Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Indian Project for Affordable Rural Broadband Wins Mozilla’s ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’

Indian Project for Affordable Rural Broadband Wins Mozilla’s ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’



29.03.2017 16:53:12 - Indian Project for Affordable Rural Broadband Wins Mozilla’s ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’ 

(live-PR.com) - Indian Project for Affordable Rural Broadband Wins Mozilla’s ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’

Global non-profit organization Mozilla announces India’s Project ‘Gram Marg Solution for Rural Broadband’ the winner of its ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’
The Mumbai-based Project Gram Marg to receive USD125,000 (INR 82 lakhs) in funding for its unique affordable broadband initiative

Brussels, March 29, 2017: Mumbai-based Project Gram Marg Solution
for Rural Broadband is the winner of Mozilla’s Equal Rating Innovation Challenge by an overwhelming margin. The competition called for initiatives to make affordable Internet available to all.

The challenge received 100 submissions from 27 countries. The final shortlist of best five entries was prepared after deliberations by an esteemed panel of expert Judges from around the world. Nearly 6,000 votes were polled in the online community voting in the final phase of the competition, with Gram Marg and Zenzeleni emerging as the leading vote-getters.

Gram Marg, which roughly translates as “roadmap” in Hindi, seeks to bring 640,000 villages in rural India online. Spearheaded by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay professors, Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Dean (Faculty Affairs) and Institute Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Dr. Sarbani Banerjee Belur, Senior Project Research Scientist, the project reinforces the remarkable progress such communities could achieve once they have access to information pertaining to education, health and the political process.

In its bid to both bridge the digital divide and empower unconnected communities, the Gram Marg team has created an ingenious and “indigenous” technology that utilizes unused white space on the TV spectrum to backhaul data from village wifi clusters to provide broadband access (frugal 5G). The team of academics and field workers leverages what people already have in their homes, and creates rugged receivers and transmitters to connect villages in even the most difficult terrains. The solution has been rolled out in 25 villages on a pilot basis so far. The win entitles Project Gram Marg to USD 125,000 (INR82 lakhs) in funding.

Reacting to the honour, Prof. Karandikar said, “We are humbled by the Judges' decision and the community votes that choose our solution as the winner. All semifinalists were equally competitive and it was really a challenge to pitch our solution among them.” He further added:
“We will continue to improve our technology solution to make it more efficient. We are also working on a sustainable business model that can enable local village entrepreneurs to deploy and manage access networks. We believe that a decentralized and sustainable model is the key to the success of a technology solution for connecting the unconnected. We are also evaluating an applications and services model to enable local village populations to reap the full benefits of broadband access. We hope that our model can be aligned with our Prime Minister's vision of "Broadband for all" under his Government's Digital India program,” he added.

Following the announcement, Katharina Borchert, Chief Innovation Officer at Mozilla, noted in a blog post, “Mozilla started this initiative because we believe in the power of collaborative solutions to tackle big issues. We wanted to take action and encourage change. At Mozilla, our commitment to Equal Rating through policy, innovation, research, and support of entrepreneurs in the space will continue beyond this Innovation Challenge, but it will take a global community to bring all of the internet to all people. And we’re incredibly honoured that part of this global community came together and engaged with us through this Innovation Challenge. We’re excited and optimistic about the road ahead.”

Lauding Project Gram Marg’s initiative, one of the Judges, Nikhil Pahwa, Founder of Medianama.com and Co-founder of SaveTheInternet.in observed: “What impressed me particularly about Gram Marg was the fact that they were able to bring the cost of the technology for delivering broadband over the TV White Space spectrum down to a fraction of the cost. This spectrum allows delivery of broadband without line of sight connectivity. As a result, it is more useful across hilly terrain, and can help bring cheaper Internet access to those areas. The technology will be open source, which means that it will be accessible to anyone anywhere.”

The “Runner-Up” award of USD 75,000 went to Afri-Fi: Free Public WiFi, led by Tim Human from South Africa. The project is an extension of the successful Project Isizwe, which offers 500MB of data for free per day. The key goal of Afri-Fi is to create a sustainable business model by linking together free wifi networks throughout South Africa and engaging users meaningfully with advertisers so they can "earn" free wifi.

The “Most Novel” award worth USD 30,000 went to Bruno Vianna and his team from the Free Networks P2P Cooperative which is building on the energy of free networks movement in Brazil to tackle the digital divide. Rather than focusing on technology, the Coop has created a financial and logistical model that can be tailored to each village’s norms and community. The team experiments with ways to engage communities through “barn-raising” group activities, deploying “open calls” for leadership to reinforce the democratic nature of their approach, and instituting a sense of “play” for the villagers when learning how to use the equipment.

Mozilla, the non-profit organization behind the open source browser Firefox, launched the ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’ in October 2016 as part of its endeavour to help catalyze new thinking and innovation for providing open internet access to communities living without it. It called out to entrepreneurs, designers, researchers and innovators from all over the world to propose creative and scalable ideas that can cultivate digital literacy and provide affordable access to the full diversity of the open internet. Mozilla offered awards totaling USD 250,000 (INR 164 lakhs) in funding and expert mentorship to bring these solutions to the market.

{Please find attached photos of 1. Headshot of Project lead Prof Abhay Karandikar, 2. Gram Marg Solution team presenting their project to judges in New York 3. Mozilla Equal Rating Innovation Challenge semi-finalists. Bios Project Gram Marg Solutuions team attached in a separate word document}

About Mozilla:

Mozilla is a pioneer and advocate for the Open Web for more than 15 years. We create and promote open standards that enable innovation and advance the Web as a platform for all. Today, hundreds of millions of people worldwide use Mozilla Firefox to experience the Web on computers, tablets and mobile devices. For more information, visit www.mozilla.org and www.equalrating.com.
Contact information:
Sagar Media Inc



Contact Person:
Nareshsagar

Phone: 9810974027
Author:
Naresh Sagar
e-mail
Phone: 9810974027

Indian Project for Affordable Rural Broadband Wins Mozilla’s ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’

Indian Project for Affordable Rural Broadband Wins Mozilla’s ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’



29.03.2017 16:53:12 - Indian Project for Affordable Rural Broadband Wins Mozilla’s ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’ 

(live-PR.com) - Indian Project for Affordable Rural Broadband Wins Mozilla’s ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’

Global non-profit organization Mozilla announces India’s Project ‘Gram Marg Solution for Rural Broadband’ the winner of its ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’
The Mumbai-based Project Gram Marg to receive USD125,000 (INR 82 lakhs) in funding for its unique affordable broadband initiative

Brussels, March 29, 2017: Mumbai-based Project Gram Marg Solution
for Rural Broadband is the winner of Mozilla’s Equal Rating Innovation Challenge by an overwhelming margin. The competition called for initiatives to make affordable Internet available to all.

The challenge received 100 submissions from 27 countries. The final shortlist of best five entries was prepared after deliberations by an esteemed panel of expert Judges from around the world. Nearly 6,000 votes were polled in the online community voting in the final phase of the competition, with Gram Marg and Zenzeleni emerging as the leading vote-getters.

Gram Marg, which roughly translates as “roadmap” in Hindi, seeks to bring 640,000 villages in rural India online. Spearheaded by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay professors, Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Dean (Faculty Affairs) and Institute Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Dr. Sarbani Banerjee Belur, Senior Project Research Scientist, the project reinforces the remarkable progress such communities could achieve once they have access to information pertaining to education, health and the political process.

In its bid to both bridge the digital divide and empower unconnected communities, the Gram Marg team has created an ingenious and “indigenous” technology that utilizes unused white space on the TV spectrum to backhaul data from village wifi clusters to provide broadband access (frugal 5G). The team of academics and field workers leverages what people already have in their homes, and creates rugged receivers and transmitters to connect villages in even the most difficult terrains. The solution has been rolled out in 25 villages on a pilot basis so far. The win entitles Project Gram Marg to USD 125,000 (INR82 lakhs) in funding.

Reacting to the honour, Prof. Karandikar said, “We are humbled by the Judges' decision and the community votes that choose our solution as the winner. All semifinalists were equally competitive and it was really a challenge to pitch our solution among them.” He further added:
“We will continue to improve our technology solution to make it more efficient. We are also working on a sustainable business model that can enable local village entrepreneurs to deploy and manage access networks. We believe that a decentralized and sustainable model is the key to the success of a technology solution for connecting the unconnected. We are also evaluating an applications and services model to enable local village populations to reap the full benefits of broadband access. We hope that our model can be aligned with our Prime Minister's vision of "Broadband for all" under his Government's Digital India program,” he added.

Following the announcement, Katharina Borchert, Chief Innovation Officer at Mozilla, noted in a blog post, “Mozilla started this initiative because we believe in the power of collaborative solutions to tackle big issues. We wanted to take action and encourage change. At Mozilla, our commitment to Equal Rating through policy, innovation, research, and support of entrepreneurs in the space will continue beyond this Innovation Challenge, but it will take a global community to bring all of the internet to all people. And we’re incredibly honoured that part of this global community came together and engaged with us through this Innovation Challenge. We’re excited and optimistic about the road ahead.”

Lauding Project Gram Marg’s initiative, one of the Judges, Nikhil Pahwa, Founder of Medianama.com and Co-founder of SaveTheInternet.in observed: “What impressed me particularly about Gram Marg was the fact that they were able to bring the cost of the technology for delivering broadband over the TV White Space spectrum down to a fraction of the cost. This spectrum allows delivery of broadband without line of sight connectivity. As a result, it is more useful across hilly terrain, and can help bring cheaper Internet access to those areas. The technology will be open source, which means that it will be accessible to anyone anywhere.”

The “Runner-Up” award of USD 75,000 went to Afri-Fi: Free Public WiFi, led by Tim Human from South Africa. The project is an extension of the successful Project Isizwe, which offers 500MB of data for free per day. The key goal of Afri-Fi is to create a sustainable business model by linking together free wifi networks throughout South Africa and engaging users meaningfully with advertisers so they can "earn" free wifi.

The “Most Novel” award worth USD 30,000 went to Bruno Vianna and his team from the Free Networks P2P Cooperative which is building on the energy of free networks movement in Brazil to tackle the digital divide. Rather than focusing on technology, the Coop has created a financial and logistical model that can be tailored to each village’s norms and community. The team experiments with ways to engage communities through “barn-raising” group activities, deploying “open calls” for leadership to reinforce the democratic nature of their approach, and instituting a sense of “play” for the villagers when learning how to use the equipment.

Mozilla, the non-profit organization behind the open source browser Firefox, launched the ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’ in October 2016 as part of its endeavour to help catalyze new thinking and innovation for providing open internet access to communities living without it. It called out to entrepreneurs, designers, researchers and innovators from all over the world to propose creative and scalable ideas that can cultivate digital literacy and provide affordable access to the full diversity of the open internet. Mozilla offered awards totaling USD 250,000 (INR 164 lakhs) in funding and expert mentorship to bring these solutions to the market.

{Please find attached photos of 1. Headshot of Project lead Prof Abhay Karandikar, 2. Gram Marg Solution team presenting their project to judges in New York 3. Mozilla Equal Rating Innovation Challenge semi-finalists. Bios Project Gram Marg Solutuions team attached in a separate word document}

About Mozilla:

Mozilla is a pioneer and advocate for the Open Web for more than 15 years. We create and promote open standards that enable innovation and advance the Web as a platform for all. Today, hundreds of millions of people worldwide use Mozilla Firefox to experience the Web on computers, tablets and mobile devices. For more information, visit www.mozilla.org and www.equalrating.com.
Contact information:
Sagar Media Inc



Contact Person:
Nareshsagar

Phone: 9810974027
Author:
Naresh Sagar
e-mail
Phone: 9810974027
Women rights proponents demand effective police response to rape survivors
New Delhi/March 29, 2017: Seeking to bridge gaps in police response to victims of rape and sexual assault, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) convened a National Conference on 'First Response, Good Policing and Rape Survivors' in collaboration with the British High Commission earlier today.  
The conference focused on ways to improve the police response to women, particularly to rape survivors, with a focus on New Delhi and Mumbai. It brought together senior police officers, civil society, lawyers, journalists, academics, and independent commissions to share knowledge, take stock of good practices, and chart out a way forward to address challenges.
Discussions revolved around the initiatives being taken by the police in Delhi and Mumbai to improve women’s safety and the key interventions required to support rape survivors.
“The biggest challenges within the police system at present are limited training, low women representation in the ranks and patriarchic values within the system. I also feel that the police have been used very badly in our country, politically. The good officers who are in the position to lead are sidelined. There is no political will in this country to keep women safe. It is never an election issue,” said Kanwaljit Deol, Director General of Police (Retd.) 
Stressing on ‘an institutional bias’ in the police against different communities, Vrinda Grover, prominent lawyer and human rights activist asserted, “We need more women in police and rigorous training in evidence collection and investigation. Without competent investigation, it is impossible to get a conviction.” She further underscored that though there was a definite increase in reporting of crimes relating to sexual violence, cases of sexual assaults within domestic lives and in offices were underreported even now.
 “A victim becomes a survivor only when justice is done, conviction takes place and he/she is rehabilitated. The legal community and civil society should join hands to protect the dignity of the complainants, and guide victims through the legal processes and help with their rehabilitation,” said Flavia Agnes, lawyer and co-founder of the Mumbai-based NGO, Majlis.
Discussants agreed that no meaningful change was possible on the ground without addressing women’s vulnerability in availing justice. The need for an overhaul in the attitude of police towards the general public and the inclusion of women in policing were highlighted as central issues.
Sanjay Beniwal, Special Commissioner for Women’s Safety in the Delhi Police, recommended bringing in changes in the school curricula to teach boys in their formative years to respect and protect women. “Men must realise that being manly is not tolerating, not perpetrating, not supporting any attacks on women. From the police perspective, the biggest change that has come after the Nirbhaya incident is that no questions are asked when a victim files a complaint and the registration of FIR is not restricted by jurisdiction. There is a growing realization that if handled correctly, victims of sexual assault can bounce back,” he said.
Fareen Malik, Member, Delhi Commission for Women, highlighted the key interventions undertaken by the agency. “The Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi had announced funds for the creation of One-Stop Centres in each district of Delhi. I am happy to reveal that we will have these operational very soon. Delhi will also have six more forensic labs.
Calling for greater sensitisation of personnel at police training academies, Bharti Sharma, Honourary Secretary of the New Delhi-based Shakti Shalini, said, “Police and civil society response to sexual violence is currently focused on rape, due to which other sexual offences like fondling and touching are often overlooked. It is vital to acknowledge that young boys can also be victims of sexual abuse, and their complaints must be treated sensitively.
Nayreen Daruwalla, Programme Director of Mumbai-based SNEHA, emphasized that public systems and communities should take on the onus of addressing gender-based violence. “Partnerships between the police, academic institutions and NGOs can also help in monitoring and recording cases of violence against women and girls. Police also need to integrate prevention strategies into their work,” she said.
In a new initiative, CHRI also released a short film, “24 Hours” on the work and challenges before the police and other responders in the crucial first 24 hours after a rape survivor comes to the police with her complaint. Inaugurating the film, Andrew Mackenzie, Deputy Head (Political and Bilateral Affairs) at the British High Commission said, “Globally, one in three women are beaten or sexually abused once in their lifetimes. It is our hope that institutions will be able to use this film to shape their trainings and procedures and design the best possible response while engaging with rape survivors. We really feel by working together and putting women and girls at the heart of our work will we be able to tackle issues of violence against women.”
Among the other concerns raised in the conference were the need for police accountability and sensitisation, systemic impediments to women’s access to justice, dominant patriarchy in the society and legal processes and remedies. 

About the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
Established in 1987, The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, international organisation committed to protecting and promoting human rights in Commonwealth nations. CHRI works towards strengthening access to justice (through prison and police reforms) and building a culture of transparent governance (through the Right to Information). CHRI also monitors human rights-related trends and developments across the Commonwealth and makes formal submissions to treaty bodies and inter-governmental agencies, including the United Nations Human Rights Council.

For more information, contact:

Samarth Pathak
Telephone: 011-43180228
******
Disinvestment of SAIL Subsidiaries Alloy Steel Plant Durgapur, Salem and Bhadravati Steel Plants

New Delhi, March 29, 2017
Chaitra 08, Saka 1939

The Government has accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment of only three units of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) i.e. Visveswaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISP), Bhadravati, Salem Steel Plant (SSP), Tamil Nadu and Alloy Steel Plant (ASP), Durgapur.  These three units of SAIL have been consistently making losses.  The entire process of the strategic disinvestment would be carried out with the help of a Transaction Adviser (TA), a Legal Adviser (LA) and an Asset Valuer (AV).  The Request for Proposal (RFP) for appointment of TA, LA and AV have been uploaded on SAIL website.
Alloy Steel Plant (ASP), Durgapur has been consistently making losses for last 5 years. Despite investment of around Rs.400 crores, VISP is making losses for last 10 years. Similarly, despite investment of around Rs.2200 crore under modernisation and expansion, SSP is making losses for last 5 years.

The plant-wise financial performance of SAIL during last five years are as under:-
 (Rs. in crore)
Plant /Unit
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
2014-15
2015-16
Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP)
2715
2048
2085
2232
405
Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP)
503
553
416
506
-527
Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP)
646
363
212
232
-2524
Bokaro Steel Plant (BSL)
703
308
202
451
-2203
IISCO Steel Plant (ISP)
-411
-159
-653
-1072
-1939
Alloy Steel Plant  (ASP)
-53
-120
-93
-134
-83
Salem Steel Plant (SSP)
-155
-420
-376
-355
-466
Visveswaraya Iron & Steel Plant (VISP)
-131
-117
-123
-97
-116
SAIL Refractory Unit (SRU)
11
10
3
7
21
Chandrapur Ferro Alloy Plant (CFP)
10
-39
-78
-45
-78
Raw Material Division/Central Units
1313
813
1628
634
310
SAIL Profit (+)/Loss (-) Before Tax
5151
3241
3225
2359
-7198
Tax
1608
1070
608
266
3061
SAIL Profit (+)/Loss (-) After Tax
3543
2170
2616
2093
-4137


A major modernisation and expansion programme has been carried out simultaneously at all the five major plants viz. Bhilai, Bokaro, Rourkela, Durgapur & Burnpur and special steel plant at Salem. The Expansion Plan, besides capacity enhancement from 12.8 Mtpa to 21.4 Mtpa of crude steel, adequately addresses the need of SAIL Plants towards eliminating technological obsolescence leading to improvement in operational efficiency.  Under the Modernization & Expansion, SAIL has installed latest state-of-the-art technologies like 7m tall Coke Oven Batteries with coke dry quenching, high volume (more than 4000 m3) Blast Furnaces with Top Pressure Recovery turbines, auxiliary fuel injection & Cast House slag granulation plants, Steel Melting Shops with latest steel making, refining and casting technology and state-of-the-art rolling mills viz. coupled Pickling and Tandem mill for cold rolled products, Universal Rail Mill for longer rails (upto 260 m), 4.3m wide Plate Mill etc. The cumulative expenditure incurred till February, 2017 is Rs. 64,986 crore towards Modernisation & Expansion, Mines and related sustenance schemes.

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