IEDC Summit: Engg. Community’s Role in Rebuilding Kerala Stressed

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Kottayam: The engineering community should be able to contribute their skills that can help Kerala tide over the technological travails it is facing after the August floods and landslides, M Sivasankar IAS, Secretary, IT and Electronics, Kerala Government said the other day. Such an effort will be timely, given that God’s Own Country was going through a particularly tough time, he noted after the inauguration of the Maker Fest and a conclave of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre (IEDC) near Kanjirappally in the district.

The massive monsoon-time calamity has rendered the State’s 80,000 people homeless. “To find resources to rebuild their houses is a major challenge,” he added at the function held at Amal Jyothi Engineering College, Koovappally, where 4,000 students assembled to enhance their innovative skills, network, share ideas, form tech teams and get tips on launching startups.

Sherry Lassister, President, Fab Foundation, which is a decade-old US non-profit organisation, said while addressing the session that it was wrong to assume that technological advances would slacken employment opportunities. “There could be less jobs in some sectors, but there will be several new ones coming up in others,” she said.

As a key architect of the MIT global initiative for field onsite technology development, Lassister called upon startups to go for products and services that are of global use instead of benefiting just local communities.

Sivasankar, toeing a similar line, exhorted for more reliance on pre-fabricated building techniques that use inexpensive items. The engineering community should deliver technologies that benefits society, the top bureaucrat added, noting that such an attitude can brighten the prospects of entrepreneurs.

The IEDC meet is Kerala’s biggest such even that gives career guidance to students, said Dr. Saji Gopinath, CEO, Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), speaking on the occasion. The KSUM’s mission was to ensure that 50,000 students benefited from its activities, he added. Organised by the Kerala Startup Mission in association with Ahmedabad-based Motwani Jadeja Foundation, the event aims to nurture a maker culture among the new generation.