Thursday, April 27, 2017

MU to go in for digital evaluation from this year

On-screen marking to be introduced by month-end; 9,000 teachers will be trained at 50 centres

University of Mumbai, from this year, will be carrying out the evaluation of answer sheets digitally, through on-screen marking.
Earlier this year, Vice Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh had announced the move for all answer sheets, which amount to over 19 lakh, but there are trouble in adopting the technology and training teachers.
Teachers’ apprehensions
A release from the university on Sunday said the Vice Chancellor reaffirmed the decision at a meeting of chairpersons, examiners, and officials who set the question papers. The meeting also discussed the apprehensions expressed by faculty members. If all goes as per the plan, the university will introduce the online marking system by month-end.
“In our engineering faculty, we have been following an on-screen marking-based evaluation for the last six years,” said Leeladhar Bansod, deputy registrar (public relations). “So we decided to take this to other faculties too.”
Around 9,000 teachers, who are in-charge of the evaluation, will be trained this week, at 50 centres across all the seven districts under the jurisdiction of the university.
E-tenders invited
Further, e-tenders are being invited for the software. Mr. Deshmukh told The Hindu that the delay in implementing the system is not because of technical glitches or implementation problems, but because the university has not received enough applications for the software. “We need a system detailed enough to support 19,50,000 candidates. We have extended the deadline for e-tenders to April 27.”
Students’ benefit
The major advantage of the system, Mr. Deshmukh said, is students will no longer have to wait for weeks to know the results of evaluation or re-evaluation. It will also make the role of the teacher easier, since answer sheets can be scanned onto the computer, with the answer key on the right side of the screen. The new system will leave no room for any manipulations at any point of assessment.

Source: THE HINDU-25th April,2017

Delhi- NCR kids walk on the Moon at space camp

Three Indians joined a team of 320 students from 45 nations to train as astronauts

Source: DNA-27th April,2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

New site to guide young inventors applying for patents

Website is set to be launched on April 26, which is celebrated as the World Intellectual Property Day

Source: DNA-10th April,2017

Thane man devices shortcur to get people reading

With a mission to inculcate reading habit in people, a Thane based resident started reading books and summarising them for book lovers for them to get a gist of those books in just 20 minutes.

Source: DNA-12th April,2017

Robotic hand rocks manufacturing cradle

TAL shows off indigenous industrial robot that matches human labour functions

It looks like any other industrial automation machine, but ‘Brabo’ is more than just that. Designed and manufactured by TAL, a Tata Motors subsidiary, it is touted as India’s first indigenously made industrial articulated robot for micro, small and medium enterprises. Part of the Make In India drive, it took TAL three years to develop it, but the Pune-based firm, which unveiled the robot to the public on Tuesday, says it already has 55 Brabos out in the market: 25 installed after an outright sale, while the remaining 30 are in factories and manufacturing units on a six-month trial basis.
Brabo can handle payloads of up to 10 kg, mapping it to human lifting potential. Its arm length was also chosen to compare well with that of a human. TAL representatives said in Mumbai that it can manage raw material as well as product packaging in the final stage. The manufacturer has released two variants for payloads of 2 kg and 10 kg.
R.S. Thakur, non-executive director and chairman of TAL, said, “The introduction of India’s home-made robots will take ‘Make in India’ to a new level. The robots will ensure product quality is maintained, and this, in turn, will improve competitiveness. As a consequence, Indian industry at the small and medium enterprise level will grow.”
Ashish Gandhi, director of CPG Industries, a manufacturer of two-wheeler components and someone who has purchased these robots, said, “We wanted robots to do the work that humans cannot. The component industry is precision-oriented. Therefore, robots make a significant difference. Our obvious choice was the Brabo, because it is also cheaper than imported robots.”
At ₹5 lakh to ₹7 lakh, it is up to 40% cheaper than imported robots. Mr. Thakur told The Hindu, “Since it is indigenously developed, the spare parts and annual maintenance will be cheaper. Both the machines are available with a payback period of 15-18 months .” Except for the driver and motor, all other components are made in India.
TAL says it has applied for intellectual property certification, and “we will get it soon,” according Amit Bhingurde, Chief Operating Officer. He added that TAL has inked a collaboration with R.T.A. Motion Control Systems to further indigenise the robot and develop newer variants.
From the time it has been launched, TAL has found buyers such as Mahindra & Mahindra, Diebold, CPG Industries, Hydromatik, SGK Industries, BITS Dubai Campus, Suparna Plastics, Micromax Systems, Twin Engineers, AM Ecosystems Kaziranga University, and Tata Motors.

 Source: THE HINDU-12th April,2017

Skills, not theory, to be yardstick for judging engineering students

All India technical education council says step is taken to increase employability of pupils from 40% to 60%

Source: DNA-10th April,2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Taj changing colour, mud therapy being used: govt

 ‘Multani mitti’ comes to the rescue of the monument

A kind of mud therapy is being used on the Taj Mahal as the white marble structure is changing colour, the government told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday after members voiced concern over the maintenance of the world famous monument.
Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said efforts are also being made to reduce the impact of insects on the 17th century monument.
During question hour, members voiced concern over the maintenance of the Taj Mahal, while referring to change in the colour of the marble structure and the damage caused by insects.
Mr Sharma said a kind of mud therapy, involving application of a paste of ‘multani mitti’, was being undertaken to preserve the colour of the monument.
It has been applied on three-fourths of the structure and is “showing results”, he added.
Upkeep report
He said that the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has also submitted a report about the upkeep of the Taj.
To another question, Mr Sharma said the irrigation department had proposed creating a barrage to raise the water level of the Yamuna which has been approved by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Now it is for the state government of Uttar Pradesh to take a further action, the Minister said.

Source: THE HINDU-6th April,2017

GOVT BID TO CUT RED TAPE - Drug Price Regulator May Come Under Health Min

Chemicals min said to be not happy with plan to move NPPA, Dept of Pharma out of its purview
The Narendra Modi government may shift two crucial drug industryrelated departments to the health ministry from the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers as it steps up efforts to cut red tape and improve ease of doing business.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, (NPPA), and the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) could soon be shifted to the health ministry, people close to the development told ET. This will satisfy a long-standing demand of the industry and health rights group who have been clamouring for one ministry to take care of all related issues.
“This restructuring was discussed at a meeting held with Prime Minister's Office on March 28. The PMO is keen about this merger,“ an industry official who did not want to be quoted said. The chemicals and fertilizers ministry is not believed to be happy about the idea and has proposed status quo and the addition of the drugs controller general of India (DCGI) under its purview. “However, the merger with the health ministry is most likely as there is a major cabinet revamp that is expected, which would take care of these issues,“ one of the people aware of the discussions told ET. The proposed structure may also end up curbing some of the powers of the NPPA. Instead of an additional secretary who currently heads the body, the NPPA chief's post will be on a par with the DCGI, which is led by a secretary, scientific director. Any orders or decisions taken by NPPA would be reviewed by the DoP.
ET has also learnt that the earlier plan of dissolving the NPPA might not happen for now as the government has received legal notice from activist groups. An email sent to the health ministry remained unanswered till the time the story went to press. Sudhanshu Pant, joint secretary, DoP, told ET that his department does not have any information on this.
“We have been demanding to bring the DoP and NPPA under the health ministry. If this happens, it will bring some coherence. But like everything else, the devil is in the details,“ said S Srinivasan of All India Drug Action Network, an organisation that works to improve access to drugs.
India's nearly Rs 1lakh-crore drug industry has been reeling under slow growth in the last two years due to price controls imposed by the government. In February, in a curt letter to Niti Ayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya, the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), the lobby group of top Indian drug companies, complained that constant price cut measures by the regulators were harming the industry.
“We shared our concerns regarding the overreach of the pricing regulator on drug price cuts, and we were assured by the government that they were correcting the situation,“ an industry official, who did not wish to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, told ET. “In the new structure, the DoP will be reviewing every order passed by both the regulators“, this source added. “The last couple of years have been very unsettling for the pharmaceutical industry in India. It has become a nightmare not because the pricing policy is defective. Problems have cropped up because of the imaginative and arbitrary implementation of the pricing policy and unbridled turf war between the government and the regulator,“ said a note by DG Shah, secretary general, IPA, in the letter to Niti Ayog. “This has resulted in unwarranted price fixation, open defiance of the government's corrective orders by the regulator and frustrating litigations for the industry. It has reached a stage where the industry wonders if the country has a rule of law,“ the letter said.
The current NPPA chairman Bhupendra Singh has faced the ire of the medical devices and pharma industry over his orders on price cuts and new stent pricing policy.In February, the NPPA slashed prices of stents by 85% after a direction from the Delhi High Court demanded action to address a public interest litigation that sought stent prices to be made affordable. This prompted the health ministry to include stents in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).After months of negotiation, the DoP added stents in Schedule 1of the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013, which made way for the price cut.

Source: THE ECONOMIC TIMES-6th April,2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New way to fight drug resistant superbugs

It involves removing blood antibodies

Scientists have found that an unusual approach of removing antibodies from the blood stream could reduce chronic infections, an advance that may help humans in the fight against drug resistant superbugs.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham and Newcastle University in the U.K. identified two patients with bronchiectasis who suffered with chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections that were resistant to many antibiotics.
Bronchiectasis is a disease that leads to permanent enlargement of the airways in the lung.
Symptoms are debilitating for patients, and typically include a chronic cough, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, and chest pain. Bronchiectasis often affects patients beyond the age at which lung transplantation is possible.
Like kidney dialysis
Chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infections commonly occur in patients suffering from bronchiectasis.
“We used a process known as plasmapheresis that is somewhat like kidney dialysis,” said Tony De Soyza, Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University.
“The plasmapheresis involved the removal, treatment, and return of blood plasma from circulation, and was done five times in a week in order to remove antibody from the patients,” said De Soyza. “We then replaced antibodies with those from blood donations. This treatment restored the ability for the patients’ blood to kill their infecting Pseudomonas,” he said.

Source: THE HINDU-1st April,2017

SpaceX rocket makes history

U.S. aerospace firm successfully launches and retrieves its first recycled rocket

SpaceX successfully launched and then retrieved its first recycled rocket on Thursday, a historic feat and the biggest leap yet in its bid to drive down costs and speed up flights.
It was the first time SpaceX founder Elon Musk tried to fly a booster that soared before an orbital mission. He was at a loss for words after the Falcon 9 core landed on the bull’s-eye of the ocean platform following lift-off with a broadcasting satellite.
“This is a huge day. My mind’s blown, frankly,” Mr. Musk said.
He called it an “incredible milestone in the history of space” and predicted, “this is going to be a huge revolution in spaceflight.”
Mr. Musk foresees dozens, if not hundreds of repeat flights, for a booster and rocket turnarounds of as little as 24 hours, perhaps by next year. Land, refuel and then back up again, with everything leading to one day putting humanity “out there among the stars.”
This particular first stage landed on an ocean platform almost exactly a year ago after a space station launch for NASA.
SpaceX refurbished and tested the 15-story booster, still sporting its nine original engines. It nailed another vertical landing at sea on Thursday once it was finished boosting the satellite for the SES company of Luxembourg.
Loud cheers
SpaceX employees outside jammed Mission Control at the Hawthorne, California, company headquarters cheered loudly every step of the way and again when the satellite reached its proper orbit.
Longtime customer SES got a discount for agreeing to use a salvaged rocket, but wouldn’t say how much. It’s not just about the savings, said chief technology officer Martin Halliwell. He called it “a big step for everybody something that’s never, ever been done before.”

Source: THE HINDU-1st April,2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

‘We girls are all born winners’

Meet the youngest girl to conquer Everest and whose life inspired the Rahul Bose-directed film,Poorna

In May 2014, Poorna Malavath, just a month shy of her fourteenth birthday, created history by becoming the youngest female in the world to scale Mount Everest.
Gearing up for the release of the biopic,Poorna , Malavath discusses her inspirational journey, the difficulties she faced during the expedition and what kept her going.
How does it feel having a movie made that tells your story?
I’m so happy. It’s about my story and so many people will be inspired by it. And I’m going to see my life story on screen so I’m very excited.
Was climbing Everest a lifelong dream?
No, it wasn’t a lifelong dream. I got the opportunity from the social welfare school and R.S. Praveen Kumar sir. There was a selection process, and I started in Bhongir Rock Climbing School. A total of 110 students participated in that, and out of those, 20 were selected for the next phase of training, and finally, two of us were selected.
What kind of training did you undergo and how long did you train for?
I trained for 8 months. The first three months was mainly jogging exercises, yoga and meditation. Then there was ice and snow training, and rock climbing.
Which other peaks did you climb before Everest?
Mount Renock in Sikkim.
Was your family supportive?
Right from childhood, they’ve always encouraged me a lot. But I’m their only daughter so they were scared that something might happen, my mother cried before I left.
Before you set off on your expedition, Anand ( her co-climber) and you received news that there was an avalanche on the Nepalese side and 17 Sherpas died. Did that scare you at all or make you want to go back?
I wasn’t scared, but Praveen sir called and asked us to come back because there might be a problem. But we never give up so there was no question of going back.
Was there any piece of advice that Praveen sir offered that stayed with you?
He is my role model and I got this opportunity because of him. He gave the name Swaeroes to the social welfare school students, like Poorna Swaeroe. ‘SW’ stands for ‘Social Welfare’ and ‘Aeroes’ for us means ‘sky is the limit’. We have ten commandments in our school, and for Anand annayya (brother) and me, the ten commandments were like a prayer during the expedition.
What did you take with you when you went up?
I took the National flag, the Telangana flag, my school society’s flag (Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society), Ambedkar’s photo, and S.R. Shankaran’s (former IAS officer who established the social welfare schools) photo. And we took oxygen tanks from the base camp.
What about food?
We carried snacks and we got south Indian food at the base camp. But when we went up, we had to eat packaged food like biryani and I don’t like biryani. We were vomiting because the food didn’t sit well with us so I managed with chocolates, dry fruits, and liquids.
During the expedition, did you come across anything you weren’t prepared for, anything that scared you?
Around Mt. Everest there were only mighty mountains. But when I was coming back down, I saw six dead bodies and my legs shivered. I had already summited and I was coming back, but I still thought that maybe that could have happened to me.
What was the first thing that went through your mind when you reached the top?
When I reached the top, I was really happy because I fulfilled the dream of Praveen Kumar sir and I proved that girls can do anything. And I hoisted the flags.
When did you contact your family to let them know you had made it?
I called sir from a satellite phone when I reached the top and I called my parents when I came to the base camp. They were very happy that I was safe and that I had succeeded.
What are your plans for the future? Any more peaks you want to scale?
I climbed Kilimanjaro last year on August 15. I’m planning on climbing again, but haven’t decided which mountain it will be. But my life goal is to become an IPS officer.
Do you have any words of advice for all the young girls who might read this interview?
We get very few opportunities, so when you do get an opportunity you must utilise it. A lot of people will keep telling you that ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that,’ but we can do everything because we are born winners and anything is possible.
When I reached the top, I was really happy because I fulfilled the dream and I proved that girls can do anything.
Source: THE HINDU-30th March,2017