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Skill Development conference in Chicago area by Indian Consulate

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Panel Discussion on “Skill Development Programme in India: Opportunities for
American Organisations” held by Indian Consulate. 

Here are the highlights:

  1. The Consulate General of India, Chicago in partnership with the US India Chamber of
    Commerce – Midwest, Chicago hosted a Panel Discussion on “Skill Development Program in India: Opportunities for American Organizations” on Monday, March 28, 2016 at
    Naperville, Illinois. The event was attended by nearly fifty leading business persons and
    entrepreneurs working in different sectors of economy in the US-Midwest, besides officials of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and members of the Chamber.
  2.  Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General of India in Chicago, delivered a keynote address on Prime Minister’s Skill Development Mission, while presentations were made by Mr. Frank Avila, Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and Mr. Shyam Pappu, Engineer (MWRD) and Dr. Shekhar Mishra, Deputy Project Manager and International Collaboration Coordinator, Fermilab, Chicago. Mr. Krishna Reddy, Managing Director and Mr. K. Naga Prasad, CEO of iDiya Labs, a software company based in Hyderabad, Telangana participated in the panel discussion through webinar. Mr Ajit Pant, President of the US India Chamber of Commerce – Midwest gave an overview of the Chamber and its activities and welcomed the gathering.
  3.  Consul General Dr. Ausaf Sayeed stressed that skills and knowledge are the two driving
    forces for sustainable economic growth and social development for any country. He mentioned that by 2020 India would be the youngest nation in the world in terms of the average age of the population. He said currently India has 650 million youth who are below 25 years of age and this is India’s untapped potential and a ‘demographic dividend’, which could add a significant 2% growth to India’s GDP if the youth are given formal training in skills to make them job ready and become a key driving force of economic growth.
  4.  Consul General gave highlights of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana and said that
    it is a flagship programme aimed at increasing the annual skilling capacity from the current level 2 of around 7 million to 500 million by 2022. The Government of India (GOI) is determined to establish at least one skill development centre in each of the 688 districts of India. The target for skill training would be aligned to the demand generated from other GOI flagship programmes like Swachh Bharat, Make in India, Digital India and others. Referring to the possibility of setting up of co-branded ‘Corporate Skill Excellence Centres’ using the public-private partnership mode, the Consul General invited the entrepreneurs, corporates, chambers of commerce and vocational and academic institutions in the US Midwest to whole heartedly participate in the Skill India Development Mission.
  5.  Commissioner Frank Avila emphasized on the need for spreading awareness in India about the proper waste management techniques. He said that waste water can serve as the “next oil” as it has water, energy and fertilizer and can be put to optimum use. Commissioner Frank Avila shared details of his visit to India last month as head of MWRD delegation during which he conducted two workshops on “Innovative and Sustainable Operation and Maintenance of Wastewater Treatment Plants” at Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, which were very successful. He offered to conclude MoUs between the Metropolitan Water Reclamation Department of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and counterpart Indian institutions for transferring knowledge, skill development and capacity building in the field of waste water management.
  6.  Dr. Shekhar Mishra made a presentation on “Make in India, with High Technology Skill
    developed in India” wherein he shared details about the ongoing collaboration between the
    Fermilab and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which is focused on developing
    technologies and infrastructure in India that would enable utilization of alternative fuels for
    energy, besides having applications for water purification, Medical imaging and cancer therapy.
  7.  Mr. Krishna Reddy, Managing Director and Mr. K. Naga Prasad referred to the healthy
    startup environment in India and said that the recent initiatives taken by GOI have generated
    considerable excitement among the Indian entrepreneurs.
  8. The Panel discussion concluded with an interactive “Question- Answer” session.
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Google Proposes Its First Urban Development Project

The current agreement leaves ownership of data issues for later shows that it wasn't properly drafted and means patents derived from the data will default to Google.

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Google, Main One, YouTube, Google, google services
A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

Heated streets will melt ice and snow on contact. Sensors will monitor traffic and protect pedestrians. Driverless shuttles will carry people to their doors.

A unit of Google’s parent company Alphabet is proposing to turn a rundown part of Toronto’s waterfront into what may be the most wired community in history — to “fundamentally refine what urban life can be.”

Sidewalk Labs has partnered with a government agency known as Waterfront Toronto with plans to erect mid-rise apartments, offices, shops and a school on a 12-acre (4.9-hectare) site — a first step toward what it hopes will eventually be a 800-acre (325-hectare) development.

High-level interest is clear: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alphabet’s then-Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt appeared together to announce the plan in October.

Google, cryptocurrency
A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

But some Canadians are rethinking the privacy implications of giving one of the most data-hungry companies on the planet the means to wire up everything from street lights to pavement. And some want the public to get a cut of the revenue from products developed using Canada’s largest city as an urban laboratory.

“The Waterfront Toronto executives and board are too dumb to realize they are getting played,” said former BlackBerry chief executive Jim Balsillie, a smartphone pioneer considered a national hero.

Complaints about the proposed development prompted Waterfront Toronto to re-do the agreement to ensure a greater role for the official agency, which represents city, provincial and federal governments.

So far the project is still in the embryonic stage. After consultations, the developers plan to present a formal master plan early next year.

Google
Trump Also Expands Google Criticism to Include Facebook, Twitter. VOA

Dan Doctoroff, the CEO of Sidewalk Labs, envisions features like pavement that lights up to warn pedestrians of approaching streetcars. Flexible heated enclosures — described as “raincoats” for buildings — will be deployed based on weather data during Toronto’s bitter winters. Robotic waste-sorting systems will detect when a garbage bin is full and remove it before raccoons descend.

“Those are great uses of data that can improve the quality of life of people,” he said. “That’s what we want to do.”

Sidewalk Labs promotional materials promise “a place that’s enhanced by digital technology and data, without giving up the privacy and security that everyone deserves.”

Doctoroff said the company isn’t looking to monetize people’s personal information in the way that Google does now with search information. He said the plan is to invent so-far-undefined products and services that Sidewalk Labs can market elsewhere.

“People automatically assume because of our relationship to Alphabet and Google that they will be treated one way or another. We have never said anything” about the data issue, he said. “To be honest people should give us some time. Be patient.”

Google
Google has collaborated with Getty images. Wikimedia Commons

But that wasn’t good enough for Julie Di Lorenzo, a prominent Toronto developer who resigned from the Waterfront Toronto board over the project. Di Lorenzo said data and what Google wants to do with it should be front and center in the discussions. She also believes the government agency has given the Google affiliate too much power over how the project develops.

“How can [Waterfront Toronto], a corporation established by three levels of democratically elected government, have shared values with a limited, for-profit company whose premise is embedded data collection?” Di Lorenzo asked.

Di Lorenzo asks who will own the autonomous vehicles. “Is the municipality maintaining the fleet or forcing you to share your vehicle?” She also asks if people who don’t want their data collected will be allowed to live there.

The concerns have intensified following a series of privacy scandals at Facebook and Google. A recent Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on iPhones and Android devices store location-tracking data even if you use privacy settings that are supposed to turn them off.

Google
The Alexa Echo Dot devices include the official Saint Louis University logo and are equipped with specific skills to provide information on local events and campus life. VOA

“It gives all of us pause,” Waterfront board chair Helen Burstyn acknowledged.

Bianca Wylie, an advocate of open government, said it remains deeply troubling that Sidewalk Labs still hasn’t said who will own data produced by the project or how it will be monetized. Google is here to make money, she said, and Canadians should benefit from any data or products developed from it.

“We are not here to be someone’s research and development lab,” she said, “to be a loss leader for products they want to sell globally.”

Ottawa patent lawyer Natalie Raffoul said the fact that the current agreement leaves ownership of data issues for later shows that it wasn’t properly drafted and means patents derived from the data will default to Google.

“We just can’t be too trusting of corporations,” she said.

Capitol hill, google
An empty chair reserved for Google’s parent Alphabet, which refused to send its top executive, is seen as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg accompanied by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on ‘Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms’ on Capitol Hill. VOA

But Burstyn, the Waterfront Toronto chair, said the upcoming master plan will address data concerns. The agency wants to make Toronto a global hub of a rising new industry, she said.

“Everybody gets worried about the digital and technology aspects that might run amok,” she said. “I don’t worry about that as much as I see the opportunities for developing a really interesting, innovative community.”

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Adam Vaughan, the federal lawmaker whose district includes the development, said debate about big data and urban infrastructure is coming to cities across the world and he would rather have Toronto at the forefront of discussion.

“Google is ahead of governments globally and locally. That’s a cause for concern but it’s also an opportunity,” Vaughan said. (VOA)