabay

The key to spotting them was looking for a certain size and type of image file, Woodward said, adding that early versions were picking out photos of children wearing T-shirts with words on them.

To counter such storage problem, Google in December launched a new app called “Files Go” that will help free up space, find files faster and share files offline on smartphones that come with less internal storage.

Also Read : Top 5 smartphones trending in India in 2016

“The average ‘Files Go’ user is saving 1GB of space so they can do more on their phone. It was built for Android Go devices, but we’re also making it available on the Google Play Store,” the company said, at the launch of the product in New Delhi.

The app has more than 10 million downloads so far, with more users in India than any other country. It has cleared up on average more than 1 gigabyte of data per user, Google said. IANS