April 23, 2008 issue

Diaspora

Guyanese Professor bestowed another signal honour

Dr. M. Jamal Deen

By Adit Kumar
Dr. M. Jamal Deen, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Senior Canada Research Chair in Information Technology and Director, Micro- and Nano-Systems Laboratory (MNSL), McMaster University has recently been elected a Fellow (Foreign) of Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) in its Fellow class of 2008.
Dr Deen is the second Canadian to be elected into this distinguished academy and one of the three Foreign Fellows in the class of 2008 inductees.
Election to the Academy is by invitation only, and in common with most National Academies, is a highly selective process, a distinguished honour and a prestigious recognition.
As stated on the INAE website, “The Academy honours Indian and Foreign nationals who are elected by peer committees in recognition of their personal achievements in Engineering which are of exceptional merit and demonstrated distinctive eminence in the new and developing fields of technology.”
The Indian National Academy of Engineering “comprises India’s most distinguished engineers, engineer-scientists and technologists covering the entire spectrum of engineering disciplines, and functions as an apex body to promote and advance the practice of engineering and technology and the related sciences and disciplines in India and their application to problems of national importance.”
Dr. Deen was elected into Engineering Section –VI, Electronics and Communication Engineering, one of the ten sections of the Indian National Academy of Engineering. It is expected that Foreign Fellows have already been elected Fellows of their respective National Academies. In Dr. Deen’s case, he was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering in 2007, reported in the July 4, 2007 issue of this newspaper.
The citation reads: “Professor M. Jamal Deen of McMaster University, Canada, is an international leader in the fields of microelectronics and optoelectronics and one of the world’s foremost engineering scientists. Professor Deen’s research productivity and impact have been truly exceptional, and he has played a pioneering role in the analysis, modeling and applications of microelectronic and optoelectronic devices. His eminence in his research fields is based on the powerful physics-based, engineering and circuit models he has developed for the accurate analysis and design of high-performance semiconductor devices and circuits, and the experimental techniques he has innovated to study important device properties and performance characteristics. .… Dr. Deen is a highly accomplished researcher, inventor and a prolific scholar, and his device models and experimental innovations are used worldwide. He is also noted for his mentoring of engineers and scientists, his competency and proficiency as a teacher, and his effectiveness in technology transfer to industry.”
In addition to recognizing Dr. Deen’s distinguished research career and accomplishments, his election also recognizes his valued mentorship of Indian students and post-doctoral fellows who have gone on to highly successful engineering and high-technology careers in industry and academia, in both North America and India.
Further, his election recognizes his activities in organizing and promoting Indian information and communications technology international conferences.
It also recognizes him for his role as the principal author of the Canadian federal government commissioned report providing a critical overview of the Nanotechnology and Bio-nanotechnology research and development activities at premier academic, research and industrial institutions and organizations in five selected cities/urban centers in India – Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Kolkata and Pune.

 

Kalam enthrals Indian Americans with his India 2020 vision
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

New York, (IANS) — Former president of India and scientist A.P.J. Abdul Kalam enthralled an Indian American audience with his vision for India in the year 2020 and exhorted the expatriates "to give the knowledge and experience back to the motherland".
Addressing a gathering of about 800 people, including community leaders and students at the Hindu Temple in Flushing, he encouraged everyone to dream big, to achieve with integrity and to ignite the minds of youth of this world.
For NRIs and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), his message was clear: "We should give 100 percent to where we live and work, while we commit to give back our knowledge and experience to our motherland also."
Kalam said since his presidential term got over last year, he has interacted with over one million people and youth to formulate his vision for India.
He listed key elements of his vision that include: a nation where the rural and urban divide is reduced to a thin line, where poverty has been eradicated, illiteracy removed and crimes against women and children are absent and none in society feels alienated, where the governance is responsive and transparent, a nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, peaceful and happy and continues with a sustainable growth path.
To transform India into a developed nation, Kalam said he has identified five areas of the country's core competence for integrated action: agriculture and food processing, reliable and quality electric power, surface transport and infrastructure for all parts of the country, education and healthcare, information and communication technology and self-reliance in critical technologies.
The major mission, he said, is development of infrastructure for bringing rural prosperity through Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), through creation of connectivity, namely, physical, electronic, and knowledge, leading to economic connectivity.
He said it is possible to achieve the vision for India, "only if we adopt and practise the value system in a society which is derived out of our civilisational heritage".
He also emphasised righteousness in the heart and the "confidence that we can (achieve)".
Kalam added: "We constitute one sixth of the global population and the transformation that we do to one sixth of the world will benefit the other population also."
After his presentation, peppered with quotes from Plato to Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar, he eloquently answered questions from some 20 students from area colleges and universities, pertinent to them. The reception for him was organised by over 30 Indian American organisations, of various hues, in the tri-state area, in a rare unity of purpose indicative of Kalam's standing and wide appeal.
Before concluding his week-long tour of the country, he also inaugurated the US chapter of Lead India 2020, a movement run under his supervision to transform India as a developed nation. Earlier, Kalam addressed the Wharton India Economic Forum at Philadelphia and delivered a lecture at the University of Kentucky.

 

Vellu raises temple demolition issue

Kuala Lumpur, April 21 (IANS) Senior Malaysian Indian leader S. Samy Vellu has once again spoken out against the demolition of a Hindu temple a week before Diwali last year, saying that it caused the Indian vote to swing away from the government.
Vellu Sunday blamed the then chief minister of Selangor, Mohamad Khir Toyo, for refusing to heed his plea that the Hindu temple in Padang Jawa in Shah Alam not be demolished following a long dispute between the temple management and the civic authorities.
On the day it was brought down, Vellu said he had rushed to a hotel in Shah Alam to meet prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Khir who were attending a function.
"I begged him (Dr Khir) not to demolish the temple but he refused, citing a court order. I told him that if the temple was demolished, it would mean demolishing the Barisan Nasional."
However, according to Vellu, Khir refused to listen despite the prime minister's intervention.

 

Four PIOs in new
Malaysian Cabinet

In the recent parliamentary elections, Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) suffered heavy losses. MIC had nineteen members in the outgoing parliament but only won three at the recent election. Mr. Samy Vellu was the Minister of Works in the ruling coalition led by Barisan Nasional (BN) while three more Malaysians of Indian Origin were junior ministers.
In the newly formed government, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has appointed Datuk Dr. S. Subramanian as Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister and three other Malaysians of Indian Origin as deputy ministers.

 

Minister vows to tackle Indians' problems

According to press report, the new Malaysian Minister Dr. S. Subramanian has vowed to use his Human Resource Development (HRD) portfolio to tackle the problems of the country's 2.5 million Indian community. Minister Subramanian said that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's decision to allot the HRD ministry to him was aimed at helping the Malaysian Indians, many of who have been protesting in recent weeks. The Indian community has alleged bias in the Malay-dominated country and complained about unemployment as well as lack of skills training opportunities for youths.
Badawi, Subramanian said, had explained that the HRD portfolio was given to the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) party as the ministry could resolve many problems affecting the Indian community, the Sun newspaper said. "I feel that this is a good opportunity and I am confident that these issues can be resolved," he said. MIC has represented the Indian interests in the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) since independence in 1957. Subramanian, who is also the MIC secretary general, admitted to being elected under "very difficult circumstances" .
Subramanian said: "The recruitment of Indians to the government sector has already been raised with the government and the prime minister has stated that the government as a whole will increase the intake of non-Malays in the civil service workforce to reflect the racial composition of the country. I see it happening already."

 

Former Minister seeks higher quota for Malysian Indians
S. Samy Vellu

The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) that is part of the ruling front Barisan Nasional has sought an eight percent share for ethnic Indians in Malaysia's civil services, commensurate with the population. Voicing the demand, MIC chief and former minister S. Samy Vellu said the number of Indians hired as civil servants fluctuated between 3.5 percent and less than five percent every year.
"It is only fair if we have about eight percent representation in the civil service as that should be sufficient to look into the problems plaguing the Indian community," he told party colleagues at MIC meeting. He said a MIC delegation would soon meet Senator Amirsham A. Aziz, minister in the prime minister's department, to discuss employment and economic issues and opportunities affecting the community. These include the formation of an investment-based foundation such as Permodalan Nasional Bhd and a special fund to increase the equity ownership of the Indian community to three percent.
"Our community used to control 1.5 percent of equity and now it's down to only 1.2 percent," said Vellu, adding that the government had not provided enough opportunities for Indians to grow. He also criticised government-linked companies (GLCs) and agencies handling loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for not providing business opportunities to the Indian community, especially in the petroleum and automotive industries.
"We are very unhappy over the fact that Indian applicants who applied for SME loans are either rejected or ignored," said Vellu, who lost in his ninth bid at re-election last month. Vellu said these were among the things the government failed to address and had resulted in the Indian community rejecting the BN coalition in the recent general election."

 

 
 
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