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Make in India: IIT-Kharagpur students developing fully indigenous drones

The drones are being developed under the institute's Aerial Robotics Kharagpur (ARK) initiative

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Picture of IIT-Kharagpur. Wikimedia

October 17, 2016: A group of students at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur is developing drones using indigenous hardware and software, officials said on Monday.

The drones, being developed under the institute’s Aerial Robotics Kharagpur (ARK) initiative, are being given shape at the Centre for Excellence in Robotics, funded by the Sponsored Research & Industrial Consultancy (SRIC) facility of the Institute.

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The Centre has received funding from the Institute to the extent of Rs 5 crore for 12 projects.

“Under the ARK initiative, drones are being developed, which would be capable of autonomous flight, localisation in GPS-denied environments, and tracking and interacting with mobile ground robots as well as other drones, and much more,” said Somesh Kumar of the Department of Mathematics, who is heading the initiative.

The ARK initiative aims to develop a flexible aerial robotics framework, which can be easily used to control aerial vehicles and eventually move to multiple decentralised aerial robot swarms in an outdoor setting.

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“The ARK initiative intends to develop drones using indigenous hardware and software. These have various applications, including tracking during search and rescue operations,” Kumar said.

“There are several areas where aerial robots can be deployed, such as agriculture technology, mine surveying, surveillance, etc. Aerial robots can be deployed in all those areas where human interaction is impossible either because of life risks or because of inaccessibility,” said Gaurav Gardi, a Fourth-Year student of MSc Physics working in the project.

The group participated in the International Aerial Robotics Competition at Beijing, in China, in September.

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The ARK was the only team from India, which participated in the competition at the Asia-Pacific venue.

The team participated with a ‘hexacopter’ designed by the students and completely made of wood. The team was awarded ‘Best Team Cooperation Award’ for its performance.

The team members were Soumyadeep Mukherjee, Aditya Agarwal, Gaurav Gardi, Kumar Ankit, Kumar Krishna Agarwal, Manash Pratim Das, Sai Ram and Vishnu Sharma. (IANS)

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Challenges to the Narendra Modi government before the Upcoming 2019 Elections

Modi needs to come up with an efficacious plan to tackle this fast approaching apocalypse

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Challenges to Modi Government
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia

By Gaurav Tyagi

August 12, 2017: India would be celebrating 70 years of independence from the British rule on 15th August. The current state of affairs, in the country despite tall claims by Indian establishment is bleak. There are enormous challenges that face the Modi government in India before the 2019 elections.

‘Make in India’ scheme was launched with much fanfare in September 2014 to overhaul the out-dated policies and processes thereby, making India a global manufacturing hub.

An NDTV report reveals the ground realities.

An entrepreneur, Saurabh Ahuja tried to import a $ 600 3D printer for manufacturing drones at his workshop in Delhi. He had to shell out another extra $900 in taxes and bribes for the customs department to release his consignment and that too after a period of three months.

The aforementioned case of Mr. Ahuja discloses that ‘red tapism’ is still highly prevalent in India. Big companies donate large funds to all major political parties therefore, they have easy access to the ‘corridors of power’ but a small budding entrepreneur is made to ‘run from pillar to post’ for getting various permissions from several government departments.

India’s bureaucracy is based on the British colonial model. British officers used to be in charge of administrative affairs when India was a British Colony. To ease their workload, they used to hire Indians at the clerical level. These Indians who served the British Empire thought very highly of themselves and regarded their fellow Indians with contempt.

Indian bureaucracy thus inherited a pretentious, rigid hierarchical functioning style from its colonial masters. These bureaucrats don’t have much accountability and continue in their plum posts till retirement. Their attitude towards ruling party politicians is servile while with general public they are disdainful.

They remain contented in their comfort zone of out-dated ideas and models.
Dealing with Indian authorities is a nightmare for every common citizen. These officials create hurdles and blocks at each step and expect gratification in form of bribes.

The situation is best summarized by Rajiv Bajaj, head of Bajaj Auto, a big industrial house of India. This is what he said in a recent speech this year, “If your innovation in the country depends on government approval or the judicial process, it will not be a case of ‘made in India’ but ‘mad’ in India.”

World Bank’s recent rankings for countries regarding ‘ease of doing business’ ranks India as 130th out of 190 nations.

Jobs in the Indian Information technology (IT) sector were highly sought after.  The rapid strides made by automation coupled with a strict visa regime in the United States have now turned Indian IT upside down.

There are estimates of heavy retrenchments in the IT field.

Kris Lakshmikanth, the Chairman and CEO of ‘The Head Hunters India’ say that the year 2017-18 will serve as a ‘wakeup’ year for the IT/BPO industry. He states that there would be a ‘Tsunami’ of IT layoffs in India with approximately 200,000 IT/BPO personnel losing their jobs per year during the next 3-4 years.

Also Read: We need to take Action Against the ‘Communal Violence in the name of Cow’ : PM Narendra Modi

Therefore, Indian Prime Minister; Modi’s recent statement, wherein he said that Information Technology plus Indian Talent=India Tomorrow (IT+IT=India Tomorrow) is way ‘off the mark’.

India is poised to overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2024 according to a UN report.

Modi can talk all he wants and come up with fancy slogans but the harsh truth is that a corrupt, lethargic bureaucracy, swift population growth and cutting down of jobs in the IT sector are immense challenges and cannot be tackled by mere ‘catchy phrases’.

Lack of jobs to absorb a large number of fresh graduates passing out from Indian universities every year. The predatory attitude of bureaucracy, which discourages entrepreneurship in the country, sharply point towards looming mass unemployment in India.

This would turn India’s so called demographic dividend into a huge demographic liability in the very near future. Modi needs to come up with an efficacious plan to tackle this fast approaching apocalypse.

The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China.

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Scientists report Groundwater replenishment in West and South India

An international team of researchers, including experts from IIT-Kharagpur and  NASA, has observed groundwater storage replenishment in certain Indian regions

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Scientists noted Groundwater replenished
Scientists noted Groundwater replenished. Pixabay
  • The implementation of ingenious groundwater management strategies in both Indian public and private sectors
  • Long-term ground-based measurements and decadal-scale  satellite-based groundwater storage measurements
  • The Indian groundwater withdrawal and management policies for sustainable water utilization

August 12, 2017: An international team of researchers, including experts from IIT-Kharagpur and NASA, has reported discernible groundwater storage replenishment in certain Indian regions, in a new study, attributing it to changes in strategy in the public and private sectors.

Published in the Nature Scientific Reports in August, the study says this groundwater storage (GWS) rejuvenation may possibly be attributed “to the implementation of ingenious groundwater management strategies in both Indian public sector and private sector”.

A research team from IIT-Kharagpur in collaboration with NASA American scientists has observed regional-scale water replenishment through long-term (1996-2014, using more than 19,000 observation locations) ground-based measurements and decadal-scale (2003-2014) satellite-based groundwater storage measurements, in large parts of India.

While the northern and eastern parts of India are still undergoing acute usable groundwater depletion and stress, encouraging, replenishing such scenarios are detected in western India and southern India under proper water resource management practices, the study notes.

“Our study shows that the recent paradigm shift in the Indian groundwater withdrawal and management policies for sustainable water utilization, probably have started replenishing the aquifers by increasing storage in western and southern parts of India,” said research leader Abhijit Mukherjee from IIT-Kharagpur on Friday.

The team used numerical analyses and simulation results of management and policy change effect on groundwater storage changes in western and southern India for this study.Mukherjee drew attention to the recent changes in Indian central/state government policies on its withdrawal and stress on management strategies.

Strategies such as restriction of subsidized electricity for irrigation, separate electricity distribution for agricultural purposes (e.g. Jyotigram Yojana), construction of large-scale, regional enhanced recharge systems in water-stressed crystalline aquifers (Tapti river mega recharge project), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, enhanced recharge by interlinking of river catchments (e.g. Narmada-Sabarmati interlinking), will probably start replenishing the aquifers by increasing groundwater storage in near future.

Chief of Hydrological Sciences Laboratory Matthew Rodell at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, helped in interpreting the NASA satellite (GRACE) data (2003-2014) of the above-mentioned water source storage changes in India for this study.

The co-authors are — Yoshihide Wada affiliated to International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria; Siddhartha Chattopadhyay of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur; Isabella Velicogna and Kishore Pangaluru from the University of California, the USA; James S. Famiglietti of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, the US.

“We conclude that in India, where huge groundwater consumption is widely known to be leading to severe dwindling of groundwater resource in recent times, previously unreported, discernible GWS replenishment can also be observed in certain Indian regions,” said lead author Soumendra Bhanja affiliated to Hydroscience and Policy Advisory Group, Department of Geology and Geophysics at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, as well as to Hydrological Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. (IANS)

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National Digital Library (NDL): Mobile App by IIT Kharagpur Students Lets You to Read 65 Lakh Books for Free!

National Digital Library contains books from Primary School to UG and PG in Various Subjects

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Source: Pixabay
  • IIT, Kharagpur has developed a mobile application for NDL so that everybody can download a book from their Smartphone
  • The project was initiated by the Ministry of Human Resource Development which says that NDL contains books from state boards, NCERT and Universities
  • The users can register themselves on the app and can search for the books with the help of various parameters

New Delhi, July 2, 2017: With the onset of modernization and globalization, the process of digitization has also impacted the world. The availability of everything on the internet is making lives of the people easier. One can find almost anything on the internet. All you need to do is to click and everything is served before you.

Recently, the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur has developed a mobile application for National Digital Library(NDL) so that anybody can download and read books online from his/her Smartphone and can use the knowledge available at the touch of a screen.

The NDL claims of having a collection of more than 65 Lakh books in English and various Indian Languages. The books range from Elementary school to Under graduation and Post graduation studies. Even the users can access the content from all around the globe.

ALSO READ: Ram Sethu: Why the Spiritual Importance attached to it is Debatable!

The project was initiated by the Ministry of Human Resource Development which now says that National Digital Library contains books from eight state boards, NCERT books, previous year question papers of various entrance exams and research paper published by many institutes. It also consists of books in audio form too.

The director of the NDL, Mr P P Chakraborty said that the app would provide access to everyone and now with the rise in mobile usage, the NDL app would open opportunities for people living in the remotest of areas for Indian as well as Foreign population. He also added that the world has not seen such a digital educational reform.

The users can register themselves on the app and read books online. They can search for the books with the help of various parameters of searches. This application would open new windows of opportunities for Bibliophiles and people who cannot afford to buy new books. It also increases career growth for various non vocational careers which aren’t taught in the universities.

– by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi