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Innovative Technologies for the Disabled Dominate PEC Open House.

PEC’s open house comes to a close


Amongst several categories of innovative projects in the Open House organised by the Punjab Engineering College, a deemed University; innovative technologies created by the young Engineers, stole the show.

The winners fell in three categories — Circuital Branches, Non-Circuital Branches and Technical Societies. Further, prizes under two special categories, ‘Research with larger impact’ and ‘Most innovative idea’, were also presented to the deserving teams.

Under circuital branches, ‘Braille Tablet’ made by Khuswant Rai, Esha Tandon, Simran Kaur and Garima Shukla secured the first position while ‘I-Vote’ and ‘Bone Conduction Hearing System’ secured the second and the third spots, respectively.

Under technical societies, ‘Gesture-controlled wheelchair’ made by Jatin Batra, Palak Jain, Ashmeet Jheetha, Aman Garg and Mukul Sahni secured the first position while ‘LiFi’ and ‘Robotic Arm’ secured second and third positions, respectively.

The project ‘Smart Shoe for blind’ won the prize under the ‘Research with larger impact’ category while ‘Smart Gate Controlling Reservoir System’ project secured the ‘Most Innovative Idea’ prize.

Braille tablet: The aim was to develop an alpha prototype of Braille tablet with a touch screen on the front side, provide Braille tactile on the opposite side of the tablet and voice command operation facility in it, thus helping people who are visually impaired to have an unlimited opportunity in their education personal productivity.

Gesture-controlled wheelchair: Its aim was to model a gesture-controlled wheelchair equipped with basic home automation applications vis-à-vis control of fans and lights as well as advanced features, including face detection-enabled security systems.

Women have always been considered second-class citizens: Priyanka Chopra



NEW DELHI: She is a woman who follows her heart and is an inspiration for other women. Priyanka Chopra, who is effortlessly straddling two worlds and is also a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, says women have always been considered second-class citizens globally and she would like to see a change in the mindset of those who devalue a girl child.

“We are living in an extremely patriarchal society, not just in India, but in the whole world. Women have always been second-class citizens. We have to fight to get opportunities, to become a leader (but) the one thing that I have seen is that now women are not willing to settle (for less) any more, and that’s the big difference,” Priyanka — a Bollwood star who has now made her mark in Hollywood — told IANS when asked to comment on the changes she has noticed among people towards women and the girl child in India.

“It’s not like the world is going to change in 10 years. Hopefully, I will see it in my lifetime. But if not, (it should change) for the next generation. That’s what I am hoping. I love the tenacity… of seeing women supporting each other, of women turning around and telling that ‘it’s wrong’.

“The fact is we are living in the era of social media, you are not alone. There’s good and bad in everything, but in this case, you are not alone and that is the biggest change. You see more men standing up for women and saying ‘that’s wrong’, but there is yet a lot of work to be done globally,” she added.

Priyanka was in the capital to attend the curtain-raiser of The Partners’ Forum, a platform for learning and exchange between countries and partners to improve the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents.

It was hosted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) and support of other partners.

Priyanka’s journey in showbiz started at the age of 17 when she was crowned Miss World. It was followed by her Bollywood debut in 2003 with “The Hero: Love Story of a Spy” and she later made headlines when she bagged the lead role in American show “Quantico”.

The year 2016 also saw her becoming a presenter at the Academy Awards and the Emmy Awards ceremony, followed by an invitation to the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. She was conferred India’s fourth-highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri, and featured in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the world.

Priyanka finds it wonderful how women have an innate ability to fulfill different roles.

“Women have the ability to take care, get married, have children and work at the same time. They make sure that the house is taken care of, but at the same time they go out and meet their dreams. All they need is someone to stand with them and say, ‘Yes, you can’, and that will come when families, husbands, fathers and mothers start teaching their children that it is going to be all right.

“Of course, women should settle down, men should settle down, have babies, but that shouldn’t be the end of a girl’s life. It should be the beginning. You should marry in a home that allows you to have wings and the parents need to make sure of that,” said Priyanka.

Girls need to be valued, stressed the actress who has made a name for herself internationally with the show “Quantico”.

“I have a lot of dreams. I don’t want any child to go to sleep hungry, but the big change I want to see is girl children should not be treated as a commodity… (used) just for reproduction. I want to see a change where we invest in our girls, where we treat them and give them the opportunity to have merit to prove themselves.

“At least we should give that chance to her. Devaluation of girls is something that I want to see change,” she said.

Priyanka is herself as invested in philanthropy as in her showbiz career as an actor and producer. But what is keeping her away from Bollywood films nowadays?

Laughing off the question, she said: “I will do it when I find the right script. It’s not like I am not working. I am shooting a TV film which has gone to 64 countries. I have produced seven films this year. I am working. And I will work (in a Bollywood film) when I find the right film to do.”

“I am not someone who will compromise or settle for less,” she signed off.


Sons-in-law & Daughters-in-law also liable to maintain aged Parents!

A senior citizens’ group in Pune. India has 104 million people over the age of 60, according to the 2011 Census. Anecdotally, the number of instances of senior citizens being abandoned by their children is on an increase.


India is considering widening the definition of children and removing the cap on maintenance payable to senior citizens through proposed changes in a law on the welfare of senior citizens.

The ministry of social justice and empowerment has proposed doing away with the Rs 10,000 ceiling currently in place, and wants to link the amount to the sources of income of the senior citizens and their children, a government official familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

According to this person, the ministry has recommended widening the definition of children to include adopted or step children, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, grandchildren, even minors represented by their legal guardians. Currently, the term includes only sons, daughters, and grandchildren, excluding minors.

India has 104 million people over the age of 60, according to the 2011 Census. Anecdotally, the number of instances of senior citizens being abandoned by their children is on an increase, although the National Crime Records Bureau doesn’t track this.

The proposal will now be sent to the union cabinet for approval. It follows feedback from senior citizens and non-government organisations (NGOs) working with the disadvantaged elderly on the need to revisit the conditions for payment of the allowance under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (MWPSC) Act, 2007.

After the MWPSC was enacted in 2007, tribunals were constituted to enforce its provisions including payment of the maintenance allowance.

Senior citizens can file an application before these tribunals to claim maintenance and seek relief if their assets and immovable property are forcibly taken over by their children or other relatives.

Alongside widening the definition of children, the ministry of social justice and empowerment has suggested that any person (whether a child or a relative of a childless senior citizen), who has the means will have to look after the senior citizen or parent, even if they are not in possession of their property.

According to the official cited above, maintenance of such senior citizens has hitherto been the duty of children or other caretakers only if they were in possession of their property or were likely to inherit it.

“The definition of senior citizen itself has been clarified; those who have attained the age of 60 are senior citizens and will be eligible for all benefits meant for the category. This has been specified in the wake of complaints that some airline and insurance schemes were arbitrarily fixing the minimum age,” the official said.

Among the other suggestions made by the ministry are extending the right of appeal against a decision by the tribunal to the respondents. Earlier, only senior citizens could file an appeal against an order.

Commenting on the changes suggested by the ministry, Mathew Cherian, chief executive officer of the NGO HelpAge India said the government should first ensure implementation of the law and help spread awareness of its provisions.

“It has been 10 years since the law was passed, but there are lacunae in implementation. Even the posters or advertisements put out for awareness do not clearly explain the provisions of the Act to senior citizens,” Cherian said.

In January, HelpAge came out with a preliminary study conducted in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Kerala based on 115 petitions filed by senior citizens with maintenance tribunals to show that only 57% of the cases filed, including complaints of abuse of elderly, neglect, forceful possession of property, had been settled while 33% were still pending. The report said repeated visits to the tribunals set up for dealing with these cases was cited as a problem by 42% of the respondents. An equal proportion complained of delays in hearings on the appointed dates.