April 6, the Government of New Zealand announced
that the Provincial
Growth Fund (PGF) will invest NZ$100,000 to support Taranaki’s
entrepreneurs and innovators. The announcement was made by Parliamentary
Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau.
funding will contribute to a feasibility study into the creation of innovation
precincts in the region. The feasibility study will investigate how a series of
connected precincts, with a central New Plymouth hub, could support innovation
and community engagement.
proposed innovation precincts are anticipated to be in New Plymouth, Hawera,
Stratford, Opunake, Waitara and Waverly/Patea and would include shared
co-working and meeting spaces, incubator programmes, education and training
delivery, and private sector participation.
Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau said Taranaki has a small but growing
“What these start-ups often need is a focal point, a sense
of connection with others and a way to share ideas and knowledge,” he stated.
“While this is a small investment, it has the potential to
lead to much bigger and better things,” he commented.
The new $1
billion per annum Provincial Growth Fund has been officially launched in February by Regional Economic Development
Minister Shane Jones.
“As of today,
the Provincial Growth Fund is open for business and has the potential to make a
real difference to the people of provincial New Zealand,” Minister Jones said.
being bold and we are being ambitious because this Government is committed to
ending the years of neglect. Nearly half of us live outside our main cities. If
this country is to do well, then our provinces must thrive,” he add.
The Provincial Growth Fund aims to
enhance economic development opportunities, create sustainable jobs, contribute
to community well-being, lift the productivity potential of regions, and help
meet New Zealand’s climate change targets.
billion will be fully committed over three years, making investment in the
provinces more attractive for private sector investment, which has strongly
favoured New Zealand’s main urban centres in recent years.
All regions in New Zealand are eligible for
The government released Presidential Regulation Number 132 of 2022 About the National Electronic-Based Government System Architecture to close corruption loopholes and improve government services to the people through integrated digital transformation (SPBE).
The National SPBE Architecture is vital for carrying out government business processes correctly and eliminating redundant government business processes to improve public services. The National SPBE design, according to Mahfud, is also projected to decline the repetition of ICT applications and infrastructure and increase information security.
“Integrated digital transformation can ultimately close the gaps in corruption in the service process and the use of state funds. The implementation provides quick, accurate, and transparent monitoring,” said Mahfud MD, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, at a Ministerial Level Coordination Meeting discussing the Acceleration of Implementation of National SPBE at the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs.
The coordination meeting also reviewed the integration of the SPBE architecture’s development of the Information Technology-Based Integrated Criminal Justice System (SPPT-TI). The consolidation will involve digitalisation and the standardisation of the quality of national digital services.
SPBE’s position as a catalyst in speeding national development necessitates synergy from numerous initiatives stipulated in the National Medium-Term Development Plan for 2O2O-2O24. It would also assist the unification of government services through an interoperable data and information-sharing system in compliance with the One Data Indonesia strategy.
Furthermore, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs stated that cross-sectoral cooperation in the fields of Politics, Economy, Maritime Affairs, and Investment, as well as Human Development and Culture, was needed to ramp up the coordination of the national programme between government agencies.
“Each Coordinating Ministry is responsible for advancing SPBE implementation in the ministries/agencies under its management,” he explained.
On a separate occasion, the Ministry of Administrative Reform and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB) convened a working session with members of the National Electronic-Based Government System Coordination Team (SPBE). The session covered a variety of issues, including efforts to accelerate the implementation of a digital government that is clean, effective, visible, and responsible.
E-catalogue is another effort to promote efficiency and minimise corruption which will digitally document government procurement transaction procedures.
Digitisation of government administration is one technique for developing an effective bureaucracy. The state civil apparatus (ASN) must move away from routine and toward a creative culture to improve people’s happiness. To be adopted, however, digitalisation must have genuine repercussions or implications on poverty reduction rates and investment growth.
Meanwhile, the Philippines has made a similar effort to prevent corruption by implementing Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS) (IFMIS). The Public Financial Management Committee (PFMC) has authorised an integrated solution for transparent tracking of public money disbursements and appropriations.
BTMS is an important IFMIS component. The system is a web-based, completely automated, and centralised database that will help generate crucial information on all areas of government financial operations and function as an online ledger where transactions are documented in real-time from purchase to payment.
The government believes that the digital transformation initiative and convergence hub can improve government system performance. The system will deliver real-time and consolidated reports, improve company efficiency and system resilience, and prevent corruption.
On the other hand, Thailand’s government intended to produce a law document that will enable anti-corruption organisations, to prohibit illegal online transactions and cybercrime. Furthermore, to improve access to public information, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) has accelerated the development of a technological infrastructure system to support people’s use and reduce inequities in obtaining information via computer networks or online.
They also enacted the Personal Data Protection Act B.E. 2019 to safeguard the personal information (PDPA). The Personal Data Protection Regulation and Cross-Border Data Transfer are defined in the statute designed to protect private data rights. As a result, it is critical to retain citizens’ interest and safety in the internet environment.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has authorised the expansion of online visa applications for Chinese, South Korean, Japanese, and Indian visitors. The act on e-visa renewal aims to attract those countries’ tourism markets.
According to Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil, Marcos delivered the command during a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council’s (PSAC) Tourism Sector members at Malacaan Palace in Manila.
During the discussion at Malacaan Palace, PSAC asked Marcos to include Indian nationals in the visa-on-arrival programme and the e-visa request. The suggestion was made to help the government achieve its economic goals, particularly in the country’s critical sectors. As a result, only Taiwanese, Chinese, Indian, South Korean, and Japanese citizens are eligible for VoA and e-visa.
DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy indicated that several connectivity issues with the other jurisdictions that will use the Philippine e-visa platform must be worked out.
“It will take at least a semester to establish the capability because there is so much anti-fraud element that has to be merged with the platform and the many countries that will be connected with the infrastructure and the transactions,” Garafil added, referring to Uy’s comments.
Enrique Manalo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs (DFA), who was present at the conference, revealed that his office is already engaging with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to provide the necessary preparations for the e-visa.
Meanwhile, Manalo added that the DFA has a programme for some Chinese nationals who qualify for visa-on-arrival. Other foreign nationals, such as Americans, Japanese, Australians, Canadians, and Europeans, may be granted a 14-day visa upon arrival, according to Garafil.
According to figures from the Presidential Communications Office, the Philippines hosted around 2.65 million visitors from February to December 2022, including 2.02 million foreign tourists and 628,445 Filipinos living abroad (PCO).
According to Garafil, the latest figure is higher than the 163,879 visitor arrivals projected for 2021 but fewer than the 8.26 million pre-pandemic average. The Department of Tourism (DOT) anticipates 4.8 million visitor arrivals in 2023, generating PHP2.58 trillion in income.
Marcos urged that the DICT embrace India’s offer to use its visa application system. The PSAC also issued “short-term” strategic recommendations, such as improving airport infrastructure and operations, promoting tourism investments, and administering the national brand or image.
She also noted that the PSAC had proposed a Value-Added Tax (VAT) Refund Programme for international tourists by 2024, as well as the elimination of the One Health Pass (OHP) or the obligation of only one form for health, immigration, and customs. The group also advocated for the “automatic” inclusion of travel tax in all airline tickets and the removal of outmoded airport advisories and loudspeaker announcements.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) began an online visa waiver project in December to improve legal services for tourists. The programme is aimed at short-term visitors to the country. They can extend their stay for another 30 days by submitting an online application.
In January, the Philippines Bureau of Immigration (BI) plans to modernise and automate immigration-related transactions at their international airports. To improve passenger service, the bureau seeks to modernise and automate all immigration-related processes, including tourist visa extensions, online visa waiver applications, and e-payments.
Previously, the agency implemented electronic transactions and payments for immigration applications, the eTravel system and a collaborative effort of multiple border management organisations. The BI director emphasised the importance of his administration’s priorities.
The urgencies include anti-corruption, digital transformation, national security, rightsizing, and employee empowerment. He also sees a need to expand immigration’s role in national security, follow the president’s lead in increasing the bureau’s personnel complement, and promote employee welfare.
CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, is helping small to medium-sized businesses in the mining and mining equipment, technology and services sectors by offering a free online course that provides expertise and support for research and development.
Innovate to Grow is a 10-week online programme offered by CSIRO that is designed to help eligible small to medium-sized businesses in the mining and mining equipment, technology and services sectors that are in the early stages of engaging in R&D or pursuing a new idea. It will be guided by experienced researchers and innovation experts who will help participants to examine their technical or business challenges, explore R&D opportunities, and develop actionable business and funding plans.
Upon completion of the Innovate to Grow programme, participants may be able to access facilitation support through CSIRO to connect with research expertise nationally and may also be eligible for dollar-matched R&D funding.
The SME Collaboration Manager for CSIRO stated that the programme is designed to assist small-medium businesses in understanding the process of engaging in R&D by providing them with information on how to access funding, mentoring and a highly connected network through research organizations and industry peers.
The Innovate to Grow programme targets Australian companies with less than 200 employees, and currently is offered at no cost to participants. In this way, it is hoped that some of the barriers that smaller enterprises face when they have an idea they would like to pursue can be removed.
Upon completion of the Innovate to Grow programme, participants will have received assistance in defining their goals, developing a business case for R&D with the help of a university or CSIRO, and preparing a funding proposal.
Participants will also benefit from the expansion of their professional networks through connection with their peers in the cohort, sector-specific mentors, and CSIRO which has the world’s largest mineral resources R&D capability.
One company that manages the Australian Premium Iron Joint Venture participated in the Innovate to Grow program in 2021. The Principal Scientist at the firm stated that the company participated in the Innovate to Grow program as a way to refresh their knowledge about engaging with research organisations, identifying available funding options and preparing for partnerships with organisations like CSIRO or universities.
The mining industry faces many challenges, and it requires multiple elements to come together to achieve success. CSIRO plays a vital role in supporting research and development goals for the industry, he said.
The global smart mining market is projected to grow from roughly US$9.3 billion in 2019 to about US$23.5 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 16.3% during the forecast period 2020-2027.
Smart mining is a process that uses advanced technology, information and autonomy to improve safety, reduce operational costs, and increase productivity for mine sites. Companies in the mining industry are focusing on increasing productivity by implementing advanced software and solutions. It also includes the use of remote-controlled robotic equipment for mineral and metal extraction known as telerobotic mining, which reduces the risks for miners.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the global smart mining market, primarily due to the disruption of international trade, prolonged lockdowns and restrictions in construction, mining, and maintenance activities worldwide.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has launched a mobile application for the Khelo India Youth Games 2022. The app gives participating athletes, coaches, support staff, parents of athletes, and officials from all states participating in the Games access to information about the competition, through a single platform. This is the first time that a dedicated application has been launched for the Khelo India Youth Games.
The App has a dedicated athlete login and supports the athlete right from the time of their registration into the games, through the entire course of the Games. The app gives the athlete a chance to check if their verified documents have been uploaded before the start of the Games. According to a government press release, this will ensure greater transparency for athletes in the registration process. The application is available both for Android and Apple phones and can be downloaded free of cost.
As the athlete registers for the games and arrives at the Games venues in Madhya Pradesh, they can check the status of the issuance of their sporting kits, the hotel where they will stay, transportation plan for athletes to and from the venue, as well as have important contact numbers where athletes can connect in case of an emergency. Further, to ensure that athletes have immediate responses to queries raised by them during the Games, a chatbot has also been created. For sports fans, the application gives access to match schedules, medal tally, addresses of Games venues, and the photo gallery.
The Khelo India Youth Games are held every year. They are national-level multidisciplinary grassroots games held in January or February for two categories: under-17 years school students and under-21 college students. This year, the Games will be held in Bhopal from 30 January to 11 February. The competition has been divided into twelve different verticals, including developing state-level Khelo India centres, talent identification and development, sports for women, and the promotion of sports amongst people with disabilities.
The government has launched several applications and online services to promote athletics. For instance, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) launched the National Anti-Doping Agency app. It provides athletes with a one-stop solution for all anti-doping-related information. The app helps athletes understand anti-doping rules and regulations and provides a platform for athletes to report any potential anti-doping violations.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports launched the Fit India App to encourage people to adopt healthy and active lifestyles. The app provides offers a range of features such as fitness challenges, workout routines, health tips, and a record of daily physical activity. The app also provides users with a dashboard that helps them track their progress and set goals for themselves. Its age-appropriate fitness protocols, approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO), test the fitness level of the user. Based on the results of the fitness tests, the app gives users a fitness score that tells them how fit they are and then further suggests activities to improve their health and fitness level.
Automated elections are cost-effective because they can accommodate up to 1,000 voters per clustered precinct instead of 500 voters per precinct in manual ballots, necessitating paying more workers. Therefore, Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Cavite 4th District advised his colleagues in the House of Representatives to employ the Automated Elections System (AES) in the Barangay (village) and local council Sangguniang Kabataan (BSK) elections on October 30 this year.
In House Resolution 717, which he submitted on Wednesday, Barzaga asked the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms to launch an investigation into the Electoral Reform Act. The viability and feasibility of executing automated BSK polls are discussed.
“It will not only result in faster outcomes and the announcement of victors, but it will also eliminate human involvement or error and confusion in the evaluation of ballots on an experimental basis on the BSK Elections in major barangays, ideally in Metro Manila,” he convinced.
There are 42,022 barangays in the country as of October 2022, each with one punong barangay (local official) and seven Sangguniang Barangay (village council) members, one SK chairperson and seven representatives.
There will be two polls for the BSK elections, one for ordinary voters aged 18 and above and another for SK electors aged 15 to 30. The lawmakers suggested repurposing and adjusting the existing Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) to accept two ballots from registered voters. Then, the devices can independently summarise the Barangay and SK elections’ scores.
The BSKE, scheduled for October this year, will use a manual election system in which voters will write the names of candidates on ballots. Historically, manual elections can encounter issues such as imprecise counting, perception, and appreciation of votes. The integration of votes in larger Barangays usually takes two to three days, as opposed to automated elections, which immediately transmit the results to the canvassing centre upon closing of the voting.
Barzaga stated that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was praised for conducting the national and municipal polls on May 9, 2022, for having the fastest results and largest voter turnout since the Philippines adopted the AES in 2010, and that the public has accepted the outcomes of the elections. The 2022 national and municipal elections were attended by 55,290,821, or 84.10 per cent of the 67,745,526 registered voters.
The resolution also said that the Comelec owned the 97,000 reconditioned vote-counting machines (VCMs) it purchased in 2016 and leased more VCMs for the 2022 elections and that a portion of these machines will be used in the BSK Elections in the pilot barangays. Barzaga believes voters are well-versed in using AES since The Philippines have used the technology in the national and municipal elections in 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and 2022.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has indicated that it is open to holding automated village votes. Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia noted that they would investigate the possibility of executing a pilot test of barangay and SK election automation in specific areas/precincts. He mentioned that Barzaga contacted him about the proposition earlier this week.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed Republic Act 11935 on October 10, 2022, rescheduling December 5, 2022, BSK elections to October 30, 2023, and holding other polls every three years after that. Meanwhile, earlier this month, OFW Party List Rep. Marissa Magsino suggested that the government should change the existing law to increase voting options to prevent voter disenfranchisement of about 1.83 million OFWs exercising their right to vote. The proposed legislation would enable Filipino personnel working abroad to vote via email, web-based portals, and other internet-based technologies.
Researchers are exploring ways to improve artificial intelligence image identification accuracy on computer vision. Computer vision is an artificial intelligence topic that teaches computers to extract information from digital images. They employed an algorithm that takes the distorted image as input and outputs a clean image to the users.
The study focuses on images partially smudged or distorted due to the missing pixels. Another goal is to reduce the uncertainty estimations and inferences from the visual data acquired. The researchers then created computer algorithms to reveal the part of the signal that is marred or otherwise concealed.
“Models for doing so already exist, but quantifying the uncertainty is difficult. And you don’t want to make a mistake in a life-or-death situation,” Swami Sankaranarayanan, a postdoctoral researcher at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the study’s lead author, explained.
So far, they have been able to reconstruct images of simple objects, such as human faces or animals. However, they wish to expand their method into more required fields, such as medical imaging, where our “statistical assurance” may be precious. If the film, or radiograph, of a chest X-ray, is blurred, they intend to reconstruct the image as accurately as possible.
They attempted to rebuild the image while preserving vital information. In the instance of a chest X-ray, this could tell whether a patient has lung cancer or pneumonia. Sankaranarayanan and his associates have already begun collaborating with a radiologist to assess whether their method for diagnosing pneumonia could be beneficial in a clinical context.
Their work is also helpful in the realm of law enforcement. The image from a surveillance camera may be grainy, but law enforcement agents can improve it using their instruments. The tools he and his colleagues are building could aid in identifying a guilty individual and exonerating an innocent one.
As a result, obtaining a more excellent grasp of that uncertainty could benefit us in various ways. For one thing, it can help us learn more about what we don’t know. MIT engineers successfully established reliable estimates of uncertainty and displayed ambiguity in a form that the average person could understand.
In a new study, Sankaranarayanan and his co-authors — Anastasios Angelopoulos and Stephen Bates of the University of California at Berkeley; Yaniv Romano of the Israel Institute of Technology; and Phillip Isola, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT — addressed the issues.
When recovering a blurred image, questions are bound to occur. How much trust can one put in the correctness of the resulting image? And, as addressed in the December 2022 study, how should the ambiguity in that image be represented? The conventional method generates a “saliency map,” which assigns a probability value between 0 and 1 to each pixel to express the model’s confidence in its accuracy.
Their approach revolves around an image’s “semantic characteristics” – clusters of pixels that, combined, have meaning, such as a human face, a dog, or any other recognised entity. According to Sankaranarayanan, the goal is to “estimate uncertainty in a fashion that relates to groupings of pixels that humans can easily perceive.”
While the usual technique may produce a single image representing the “best guess” as to what the genuine picture should be, the ambiguity in that representation is typically difficult to perceive. Therefore, according to the new article, uncertainty should be conveyed meaningfully to people who are not experts in machine learning for application in the real world.
When recovering a blurred image, questions are likely to occur. How much assurance can someone have in the reliability of the resulting image? And, as discussed in the December 2022 paper, what is the best approach to convey uncertainty in that image? The conventional method is to generate a “saliency map,” which assigns a probability value — somewhere between 0 and 1 — to each pixel to represent the model’s certainty in its validity.
Their technique is centred on an image’s semantic characteristics – groups of pixels that, when combined, convey meaning, such as a human face, a dog, or any other recognised entity. According to Sankaranarayanan, the goal is to estimate uncertainty in a fashion that connects to the groups of pixels that humans can easily perceive.
Whereas the usual technique may produce a single image representing the best guess as to what the genuine picture should be, the ambiguity in that representation is typically difficult to perceive. According to the new article, to be helpful in the real world, uncertainty needs to be communicated in a meaningful way to individuals who are not experts in machine learning.
The Ministry of DES has recommended farmers employ more drones for a new Thailand smart farm project in Pathum Thani Province’s Pin Fah Farm region. Pinfah Farm is an intelligent farm model in Pathum Thani Province designated for agricultural eco-tourism.
Pinfah Farm employs drones to spray medications, fertiliser, and various chemicals in farmlands to reduce money and improve farmer health. Chaiwut Thanakmanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society, paid a visit to the new farm and provided financial assistance.
The government allows farmers to pay half of their needs under the “half of each person” programme. The remainder of the fund will be used to assist individuals in purchasing at a reduced price to develop modern agriculture more efficiently. The financial assistance is provided in collaboration with community enterprises or farmer organisations to create a smart farm using digital agriculture technology.
Smart agriculture is a cutting-edge idea that is gaining traction around the world. It boosts output, addresses farm-related issues such as food demand, and makes farms more networked and intelligent. Precision farming, variable rate technologies, smart irrigation, and smart greenhouses are smart agriculture systems that leverage the Internet of Things (IoT).
Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha recently visited the development of the “Digital Agriculture” pilot project at Pha Mi Training Centre in Chiang Rai Province. To expand digitalisation in agriculture, smart agriculture also employed the Government Central Cloud System (GDCC) platform and 5G network.
The Pha Mi Training Centre is an education, research, and development institution for high-value commodities, including vanilla and orchid, which are among the world’s top five most lucrative products. The centre will also increase farmers’ awareness of the region and provide long-term job options. Finally, the initiative attempts to boost farm revenue and eliminate farmer poverty.
The creation of the Cloud GDCC system facilitates the integration of IoT Smart farm technologies and Big Data storage in Thailand’s agriculture sector. The cloud system is designed to support the future growth of Thai farmers and other experimental plants.
Aquaculture sectors are also included in the agricultural digitalisation initiative. The Thai government was undertaking Aquaculture 4.0 to secure the long-term growth of this essential industry and increase farmers’ sustainable farming capabilities. The Aqua-IoT is an Internet of Things-based monitoring system for water’s physical, chemical, and biological properties.
They combined critical data – physical, chemical, and biological water characteristics and weather – into a single interface that enables users to comprehend the link between the data, analyse it, and make informed decisions.
Nonetheless, the Philippines has made a comparable effort. The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (DA-BAFE) visited the nation’s first established innovative greenhouse project to enhance the widespread application of smart agriculture.
The smart greenhouse is a significant advancement in precision farming. It employs sensor technologies to generate a microclimate that allows plants to develop consistently. An intelligent greenhouse modifies the environment autonomously to help plants grow to their full potential. This innovative farming method provides farmers with higher yields, higher-quality products, and the ability to cultivate crops regularly all year. This satisfies the market’s requirement for food efficiency and sufficiency.
While in Indonesia, Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo urged the adoption of precision technology to boost the resilience of Indonesian cattle products and to meet domestic demands constantly. It is believed that the technology will increase the food production rate for commodities such as cattle, buffalo, purebred chicken, free-range chicken, lamb/goat, duck, and pork.
Syahrul advises strengthening regional and central government cooperation and synergy to conserve present output and increase the resilience of Indonesian cattle products. Job division and work obligations within each work unit. He suggests that the tasks of each division be specified to determine the next steps.