• India-US express commitment towards consolidating strategic, commercial ties

    New Delhi [India], Aug 30 (ANI): Kicking off the second US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and the US-India CEO Forum, US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Jeffery Zients, US Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and Indian Minister of Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman, along with business leaders from both countries addressed US-India Business Council's dinner reception in New Delhi. "It's a privilege for USIBC to host government and business leaders from both countries on the eve of the US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.

  • Police arrests duo running brothels in Delhi since 1999

    New Delhi [India], Aug.30 (ANI): A couple, along with six of their aides, was arrested by the Delhi Police on Tuesday for trafficking girls and running brothels in a red light area of the national capital. Aafaq Hussain, a resident from Moradabad, used to work as construction labour and his wife Saira Begum, a resident from Hyderabad, was a sex worker in the same area.

  • Yogeshwar wants late Russian wrestler's family to keep London Olympics silver medal

    New Delhi,[India] Aug 31 (ANI): Asserting that human compassion is paramount for him, ace Indian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt on Wednesday expressed that he wants the London Olympics silver medal in the men's 60kg category to stay with his late Russian opponent Besik Kudukhov's family. The 33-year-old grappler had earlier said that he came to know of the development on Tuesday morning after reports suggested that his bronze medal from the 2012 London Games is likely to be upgraded to silver after Kudukhov was found guilty of doping violation. Two-time Olympic medallist Kudukhov had died in a car crash in southern Russia in 2013, a year after winning the silverware in London.

  • How Children from India’s Largest Slum Are Turning App Developers to Solve Community Problems

    This article on using computers for change is a part of the  India Digital series powered by Intel India. Filmmaker Nawneet Rajan is using PCs and online tutorials to create a new generation of coders in India’s largest slum, Dharavi. The skyline of Mumbai, the financial capital of the country, is dotted with scores of buildings that soar towards the sky in a display of ambition as unbridled as that of its residents. These towering skyscrapers dwarf the stout structures of Dharavi, located at the heart of the city. Spread over 500 acres, this slum is home to countless migrant workers who made their way to Mumbai in search of a better life. Filled chock-a-block with shanties, Dharavi offers its residents little by way of quality living. Over the last two and a half years, however, a digital revolution has been sweeping through the narrow by-lanes of this slum, as its children discover the world of PCs, all thanks to filmmaker Nawneet Rajan. FROM DOCUMENTING LIFE TO CHANGING IT [caption id="attachment_66716" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Nawneet Rajan[/caption] “For me, Dharavi is a mini-India. People from across the country live there, and it is a truly dynamic community,” said 36-year-old Rajan. In 2012, Rajan set out to capture the life of this community in his documentary, Dharavi Diary. “The documentary was well received but the community did not benefit from it as much as I had hoped,” recalled Rajan. In 2014, driven by a desire to make a difference in the lives of the residents of Dharavi, Rajan quit his job in the US and moved to Mumbai. A NEW YEAR AND A NEW BEGINNING “I was a professor at an arts university in San Francisco. During my time there, I designed a course called ‘Stories for Change,’ where I used storytelling, theatre and technology to make learning more fun and engaging,” he said. You may also like: From Digitally Illiterate to Networking Guru Rajan decided to put his rich teaching experience to use in Dharavi: “While making Dharavi Diary, I realised that the people here were extremely driven, despite the fact that the environment they were living in was not particularly conducive to their growth. I discovered that the only things they lacked were resources and guidance.” The Slum Innovation Project was Rajan’s way of bridging this gap. The Project engages children through an afterschool programme that adopts a hands-on approach to learning and lays particular emphasis on contextual learning. Open to children from the ages of 6 to 18, the Project is meant to complement formal education and create awareness about social issues. “Our methodology not only ensures that learning is interactive and fun, but that the process of learning leads to the development of problem solving skills and critical thinking. This, in turn, leads to the creation of change-makers at the grassroots level who are willing to look at the bigger picture and tackle community problems using technology,” Rajan elaborated. In January 2014, Rajan set up a one-room centre in Dharavi to teach children English, science, mathematics and arts. He started with 15 students. Within a month, the increasing importance of PCs in all aspects of life pushed him to introduce the subject in the centre: “Computers offer students unlimited access to information; they are an essential element of learning. Knowledge of how to operate a PC is also perceived as a sign of progress,” he explained. “The children would also talk about how they would often see people on TV using computers and how, every time they passed a store selling electronic items, they would press their faces against the window, staring at the items and wondering if they would ever get to use them,” Rajan said. “These heartrending stories made me more determined to introduce them to PCs.” Four PCs were then installed at the centre and computer classes began in earnest, with one hour every day dedicated to the subject. “I started by teaching them MS Word and MS Powerpoint as I believe these are important tools that help people present their ideas to the world more effectively,” Rajan explained. You may also like: How PCs Are Taking Folk Music from Rajasthan to a Global Audience The spread and reach of mobile phones also spurred Rajan to begin sessions in coding: “I saw that every household had a mobile phone and felt that it was an untapped resource that had the potential to solve community problems.” Rajan used his own experience as well as online tutorials to teach children coding during three-hour long sessions conducted over weekends. In just six months, the classes began to show results. A NEW GENERATION OF CODERS “I divided the children into groups of four and asked them to come up with a list of problems they faced. The groups then voted on these problems and decided to work on tackling the problems that had the most votes,” Rajan explained. The first app developed by the children was the Women Fight Back app. Created by 12-14 year old kids, the app is a women’s safety app equipped with a distress alarm, location mapping and emergency SMS alerts that can inform the user’s contacts if she is in danger or in need of help. Over the last two-and-a-half years, children trained by Rajan have developed more than eight apps to tackle a range of social problems. These include apps that address child labour, domestic violence, education of the girl child, and women’s health and wellbeing. “The children have even been successful in engaging the community in solving these problems,” Rajan said. There has also been a sea-change among the children themselves. “They are more confident now that they feel they have the power to drive change. They are thinking long term about what they want to do in life. They are dreaming again,” he said. You may also like: Meet the Man Who Single-Handedly Brought Digital Literacy to an Entire Telangana Village The children’s response to a fire that broke out earlier this year, is proof of how far they’ve come. The fire ravaged more than 50 homes, leaving many families destitute and without the bare necessities. The young ones, with Rajan’s help, raised money for these families through a crowdfunding campaign, to help the affected families rent a safe place to study, to purchase daily utilities and to install fire sensors in the houses in the neighbourhood. Over the years, Rajan’s Slum Innovation Project has grown to a two-room centre with 15 computers. Today, he trains close to 220 children. The children’s progress has also inspired their mothers to step forward and join the digital revolution: “These are women who haven’t had any formal education. But on seeing the difference these classes have made to the lives of their children, they have expressed a desire to learn how to operate PCs too,” Rajan said. “We are now in the process of launching a digital literacy programme for all the mothers.” Rajan’s success in helping the Dharavi children use technology to lead citizen initiatives and solve community problems has inspired him to extend the project to other slums across Mumbai: “Technology can empower people. Dharavi is proof of that. I now want to scale the project to reach out to more people,” he concluded. Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@thebetterindia).

    The Better India
  • PM Modi to inaugurate first phase of SAUNI project today

    New Delhi [India], Aug.30 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today inaugurate the first phase of SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avataran for Irrigation) Project at Sanosara village near Dhroll in Gujarat's Jamnagar district. Under the project, nearly 10 dams and reservoirs of Rajkot, Jamnagar and Morbi, would be filled up with the water of Narmada River. The project, worth 12,000 crore rupees, is considered to be an ambitious one for Prime Minister Modi to fill up nearly 115 dams of the Saurashtra region, which faces shortage of water for irrigation and drinking purposes.

  • As Delhi pours, Ola comes to rescue

    The volunteers helped in clearing the traffic congestion and enabled swift movement of travellers. More than 100 Ola volunteers were stationed at key traffic junctions and waterlogged areas like Rajiv Chowk, Dhaula Kuan, Mahipalpur, Huda City Centre, Cyber City in Gurgaon, Jasola, Govindpuri, Noida City Centre amongst others. In an attempt to come to the stranded people's recue, Ola also deployed shuttle buses in some of the badly affected areas to ferry commuters including office goers and students to the nearest metro stations.

  • What does it take to win a Khel Ratna? You're not alone, even the government does not seem to know

    Eminent sportspersons such as Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and Mahesh Bhupathi have never won the prestigious award.

  • No dissonance in US on tackling Haqqani Network, other terror groups, says State Department

    Washington D.C. [United States], Aug.31 (ANI): Responding to question related to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's remark that Pakistan is taking strong action against the Haqqani (terror) Network, and as to why there seems to be a different view being projected by the U.S. Defense Department at the Pentagon, a State Department spokesman said there is no dissonance between the two government departments on the issue of terror, or how to deal with terrorist outfits like the Haqqani Network.

  • We should take lesson from Usain Bolt and not pass comments: NCP

    New Delhi, [India], Aug 30 (ANI): The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday hit out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Udit Raj for saying that eating beef resulted to Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt win medals in Olympics, and said that instead of making such comments, we must take lessons from sportsperson like him. Expressing amazement, NCP leader Majeed Memon said that normally the BJP is anti-beef and has allegedly brutalized people in this regard, so how out of the blue, a saffron leader is making such statement. Urging the BJP to tender an explanation in this regard Memon said, "Udit Raj is a member of Parliament of the BJP and I am unable to reconcile this contradiction that the BJP keeps on encouraging people, leaving that one statement of the Prime Minister.

  • Teen in Bulandshahr forced to undergo abortion after being raped

    Bulandshahr (UP) [India], Aug. 30 (ANI): Just a month after the brutal gang-rape in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr District, a similar incident has come to the fore here wherein a teen was forced to undergo abortion by the culprit's family after being allegedly raped. The mother of the rapist told me that she would pay me Rs. 1000 if I undergo abortion," the victim said. "She had an abortion at the nursing home last night.

  • Sindhu sets eyes on All England title

    New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) After bagging a historic silver at the Rio Olympics, shuttler P.V. Sindhu has now set her eyes on the upcoming Superseries this year and the All England championships in March. It was my first Olympics and to get a medal in the very first attempt really makes it much more special," Sindhu told IANS here on Tuesday. "Though its getting tiresome repeating the same words in every interview, I am enjoying every moment of it." Recalling her preparation for the Games, Sindhu said she had worked on each and every stroke of hers with coach Pullela Gopichand.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • Sony Pictures to acquire sports channels of Zee for $385 mn

    New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) Sony Pictures Networks India on Wednesday announced it is acquiring the sports broadcasting business of Zee Entertainment for $385 million in an all-cash deal.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • Chhotepur still in party, just stripped off responsibilities to ensure impartial probe, says AAP

    Chandigarh [India], Aug. 31 (ANI): Defending its action against Sucha Singh Chhotepur, the Punjab unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said Wednesday that the former is still a member of the party, and has only been stripped off his responsibilities to ensure a fair and impartial probe into corruption charges levelled against him. Reacting to allegations that he was responsible for Chhotepur's sacking, AAP's Sangrur Member of Parliament Bhagwant Mann said everybody, including Sukhbir Badal and Captain Amarinder Singh were blaming him because they were upset with the recent popularity of the party's rally in Jalalabad. "I am the chairman of the campaign committee, while the decision is taken by the Political Affairs Committee (PAC).

  • Cabinet approves grant of Permanent Residency Status to foreign investors

    New Delhi [India], Aug.31 (ANI): The Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the scheme for grant of Permanent Residency Status (PRS) to foreign investors subject to the relevant conditions as specified in the FDI Policy notified by the Government from time to time. The scheme is expected to encourage foreign investment in India and facilitate 'Make in India' Programme. Under the scheme, suitable provisions will be incorporated in the Visa Manual to provide for the grant of PRS to foreign investors.

  • India's economic growth for first quarter slows to 7.1%

    New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) India's gross domestic product (GDP) slowed to 7.1 per cent for the first quarter of this fiscal, from 7.5 per cent in the like period of 2015-16, due mainly to lower activity in farm, mining and construction sectors, official data showed on Wednesday, even as industry said the numbers reflected a moderation of growth impulses. In terms of gross value added (GVA) -- considered a better measure of economic performance, as it excludes taxes and subsidies -- the growth was a tad higher at 7.3 per cent, against 7.2 per cent in the previous year, as per data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The government has targeted the GDP growth to top 8 per cent this fiscal, mainly on the back of a normal monsoon season.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • NCP cries foul, says complete projects approved during former regime

    Mumbai [India], Aug. 30 (ANI): Unperturbed by the Maharashtra Government's decision to scrap 95 irrigation projects which has been marred with corruption scandals, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday asked the government to complete the projects which was approved by former water resources minister Ajit Pawar.

  • Prime Minister's Olympic road map can work

    The only Prime Minister who showed an apparent interest in Indian sports before Narendra Modi was Rajiv Gandhi. It was to Gandhis credit that the 1982 Asian Games could be organised out without any real hassles as Indira Gandhi had entrusted the job of overseeing work on infrastructure to him. It was he who, in principle, also agreed to India hosting the Commonwealth Games.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • Yogeshwar wants Kudukhov's kin to retain Olympic silver

    New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) Yogeshwar Dutt has made a sporting gesture, and said on Wednesday that he wants wrestler Besik Kudukhov's family to retain the 2012 London Olympics silver of which the Russian was stripped after testing positive for banned substances. Yogeshwar had lost to Kudukhov in the pre-quarterfinals of the men's 60kg freestyle category at the London Olympics in 2012. The Russian went on to reach the final which allowed Yogeshwar to compete in the repechage rounds.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • Gopichand hails Modi's enthusiasm for sports

    New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) Hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's enthusiasm for sports, national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand on Tuesday said that the present government has supported the cause of sports to a large extent. Gopichand, who was in the city along with his ward and Rio Olympics silver medallist P.V. Sindhu, said Modi's keen interest in sports has lifted the morale of the sportspersons in the country. "When you have a Prime Minister who tweets in the middle of a badminton game, you can gauge the keen interest with which he follows the sport," Gopichand said in an interaction here.

    IANS India Private Limited
  • Centre taking away labourers' rights by amending laws to help corporates, says Congress

    Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Aug. 31 (ANI): Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Central Government is turning pro-corporate and anti-labour by taking away labourers' rights one-by-one by amending laws. "So naturally, they will not listen to any trade unions, nor will they explain to trade unions leaders what the genuine difficulties are in implementing the minimum wages and various labour laws.

  • "Whatever I learnt in Gujarat helped me a lot when I went to Delhi": PM Modi

    Jamnagar (Gujarat) [India], Aug 30 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reached out to the people of Gujarat as the state gears up for the next year's assembly polls and said that his learning as the chief minister helped him a lot when he took office in Delhi two years ago. Prime Minister Modi, who launched the first phase of SAUNI (Saurastra Narmada Avataran Irrigation Yojana) at Sanodara of Jamnagar district, while addressing the gathering recalled his experiences as the Chief Minister of Gujarat and said the farmers can do wonder if they are provided water. "When I took oath as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, I would tell farmers that what is most important for you is water.

  • US strongly supports India's pitch for justice in Mumbai, Pathankot attacks: Kerry

    New Delhi [India], Aug. 30 (ANI): Explaining United States' stand on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday said the U.S. strongly supports India's pitch for justice in the Mumbai and Pathankot terrorist attacks. "We are standing fully behind India demanding that there be justice with respect to the Mumbai attacks.



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