Thursday, 09 July 2020 - Imphal Times

Dear Sir,

This is a response to your article titled, “A.I. in modern era” written by  Shri Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh and published in Imphal Times newspaper on 8th of July, 2020.

It is enriching to go through a general but comprehensive understanding of the A.I. I myself have done some developments in machine learning. The world is able to crack some success in the supervised learning mechanism. The result is present before us in form of various voice assistance and automated chatboxes among others. There is no pure unsupervised learning mechanism developed yet. For example, the Google voice assistant and Siri were heavily made to learn over strict iterative supervision and large collection of samples, before they were launched into market as products. Their unsupervised learning skills are still so raw that a consumer cannot trust them for a long duration in a room with other people as there is no surety if they will pick up voice commands not intended for them. 

Also, there are a lot of scope of the visual analytics and such A.I. systems to aid the retail sector. In times of the COVID-19, such an effort, even though half-baked has great chances to be used by people. Also, there is a wide space open for Indian developers to include A.I. into their products after increasing boycott of Chinese products. 

However, the A.I. industry is still taking its baby steps. Yet it is startling to see that we do not have a dedicated software regulator on the lines of R.B.I. as in money market or SEBI in stock market while increasingly the software market in India has become biggest on planet in terms of number of consumers or users as well as producers or coders. Yes, indeed there is a dark side to the A.I. as is with every other new industry. In terms of regulations, it is not that we are dumb about software or cannot regulate them. In fact, India’s IT industry is force in the world to reckon. Many CEOs, managers as well as developers from India are employed at big software firms. It is just that we are acting quick to raise such regulatory structures to keep a check on data privacy, industrial standards inter alia in this market.

Regards,

Apurv

Patna, Bihar

Published in Letter to the Editor

IT News

Imphal, July 9:

A division bench of Manipur High Court has taken up a criminal contempt case against one Yumanm Kanta Roy, for attempting to defame the court appointee Administrator of Manipur Jarnail Singh by violating the ruling of the Manipur High Court.

Yumkham Kanta Roy, aged about 53 and a resident of Lairik Yengbam Makha Leikai of Imphal East has challenged the legitimacy to the appointment of various faculties and non-teaching employees by the Administrator Jarnail Singh and filed a petition to the Manipur High Court to cancel all the appointed employees in the Manipur University during his tenure.

When the Manipur University was in a state of chaos following the uprising against the then Vice-Chancellor Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey, one Chongtham Nimai Singh filed a Public Interest Litigation to the Manipur High Court in 2018 and following the petition a double bench of the Manipur Manipur High Court in an interim order dated October 11, 2018, appointed Former Chief Secretary of Manipur, Jarnail Singh, who is par excellence in the administrative affairs of Manipur, as the administrator of the Manipur University. While appointing Jarnail Singh as the Administrator the High Court order categorically stated that the Administrator appointed to bring normalcy at the Manipur University is fully empowered to discharge the functions of the Vice-Chancellor as provided under the Manipur University Act. 2005 and such order relevant statues, whose primary duty and responsibility is to bring normalcy in the state.

Some eminent legal experts while talking to Imphal Times interpreted the term ‘Normalcy’ as maintenance and functioning of the Manipur University by even appointing whatsoever required restoring for the full functioning of the university.

In an order by the division bench of Justice Kh. Nobin Singh and Justice A. Bimol Singh dated July 7, 2020, it is stated that – “Any person, whether he is a party in this petition or not, if obstructs the smooth functioning of the ‘Administrator, will be deemed to interfere or obstruct the administration of justice, as the Administrator has been appointed by this Court to act on behalf of the Court with the specific task of bringing normalcy to the University, Accordingly, any such person who may interfere or cause obstruction to the functioning of the Administrator may be liable to be proceeded and punished accordingly under the Contempt of Court Act, 1971 and /or under Article 215 of the Constitution of India, for which the Administrator will move this court. Any party in the proceeding will be also at liberty to bring to the notice of this court any such contumacious activity for necessary action by the Court.

Earlier, court ruling at the time of appointment of Jarnail Singh as the Administrator on interim basis also stated that he is fully authorized to choose and appoint any competent person as in-charge Registrar of the University and he will be at liberty to appoint any other person(s) to aid, assist and advise him in the discharge of functions of the Vice-Chancellor.

Thus, all staff including faculty members appointed by the Administrator at the capacity of the Vice-Chancellor is legitimate and there is no question of quashing it as long as discrepancy or anomalies to the conduct of the recruitment has been found.

Meanwhile, assuming the situation of the Manipur University restoring to normalcy, The Ministry of Human Resource and Development had advertised to appoint the post of the Vice-Chancellor. Till June 20, the last date for submission of the form for the post, over 120 applications have been received, a source said. 

Published in News

IT News
Imphal, July 9:

Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Shekhawat discussed various aspects of implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in Manipur with the Chief Minister Shri N Biren Singh through video conferencing. This is in continuation of extensive exercise carried out by the Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti by consulting States/ UTs for the last 3 months, wherein water supply schemes of the States were analyzed so as to provide household tap connections in villages.  Government of India is implementing the flagship programme ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ in partnership with States to ensure every rural household in the country has Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) for potable water in adequate quantity of prescribed quality on regular and long-term basis at affordable service delivery charges leading to improvement in their living standards. It’s the endeavour of the Government to provide tap connections in rural households on priority basis during prevailing CoVid-19 situation, so that rural people don’t have to go to public stand-posts for fetching water.
The CM assured that all households of the State will be provided with tap connections by 2022. All habitations in rural areas will be covered through piped water supply, so that poor and marginalized people get tap connections in household premises. Manipur is planning 100% coverage by FY 2021-22, ahead of national goal by 2024. By doing so, Manipur will be the first State in North-East to accomplish the ambitious target of providing tap connection to every rural household.
Out of 4.51 lakh rural households in Manipur, 0.32 lakh (7.17%) are provided with FHTCs. Out of the remaining 4.19 lakh households, Manipur plans to provide tap connections in 2 lakh households during 2020-21. During the current year, State is planning for 100% coverage of 1 district and 15 blocks and 1,275 villages.
  In 2020-21, Rs. 131.80 Crore has been allocated and including State share, there is assured availability of Rs. 216.2 Crore. State is eligible for additional allocation based on physical and financial performance. Since Manipur has been allocated Rs. 177 Crores under 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs and 50% of it is to be used for water supply and sanitation, Union minister requested the CM to plan for utilizing this fund for rural water supply, grey-water management and most importantly for ensuring long-term operation and maintenance of water supply schemes.

Published in News

IT News
Imphal, July 9:

Education Minister Dr. Thokchom Radheshyam  today attended the inauguration session of the Two Day Panel Discussion on “Emerging Disciplines and Their Prospects and Challenges in Manipur” sponsored by the State Project Directorate of Rashtriya Uchchtar Shiksha Abhiyan, Manipur.
He said that the focus for subjects offered in the Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) of the state should have relevance in the modern times and should be productive in the future. We must ensure that the subjects and disciplines provided in the colleges and HEIs syllabus are upgraded with the changing times. The effectiveness of the subjects or courses offered, need to be analysed in the context of the market demand and their purpose in the development of the society. 
He expressed that before introducing a new discipline or subject, one must keep in mind the interest of the students and future of the society.
He added that employability is only one of the aspects of education. He expressed hope that the aim of the panel discussion will help in addressing the key issues to improve the quality of higher education.
Dr. Th. Radheshyam acknowledging the shortage of teachers in the state stated that unlike other departments, appointing a teacher is not a casual task. After a series of meetings with the officials concerned of the Department of Higher and Technical Education, a plan to conduct a survey and audit for the various subjects and disciplines, students - teachers’ ratio and other related infrastructural features of the HEIs was suggested. He opined that depending on the feasibility, a centrally located institution may be allocated to provide classes on subjects where there is a lesser number of students to address the issue of teacher shortage for some extent. He urged the teachers to collaborate and communicate to work as a team to improve and bring advancement in the education sector of the state. 
Commissioner, Higher & Technical Education, Shri M. Harekrishna said that there is a need to discuss the necessary steps being taken up in the higher education sector of the state. The global scientific and technological advancement have questioned and challenged every existing facet related to education. Emerging necessities and demands accelerated evolution of new subjects. There has been a paradigm shift in the higher education sector creating a gap. He added that it is therefore important that the younger generations are directed to a knowledge-based society where knowledge attained is used to bring development and advancement in the society.
The two day panel discussion will have four technical sessions on the themes – The Gap between Present Curriculum and Present Employability Crisis to be chaired by Prof. W. Nabakumar Singh and Necessity of Pedagogical Approach in Academic Institutions for Developing Originality of Learners – Innovations, Creativity, Problems Solving, etc to be chaired by Prof. Joykumar Meitei Laishram on the first day. 
On the second day of the session the 10th July 2020 the discussions will be held on the theme – Need of Overhauling Curriculum Challenges to be chaired by Dr. R. K. Nimai Singh and Examination Reforms for Quality and Learner Friendly to be chaired by Prof. W. Nabakumar Singh.
The main aim of this panel discussion is to address the selected themes and invite the experts from industries, academic and societal bases to discuss the key issues to improve the quality of higher education. This discussion will provide a chance of sharing experience and expertise between different stakeholders for mutual benefits, integrating inputs on teaching learning processes for developing the state and nation as a whole.
The progamme was attended by Director, University & Higher Education Department, Khumanthem Diana Devi, subject experts, teachers, officials concerned and students.

Published in News

Of late, rumours roared buzzingly across the State that COVID-19 had reached its climax of transmission: Community Transmission. In epidemiology, community spread happens to be the third stage. At this stage, sources of the disease are not known. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Community Transmission as one which is “evidenced by the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases, or by increasing positive tests through sentinel samples (routine systematic testing of respiratory samples from established laboratories)”.
In the US, a Community Transmission of the disease (COVID-19) has three specific source countries. Therefore, community spread in the US means those cases which are occurring in people who did not have any known contact with others from China, South Korea or Italy.
Similarly, in Manipur, the third stage of transmission of COVID-19 may be evidenced by inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases to those who have a “staying history” in quarantine centres i.e., occurring in people who did not have known contact with someone from Community Quarantine Centres (CQC) or Institutional QCs or Home Quarantines. Community Transmission as such is yet to take place in the state (if not prevented in the right direction).
As of I write this piece, Manipur has contracted 4-digit cases of COVID-19. These thousand cases have been clinically confirmed through sentinel samples thanks to the Government of Manipur. However, none of these cases can be traced or related to a community spread. Most of them had their transmissions happened among the inmates themselves inside the Quarantine centres. I call this mode of transmission as In-Situ transmission. Apart from this transmission, we also have some confirmed cases on who had initially tested negative while in a quarantine centre, but later confirmed positive after a requisite 14-day or more quarantining. Still in this case, s/he is believed to have contracted from fellow inmates i.e., both having a staying history in Quarantine centres. I call this mode as Ex-Situ transmission. Both the in-situ and ex-situ transmissions are non-local, non-community. They can be collectively called Managed Transmissions. The managed transmissions, namely in-situ and ex-situ transmissions are said to be the spill-over effects of mismanagement of transportation and quarantine facilities of returnees.
Air Transmission
One of the fastest modes of transport is airways. Ministry of Civil Aviation was quite prompt to consider the home sickness of its people living outside their home states. The Union Ministry works with State Governments of the country in unison to repatriate the expatriates. As a result, while a stringent lockdown was strictly enforced on ground, traffic began to jam in the air from 25th May, 2020 after a brief ban on airways.
The passengers reached quarantine centres in 4 to five hours time. Asymptomatic persons carried with them the disease. Hence, the disease travelled in such a breakneck speed to reach the jewelled land (Manipur) through air. Thus, air is being polluted. At the initial stage, due to lack of testing technology and of Personal Protective Equipments (PPE) kits, quarantining alone was not robust enough to contain the disease within its four walls. Worse, Quarantine centres were not able to provide basic amenities to the inmates. This raised questions of security concerns. Lack of basic amenities poses an existential threat (basic necessities like toilet, washroom, diet, etc.) to humankind. This existential threat to the inmates was a viable route for the virus to spread easily to as many as people in a very short span of time. This sort of Quarantine centres is no less than the holocaust of the Nazis.
In a nutshell, COVID-19 is a passenger-borne and not air-borne. Let’s give time to the World Health Organisation to refute its own earlier finding that the virus is not air-borne. Kudos to those experts who have, after a series of rigorous research, lettered the world health body to review its earlier guidelines on transmission of the Coronavirus. If the air-borne transmission is proved, Lockdown 6.0 is likely to be imposed all the more harshly. Alas, our atmospheric aerosols have been adulterated by the airways!
Real Transmission
Maximum contractions in minimum time of the disease happened through railways. Numbers of passengers are comparatively larger and the time taken to reach a destination is over 19 times more than that of airways. Defying Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), passengers turned the Shramik special trains as an Opera centre- enjoyed the whole journey with music, songs and instruments on the train. Not maintained social distancing guidelines. They thronged in groups
Therefore, Rails apparently have become the real breeding ground of COVID-19.
Behavioural Transmission
Only pointing at the infrastructural loopholes in the Quarantine centres might not do us good. Expecting a VIP treatment will be counterproductive- since late last year, we have had an unstable government in the state. In fact, hitherto, finance might not have been an issue. Rather, the issue at hand is the moral failures of the inmates who could not bear the brunt of existential challenges. The Government, therefore, under the garb of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have invested most of their times in lecturing.
Flouting the guidelines on the train continued till the Quarantine centres. Some inmates were seen in their worst discipline. They even felt like meeting in their rendezvous. Some were exposed to their erotic dancing moves by themselves. The news of this undesirable behaviour went viral and national. While even religious gatherings were prohibited, some inmates were found in group in some Quarantine centres without maintaining social distance and performed their religious worships therein. For such zealot persons, humanity appears to be contradictory with religion. Rather, the two are complimentary and go hand in hand. As long as humanity exists, so will also religion. Religion is something which is ingrained in us, and humanity needs to be inculcated. For atheists, humanity is their religion.
Prison Bluff
Government should not always play a face-saving tactic. Declaring that a violator of Quarantine SOPs be put into a prison is a gimmick. Nevertheless, the government calling for the bluff was the immediate and viable solution against the clamours of half-fed disgruntled inmates.
Battle against COVID-19 is not to be fought by government alone. It is a people’s war. From government to returnees to quarantinees to common people, we have to stand together on a war footing to emerge victorious against this disease. Doing this would reduce the burden of doctors, Para-medics and other frontline health workers. Eventually, human beings will develop such a technology and immune system to edge the dreaded SARS-CoV-2 out of humanity not to come back forever.
(The write-up tones satirical, and yet the writer puts up his best to walk the tightrope.)

Published in Articles

IT News
Mumbai, July 9:

A Nigerian who had arrived by New Delhi-Ernakulam Mangala Express was arrested at Taloja in Navi Mumbai (Maharashtra) with addictive drug “Amphetamines” worth Rs two crore,  by Railway Protection Force (RPF). 
The accused who disclosed his name as Sunny Ocha IYKE (41), a native of Nigeria in West Africa, was carrying a bag containing the drug, identified as Amphetamine, a banned substance under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 1985, in a train from New Delhi. 
He was apprehended by RPF Head Constable KN Shelar and Shivaji Pawar of Maharashtra Security Force, working under RPF, when he got down from New Delhi- Ernakulam Mangala Express between Nilaje and Taloja, after resorting to alarm chain pulling on late Tuesday evening. He was travelling on an AC-3 Tier ticket from New Delhi to Panvel. He was taken to RPF office located at “Diva”, in Thane district. 
“His bag was checked and after a suspicious substance was found, he was detained for  enquiry. Senior Divisional Security Commandant, Mumbai Division, Central Railway coordinated with the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB), Mumbai and their help was sought,” Central Railway said. 
The Investigating team along with experts at RPF, “Diva” examined the substance and detected a narcotic drug namely “Amphetamines” weighing 2.300 kg. The approximate value of seized drug is Rs. 2 Crore. The Amphetamines is highly addictive drug that stimulates the central nervous system and it is given to the people suffering from “Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The accused and the seized drug substance were handed over to NCB authorities following procedure under NDPS Act. 
However an attempt to bring in drugs despite strict monitoring during ongoing COVID-10 induced lock down has baffled authorities who are trying to find out whether there is a larger  syndicate involved behind this drug trafficking.

Published in News

IT News
Thoubal, July.9:

People of Irong Kongleiram Village are deprived of their share of PDS rice to be distributed under Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Awaj Yojana(PMGKAY) by Government of India allegedly  misappropriated by two persons, said in a press conference by the villagers of the said village today and urged the Government to intervene in the matter.

In a press conference held today at Irong Kongleiram Village located in Kasom Sub-Division under Kamjong district, Ramthar Keishing Chairman of Development Kongleiram Village said “A total of 52 bags of PDS rice meant to be distributed as relief material to the people have been misappropriated former Headman cum Chairman of the Village, Shangprangleng Awungshi and former Secretary, Justine Awungshi without informing the  village authorities."

Published in News
Thursday, 09 July 2020 18:04

Nirav Modi’s property confiscated

IT Correspondent
Mumbai, July 9:

The property of diamond merchant Nirav Modi wanted in a Rs. 11,356.84 crore fraud involving the Punjab National Bank, including four flats at “Samudra Mahal” in Worli in South Mumbai and a sea-side farm house and land in Alibaug in Konkan (Maharashtra) was confiscated by Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday. 
Modi (49), who was declared a fugitive economic offender by the special court in Mumbai on 5 December, 2019, is currently lodged in a UK jail after being arrested in London in March, 2019. He is fighting extradition to India, while his uncle Mehul Choksi, wanted in the same case, is hiding in Anitgua (West Indies). 
The case relates to fraudulent letter of undertaking worth Rs.11,356.84 crore issued by the PNB, at its Brady House branch in Fort, in South Mumbai, making the bank liable for the amount. The fraud was allegedly organized by Modi.
 Besides property in Mumbai, a wind mill in Jaisalmer (Rajasthan), a flat in London and residential flats in UAE, shares and bank deposits were also confiscated taking the total value of property seized in the last two days to Rs. 329.66 crore under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA), the ED said in a statement. 
The seizure was effected based on the directions given by the Special Judge Vijay C Barde under FEOA, on 8 June, who had ordered attachment of the property within one month. That was the first order of asset confiscation passed under the FEO Act  in the country. 
Till now ED has attached assets worth Rs 2,348 crore of Modi under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002(PMLA). On 10 Jun, ED had brought back 108 consignments of over 2,300 kg of polished diamonds and pearls worth Rs 1,350 crore of firms belonging to Modi and Choksi from Hong Kong. 
Modi is second business after Vijay Mallya to be declared fugitive economic offender under FEOA, which empowers any special court, set up under PMLA, to confiscate all properties and assets of economic offenders who are charged in offences measuring over Rs 100 crore and are evading prosecution by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts. The law mainly seeks to expedite the losses incurred by banks and other entities by confiscating properties of the offender.

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