Available at all major pharmacies and medical halls
T H E H E A R T B E A T O F T H E I N D I A N C O M M U N I T Y
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
MARCH 31, 2017
PHOTO COURTESY OF DIGITAL GREEN
engineer uses his skills to
help farmers in India
REPORT ON PAGES 12 & 13
delivered to your doorstep. Call 6319-1800 or e-mail
TO SPEED UP
PAGES 10 & 11
Train to Hassan named
THE new Bengaluru-Hassan train
named Gomateshwara Express
was flagged off by Railway Min-
ister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu
at Yeshwantpur Railway Station
He chose the name after former
prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda
suggested it since it passes through
Shravanabelagola (a city in the
Hassan district). The Jain pilgrim-
age centre is known for its huge
statue of Gomateshwara.
The train, which started its ser-
vices on March 27, stops at Chan-
BG Nagar, Yediyur, Kunigal, Nela-
mangala and Chikkabanavara.
Modi to open country’s longest
tunnel on April 2
INDIAN prime minister Narendra
Modi will inaugurate the country’s
longest highway tunnel on NH-44
in Jammu and Kashmir on April
2. The tunnels — Chenani-Nashri
Tunnel and Patnitop Tunnel — has
a length of 9.2km.
Officials said that work on the
tunnel started on May 23, 2011
in the lower Himalayan mountain
range and cost Rs3,720 crores.
It is located at an elevation of
1,200m and is the first to have a
world-class “integrated tunnel con-
Bihar launches free WiFi
THE Bihar government has
launched a programme to provide
free WiFi facilities in colleges and
universities. Chief minister Nitish
Kumar launched it on the occa-
sion of Bihar Divas celebrations in
“The objective is to provide
free WiFi facility to help youths to
move ahead in life and to become
digital smart,” said Mr Kumar.
He had also earlier said that
youths, particularly students,
should use this facility to down-
load books instead of films.
Ganges and Yamuna rivers get
A COURT in Uttarakhand has
granted the Ganges and Yamuna
rivers the status of “living human
It said that this status will help
in the “preservation and conserva-
tion” of the polluted rivers.
It added that the rivers, which
are seen as sacred by millions
of Hindus, have the right to be
The legal order comes just days
after New Zealand declared its
Whanganui river a living entity
and appointed two guardians to
protect its interests, making it the
first river in the world to be given
Hindus in Maharashtra
celebrate Gudi Padwa
MAHARASHTRA ushered in the
Hindu new year by celebrating
Gudi Padwa on March 28 (below).
The day is considered auspicious
to begin new projects or make
It is believed that on this day,
Lord Rama defeated King Vali and
emerged victorious, and therefore,
the festival holds a special impor-
tance for people.
An offering of neem leaves and
jaggery is made to the god and
then distributed among family
The mixture is said to improve
immunity and purify the blood.
Burgers and brownies as
prasadam at this temple in
PRASADAM is usually ladoos and
pedhas in Chennai temples.
But Jaya Durga Peetham in
Padappai, Chennai, is offering
brownies, sandwiches and burgers
as prasadam instead to devotees.
Worshippers just have to insert
a token into a vending machine,
installed on its premises and they
can get their food.
The temple also distributes
cracker sandwiches and tomato
On devotees’ birthday, it offers
“birthday cake prasadam”.
found in Odisha’s
ARCHAEOLOGISTS have found
a pre-historic site believed to
be about 4,000 years old in the
Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary in
Sources from the Archaeological
Survey of India said officials found
paintings and engravings on the
ceilings and walls in 12 of the 25
caves they discovered.
The paintings depicted various
things including animals, birds,
reptiles, geometric shapes, motifs
The discovery of the site is
expected to shed light on the
emergence of human settlements
in coastal Odisha.
Deoghar airstrip to transform
into world-class airport
THE Jharkhand government has
signed a Memorandum of Under-
standing with the Airport Author-
ity of India and Defence Research
and Development Organisation to
expand the Deoghar airstrip into a
Chief minister Raghubar Das
and minister of state for civil
aviation Jayant Sinha said it will
facilitate air travel for residents in
the tribal-dominated Santhal Par-
gana region of Jharkhand to major
cities in India and abroad.
The airport, which will have
modern amenities, will also make
it easier for devotees to visit Jy-
otirlinga Baba Baidyanath and the
annual Shravani Mela in Deoghar,
said the ministers.
Mr Das said the airport should
be ready by December 2019.
March 31, 2017
Kutch date farmers gain
from Israeli expertise
Flourishing... (Top) a date palm grove in Kutch and (above) workers sorting out dates to be packaged. (Below) Dr Modh
(centre) with an Israeil expert (left) in Kutch.
is brought to local
N THE semi-arid Kutch region
of Gujarat, Israeli experts have
been training batches of Indian
farmers in advanced agricultural
practices to cultivate dates.
The initiative, which is part of
the bigger Indo-Israel Agriculture
Project, is a further boost to the
“already progressive” farmers of
the region who have been growing
a range of fruits and even export-
ing them to countries like the Unit-
ed Arab Emirates (UAE) and UK.
According to the deputy director
of the horticulture department in
Kutch, Dr Falgun Modh, the part-
nership on this particular initiative,
which began in 2009-10, is now in
the third phase and has been suc-
cessful in giving a much-needed
impetus to farmers to learn the lat-
est farming technology to remain
abreast with changing times.
“The role of Israeli experts has
been mainly to provide techni-
cal support. The concept of tissue
culture, on which there was no ex-
pertise here, is being taught, and so
are other things like how to raise a
nursery and post-harvest technol-
ogy so that the produce can last
longer and farmers can earn a good
profit,” Dr Modh said.
The Indian harvest of dates,
farmers say, coincides with the
monsoon and therefore this perish-
able fruit has to be consumed in
the raw form instead of the stage at
which it is exported.
Post-harvest technology will
help farmers deal with this issue.
But farmers of the region are
quite progressive when it comes
to adopting new techniques in
agriculture and some are already
exporting dates, apart from other
fruits, to countries such as the
In Kutch, it’s usually the Barhi
date variety that is cultivated.
Originally from Iraq, the Barhi
variety is in high demand in Eu-
rope, Malaysia, Canada and the
US, according to farmers.
According to Dr Modh, there
have been a series of seminars, and
a two-day programme was organ-
ised recently for 150 farmers.
“Thanks to a translator, although
the experts spoke in Hebrew, there
was no communication barrier,” he
The Indo-Israel Agriculture Proj-
ect involves setting up of centres
of excellence through which Israeli
know-how is being brought to local
farmers through hands-on training
and Israeli technology, thereby in-
creasing productivity and crop di-
To begin with, nine states — Bi-
har, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka,
Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan,
Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh —
were picked for the centres of ex-
States can have more than one
centre of excellence, building ex-
pertise in a particular fruit cultiva-
tion or in other fields such as bee-
keeping and floriculture.
Now six more states — Andhra
Pradesh, Goa, Madhya Pradesh,
Mizoram, Telangana and West Ben-
gal — have been added to the list.
In the case of Kutch, the centre
of excellence for dates is coming
up near Bhuj, Dr Modh said.
In the third phase of the project,
apart from setting up new centres,
new activities such as post-harvest
technology, water recycling, agri-
cultural machinery, and organic
farming will be explored in these
Indo-Asian News Service
March 31, 2017
EADING a techno-thriller
novel that explores the
theme of government sur-
veillance of electronically stored
information on the private lives
of citizens and the ethical implica-
tions of using such technology “re-
ally intrigued” Mr Inian Paramesh-
waran, who was then 11.
He finished Dan Brown’s Digital
Fortress in a few sittings and was
so fascinated that he decided that
he wanted to learn more about
computer security when he grew
He specialised in just that when
he came to Singapore in 2010 to
do his degree in computer sci-
ence at the National University
of Singapore (NUS).
After graduation in 2014, Mr
Inian worked as a research assis-
tant in the systems security lab at
He was then working on a proj-
ect to analyse security problems
on websites and fix them. But af-
ter speaking to almost 100 com-
panies in Singapore to find out
if a business in it was viable, he
realised there was a more press-
ing problem — the performance
of their websites.
The companies he spoke to
gave him feedback that its cus-
tomers weren’t signing up with
them and were going to other
websites as they were losing pa-
tience over their slow websites.
Apart from that, he also found
it hard to penetrate the computer
security market “because most
of the industry runs on
Said the 24-year-old:
“If you’re a big com-
pany, they will trust you
with their security issues
but if you’re just starting
out, it’s hard to reach
out and win them over.
Also, security is more
of a reactive approach
— companies will only
solve security issues if
they find a bug or virus.
They don’t need some-
one to actively write se-
He then pivoted the product to
something which can analyse a
website and make it speed up au-
“We pitched it to many compa-
nies and they could see the impact
of it, it was more tangible,” he said,
adding that it inspired him to start
a company of his own to tackle the
problem of slow websites.
He roped in Mr Murali Sriran-
gam Ramanujam, 25, whom he
met at the NUS computer science
course, to be the company’s co-
founder and chief technology of-
Mr Murali left his job as a re-
search assistant at A*STAR to de-
vote time to building the start-up.
In June last year, the duo, who
are from Chennai, went to Silicon
Valley in the US for two months
under a fellowship programme by
Y Combinator, a business incuba-
They were awarded a grant of
Want to speed up
Dexecure founders Inian Parameshwaran and Murali Srirangam
Ramanujam have a ‘magic’ code to make websites load quickly
US$20,000, which enabled them
to start Dexecure.
The start-up analyses websites
and is automatically able to re-
write codes to make websites load
faster, even on mobile devices and
slow network conditions. It also
generates multiple versions of a
company’s website specifically op-
timised for each browser.
Said Mr Inian: “As a user, many
people say ‘the website is not load-
ing’ or ‘the website is loading very
slowly’, hardly bothering if the In-
ternet connection is slow.
“Also, a lot of companies we are
working with are focusing on de-
veloping markets like India, Africa
and Brazil. If you want to pen-
etrate into such markets, you must
make sure your website loads fast
in those markets, even though the
connection speed might not be as
fast as Singapore’s.”
According to him, Amazon
found out that they were able to
increase their revenue by 1 per
cent by speeding up their website
by just 100 milliseconds.
All it takes is to add a particular
code to the website and “it magi-
cally becomes faster,” Mr Inian
said. When asked what the ‘magic’
code is, he revealed that it is the
HTML developed by the team.
Companies can get a free two-
week trial to “see the impact of
Dexecure before they turn to pay-
Mr Inian explained that after a
pitch, he and his co-founder show
them a demo of their website —
the original load time vs the opti-
mised load time with Dexecure.
“For example, after Dexecure is
installed, it will load 40 per cent
faster and you will get a higher
percentage of page views because
it’s more seamless for users,” he
Companies might be tracking
their page load time, conversion
rate, bounce rate, but they can see
that only if they are given a certain
amount of time, hence the two-
week trial, explained Mr Inian.
It offers a monthly or annual
subscription model ranging from
$9 to $3,000 per month depend-
ing on the traffic that they get to
Dexecure works with companies
in Singapore, US, India and other
They include CodeCombat —
an educational gaming company
in San Francisco and Teamie — a
cloud-based collaborative learning
platform in Singapore.
The duo, who work out of an of-
fice space in Ayer Rajah’s start-up
hub, are looking to raise half a mil-
lion dollars from angel investors
this year to scale their business.
While Mr Inian describes his
journey in the start-up as “a roll-
ercoaster ride”, he also said “the
best part that motivates us” is to
see the product making a differ-
ence. “We have saved 1,800 hours
of waiting time for our customer’s
users because their site loaded fast-
er,” he claimed.
A fortnightly series on Indian
start-ups in Singapore
Founders of Dexecure... (Above right)
Inian Parameshwaran and Murali
TESY OF INIAN P
March 31, 2017
|Singapore Press Holdings|
|Copyright © 2020 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co|