There are a number of parameters by which a country’s progress is judged. While indicators like per capita income, human development index, number of people under poverty define a country’s economic prosperity, a country’s true scientific capability is judged by its contributions to the scientific advancements and innovations.
Space research plays a key role in a countries scientific progress and it is for this purpose a lot of countries globally are investing a huge chunk of their budget towards advancements in space technology. We all are aware of the space race that USSR and USA were a part of to assert their domination during the 50s and 60s. Although, their relations have improved greatly over the time and both the countries have been a part of multiple space programmes most notable being Apollo- Soyuz; there still exists a silent competition to be the best.
Apart from the USA and Russia, India, China, and Israel along with the European Space Agency have made tremendous strides in the field of space research.
India’s greatest moment in space probe came when back in 2008, it launched Chandrayaan- A lunar probe vehicle which included an orbiter and impactor. By doing so, India joined a list of select nations to have their presence on the moon. It was indeed a proud moment for every Indian and I vividly remember the feeling of ultimate joy that engulfed me India achieved what was considered unthinkable a few decades ago.
Since the historic day of 22nd October 2008, India has launched a number of Polar Satellite Launching Vehicles (PSLVs) on various space programmes. Not just this India also broke many records in this process and placed itself as one of the most trusted and valuable partners in space research.
It was this credibility that India achieved which led to the historic launch of PSLV-C37. This launch vehicle had 101 satellites onboard and broke the previous record of 37 satellites held by Russian Space Agency.
As a space enthusiast, it fills me with immense pride over the kind of position we are in. Today, apart from launching its own satellites and understanding the space better, India is also being an invaluable partner to other countries mentoring and helping others to reach space. PSLV-C37 was a great example of this where a number of neighbouring and European countries were guided by Indian technology and space vehicle.
Now, all eyes are set on Chandrayaan-2. Not just we Indian’s but the whole world’s eyes will be on Sriharikota when India will be launching its second lunar probe vehicle later this year. Over the years India’s space research has had great applications in defence, agriculture, mining, telecommunication among many others. Now with Chandrayaan and very soon Mangalyaan, we will be able to study these celestial body’s which will give us a better understanding of life outside our orbit.
Earlier this week the human race crossed a dangerous milestone. For the first time in human history, our atmosphere’s CO2 levels crossed the 415 barrier. This means that there were 415.26 Carbon dioxide particles per million in our atmosphere.
This is a worrying sign for Earth. While on one hand, a number of countries are trying to reduce their respective carbon footprints and achieve the CO2 neutral status, on the other hand, the activities of the human race are contributing to the increase in the emissions. Globally, 19 countries have pledged to achieve carbon dioxide neutrality by 2050 with India not being in the list. Only two countries- Bhutan and Suriname have achieved a CO2 neutral status all thanks to their thriving flora and supportive government policies.
India has been showing encouraging signs in this direction and the decreased dependency on non-renewable sources of energy coupled with advancements in renewable technology are the main reasons for this. Today, 34.6% of our electricity production is from renewable sources. This although is an impressive sign, but is still far behind the numbers of countries like Finland whose 80% of the energy produced is from renewable sources and Costa Rica which produces 96% of its electricity in a similar way.
Today, climate change is a major threat to the nations alike and to counter this, the NDC (Nationally Decided Contributions) under Paris Agreement must be followed strictly. Netherlands and France are looking to ban the usage of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and 2040 respectively with an objective to fulfill their obligations towards the Paris Agreement.
Every century, the global temperature sees a rise of around 1.5 to 2 degree Celsius and with the level of industrialisation and environment hampering economic policies of multiple nations across the world, the temperatures are expected to rise further resulting in an increase of Carbon footprints.
In such a time, it is the duty of the nations to look towards alternative methods of transportations which are eco- friendly. Implementation of environment-friendly economic policies and providing grants and subsidies on a larger scale to those practicing these would help the cause greatly.
A set of sustainable development goals have been set up by the Andhra Pradesh government as well as some other governments in our country. The efforts to control greenhouse gasses’ emission and promotion of alternate resources of energy must be of paramount importance.
My recent visit to China where I got to test some new age e-transport systems filled me with great optimism for our future. Apart from China, Netherlands is one country which is taking amazing initiatives in the field of eco-friendly transportation and promotion of battery-powered vehicles. Their famous bicycle tours of Amsterdam are a great example which everyone must try to emulate. As individuals, we all know of the steps that we need to take to reduce carbon emission and protect the environment. We must not just limit this knowledge to ourselves but also try to educate and create awareness on the dangers of climate change. The Earth Day which was celebrated recently on April 22 gave me another opportunity to pledge my contribution to fight climate change. Let us pledge to work towards creating a better tomorrow for our next generations. Let us also work towards the preservation and protection of our flora and fauna to conserve the diversity of our beautiful Earth.
AI systems that could decide on the diagnosis of disease are emerging in the world and that would be a good sign for a country like India as several cancers are on rise in the country. Due to cumbersome and costly diagnosis processes in India, most of the cancer patients approach doctors only when the disease is out of control.
The emergence of AI systems to detect and diagnose cancer would make diagnosis cheaper and speedier than in the past. Thus the systems have the potential of enabling people to approach doctors in time to treat the disease.
National Cancer Registries also show that the incidence of certain cancers are on rising. Out of the cancers that are showing a significant rise in incidence rates; comprise of prostate, mouth, and kidney among the male population.
In research by National Institute of Health of the USA in the Indian subcontinent, it was found that Prostrate is the second leading site of cancer among males in large Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram and third leading site of cancer in cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai. It is in top ten leading sites of cancers in the rest of the population-based cancer registries (PBCRs) in India.
The PBCRs at Bengaluru recorded an annual rise in the percentage of incidence at 3.4 % and it is 4.2 % in Chennai and 3.3 % in Delhi.
The worldwide PCa burden is expected to grow to 1.7 million new cases and 4,99, 000 new deaths by 2030. The Indian share in the above burden would be potential due to the lack of awareness and the cost of diagnosis.
The increasing incidence of prostate cancer poses a challenge to radiologists who diagnose cancer based on MRI scans. They have to decide between cancerous tumor and benign tumor to decide on diagnosis and treatment. This is a laborious and cumbersome process as the radiologist has to consider a lot of issues and things before coming to a conclusion.
The same problem would arise in the case of cancer detection in any other part of the world and early detection is crucial for the better cure of any disease but it is more crucial regarding Cancer.
Radiologists at the University of California and Los Angeles developed a system known as FocalNet that can help to identify and predict the aggressiveness of the disease using MRI scans. The assessment of the system is at par with the accuracy of experienced radiologists, says a report in the journal 'IEEE transactions'.
According to the report, in the initial trials, the radiologists at UCLA got 83.5 % accuracy in diagnosing or predicting prostate cancer, while the system worked with 80.5 % of accuracy. The radiologists have ten years of experience in using MRI scans to diagnose prostate cancer.
However, the system developed by them showed 80.5 % accuracy in reading MRIs. It could be enhanced, says the report. If it is enhanced, the system would save a lot of time for radiologists, opines the report in IEEE Transactions.
Normally Radiologists use MRI to detect and assess the aggressiveness of malignant prostate tumors. Despite the existence of certain guidelines on diagnosing a tumor about its cancerous or benign nature, it takes the experience of a radiologist to determine the disease accurately in time.
The FocalNet, which is in the developmental stage could help the radiologists with less experience to detect, diagnose or predict the disease with more accuracy that comes out from the experience. It could save a lot of time even for an experienced radiologist to decide between benign and cancerous tumors during the diagnosis process.
Regarding the diagnosis of cancer, several cases would be of benign nature, which creates a dilemma for a radiologist to decide on the compulsion of the treatment. Benign tumors normally need no special treatment, but the cancerous tumors need immediate and compulsory treatment.
As part of the development of the FocalNet, the team of experienced radiologists trained the system in the analysis of cancer by feeding it with the details of MRI scans of 417 men with prostate cancer. The feedback was given in such a way that the system could compare results to the actual specimens of pathology.
This could help the radiologists to develop a system that decides on benign and cancerous tumors.
In India too, the AI is gaining importance. If the systems make the diagnosis much cheaper than in the past, it would help a lot for the population of India in which the diagnosis in time is crucial as most of the people go to a doctor only when the disease compels them to do so. The cheaper diagnosis systems could make them approach doctors at the earlier stage.
There is no doubt about the fact that in order to grow, the first and foremost requirement for an organisation is a dynamic and skilled leader. Today, CEO’s and CFO’s are paid in millions globally because their respective organisation’s future entirely depends on the decisions and steps they take. A single decision to launch a product that is not competitive for the market or an error in marketing strategy can bring losses unimaginable to the enterprise.
In such a scenario, it is imperative for business leaders to keep up with their learning process. Being updated with the market trends is the only way to grow in an age where perform or perish is the trend.
The term leader here is not just limited to the top management but for every single employee who needs to climb up the ladder. Updating the skillset and being in sync with market demands can bring great success to one and all. Professionals also are understanding the need for learning. As per a survey by the professional social network- LinkedIn, 88% of the employees placed the “need to update skills” as their second highest priority requirement after work-life balance.
Some of the best ways to learn to grow which I have seen do wonders to a lot of my industry colleagues and professionals are:
This is easily the best way to be updated on the latest industry updates and developments. There are a lot of websites and online forums relating to each of the niches which act as a great platform for interaction and knowledge exchange. For example, if you are a programmer and have a doubt or a need for discussion with fellow professionals, platforms like StackOverflow, TechCrunch, GitHub and other official blogs of your technologies can be extremely beneficial.
An extremely efficient way of networking and learning, the conferences are helping new age professionals to grow as well as understand the market realities better. The best part of the conferences and summits are that there are customised events as per your needs, if you are from AI industry, you’ve got multiple AI Summits across the globe, if you are from Finance industry, you’ve got conferences in that stream. The conferences are helping individuals grow professionally in terms of skill set as well as personally.
The good old reading
There cannot be a better substitute for reading. As per a study by inc.com, on an average, a successful CEO reads 52 books a year. This is done to keep oneself updated and ready for the challenges that the organisation is throwing at him. Successful leaders read as many as 4-5 books a month helping them in key areas such as scale the business, rebuild the industries from a downfall, enhance the relationship with employees and take crucial business development decisions.
It is true that professionals today are having less time for other things. Their work takes most of their time. However, unwinding and relaxing also play a key role in professional development. A successful leader is a multitasker who understands the fine details of time management like no other. How you fit in the above three in your monthly schedule is all that would make a difference in your personal as well as professional life.
There are some leaders whose legacy crosses all geographical and ideological barriers and are revered and respected by all. If ever such a list is made, Sarojini Naidu garu's name would definitely feature in prominence. An extraordinary poet, orator and one of the greatest freedom fighters in India, The Nightingale of India holds a very special place in every Indian's heart.
Sarojini garu's life is a textbook for every individual to follow. Her life follows an extraordinary graph right from her early education days where she showed the terrific promise. Her contributions to the nations' freedom struggle during the Civil Disobedience Movement and Quit India Movement where she showed great courage and leadership is something that continues to inspire generations even today.
Not just in her public life, Sarojini garu was a true inspiration in her personal life as well. In an age where inter-caste marriages were a taboo, her marriage with Paidipati Govindarajulu Naidu garu was a live example of her standing by her ideals and principles in personal life as well.
Sarojini garu always believed in equality and mutual respect amongst the genders and was way ahead of her times in terms of her beliefs. Today, a number of young girls are receiving quality education and access to educational facilities of global standards all due to the steps she took in this direction.
An able administrator and a great leader, her service to the nation as the first woman Governor of Independent India is remarkable and truly an inspiration. The magnetic persona of Sarojini garu inspired everyone who met her. I vividly remember reading writer Aldous Huxley's remarks where he said, "It has been our good fortune, while in Bombay, to meet Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, the newly elected President of the All-India Congress and a woman who combines in the most remarkable way great intellectual power with charm, sweetness with courageous energy, a wide culture with originality, and earnestness with humour. If all Indian politicians are like Mrs. Naidu, then the country is fortunate indeed."
True to the statement, Sarojini garu impressed all through her superior intellect, charm, and humility. As we observe the Nightingale of India's 140th Birth Anniversary, I would like to once again pay my humble tributes to the Sarojini Naidu garu. Her leadership, tireless service to the nation and the social reforms that she brought in continues to inspire all of us even today.