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Online Medical Consultation at DoctorAtClick.com

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No.1 killer in India is not any disease or lack of resources, but it is the lack of information! Access to specialist doctors in really limited in India. More than 40% of Indian population has to travel over 200 kms to consult a specialist doctor.

We are building an IT platform to enable easy access to specialist and super-specialist doctors for medical second opinion. This platform is a cloud based service, and aims to connect people living in tier-2/ tier-3 cities, and villages with the specialist doctors who are located in metros and bigger cities.

The platform for online medical second opinion is currently focused on providing second opinion in cancer cases. Typically each of the cancer has multiple ways of treatment using a combination of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. Exact course, combination and duration of treatment depends upon the individual case of the patient, and experience of the doctor. Thus, second opinion becomes very important when choosing treatment for cancer. Even celebrities like Lance Armstrong, Kylie Minogue and Jade Goody were misdiagnosed initially for their cancers.

I would invite you to visit our website, www.DoctorAtClick.com and have a look through the concept in action. We have already been receiving cases from different parts within country like Jhansi, Ranchi, Chennai, Lucknow, Mumbai, Rohtak etc. seeking for second opinion. The opinion is provided by top cancer specialist doctors  to patients, depending upon the specialty and condition of the submitted case.

 

 

 

 

Category : Education

Library

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This blog post is adapted from the very first publication of V.I.S.V.A.S., which highlighted the deficiencies in current library and reading room system of IIT Delhi. It was during this movement for library that I met with Bhushan, and the concept of V.I.S.V.A.S. and vision of an organization was born.

I share this here today, as today V.I.S.V.A.S. is launching a blog to discuss the requirements and availability of library infrastructure at various academic institutions, and steps needed to bridge the gap. It is expected to present relevant data, investigate best-practices and generate student opinion on the same.

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11112007013Walkthrough in IIT Delhi Library, year 2015:

Person climbs up the stairs and swipes his library access card to open the entrance gate. The scanners at the doors enable him to carry all his belongings right through, into the library.

He goes to the circulation counter. Circulation counter is a set of 10, self service, book deposit and issue desks. He places the books he wishes to return beneath the bar code reader, and voilla his books are returned.

He now goes onto search the books he wishes to issue. He types in the name of the book and using the computer based search programme, he can search the book he wants. The RFID tags on the books allows him to precisely locate the position of the book inside library. It points to him that the book is not on the shelf, but it is kept at table no.7 of second floor. That surely does save lots of search time.

To issue this book, he again approaches circulation counter, flashes his library card and then places the books under the scanner to get them issued. Just as he exits the library, there is a beep in the door sensors. Maybe he forgot to issue one of the books he was carrying. The guard requests him to get it issued, and then he leaves.

The library would be open 24hrs, and also be equipped with self service photocopy machines, that are accessible 24 hours.

Category : Blog &Education

Delhi University Admission Process

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When you want to change any system, I feel it is best that one should first formulate the most desirable system, without any constraints and subsequently adapt it based on current constraints. Doing so enables us to not only make a better system right now, but also chart out a longer vision towards which one would like to go.

In this post I would discuss the centralized admission process adopted by Delhi University a few years back through introduction of centralized forms.

Despite the fact that so much amount of money has been spent for the system it still remain predominantly a make-shift arrangement and much below an expected standard from a central university.

Firstly, let me introduce this process to you:

DU admission system 1

Current admission process in DU

The student who wants to apply to any college of the Delhi University can buy a ‘central admission form’ from university counter and submit it back there. The form is read through OMR and enables students to apply simultaneously to multiple courses and colleges. After the deadline of form submission, the university prepares college wise datasheets containing the details of all the students who have expressed interest in the college. The information is passed onto respective colleges through CDs and floppies.

Simultaneously, colleges continue to sell and collect their own forms.

The whole process has inherent drawbacks. Instead of reducing commotion and chaos in the admission process, the ‘central admission form’ of university is actually aiding to increase the same. Through centralized form, many students apply to courses which they don’t even intend to attend, thus pushing the cut offs upwards for most of the colleges. Also, many students apply to the same college through both central and college form, again swelling the cut offs. With cutoffs going high, students hold onto whatever they can get in first list, and wait to make a switch in the second list. This list affects the admission estimates drastically, and this snowballing effect is seen the following cut off lists too!!

So what has this form centralized? Should colleges be allowed to sell their own admission forms? And if the admission process is purely based on marks, then why university doesn’t brings out admission list for each college?

DU admission system

Better admission process proposed for DU

What I propose is a simple, single point admission process.

  1. Having a single unified form across university: This form should be available at all colleges and university offices.
  2. Online form: Have facility to fill the form online, and reduce commotion and chaos
  3. The form should require students to submit a preference order, across all the courses and colleges.( Similar process is followed in engineering admission process, even by AIEEE which has around 1000 affiliated institutes!)
  4. Using this preference order, and the marks the university can simply bring our an admission list. No further lists are necessary.
  5. Colleges should concentrate on marketing themselves to students through seminars and information sessions.

Besides improving the system, this process would also teach students to take decisions. Filling up the preference order, the students would get a chance to plan out their career and take control of their lives!

Category : Blog &Education

Its time to RUN !!

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Its that time of the year when the Delhites get off their vehicles and join together to run across the streets of Delhi, Delhi Half Marathon is back!! This blog post is on my observations during the last run.

This post is adapted from an earlier entry of mine that I had written for ‘Our World’ (an internal magazine of PwC).

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ADHMThis was not the first time that I was going to run a half marathon, but certainly the first time that I was running without any preparation at all. I was worried whether I would be able to better my last year’s timing or not. Amidst the cheers of crowd and sounds of bursting balloons we started our journey for 21 kms, a small step at time.

It’s a 21 km race, probably would take me more than 25,000 steps to complete, but still each step is as important as any other. I realized what people mean when they say each small step brings you closer to the finish line. And that’s exactly what I tried to do, jog and enjoy the atmosphere around. I had driven on these roads numerous times, but never before had I observed the things that seemed to have suddenly sprouted up that day. I actually realized the small slopes and took no distance for granted. No longer was I measuring distances in terms of red lights I would have to pass, but in the terms of number of water stations I would encounter.

As I began, I started on a wrong foot, literally, and resulted in an acute abdomen pain after 3 km. It was then, I had to stop jogging and start walking, and question now was not about the timing but focus shifted to completing the race itself. I decided to walk one km and then start afresh. People passed by me as I walked, but I had no choice but to cheer for them. I saw some people just zipping past, making it seem like a 100 meter race rather than a marathon, getting the fame while they can. What were disturbing were not the people who zipped past, but seeing fellow runner disturbing their own rhythm just to compete.

Marathon for a common runner was not about relative ranking. Everyone was challenging himself, trying to get past his own limits and that was different for each one. It was a great place to be, where despite being in the same race, it was still all about you, a thing very desirable in real life but is still so elusive. As I continued to jog, concentrating on each small step and on my body, I passed many people who had earlier left me behind. It was then that I really realized the message of the story of the tortoise and the hare. It is not about who can get ahead first, neither is it about the one who remains unhurt. But it is about the person who continues to perform, about the person who learns from mistakes and gets up even after the pain.

Life doesn’t have the ultimate moments. No success or failure can be greater than self-confidence and the ability to continue to perform under all kinds of circumstances. It is easy to ride high on a particular success or to get overawed seeing others perform well.

As I finished the race, I was not happy because I had finished before many of the people, and neither was I sad because many finished before me. I was happy because I finished.

Category : Blog &Personal

Teacher Awards

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Firstly, I want to apologise for not being able to write anything in past one month. I was down with typhoid, and thus wasn’t able to spend much time on computer. Hoping to recover soon and post in a regular manner

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This year Delhi University awarded distinguished teachers on the occasion of teacher’s day. A survey was conducted by the Vice-Chancellor from the post graduate students about the academics they had at the under graduate level. Based on this feedback 80 teachers from different departments and colleges were awarded in a ceremony, by former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

Asha Distinguished teacher award delhi universityI am proud to share that my mother was awarded too, as Distinguished Teacher

It is definitely a step in the right direction, but still a lot is left to be desired about the way it was conducted.

A teacher’s primary job is to teach, but still it is not a factor that is considered for appointments, promotions, extensions etc. Would acquiring a Ph.D. definitely imply that one can teach better? Does more research papers reflect that the person can share dreams of the students? It is high time that some measure is developed and used to evaluate the primary job of teachers.

Having a student feedback is definitely essential in quantifying the excellence of teaching, but it is needed that the process be holistic and transparent. In this case the survey was conducted from the post-graduate students of Delhi University, thus putting those teachers at a loss whose students don’t choose to join PG programme at Delhi University.

To sum it I would say, definitely these 80 teachers are Distinguished Teachers, but these are not the only distinguished teachers. (or as an industrial engineer would say the process had, Type 1 error: None of the bad items were accepted, but there is a chance that we rejected good items.)

Category : Blog &Education

Vision for IIT Delhi

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In January 2009, senate of IIT Delhi had called for vision statements for IIT Delhi from students, and this document was prepared as a response to the call. This document was prepared by me along with Bhushan Shinde.

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Introduction

We would like to submit the ‘Vision for IITD’ on the basis of the experiences we have had and the observations we made throughout our stay of 5 years as a Dual Degree student and as an alumni of this institute, respectively. Our stay here has had an overwhelming influence on the qualities we have imbibed and we are very obliged and proud to be a part of the phenomenon called IIT Delhi.

Since last year we have taken an initiative to motivate other members of the student community of IIT Delhi to be proactive in achieving positive goals for a virtuous academic system through the ‘V.I.S.V.A.S.’ endeavor. A tremendous response and appreciation from the student and the faculty community alike has strengthened our belief in the system and we are absolutely confident that IIT Delhi would successfully achieve whatever it sets as its vision coupled by dedicated efforts for its implementation.

Background

We understand that IITs were conceived as centers of excellence meant to produce technocrats for a newly-resurgent India. But the Indian economy could not absorb the products of IIT for a long time, and until nineties IITs ended up producing some of the finest technocrats for global corporations. With the current growth of India and its recognition worldwide there is a demand for technical expertise here as well. We thus need to focus on research professionals also as it is the demand of our booming industrial growth. Industrial growth require technological research and with the brand such as IIT already available at hand it would be sensible to develop these as centres for research excellence as well than creating separate research facilities for technological purpose. Basic science research centres can obviously be looked at to be built separately. There should be a well defined national and global level objective in all our endeavors backed up by strong and proactive feedback and review mechanism. Only then can we achieve all of the following visions.

We present a 4 point ‘Vision for IITD’, as per our understanding.

  1. To be the preferred employer globally: IIT-Delhi currently has some of the best professors, it not only needs to retain them but also continue to attract the best minds from around the world. Today, opportunities for bright minds are tremendous, and IIT Delhi needs to continuously evolve itself to provide a most welcoming environment for its faculty. Besides providing desirable research infrastructure and research funding, there is a need to provide opportunity to faculty to innovate through new styled courses, or through activities introduced in an IAP (Independent Activities Period)
  2. To be the preferred institute for undergraduate program:
    1. To promote interaction of UG students with research scholars (PhD) for projects and thus expose them to the ways of research.-These would have (govt. /industrial sponsorship (kind of monetary work, campus job during semester) for UG students. UG students would benefit from research experience of ongoing PhD work and get a feel of research.
    2. To promote interdisciplinary projects among students, exposing them to the wider aspects of academic world, within and beyond engineering disciplines. IITD would produce aware students, capable of handling current world crisis relating to global climate change, healthcare concerns, global economic meltdown etc
    3. Present student led papers and research at national and international level seminars/conferences-One way could be to award some credits for the work done and resultant recognition at the conferences.
    4. Student Scientific publication: Establish prominence through publication of an online scientific journal. It is necessary, as it not only provides a platform for IIT students to showcase their ideas, but it also acts as a window into the IITD’s academic arena.
    5. Industrial Interaction of students: Focus on preparing the students for the world, through exposure to industrial processes. Semester long industrial internships, industrial visits and lecture series may be incorporated to provide the same.
    6. Multiple Majors in different Dept.: To allow students to declare his/her major for B.Tech in second year. This would enable students to make an informed choice of their majors and pursue it with more interest.
  3. Build research centers of International repute: It would promote research interest among students, and idea generation. Research exchange programs may be conducted to create international exposure, and develop cutting-edge products through collaborative efforts.
  4. To bring about a positive change in the world: Initiate involvement in community work on the institute level by recognizing such work for due credits in the semester rather than NSS which doesn’t have stronger incentive. The focus should be on creating socially responsible citizens.

Category : Blog &Education

Reflection …

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Every now and then comes a point when we stop to think about the path we are going at, and wonder whether it is really the right one for us.  I do admit that initial choices in my life were not really informed choices and so yes I do suffer from all the dilemmas and contemplations that I discussed in my earlier post.

For past few days I was wondering whether I really want to create social enterprises and be a part of educational system throughout my careers? Is it really what I want to do, or just a temporary fad ? What if it is that I struck with one idea and just want to stick to it for life?

It was then that I came across something that convinced me beyond doubt that I would be happy doing what I plan to do. This was an article that I had written just after my 12th class boards. I gave my engineering entrance exams, and even under the stress and pressure of the entrance exam season I had chosen to reflect on the way the examination process and systems in place could be improved. (article included below)

It gives a comfort cushion to feel that yes, subconsciously that is what I enjoy doing. Hopefully going forward I would be able to say with complete conviction and truth that I have a job that doesn’t feel like one !

article-1 copy

Category : Blog &Education

Resonance

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In physics, resonance is the tendency of a system to oscillate at larger amplitude at some frequencies than at others. These are known as the system’s resonance frequencies (or resonant frequencies). At a resonant frequency, even small periodic driving forces can produce large amplitude vibrations, because the system stores vibrational energy. When damping is small, the resonance frequency is approximately equal to the natural frequency of the system, which is the frequency of free vibrations.

The diagram below explains the case of resonance frequency in a simple case.Resonance 1

Fb is resonant frequency here, and thus we can see that amplitude is much larger for Fb than it is for Fa or Fc.

We would now extend this to explain career choices, social pressure, student potential and career rise through the following case. In the following case, the main frequency has been superimposed by a noise frequency.

Resonance 2In this case Ff is resonant frequency, and Fe, say is a noise frequency. In reality we would have a wide array of noise frequency and little peaks but for simplicity I am taking just one here.

The point I want to make here is that any system attains maximum amplitude only when it is allowed to vibrate at its natural frequency. You can make it vibrate at a lower or higher frequency, but you would never get that kind of amplitudes. In the same manner, with our careers it is important for us to realize our interest and true potential and then realize that. It is only in that field that we can truly excel and reach the top.

It doesn’t matter whether the natural frequency is low or high, what matters is whether the system is vibrating at that frequency or not. Following others in making career choices can result in a disaster. No career should be deemed as low or high when making choices, what matter is whether the stream really interests you or not. Each and every field has its own peak, and only the one who is truly passionate about the job can reach that peak.

Point E may be confused as resonant frequency in a case when the full picture is not visible to a student. It is here that the importance of informed choices is truly represented, it is necessary to make student aware of the entire spectrum so that he can identify his true natural frequency!

Category : Blog &Education

Teaching teachers

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Currently there is a dearth of well qualified teachers, at all levels. A teacher forms the backbone of an education system and it is required that attention should be paid towards providing this basic necessity to the education system of India.

Considering the fact that education, especially the basic education, is pre-requisite for development of an area, it is necessary to have adequate, well qualified teachers in all areas. Availability of teachers at grass root level could lead to enhanced awareness of general public towards development in various sectors and could enhance general health and economic levels.

trained

Increased number of trained teachers in the states highlighted by the chart would have brought in more development and prosperity to the region, than presence of an IIT (Guwahati)& IIM (Shillong) can ever bring!

Category : Blog &Education

Electing Electives

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fateA very important part of curriculum in engineering institutes consists of elective courses. A range of courses are offered to a student, out of which he may choose the courses that he wishes to pursue depending on his interest and career ambition. Now the question that arises is the fact whether the student is actually able to get his choice in the current systems, or does it just reduces to a game of fate?

In IIT Delhi, elective courses form almost 40% of the total credit requirement for award of degree. It is these courses that enable students to create a distinctive profile and prepare themselves for the field which they choose to excel in. As per the system, the student just expresses his desire to attend a certain course as an elective, and what follows is a mysterious process which outputs whether the student has been allotted the course or not. For electives relating to humanities, a student is to fill a preference list and that is used as input for an even more mysterious process.

Though not officially declared, it is rumored that the courses are allotted as per the grade points (marks) of the student. Electives for humanity stream are said to be allotted on a mixed basis of grade points and the year of study. What results is the insecurity and loss of control of students on which courses they get to do and when. Even if I would really really want to do a course on psychology or internal combustion engines, there is no way to ensure that I do get that course. It is here that helplessness and the feeling loss of control over their career path gets seeded.

An alternative to this system is a system where students may bid for their elective courses. The system is followed in majority of MBA institutes in US, and also in top B-schools of India like IIMs. Under this system, each student is given a fixed amount of bid points for each bidding period. He may use these points to bid for the courses that he wants to take as electives. This system has far more benefits than just enabling subject of choice for students.

Firstly, it makes students responsible for their career path and they may choose the area in which they would like to take courses. It is important not only to enable informed choices, but also to create a system that respects choices.

bidding electivesSecondly, the bidding system develops students as individuals and fosters ability to take decisions. It is much easier to accept whatever comes your way than to actually demand for a particular subject. By assuring that any subject that they desire strong enough would be given, it holds them accountable for their choices.

Thirdly, quantum of bid points used by students for a particular subject acts like a feedback for the professor teaching the subject. It is a constant feedback for the teacher and would act as an encouragement. Nothing can matter more to a teacher than recognition from his students about his competence. This feedback is totally unbiased, unlike year end feedback form; here the students have no perceived benefits from giving a good remark. It is a feedback in which students are calling out to teacher to lead them to their career goals, and this is what really counts.

It is only in such system that I feel it is possible to sustain interest of students in academics and maintain high enthusiasm level of teachers. Afterall, each of them deserves appreciation for their efforts and decisions.

Category : Blog &Education

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