Sunday, February 25, 2018

Calendar on Emerging Technology Workshops

Yesterday I was in Santiniketan. I visited the IT Park where a certificate course is going on, being conducted by NIELIT.
I interacted with the trainees. Most were from Tier 3 towns of Rampurhat / Bolpur. I asked them if anyone knew some coding like C+ or Java. Few raised their hands. Some had also done some mobile apps programming. I asked all to learn coding while they were still young if they wanted to be in the IT field for careers.

I informed them that WIL, on behalf of State Govt, was already conducting introductory 5-day on Start-Ups throughout their 100 plus district units. Some inputs would be given here too at IT Park Santiniketan. I asked them to think creatively: Santiniketan's handicrafts and Bolpur's / Rampurhat's / Tarapith's Totos / Rickshaws could be co-ordinated through Uber-Ola-like apps that could be homegrown by the trainees' start-ups. I suggested that digital marketing could be an area where small groups in small towns could also be profitable.

In the afternoon, as I was waiting at Bolpur Railway Station for returning by Kanchanjangha Express, two trainees came up to me and said that they had been thinking and they thought that the idea f digital marketing was great and they would work upon it. I assured them that some inputs were given to them in their present course too: I talked to the Course-coordinator too. While on the train, I requested IT Department's Honorary Advisor Mr Ambarish Dasgupta to give me a concept note on how govt may make digital marketing as a career option for the districts in Bengal. He has agreed.

At the State Level, we plan to have a series of workshops organised by the IT&E Department to usher in a proper eco-system in emerging trends in IT. So far we have fixed the calendar for the next quarter. This is as follows:

1. 16th March 2018: Workshop on Cyber Security
2. 13th April 2018 :  Workshop on Blockchain
3. 18th May 2018: Workshop on Artificial Intelligence

(Some of the other areas that we will work on for the next quarters would be Embedded Software and Technology, Animation & Gaming, Fintech, AI driven Digital Marketing, Face Recognition etc.)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Cybercrime as a Course in colleges

I was in the Jhargram Administrative meeting yesterday where Hon'ble Chief Minister held meeting of all administrative matters and where all senior secretaries of the government and many ministers were present along with DM, SP and other officers of Jhargram district.

In course of the meeting Hon'ble CM asked Higher Education Department to introduce courses on Cyber-crime so that students would stand a good chance of  getting jobs in the police department and elsewhere. After the meeting, on the way out, I spoke to Secretary of Education Department and said that IT&E Department could help them frame the syllabus as we were already working on this and other fronts within the new Centre of Excellence on Cyber Security. This is based on the assessment by the CoE (Centre of Excellence) that skills at entry, middle and senior levels on cyber-security and digital forensics were in scarcity and commanded high remuneration. And that with increasing digitization of all aspects of our lives, the chance of cyber vulnerabilities would also increase manifold. Furthermore, not unlike physical warfare or actual crimes, the defence must be internal to the states' own set-up, almost a sovereign function which cannot be delegated easily. As such, the intervention to introduce education on a broad scale on cybercrime, cybersecurity, digital forensics etc is indeed a step very well directed and timely.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


I am in Delhi today (returning today) to attend the meeting of the Search-cum-selection committee constituted by MHRD (Ministry of Human Resources) for the post of Director of IIIT at Kalyani.

The IIIT Kalyani is like the other 15 IIITs constituted by an Act of the Parliament with shares and partnerships among MHRD, DoIT&E (State Govt) and Industry Partners. For Bengal, the Industry Partners are Coal India and Roltas.

Today's meeting was a marathon meeting where Directors of 7 IIITs are being recommended.

In the morning, I went to MeITY to invite MeITY officers for our forthcoming workshop on Cybersecurity on 16th March.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

OYOs and Totos in New Town: The Economy of Pooling

While compiling data for the freshly launched "New Town Info Book", I discovered that there are 19 OYO Rooms in New Town. I will hold a meeting with them on 28th February 2018 not only to see that they are complying with all rules (Trade Licence etc) but to also understand this sector and help them. Because, this is part of the great sharing economy: OLA, Uber, AirBnB, and now, New Town's own Dockless Bicycle sharing scheme by PEDL. In fact we want to encourage this sector and already the IT Deptt is handholding a start-up who won the State Hackathon recently, that will give an Apps to Totos and Autos for shared paratransit options.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Planning Cities the Future Way

We have already coined the phrase "New Town - the New Future" in many of the digital communications . An example:

In New Town there are dockless GPS controlled public bicycles, bike taxis, public hotpots, Wi Fi Enabled Biswa Bangla Sarani of 10 km length, LED street bulbs with auto-timers to switch on and off, SCADA enabled Water Treatment Plant, New Town's own Citizen Connect Social Network, Induction Loop controlled light saving mode in street lights where one third poles switch off after 10pm when no care move, mobile charging USB ports on each chair n the main huge auditorium of Biswa Bangla Convention Centre, an Optical Fibre Duct Newtwork throughout the city and plans to introduce blockchain based loyalty tokens to tourists. Now Hidco is also designing the Gitabitan Township in Bolpur: work is going on in full swing.
And now a recent decision has been taken entrusting Hidco to plan the 60 acre Sports City in Howrah, only few kilometres away from Nabanna. Work has started and survey is on. Regulations laid down under the Town and Country Planning Act, the UDFI norms, the IGBC Green City Norms,  the Township Policy of State Govt and all the experience of New Town Rajarhat will be infused into the planning of the new Sports City.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

New Town's Own Social Network: New Town City Connect

No one needs any training to do Facebook. It is intuitive and easy. So no one will need to learn about New Town's own social network. After registering, it is just as easy.

Then why not use Facebook itself?

Because fake news (and other objectionable or indecent remarks / comments/ posts) can be removed by NKDA. No need to go on long arguments and pleas. For example, a very old and fake photo is going viral in social media saying that a bridge in New Town near Axis Mall has developed cracks. I'd been to see he spot immediately when it came to my notice along with Arup Ghosh, General Manager (Engineering) three days ago. The building at the back was now completely different, there was no crack, only an expansion joint that is there on all such bridge. The very old picture is being circulated and one can do nothing but cry "fake news" as a "comment". But WhatsApp and Facebook "shares" keep on pouring in.

For connecting to New Town, there is already a SMS service. One can just send an sms with the word "Newtown" to 92300 6000 and one gets registered autmatically to get regular updates on the events in New Town. But this is a one-way communication: citizens' comments can't be sent by text messages to this number.

To supplement the connection with citizens by technology, therefore, Minister Firhad Hakim today launched the New Town City Connect, a Social Network site that enables Hidco and NKDA to touch people's lives, exchange comments and build a community feel by 'liking' each other's posts and responses. To begin with, it does not have graphic support but I think we will be able to evolve slowly so as to add further features.

I remember how I used to run a blog called "The CEO's Blog" when I was the Chief Electoral Officer. Hundreds of election officials would get a gist of the Commissions's latest instructions through the blog and pose queries that all other officers would see and learn together. I'd even seen some AEROs take prints of the Blog posts - informal as they were - and try to impose codes of conduct upon candidates' agents. So the New Town City Connect social network will also be a tool to spread awareness about the importance of being green and clean, of being sustainable and inclusive and of caring for the old and poor.

This is what we put out on the write-up today for the audience: New Town City connect is an online social media platform which offers a seamless inter and intra office digital communication including the non official stakeholders. It follows a 360 degrees approach. Digitally empowered it seeks to leverage the social media platform to assess the needs and aspirations of the various stakeholders of this city. This is in addition to the existing platforms like m-mobile app, website, mass SMS gateway, existing social media interface pages etc.

The link is . Here is a screen shot:

And here are two pics from today afternoon's pics:

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Old is Gold

Artist's Impression of Mishti Hub

Mishti Hub on my mobile today 4th Feb 2018

The Mishti Hub is located near Gate 3 of Eco Park. It is still under construction, but is fast nearing completion. There are 10+1 counters in the "Shop-in-Shop" concept. The ten  counters will be allotted on rent to famous sweet shops of Kolkata. The eleventh one will be reserved for the ethnic mishtis like Shaktigarer Lyangcha or Bardhamener Sitabhog or Krishnanagarer Sarbhaja or Berhampurer Chhanabora etc on a rotating basis.

But how does one select the famous sweet shops? A notice inviting Expression of Interest has been published recently. This can be seen at . The criteria, in short is "Old is Gold" that is, ten of the longest surviving sweet shops still operating in Kolkata will be shortlisted.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Review by Board of Nabadiganta Industrial Township Authority (NDITA)

The Board of NDITA met few days ago and took a review of completed and ongoing works in Sector 5 Salt Lake. The members expressed satisfaction at the progress made. This was a gist of what was presented to the Board:
* * *
1. Link Road to New Town in continuation with the Ring Road - Work completed
2. Beautification of the Embankment of Water Bodies adjacent to Ring Road - Work
3. Inauguration of Beautified Nabadiganta Bus Terminus - Completed and Inaugurated
4. Inauguration of Beautified Food Kiosk - Completed and Inaugurated
5. Distribution of Bins to the food stalls - Work done
6. Resumption of construction of few floors of Administrative Building of NDITA
- Work is ongoing
6. Construction of one Compactor Station for Solid Waste disposal :completed (another one is under construction)
7. Pump House to Prevent Water Logging - nearing completion
8. Beautification of Metro Piers - Work completed
9. New Bus Shelter at Sukanta Nagar & beside E.D. Channel : under construction
10. Multi-Storied Car Parking' : Mackintosh Burn Ltd. has finalized the tender and issued work order to the selected Bidder.
11. Development of a Park from Nicco Park to Sukanta nagar Adjacent to Service Road: Ongoing
12. Strengthening of Road by Mastic Asphalt - some works have been completed, other
roads willbe taken up
13. Smart Railings: Design done
14. Installation of Drinking Water Stand at College more for public use : Completed
15. Removal of all Aerial Cable for better Nabadiganta - Street No. 13 has been made
Aerial Cable free, other roads are taken in phases
16. Use of Treated Sewage Water for Gardening - work initiated
17. Installation of Energy Efficient Lights - Almost completed
18. Street numbering in Sector 5 : Completed
19. Installation of the Public Arts & Road Signage in Nabadiganta area.
a. Pole mounted Signages installed.
b. Public Art installation with dynamic spectrum lighting completed
20. A corporate cycle competition with participation of corporates, residents and
employees under Sector-V in the campaign " Clean and Green Sector-V" was
organized on 13th August 20L7
21. Collection of Property Tax enhanced in comparison to the last few years
22. Construction of Town Hall of Nabadiganta -KMDA entrusted for the work.
23. Implementation (in phases) of the Traffic Mobility Plan prepared by IIT Kharagpur: ongoing