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,
JULY 7, 2017
A worker installs solar
panels at a site in
Greater Noida near
With solar power prices
plummeting, India may
not need to set up new
coal-fired power plants
for its energy needs
REPORT ON PAGES 12 & 13
Round the clock care service
for Chandigarh’s stray animals
IN A first of its kind initiative, the
Society for Prevention of Cruelty
to Animals (SPCA) has started a
24-hour service for sick and in-
jured stray animals in Chandigarh.
Director, Animal Husbandry
and Fisheries, Chandigarh Ad-
ministration and Vice-President
at SPCA Karnail Singh said that
owing to the increasing number of
sick and injured stray animals, it
has decided to extend the work-
ing hours of the society. He added
that more workers have been
hired for the purpose.
Madras High Court gets an
all-woman bench for first time
THE prestigious bench at the Ma-
dras High Court has become an
all-woman affair, for the first time
in 135 years.
It is headed by Chief Justice
Indira Banerjee, while Justice
Bhavani Subbaroyan has been
sworn in as a junior judge.
Justice Banerjee is the second
woman chief justice of the high
court — the first one being Justice
Kanta Kumari Bhatnagar in 1992.
Senior advocate and former ad-
ditional solicitor general of India
P. Wilson said “it was a pleasant
sight to watch the judges in ac-
tion” and that it will inspire girls
to join the legal profession.
Himachal brings reform
in school education
TO IMPROVE the standard of
education in over 14,000 el-
ementary schools, the Himachal
Pradesh government has started a
programme to identify problems
and challenges and offer solutions,
an official said.
Officials have reviewed more
than 5,000 government schools by
visiting over 11,000 classrooms
and covering 2.91 lakh students.
In each school, the reviewing
officer assessed the school on five
parameters — basic school infra-
structure, classroom observations,
school management, fund utilisa-
tion and assessment results.
Each district will be issued a
letter containing a list of schools
where improvements need to be
made across various issues, be-
sides calls that will also be made
directly to the schools.
quick reaction missile
INDIA successfully test-fired an
short-range Quick Reac-
tion Surface to Air missile
from Chandipur along the
Odisha coast (right).
The missile was test-
fired from Launch
Complex-3 at the Inte-
grated Test Range around
11.30am on July 3 from
a truck-mounted canis-
ter launcher, said official
missile has a strike range
of 20 to 30km and is ca-
pable of engaging multiple
targets. Defence Minister
Arun Jaitley congratulated
the Defence Research and De-
velopment Organisation over the
Tea stall where Modi used
to work to be tourist spot
THE tea stall in Vadnagar in
Gujarat where Prime Minister
Narendra Modi used to work will
be given a facelift and turned into
a tourist spot.
Culture Minister Mahesh
Sharma said the original charm of
the tea stall, located on one of the
platforms of the Vadnagar railway
station, will be preserved while
giving it a modern touch.
Gujarat Tourism Minister Gan-
pat Vasava said that after Mr Modi
took over as PM, a lot of tourists
started visiting the town.
He believes that it will attract
Thousands witness Bahuda Yatra in Odisha
THOUSANDS of devotees from across the country thronged to Puri in Odisha on July 4 to
witness Bahuda Yatra, or the return car festival of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Lord
Sudarshan and Devi Subhadra.The deities returned to Jagannath Temple from their annual nine-
day sojourn at Gundicha Temple, their birthplace, on three large wooden chariots (above).
They were taken to their chariots in a procession called “Pahandi” amid the beating of gongs
and cymbals and blowing of conch shells.
The deities entered the sanctum sanctorum of the main temple after offering a Rasagola Bhog
called Niladri Bije, marking the end of the festival.
even more tourists when it is
Tomato prices across India
on the up and up
THE cost of tomatoes across India
have soared to between Rs60 and
Rs80 per kg.
Agricultural produce market
committees in Vashi have been
attributing it to reasons such as
last year’s demonetisation, to the
farmers’ strike in June this year
and “inclement weather”.
Contrary to claims from traders,
there is no shortage of tomatoes
and in fact, retail rates have been
rising even though wholesale rates
have been falling.
Observance for Shraavana (fifth
month of the Hindu calendar) are
set to start on July 10 for north
Indian communities and July 24
for Maharashtrians and Gujaratis.
During this time, families avoid
onion and garlic and buy toma-
Assam to set up new force
for rhino protection
THE Assam government will set
up a Special Rhino Protection
Force for better protection of one-
horned rhinos in the state.
Assam Forest Minister Pramila
Rani Brahma said the government
has already started the process
of recruitment for the proposed
“Our intention is to select only
local candidates who know the
area better and those who can
engage passionately for protection
of the rhinos,” said Ms Brahma.
They will be given the necessary
training and the recruitment pro-
cess is expected to be completed
HARYANA’s Chief Minis-
ter Manohar Lal Khattar has
launched the Saksham Skill Cer-
tification Programme at Haryana
Vishwakarma Skill University in
a bid to improve the communica-
tion skills of youth so that it will
increase their confidence and
The programme will start in six
cities — Faridabad, Gurugram,
Hisar, Kurukshetra, Rewari and
“It is free for those who have
registered themselves under the
Government of Haryana Saksham
Yuva Scheme and highly subsi-
dised for others,” said Mr Khattar.
Uttarakhand police rescue
331 children in one month
UTTARAKHAND police have
rescued 331 missing children from
June 1 to 30 during Operation
Smile, a campaign to trace and
recover missing children.
It had formed 27 teams, out of
which, 14 teams had gone to six
other states — Maharashtra, Hary-
ana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh,
Delhi and Uttar Pradesh — to find
the missing children.
Director-General of police M.A.
Ganapathy told the Times of India:
“Of the total rescued children,
280 have been reunited with their
parents and the remaining 51 sent
to child correction centres.”
July 7, 2017
Museum with a difference
Strange exhibits... (Top left) A replica of King
Louis XIV’s throne and (top right) ornamental
and floral seats from mid-20th century Europe.
(Above) The model of Pee and Poo by French
artist Benjamin Zilberman.
history of toilets
HIS is one item you may not
expect to find in a museum.
It tells the story of a French
monarch’s struggle with constipa-
tion that led him to have a com-
mode built under his throne.
The height of glory for toilets was
reached when King Louis XIV gave
audience while using it, prompting
his court jester to remark that he
found it a bit strange that while the
king preferred to eat in privacy, he
chose to ease himself in public.
A replica of his throne is on dis-
play at the Sulabh International Mu-
seum of Toilets, in the Dwarka area
of west Delhi. It traces a 4,500-year
history of toilets.
Though not as big as other muse-
ums in the city, Sulabh has an amaz-
ing collection of intriguing facts,
pictures and objects detailing the
evolution of sanitation from 2,500
The fact that there is a museum
that displays types of toilet seats —
from wooden to ornamental, from
electric to floral, may come as a sur-
prise to many.
Sulabh was established by social
reformer Bindeshwar Pathak with
the help of curators like Frittz Lisch-
ka from Austria and about 90 other
professionals around the world.
“It was established with the ob-
jectives of educating and exploring
historical trends in the development
of toilets across the world,” museum
curator Bageshwar Jha told IANS.
The existence of toilet facilities
has a long history, possibly older
than that of the Roman empire.
Sanitation has been the index of
civilization and the museum arte-
facts are displayed chronologically
to map the developments beginning
from the Indus Valley civilization
during the third millennium BC and
progressing to the latest develop-
Tracing the history of the evolu-
tion of toilets seems ironic in India,
where many people still defecate in
But India was one of the pioneers
in this field. Excavations at Mohen-
jo-Daro confirm the existence of
common baths and private toilets in
The exhibition room displays
write-ups with drawings and rep-
licas of toilets and sanitation prac-
tices from ancient Egypt, Babylonia,
Greece, Jerusalem, Crete and Rome.
According to the literature pub-
lished by the museum, there was a
lot of jest and humour relating to
toilets and toilet habits.
“There was a time when ballets
were performed with a basket of
night... or a tin plate commode, with
toilet sounds. The clothes were spot-
ted with accessories from the toi-
let,” Sulabh assistant curator Shikha
Britain in ancient times created
fantasies in stoneware toilets and
Ornately carved and painted
urinals and commodes from the
country attract attention and are a
source of amusement. The pictures
of medieval water closets at the
museum are worthy of mention.
A replica of the medieval mobile
commodes in the shape of a trea-
sure chest, which the English used
while camping out for a hunt, also
finds space at the museum.
“A few years ago, French art-
ist Benjamin Zilberman gifted the
model of Mr. Pee and Poo to the
museum,” said Mr Jha.
“A man named Giri Kumar from
Andhra Pradesh sent us a model of
a convertible seat designed by him.
The seat can be used both in the In-
dian and also in the western style
according to one’s convenience,”
“Toilet is a part of the history of
human hygiene, which is a critical
chapter in the history of human ci-
vilisation and cannot be isolated,”
the curator said.
Mr Jha laments that personal
and community hygiene and the
“well-being of entire humanity” did
not get the attention it deserved.
Entry to the museum is free and it
is open on all days except national
Indo-Asian News Service
July 7, 2017
Impacting the health and wellness space... Mr Rajagopalan with the mobile version of HealthCode.io.
HealthCode.io enables clinicians and innovators
to discover each other and collaborate easily
T WAS Dr Forrest Bird who in-
vented mechanical ventilators
for acute and cardiopulmonary
care just after World War II, sav-
ing thousands of lives all over the
A young engineer with Jebsen
& Jessen — Industrial Service in
the 1980s, Mr Sivaram Rajagopa-
lan was “one of the lucky ones” to
have met the American aviator and
scientist to learn how to use one of
the ventilators he created in the US
during a programme.
In 1964, Dr Bird learned that
his first wife had pulmonary em-
physema and was given just three
months to live.
He came up with a technology to
extend her life by three years.
Said Mr Rajagopalan: “During
those days, in his own right, he
was trying to find challenges for in-
novators and he didn’t apply for a
Food and Drug Administration cer-
tificate for the technology he came
up with. As a result, it never went
anywhere, but it’s being used in
niche areas for research.”
Mr Rajagopalan, who spent 30
years of his career working in the
medical and healthcare technology
space, realised he was often seeing
good technology not make it to
market to save a life.
“It was seeing clinicians and in-
novators wanting to but struggling
to launch a technology, an idea
or a movement. Innovation used
to be the purview of labs with
large funding, or companies with
huge resources but that is chang-
ing,” said the 53-year old who has
worked in multinational compa-
nies such as the HP Healthcare So-
lutions Group’s Asia Pacific medi-
cal marketing centre and Philips
Medical Systems and was involved
in new technology adoption and
His experiences at work trig-
gered a desire in him to be more
active in innovation and ideation
So in 2014, he started Imagine
Health with Mr Parag Agarwal, a
friend he met during work deal-
Two other friends, Mr Fredrik
Nyberg and Dr Prem Pillay, joined
the team as co-founders and inves-
tors in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Together with loans from their
friends, they put in $100,000 to
start the company.
“Fundamental to starting Imag-
ine Health for me was to scale
what I did. I connected clinicians
and technologists together, helped
translate ideas and conversations
for each other, but could only do a
few at a time, I was the bottleneck,
also there were many sub-domains
in healthcare and technology
where I was the novice… so I could
not help,” said Mr Rajagopalan, a
Singapore permanent resident.
Imagine Health brings together
clinicians, innovators and inves-
tors to discover, engage and col-
laborate to build better solutions
to problems related to health and
The founders started a mobile
application HealthCode.io last De-
cember and invited clinicians and
engineers to use it.
The app can be download for
free and those interested can sign
up on the app or log in via their
Explained Mr Rajagopalan: “It
asks a few questions to help us
understand what you’re looking
for — if you’re looking to help
support an innovator or if you’re
an innovator yourself as well as
the domain you’re interested in —
chronic health, process improve-
ments, digital health, investing or
mentoring opportunities, among
A profile will be generated from
the information provided and users
can search for people based on ge-
ography and interests.
They can then make a request to
chat and specify the chat agendas
from a list of options such as busi-
ness development, operational ex-
pertise, partnership, synergy and
The other user can then decide if
he/she wants to chat.
Said Mr Rajagopalan: “Through
conversations online, we hope to
nudge different stakeholders to find
ways to share, consult, mentor, co-
create, validate, invest and commer-
According to him, the platform
has many members from developed
countries including Singapore, US,
Europe, Japan and Australasia who
are either seeking access to help or
resources from clinicians, technolo-
gists, innovators and businesses in
emerging or developing countries.
The start-up is on track to cross
10,000 members this year.
The team is “agnostic about the
type of innovations” as long as it
impacts health and wellness; while
medical devices and technologies
are the obvious ones, they are also
looking for process innovations and
social welfare such as water purifica-
tion, air pollution reduction and as-
sist devices for the elderly.
There are plans to monetise the
platform by organising education
programmes and showcasing and
educating clinicians about medical
technology, for instance.
The company, however, intends
to keep the individual-level engage-
ments, especially between clinicians
and innovators, free.
“The support we are getting has
been strong from both clinicians and
innovators. Some clinicians have
even come on-board as investors to
our platform. We are in many ways
walking the talk,” said Mr Rajago-
While the company is headquar-
tered here, most of its development
work is done in Mumbai where
one of the founders, Mr Agarwal, is
based together with a team of four
staff members. It also has a market
development presence in China.
Mr Rajagopalan said it has been
rewarding to hear from several cli-
nicians and innovators that “this is
exactly what they need and want
and personally — the opportunity to
connect, share and collaborate with
people across the world...”
A fortnightly series on
Indian start-ups in Singapore
July 7, 2017
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