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NRIDA to Explore Smart Solutions to Improve the Pace of Rural Road Construction and Up-keep

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NRIDA is set to pilot smart solutions backed by digital innovations to modernize existing performance monitoring mechanisms and improve the service delivery capacity of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), a flagship program of the Government of India.

The third phase of PMGSY will expand India’s rural road network by 125,000 km. With an outlay of INR 80,250 crore, the government plans to conclude this phase by 2025. PMGSY’s third phase has pushed the National Rural Infrastructure Development Agency (NRIDA), the nodal agency that manages and monitors the program, to accelerate its efforts to modernize performance monitoring systems. NRIDA, which operates under the Ministry of Rural Development, has been exploring potential smart solutions to improve PMGSY’s delivery capacity on the ground, particularly in the context of physical and financial management of projects.

L to R: Deepak Ashish Kaul, Director, Finance and Administration, NRIDA, Dr. Ashish Kumar Goel, IAS, JS, MoRD and DG, NRIDA, Manoj Kumar Sharma, MD, MSC

The envisaged solutions will introduce smart payments and microservices-based architecture under the program’s current monitoring and management mechanism. This move will help improve the pace of construction, reduce delays, prevent under-utilization of funds, avoid cost overruns, and strengthen the accountability of government officials and contractors.

In line with its efforts to introduce innovative solutions, NRIDA signed a statement of intent with MSC (MicroSave Consulting) on Monday to explore potential pilots for a smart payment solution. Dr. Ashish Kumar Goel, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development and Director General of NRIDA, presided over the brief singing-off ceremony. Other dignitaries from the Ministry of Rural Development and MSC also attended the ceremony. Mr. Manoj Sharma, Managing Director at MSC, Mitul Thapliyal, Partner at MSC, and other team members represented the consulting firm.

The proposed initiative is a part of the Ministry of Rural Development’s integrated efforts to improve the performance management of government programs. It also seeks to address capacity concerns in construction and maintenance management at the local level through a range of emerging IT solutions. The intended outcome of the project is to enhance transparency across the system. It will enable key decision-makers to have better observability of data from sites, trace fund flows, and monitor the program’s overall performance.

“The implementation of the smart payment engine will be the first-of-its-kind initiative of the Ministry. Interventions like the single project registry and electronic measurement book based on open-source architecture will set a precedent for other programs. Once implemented on the ground, this intervention will also help enable a smart payment system, which will reduce delays in implementation of projects,” said Dr. Ashish Kumar Goel, Joint Secretary, MoRD and DG, NRIDA.

“NRIDA’s novel initiative will not just help PMGSY but also create pathways for similar government programs. The proposed smart payments solution framework for PMGSY will be developed using emerging technology to improve the capacity of service delivery. Given the modern architecture proposed, we believe the smart payment framework will help NRIDA in its IT journey. It will facilitate the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) devices for effective monitoring in the future,” said Mr. Manoj Sharma, Managing Director, MicroSave Consulting.

About PMGSY

The Government of India launched PMGSY in 2000 to provide rural road connectivity to villages across India. The NRIDA functions under the Ministry of Rural Development and manages the centrally sponsored scheme. Phase three of PMGSY will involve consolidation through routes and major rural links connecting habitations to agricultural markets, higher secondary schools, and hospitals.

The central and state governments would share funds in the ratio of 60:40 in the current phase. The funding ratio for North Eastern and Hill States (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) is 90:10. So far, 6.71 lakh km long roads have been constructed under PMGSY.

About MSC

MSC, formerly MicroSave Consulting, is a boutique consulting firm contracted to design this unique digital solution. Over the past years, MSC has worked at the center of the digital finance revolution to enable social, financial, and economic inclusion for everyone in the digital age.

About the solution

PMGSY has an online management, monitoring, and accounting system (OMMAS) that helps NRIDA oversee the program’s nationwide implementation. However, the functionalities of OMMAS need to be upgraded to keep pace with advancements in digital technologies. The proposed solutions will supplement and enhance the existing OMMAS system.

The bouquet of solutions includes three key elements. The first solution is a “single projects registry“, which will act as the single source of truth for project execution. Once merged with other IT systems, it will serve as a single database for the program, from planning to implementation. The solution will also provide real-time information on the progress of all programs and help officials manage the project more effectively.

The second solution involves introducing an “e-measurement module” for real-time project monitoring and progress tracking. The platform will ensure mechanisms for proper compliances of quality and time by contractors. It will enforce accountability on government officials for timely approvals and validation of work by contractors.

The third solution involves building a “smart payment system” to manage expenditures and disburse payments at the last mile. It will facilitate the automatic release of payments to vendors upon completion of work targets and submission of invoices, thereby eliminating delays in payments. The payment system will also provide officials complete observability of the financial fund flow and the physical progress of the program.

Ultimately, all three components will work together to form robust and comprehensive fund management and monitoring system within the OMMAS system.

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Industry-Academia-Government Collaboration is the Need of the Hour: Experts at PanIIT India Event

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  • Ease of investment regulations and enhanced industry funding for research are the top priorities
  • Tamil Nadu CM, M.K. Stalin and J&K LG, Manoj Sinha graced the event as Guests of Honour

PanIIT India, an umbrella body representing the alumni of IITs, organized its flagship event – PI-WOT 2021Global Virtual Technology Summit on September 17th – 18th. The 36 hours long mega event with more than 100 eminent speakers, 15000 delegates and 10+ knowledge sessions witnessed compelling discussions on transformative technology and its adoption to generate empowering solutions for the world. The dialogues were facilitated through engaging verticals of seminars, hackathon competition and a startup showcase.

Shri M.K. Stalin, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Government of Tami Nadu, the Guest of Honour, addressed the event by saying, “IIT has made proud contributions in Tamil Nadu’s growth and stood firmly in finding pioneering solutions. The state has a favorable ecosystem with highly skilled youth, surplus solar power and most number of SEZs making it an ideal place for innovative enterprises. We would want PanIIT to continue to collaborate with us in becoming a technical hub for emerging technology.”

Guest of Honour, Shri Manoj Sinha, Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor, Jammu & Kashmir and an IIT BHU alumnus highlighted the rapid transformation triggered by technology and stressed upon the need for businesses and industries to adapt and keep pace with technological changes. Speaking on the reconstructive power of technology he added, “The days are not far when there wont be any electricity, electric cables or solar panels, as our windows, glass panels and roofs itself will generate electricity. Or the new education apps and modules with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, will make the teachers obsolete wherever possible.”

Delivering the grand keynote, Asha Jadeja Motwani, Founder, Motwani Jadeja Family Foundation, shared her thoughts on the reforms required to cultivate the business environment in India. “As an emerging global power, India must accept global corporate norms in the country and partner with global powers like United States or Israel on military front and this is something that the IIT alumni and startups should keep on their radar.” Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, brought a policy perspective and said, “We need right kind of policies for Science, Technology, and Innovation and we can see that there are encouraging developments taking place at this front.”

After the completion of inauguration ceremony and keynote addresses, the Summit moved on to have dialogues on the key themes of technology – AI, Automation, IoT, Cloud, Virtual Reality, and Digitization via multiple seminars and the involvement of 100+ distinguished experts. In subsequent sessions, experts across sectors deliberated upon the current industry scenario, emerging trends, challenges, and recommendations to foster an enabling environment for deep science and deep tech to solve some of the most critical world issues.

Industry veterans, Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman Axilor Ventures, Co-founder Infosys; Desh Deshpande, Life Member, MIT Corporation and K Ananth Krishnan, CTO, TCS stressed upon the need for a deeper collaboration between the industry, academia, and government. Experts also felt that the government must ease out rules for global capital to come to India and highlighted that industry funding for research should increase in future for greater success.

Some of the prominent names from the industry, Dr. Aloknath De, CTO, Samsung R&D India; Irina Ghose, ED, Cloud Solutions, Microsoft, India; Sanjay Kaul, President, APAC & Japan, Service Provider Business, CISCO; Jeyandran Venugopal, CTO, Flipkart; Smita Ojha, Engineering Director, Google Workspace; Abhinav Sinha, Global COO & Chief Product Officer, OYO; Arun Chandavarkar, MD, Biocon Biologics Ltd.; Sumit Gupta, Co-founder and CEO, CoinDCX, were part of the discussions that took place in the two-day virtual affair.

Mr. Krishen K. Dhar, Chairman, PanIIT Alumni India in his address said, “First, I would like to congratulate the winners of Hackathon and Startup Showcase. We hope the winners can bring about empowering change through their innovations. Second, the aim of this summit was to establish dialogues on new & latest technologies and to bring different stakeholders under one roof and encourage collaborations. Through PIWOT 2021, we have been able to advance these objectives and would continue to do so in future as well.

About PanIIT

PanIIT is the umbrella organization of alumni of IIITs around the world, working towards building a knowledge pool of people and resources to address global challenges. It represents over 200,000 graduates from all the IITs, and has active chapters in the US, India, Europe, Canada, Australia and Singapore. With IIT alumnus is top positions in the private and public sector, civil services, research and development, academia, and doing illustrious work, PanIIT has an ambitious agenda to direct its resource pool to undertake impact-making initiatives to create a better tomorrow.

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A Step towards Solving the Oxygen Crisis in Country, Albot Technologies Inaugurates O2 Plant in Pune

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A 500 LPM oxygen plant was inaugurated by Mr. Ajit Pawar, the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra on Friday. The plant has been made operational by Albot Technologies Pvt. Ltd. in collaboration with D.Y. Patil International University (DYPIU) and is installed in the premises of D Y Patil Dnyanshanti School, Akurdi. This marked a monumental milestone towards a future with sufficient oxygen supply. To refresh one’s memory, during the second wave of the pandemic, India had immensely struggled with a rampant oxygen shortage. A sustainable solution to tackle such a critical issue was the need of the hour.

Mr. Ajitdada Pawar cuts the ribbon on Albot Technologies O2 Plant

The list of guests of honour also included the likes of Dr. Sanjay Patil – President, Dr. D.Y. Patil Pratishthan, Mr. Satej Patil – Chairman & Vice President Dr. D.Y. Patil Pratishthan, and Minister of State, Govt of Maharashtra and Dr. Prabhat Ranjan, VC D.Y. Patil International University.

The plant has been engineered to produce over 500 Litres of Oxygen per minute. It employs the well-known Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technique by which the enriched oxygen is generated from the ambient air while filtering out the nitrogen. With the PSA technique, an oxygen purity of 93% can be achieved. Once the oxygen is generated, it can be directly supplied to the hospitals and industrial sectors.

“Our objective is to strengthen the oxygen manufacturing capacity in the nation to forestall the consequences as seen in the second wave of the pandemic. We are viewing this from a multidimensional perspective; enhancing the supply chain while keeping an eye on the evolving demand too,” said Dr. Akash Singh, CEO, Albot Technologies.

Under the Corporate-University collaboration, Albot Technologies has been in a partnership with DYPIU for technology, infrastructure, and healthcare projects.

This collaboration is fueled by the purpose to serve the community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and to develop indigenous O2 plant technology for future use under the “Make in India” initiative.

The specialized PSA technique used for this Oxygen plant is a “clean technology“. The raw materials used for this technique are only air and hence there’s no risk of contamination. The oxygen supplied via this plant can be stored for long-term usage and it’s completely safe to use because the chemicals used in the process are non-toxic.

Along with the added advantage of its capacity to produce 500 liters per minute, this O2 plant aims to annihilate India’s oxygen crisis substantially.

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Sirca Celebrates Jashn-e-Rang with Key Partners as they Believe ‘Ghar Hai Aapse’

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Sirca, one of the leading Italian and premium wood coatings brands in India hosted an event for its dealers and distributors family on September 13. The colorful event was carried out by following all COVID protocols, and the company hosted this program to spread positivity among its stakeholders.

Sirca Celebrates Jashn-e-Rang Event

Named Jashn-e-Rang, Sirca organized this event to live up to the companys motto Ghar Hai Aapse With this event, the company made a positive move by showcasing how events can be carried out in a new normal scenario.

Apart from distributors, dealers, and stakeholders, Bollywood beauty Malaika Arora, and singer Khadke Glassy fame Ashok Masti also graced the occasion with their presence. “Even though the global pandemic has taken a toll on the entire business sector in India, Sirca believes in positivity, and we have now celebrated our past achievements by giving rewards and recognition to dealers and distributors. We also inaugurated our new office and manufacturing units, and it is a clear indication that business operations can be done without any toll in this new normal scenario. As the second wave of the pandemic has now waned in India, I strongly hope that all business operations will be bounced back strongly in the nation,” said Apoorv Agarwal, Sirca Joint Managing Director.

“When the pandemic badly affected the world of business, Sirca stood tall as an industry leader. By organizing this event, Sircas exuberance is a huge example and great inspiration for the market, it’s always a pleasure to partner with such a spirited brand,” said Darpan Sharma, CEO & Strategist, DigiStreet.

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