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MIT India Conference to focus on Digital India in its sixth edition

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MIT India Conf 2016 - Group Shot

Desh Deshpande speaking at the MIT India conference 2016

Desh Deshpande speaking at the MIT India conference 2016

BOSTON (Diya TV) — The MIT Media Lab, is in the fourth decade of creating innovations that are aimed at transforming the world around us. The Lab buzzing with futuristic ideas, might just be the perfect crucible to host the MIT India Conference 2017 focusing on ‘Digital India.’ The annual conference, held this year on April 9, 2017, aims to bring together students, educators, technocrats, entrepreneurs and politicos to brainstorm new solutions to the immense challenges in India.

The idea of ‘Digital India,’ however, has taken a new meaning after the banknote demonetization that took place in November of last year. It has brought forth some important debates around corruption, governance and the socio-political will to combat it. While the full consequences of the initiative are yet to be seen, the surge in the digital economy along with the need for inclusive digital growth is in the limelight. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made ‘cashless society’ the national mission by imploring each individual to teach 125 others to use the BHIM digital payment app. A distant cry from the days of ‘each one teach one’ slogan when education was seen as the social responsibility.

India’s literacy rate today is at 74%. A March 16 report based on Pew Research Center polls has found that in 2016, only 21% of Indians use the internet at least occasionally or own a smartphone. A slew of projects by government, non-profit and private sectors could potentially fill the gap to adopt technology and the lack of supportive infrastructure.

However there are many questions that need to be debated and discussed. Ones the MIT India conference aims to answer…What will be the scale of this digital transition? What should our milestones be? How will we navigate the sociopolitical diversity and related blockades? How can each one of the almost half billion internet users spur the economy?

These and many other questions will be addressed by a stellar panel of speakers, including: Ravi Shankar Prasad (Minister of Information Technology and Law and Justice, Government of India), Montek Singh Ahluwalia (Indian Economist and former Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission), Shekhar Kapur (Director, Producer, and Actor), Sudhanshu Vats (Group CEO, Viacom 18), Amit Midha (President and Executive VP, Dell Asia Pacific & Japan), Radhika Ghai Aggarwal (Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer, ShopClues.com), Rob Stoner (Deputy Director, MIT Energy Initiative, and Founding Director, Tata Center) and Vish Mishra (Venture Capitalist, Entrepreneur, Director – TiE).

Panel topics include: ‘Startup India: Envisioning The Next Chapter,’ ‘Leveraging Technology for Social Impact’ and ‘Imagining India 2030: Building Innovative Corporations.’

The conference aims to: focus on how the digital and technological revolution is changing the social, political and economic landscape of the country. It will explore disruptive innovations and practical solutions adopted by different entities—government, big corporations and emerging start-ups—to empower the country with increased access to different technologies, services and information to make the vision of Digital India a reality.

Conference Co-Chair, Priyanka Chaturvedi told Diya TV “I am hoping audience will learn how digital and tech innovations are affecting different segments- urban and rural and sectors in India- media, entertainment, startups, corporations, and energy. The audience will also learn from perspectives and  comprehensive discussions on on the future of India in this digital age.”

In its last six years, the MIT India Conference has built an ecology of inspired professionals. They carry its ideas for a prosperous India across the globe, in the belief that India and the world at large reaps the benefits. To be a part of it, you could plan your weekend at Boston, Massachusetts—it’s spring time, when everything gets revitalized.

Diya TV is a sponsor of the event.Visit http://www.mitindiaconference.com/ for more tickets & more information. 

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Miss India Manushi Chillar brings home the Miss World crown after 17 years

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NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — Manushi Chhillar, a medicine student from Haryana, India won the crown for Miss World 2017, topping her competition to take home the coveted title.

20-year-old Chhillar, stunned by her own victory,tweeted:


It’s been 17 years since the country has won the title, according to the Miss India twitter account, and the sixth time an Indian woman has been crowned the winner. The last winner was none other than Bollywood actress turned American Network TV Star, Priyanka Chopra who tweeted:


Manushi couldn’t believe her win (Image: AFP)

Contestants from all over the world took part in the 67th Miss World beauty pageant, which was held in China.
Miss Mexico, Andrea Meza came in 2nd & Miss England, Stephanie Hill came in 3rd.

Miss India Manushi Chhilar (C) smiles as she wins the 67th Miss World contest final next to second place, Miss Mexico Alma Andrea Meza Carmona (L), and 3rd place, Miss England Stephanie Jayne Hill (Image: AFP)

Miss India Manushi Chhilar (C) smiles as she wins the 67th Miss World contest final next to second place, Miss Mexico Alma Andrea Meza Carmona (L), and 3rd place, Miss England Stephanie Jayne Hill (Image: AFP)

Congratulatory tweets soon followed:

Manushi beat her competition from 108 women representing their countries. Former Miss World Stephanie Del Valle, from Puerto Rico crowned, Manushi as per tradition.

ormer Miss World 2016 Stephanie Del Valle crowns Miss India Manushi Chillar as the new Miss World (Image: AFP)

ormer Miss World 2016 Stephanie Del Valle crowns Miss India Manushi Chillar as the new Miss World (Image: AFP)


The 20-year-old, whose parents are both doctors, said in an interview that mothers around the world deserve the highest salary of every profession. She added, “My mother has been my biggest inspiration, so I have to say, a mother’s job. It is not always about cash, but love and respect as well. A mother deserves that the most.”

Before her win, she said: “”The only thing I believe is certain in life is uncertainty, and this is what is amazing about the pageant.”

Manushi takes the coveted blue crown (Image: AFP)

Manushi takes the coveted blue crown (Image: AFP)

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Ravi Bhalla becomes the first turbaned Sikh American Mayor of Hoboken New Jersey

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Ravi Bhalla elected the new Mayor of Hoboken, N.J.

HOBOKEN, NJ (Diya TV) — Two term Hoboken City council member Ravi Bhalla became the first turbaned Sikh to be elected mayor of the city of Hoboken, New Jersey. Tuesday night, Bhalla was all smiles, thrusting his arm in the air to celebrate his victory becoming one of the first Sikh mayors of a U.S. city. Sikh-American lawyer with a record of fighting discrimination, Bhalla says, “I’m everything that Trump hates. A brown man wearing a turban, and a proud American with the know-how to stop his assaults on our country’s values.”

A victory that didn’t come easy. Bhalla ran against five other candidates in Hoboken, a city of 50,000. The Saturday before election, Bhalla tweeted that the fliers about terrorism were “troubling, but we won’t let hate win.” CBS News reported that the fliers did not name the group that paid for them, a violation of state election law.

The community celebrated in part disbelief and part joy.

Simran Jeet Singh, a friend and support of Bhalla and a fellow turbaned Sikh tweeted in disbelief

“Given how much we’ve endured in this country, and frankly the fact that we have been here for more than a century now in the U.S. and have felt largely ignored and neglected as a minority community, this is for us a signal shift, where we feel like we’re getting on the map. This is a major development for us,” Simran Jeet Singh, a religion fellow at the Sikh Coalition, said. “And it comes in a context where, like many minority groups, we’re facing xenophobia.”

Gurwin Ahuja, executive director of the National Sikh Campaign, said Bhalla is one of the first Sikh people to become mayor of a U.S. city. Satyendra Huja served as mayor of the city of Charlottesville, and some small towns have had Sikh mayors.

Ahuja said that whoever made the fliers implying that “turban” meant “terrorist” interpreted the turban completely wrong. “Sikhs are instructed to be actively involved in their communities…. In fact, the reason why Sikhs wear a turban is because it represents our value of equality and to stand up against injustice wherever we see it,” he said. “The turban represents our commitment to those values of equality — gender equality, racial equality and religious tolerance — and our duty to stand up for those rights. In India, back in the day, when people would see a Sikh, they knew that was someone they could go to for safety.”

Bhalla, finished first among six candidates in the winner take all race, with 4,781 votes with around 34% of votes. DeFusco totaled 4,116 votes, or approximately 29 percent, according to Hudson County Clerk election results, which do no include mail-in and provisional ballots.

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Abhijit Das planning to run for Massachusetts Congress

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Tyngsborough, Mass. (Diya TV) — Abhijit Das, the president and CEO of Troca Hotels announced he is running for the 3dr District Congress in Massachusetts.

The Democrat candidate made the official announcement on his birthday amidst friends, family and community members at the Stonehedge Hotel and Spa in Tyngsborough. The seat ib being vacated by Niki Tsongas in November, 2018.

“As most of you know, I’m not a fan of [President] Donald Trump,” Das said, adding that the unequivocal denunciation of hatred, bigotry and racism should be a prerequisite to running for president. “That notwithstanding, we should not demonize those who voted for him nor can we simply ignore their voices. It is by engaging other viewpoints that we ultimately achieve understanding, compromise and progress,” he said.

Das attended the Brooks School in North Andover and earned a BA in political science from Middlebury College in Vermont.

He later earned a law degree at the University of Michigan’s law school, focusing on constitutional law and the American political sector.

“It was there (at the University of Michigan) that I learned the power of democracy,” he said.

Early in his career, Das served as law clerk to U.S. District of Maryland Judge Benson Legg. There, Das said he was witness to the power of the federal government, its compassion and its injustice.

Before starting Troca Hotels in 2011, Das was senior director of development for Hilton Hotels in South Asia, resurrecting 28 hotels in India from none.

 With Troca Hotels, Das’ mission is to revitalize communities.

“Our state of the economy is troubling,” Das noted. “Something is not working and we need to fix that. We must work diligently to turn this place to one of opportunity and innovation.”

Das says his platform includes the economy, innovation, education and the mental health crisis, among other issues.

“Washington is broken. I entered the possibility of this race because I saw friends (on both sides) shouting at each other,” Das said. “True dialogue is what we need. We need someone who is going to cross over that line and say, ‘let’s talk.’”

 

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