Campus Notes

MoS (HRD) Mahendra Nath Pandey visits IIT Palakkad site in Kerala

Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Mahendra Nath Pandey visited the site of the permanent campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Palakkad at Puduserry (West) in Palakkad, Kerala yesterday.
An official press release said the Minister reviewed the progress of the civil works of the transit campus and also the construction of the compound wall.
Prof. P. B. Sunil Kumar, Director, IIT Palakkad and Ms. P. Marykutty, District Collector of Palakkad, accompanied the Minister during inspection of the site. 
Dr. Pandey expressed satisfaction after seeing the progress of the civil works at the site and urged the District Collector to speed up the balance land acquisition process. He appreciated the Director, IIT Palakkad and District Collector for their active involvement to establish the IIT Palakkad. He also thanked Kerala State Government and the District Administration for their involvement and support for establishing IIT Palakkad by providing necessary land and other connected facilities. 

Cabinet approves setting up of Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Assam

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved the setting up of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (lARI) in Assam.
The proposal of Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE) / Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) says that the institute would be set up on 587 acres of land provided by the state government, an official press release said.
lARI-Assam would be a post-graduate institution of higher learning in Agricultural Education. It will have the hallmark identity of an IARI including all sectors of agriculture like field crops, horticultural crops, agroforestry, animal husbandry, fisheries, poultry, piggery, silk rearing, honey production, and so on.
It will be off-campus of IARI, New Delhi and integrated multi-disciplinary research would be undertaken in school mode -- Schools of Crop Sciences, Natural Resource Management, and Animal Sciences & Fisheries.
IARI-Assam would work on the agrarian challenges and complexities of North Eastern India in tandem with all existing Central and State Government R&D Institutions and private sector enterprises. It would undertake research, education, extension programs in its mission towards developing the quality human resource, generation of farmer-friendly technologies to enhance productivity, quality and profitability, promote agro-based industries and generate employment opportunities for holistic and sustainable development of the agriculture sector in the North Eastern region, the release added.

IIM Bangalore’s CCGC, Academy for Innovation & Management to hold digital governance summit on May 15

The Centre for Corporate Governance and Citizenship (CCGC) at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB) has collaborated with the Academy for Innovation and Management (AIM) here to present a C-level summit on how to design and implement digital governance in a company. 
The summit, aimed at senior business executives, will be held on May 15 at the Management Development Centre (MDC) of IIMb, a press release from IIMB said. 
The release said that one of the challenges faced by CEOs and other C-level executives is how to accelerate digital transformation at senior levels of a company. To undertake digital business transformation, C-level executives need to drive change top-down and have a clear understanding of the role that the Board of Directors can play, the new roles (such as that of Chief Digital Officer) that need to be created, the coordination and control mechanisms to be implemented, and how to fund and monitor digital initiatives in the company. The summit aims to address some of these important governance issues.
The summit will include a senior-level CEO panel, comprising some of India’s top business leaders, who are also prime catalysts for such a transformation.
They include Anand Kripalu, CEO & Managing Director, United Spirits Limited; Shiv Shivakumar, Chairman & CEO, PepsiCo India, and Bhaskar Bhat, Managing Director, Titan Company Limited. 
Dr. Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Electronics & IT and Head of the Digital India Initiative of the Government of India, will also be a speaker at the summit.
Prof. Anil B Suraj from the Centre for Public Policy (CPP) at IIM Bangalore will set the context of the discussions and Prof. Ram Nidumolu, founder and MD of AIM, will be the moderator for the CEO panel. The discussion will focus on the ‘how’ of corporate digital governance, the release added.

Mukherjee stresses need for capacity building among youth

Stressing the need for capacity building for skilled work among the 600 million youth in the age group of 25 years and below, President Pranab Mukherjee has called for inculcating in them an aptitude to think ahead in which the universities could play a major role.
Delivering the convocation address at Goa University here yesterday, Mr Mukherjee said that, to prepare graduates for a competitive global economy, educational institutions would have to adopt global best practices for world-class academic management.
“Our institutions have to work relentlessly towards excellence. They have to provide the best of amenities to their academic community. Models of teaching have to be adaptive to the latest trends and also the changing learner profile,” he said.
“There has to be an alliance between the IT-enabled platforms like MOOCs and knowledge networks, and pedagogy. As concepts and understanding evolve, our faculty has to be better prepared with updated knowledge.
“A strong research eco-system has to be built on the plank of institutional collaborations, research parks, and talented researchers. There also have to be a close link between Indian universities and industries,” he added.
Recognising that no institution can excel in isolation, he said they have to provide students and faculty international exposure, introduce industry relevant matter in course work, and share academic resources.
“A mechanism is needed in our higher education system that promotes competitiveness. National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) is a valuable initiative. I am sure that with greater and more involved participation, this indicator will provide impetus to our institutions to do better in the coming years,” Mr Mukherjee said.
“Our centres of higher learning are social institutions too. They have to carry out their responsibilities as a social entity. A strong connection with the society will provide the edifice for value-oriented learning in them. This will instil in the students a sensitivity that will inspire them to search for solutions to vexed socio-economic problems in the environment in which they are living.
"The onus is on our institutions to produce men and women of substance and character, not merely competent professionals, he added.
On the occasion, the President was conferred with an honorary D. Litt. degree.

Cabinet nod for setting up Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy at Visakhapatnam

The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for the setting up of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh as "an Institute of National Importance" through an Act of Parliament.
The institute will have the governance structure as well as legal mandate to grant degrees in a manner similar to that enjoyed by Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), an official press release said. 
A separate Act will also impart the required status to the institute to become a "Centre of Excellence" in petroleum and energy studies, it said.
The Cabinet also approved Rs. 655.46 crore as capital expenditure to set up IIPE and contribution of Rs. 200 crore towards its Endowment Fund (in addition to a contribution of Rs 200 crore from oil companies towards the Endowment Fund). 
The decision to set up the institute has been taken up under Schedule 13 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014. The objective is to meet the quantitative and qualitative gap in the supply of skilled manpower for the petroleum sector and to promote research activities needed for the growth of the sector. The academic and research activities of IIPE will derive strength from the Institute's proximity to sector-related activities such as KG Basin, Visakhapatnam refinery and the planned petrochemical complex at Kakinada. 
The Andhra Pradesh Government has allocated 200 acres of land, free of cost, for setting up of IIPE at Sabbavaram in Visakhapatnam district.
IIPE has been registered as a society under the AP Society Registration Act, 2001 on April 18, 2016. A temporary campus of IIPE has been set up from academic session 2016-17 from the Andhra University campus with two undergraduate programmes namely, Petroleum Engineering and Chemical Engineering (with capacity of 50 students each). IIT, Kharagpur has taken up the responsibility of mentoring the institute.

Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore tops India Rankings 2017

Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar addressing at the release of the “INDIA RANKING 2017”, in New Delhi on April 3, 2017.
Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar addressing at the release of the “INDIA RANKING 2017”, in New Delhi on April 3, 2017.
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore has bagged the first position in the India Rankings 2017 for Educational Institutions, released by Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Prakash Javadekar here today.
IISc also occupied the first rank in the Universities category.
In this second edition of India Rankings, a total of 2995 institutions had participated. They included 232 Universities, 1024 Engineering Institutions, 546 Management Institutions, 318 Pharmacy Institutions and 637 General Degree Colleges. Many of these have participated in multiple disciplines, adding to a total of 3319 participants across disciplines.
In the top ten overall rankings, apart from IISc, apart from Jawaharlal Nehru University (6th rank) and Banaras Hindu University (10th rank), all other positions have gone to Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). In the second spot is IIT, Madras followed by IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, IIT New Delhi, IIT Kanpur, IIT Guwahati and IIT, Roorkee.
IIT Madras has bagged the 1st Rank in Engineering followed by IIT Bombay in the second spot and IIT Kharagpur in the third place.
In Management category, the first rank goes to Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad with IIM, Bangalore coming second and IIM, Calcutta, third. In the fourth rank is IIM, Lucknow followed by IIM, Kozhikode in the 5th rank.
The 6th rank goes to IIT, New Delhi, followed by IIT, Kharagpur in the 7th rank, IIT, Roorkee in the 8th spot. The Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur ranked 9 is the only private institute in the top ten. The tenth rank goes to IIM, Indore.
In the Universities category, IISc, Banglore is placed first followed by Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi in the 2nd rank and Banaras Hindu University ranked 3rd.
In the Colleges category, Miranda House, New Delhi, occupies the first rank, Loyola College, Chennai 2nd and Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi 3rd.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Javadekar said that this is another step in the Government’s commitment towards bringing landmark changes in the quality of education provided to students across the country. This ranking is meant to bring about fair competition among the institutions for achieving excellence in their efforts.
The Minister said so far no one has raised fingers on the ranking charted out by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), working under his Ministry. Until now National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and National Board of Accreditation (NBA) used to assess educational institutions. The government went in for this modification for bringing transparency and credibility.
Besides institutions, parents and students will also get information about the ranking and quality of a particular university, college or vocational institution. “This has led to the global scaling up of our credentials,” he added.
The Minister on this occasion also announced that government will extend more help to quality education institutions. It is a vital change of policy and will motivate all the institutions to perform and excel, he said.
Factors regarding number of research papers submitted, patents obtained and campus placement figures will also count for seeking government support. Due weightage will also be accorded to public perception, employer perception and academic perception, he said.
“India Rankings 2017” have ranked institutions in the disciplines/categories and have also provided a common overall rank across all disciplines for those institutes which either have more than 1000 enrolled students, or which are centrally funded.
The parameters used for India Rankings 2017 are broadly similar to those used last year. However, at the level of detail, some of the sub-parameters have been tweaked for a more robust system of rankings. In particular, for evaluating Research Impact, parameters for quality of publications have been enhanced to include the number of highly cited papers, in addition to the usual parameters of publications per faculty and citations per paper.
Innovations have also been made in improving the scoring metrics, where the “percentile” metric has been replaced by a more discriminating metric. All research related information, including publications, citations, highly cited papers and even patent information about institutes was collected from third party databases (from industry partners) to obtain an objective and unbiased picture.
For this year’s Perception inputs, a large data base of academic and industry peers and employers was deployed, in addition to getting inputs from members of general public. Finally, some provision has also been made for the scale of operations of an institute in terms of the size of its student population and graduated doctoral students, he added.
Mr Sharma said the data received from both institutional and third party sources were subject to extensive scrutiny for consistency and correctness by a team of experts. As per the declared time-schedule, the rankings are being announced on the first Monday of April. The Rankings List includes 100 institutions each in the Overall, University, Engineering and General College Categories, and 50 each in Management and Pharmacy Disciplines. Additional rankings in suitably bunched forms are also being provided.
List of top 10 India Rankings 2017:
Indian Institute of Science, Banglore, Karnataka
Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (Chennai), Tamil Nadu
Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (Mumbai), Maharashtra
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, West Bengal
Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, Delhi
Jawahar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi, Delhi
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, Assam
Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, Uttarakhand
Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
1. Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Tamil Nadu
2. Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (Mumbai), Maharashtra
3. Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, West Bengal
4. Indian Institute of Tchnology, New Delhi, Delhi
5. Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
6. Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, Uttarakhand
7. Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, Assam
8. Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
9. Jadavpur University, Kolkata, West Bengal
10. Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, Telangana
1.Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
2. Indian Institute of Management, Banglore, Karnataka
3.Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, West Bengal
4. Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
5.Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, Kerala
6. Indian Institute of Technology,New Delhi, Delhi
7. Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, West Bengal
8. Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, Uttarakhand
9. Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur, Jharkhand
10. Indian Institute of Management, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
1.Indian Institute of Science, Banglore, Karnataka
2. Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Delhi
3. Banaras Hindu University
4. Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Banglore, Karnataka
5.Jadavpur University, Kolkata, West Bengal
6. Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
7. University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, Telangana
8. University of Delhi, Delhi
9. Amrita Vishwa Peetham, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
10. Savitribai Phule PuneUniversity, Pune, Maharshtra
1. Miranda House, Delhi, Delhi
2. Loyola College, District Chennai, Tamil Nadu
3. Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi, Delhi
4. Bishop Heber College, District Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu
5. Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College,New Delhi, Delhi
6. St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, West Bengal
7. Lady Shri Ram College for Women,New Delhi, Delhi
8. Dyal Singh College, Delhi, Delhi
9. Deen Dayal Upadhyay College, New Delhi, Delhi
10. The Women’s Christian College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
1. Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, Delhi
2. National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Mohali, S.A.S. Nagar (Mohali), Punjab
3. University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chandigarh, Chandigarh
4. Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, Maharashtra
5. National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Hyderabad, Telangana
6. Birla Institute of Science, Pilani, Rajasthan
7. Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Science, Manipal, Karnataka
8. Poona College of Pharmacy Erandwane Pune, Maharashtra
9. S.R.M.Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
10. JSS College of Pharmacy, Mysore, Karnataka

IIM Nagpur concludes Summer Placement for second batch of PGP in Management

Students of the post-graduate programme (PGP) class of 2016-18 of the Indian Institute of Management Nagpur (IIMN) are in a celebratory mood after their batch recorded 100% summer placement like their senior batch last year.
This year more than 40 recruiters across all sectors offered IIMN students summer internship positions. IIMN has seen a significant increase in a number of first time recruiters even for the second batch of PGP students, a press release from the institute, which is being mentored by IIM Ahmedabad, said.
The recruiters’ list includes Yes Bank, BPCL, ICICI Lombard, Choice India, Calderys, Delivering Change Foundation (Sakal Group), IDBI Federal, Excellon, Diffusion Engineers, WCL and Persistent. Among these, ICICI Lombard and IDBI Federal made the highest number of offers, the release said.
Many of the students chose Sales and Marketing as their preferred domain while otehrs chose to undergo internship in domains such as Strategy, Consulting, Finance, Business Analytics, IT Consulting, Operation, and IOT.
Most of the students will be undergoing their summer internship in metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, as well as Nagpur.
IIMN Placement Coordinator, Ms. Srishty said, “I am glad that our batch received offers from prominent companies who offered interesting roles.”
Aniket Hinge, placement coordinator, said “The PGP batch of 2016-18 has performed excellently – both academically and professionally. Their summer internship placements speak for it. IIM Nagpur's presence is being felt in the corporate fraternity resulting in more number of new firms absorbing the talent pool at the Institute.”
Dr. Vijay Phate, In-charge Placement Office, said, “This year both the highest and the average stipend offered saw a significant jump. The highest stipend offered was Rs 1.6 lakh, and the average stipend of the batch also increased by 24% to Rs. 56,900.”

Cabinet okays grants-in-aid of Rs. 25 crore to AERCs, AERUs for one more year

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday approved a proposal to extend the grants-in-aid support to the existing network of 12 Agro-Economic Research Centres (AERCs) and three Agro-Economic Research Units (AERUs) for one more year upto 2017-18. 
An official press release said an amount of Rs. 25 crore would be required to continue the grants-in-aid to the existing 15 AERCs/AERUs. 
The employees of 12 AERCs and three AERUs situated in different states will be benefited, it said.
"This would provide policy oriented agro-economic research inputs through field studies and reviewing / monitoring of flagship programmes of the agriculture and allied sector.  This would lead to better agricultural development policy and programmes which in turn would raise employment potential in both farm and non-farm areas," the release said.
There will be a review after one year for taking the final decision on the recommendations of the Review Committee, chaired by Dr. S.M. Jharwal, Chancellor, India Gandhi National Tribal University.  This committee was set up by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DACFW) to review the functioning of AERCs/AERUs.  
The committee has recommended that the AERCs/AERUs must be retained and strengthened and that the present pattern of grant-in-aid to these grass-root research institutions must be continued.  The committee has also made recommendations regarding functioning and improving governance of the AERCs/AERUs, the release said.
The Agro-Economic Research (AER) Scheme was initiated in 1954-55 for undertaking research studies on agro-economic problems of the country.  
The Department of Agriculture & Cooperation has set up 15 AERCs/AERUs in different Universities/Institutes with a view to conduct policy oriented research/evaluation studies on topics of interest.  The scheme is staff oriented and fully funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare through grants-in-aid (Central Sector Plan Funds).  
Currently, these AERCs/AERUs are being funded under the ‘Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economic and Statistics’, central sector scheme of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. 
The three AER Units -- ADRT, Bangalore, CMA, Ahmedabad and AER Unit, Delhi -- are functioning under the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, India Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, respectively.  AERC, Pune is functioning under the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (a deemed University).  The remaining 11 centres are functioning under different Universities.  Out of which AERCs at Jorhat, Ludhiana and Jabalpur are under Agricultural Universities, AERCs at Allahabad, Delhi and Visva-Bharati, Shantiniketan are under Central Universities.  The other five Centres at Bhagalpur, Chennai, Shimla Vallabh Vidyanagar and Waltair are functioning under the respective State Universities.

IIMA hikes fees for flagship two-year programmes to Rs. 21 lakh

IIM Ahmedabad
IIM Ahmedabad
The Board of Governors of the Indian Insititute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) met here yesterday and approved a 7.7 percent in hike in the fees for its flagship Post Graduate Programme in Management and Post Graduate Programme in Food and Agri-Business Management to Rs. 21 lakh.
"This fee covers costs associated with tuition, accommodation, course material, library, placement services, and IT resources," a press release from IIMA said.
Both programmes are two-year courses and, at the increased level, the fees would work out to Rs. 10.5 lakh per year.
"General inflation and Seventh Pay Commission implementation exert an upward push on cost of programme delivery. The Institute is committed to striving for efficiency in its operations. As the most liberal among Indian management institutions by far in financial aid disbursements (in 2016-17, one-third of our students received financial aid), IIMA is also committed to ensuring that no capable candidate is denied entry for reason of lacking financial wherewithal," the release added.
IIMA had increased the fees for these programmes to Rs. 19.5 lakh from Rs. 18.5 lakh last April.

LIBA, TCS launch PGDM programme on business analytics

Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA), Chennai, and IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) yesterday announced a partnership to design a first-of-its-kind management programme with a specialisation focused on business analytics. 
LIBA will offer this course from the next academic year (2017-18), a press release from TCS said.
"The partnership will mark yet another milestone in the industry-academia collaboration to fulfil the growing demand for business analytics in India," it said.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in the presence of Fr Christie SJ, director, LIBA, and Ranjan Bandyopadhyay, vice president, HR, TCS, along with and other senior management representatives and academicians from TCS and LIBA.
Considering the increasing demand for business analytics, TCS and LIBA have collaborated to design a management course that specialises in this segment to bridge the existing skill gap in the industry. This will be offered under full-time and part-time MBA (PGDM) in business administration.
Fr Christie said, “It is a momentous event for LIBA to sign an MoU with TCS, the largest IT company in India, as an industry partner to offer programmes in the area of business analytics. With its expertise, TCS will be able to add value to the students of LIBA. LIBA is the first B-school in India which is forging ahead in signing an agreement with TCS to offer business analytics as a specialisation for the full-time PGDM students”.
“We are extremely happy to note that LIBA with its focus on excellence and ethics has found a renowned industry partner, which espouses the same values," he said.
Mr Bandyopadhyay said, “Analytics is emerging as a key growth area spanning industries. The need of the hour is talent that can work on delivering carefully crafted analytics solutions insights and recommendations to businesses. TCS designed courses bring in contemporary application oriented inputs to the class room thorough its academic collaboration. We are delighted to partner with LIBA in the field of analytics.
One of the key highlights of the course is the ‘Train the Trainer (TTT) Programme’, in which TCS specialists will train the faculty with industry knowledge.
TCS-designed courses will also comprise one-year executive diploma in business analytics, to train experienced professionals through part time / weekend programmes offered at the institute, the release added.

15 IIITs to be declared as Institutes of National Importance

The Union Cabinet yesterday approved the introduction of the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Public Private Partnership (IIIT PPP) Bill, 2017 that seeks to declare the existing IIITs in PPP as Institutions of National Importance with powers to award degrees. 
There is no financial implication with regard to the proposed IIIT PPP Bill, 2017, an official press release said.
The release said the decision would entitle the IIITs to use the nomenclature of Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) or Master of Technology (M.Tech) or Ph.D degree as issued by a University or Institution of National Importance. 
The grant of a formal degree in Information Technology, Engineering or Ph.D will enhance the prospects of the graduating students in the job market and will also enable the institutes to attract enough students required to develop a strong research base in the country in the field of information technology, it said.
The emerging needs of the industry and the economy as a whole for skilled technical manpower is expected to be met from the talent pool of trained personnel of the institutes, it said.
Every institute shall be open to all - irrespective of gender, caste, creed, disability, and domicile, and ethnicity, social or economic background. Academic session has commenced in the IIITs in Andhra Pradesh (Chittoor), Assam (Guwahati), Gujarat (Vadodara), Haryana (Sonipat), Himachal Pradesh (Una), Jharkhand (Ranchi), Karnataka (Dharwad), Kerala(Kottayam), Maharashtra (Nagpur & Pune), Manipur (Senapati), Rajasthan (Kota), Tamil Nadu (Tiruchirappalli), Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow) and Kalyani (West Bengal). 
The scheme of setting up of 20 new IIITs in Public Private Partnership (IIIT PPP), as approved by the Union Cabinet on 7.12.2010, does not have provision which empowers the institutes set up in Public Private Partnership to grant degrees to its students. The first batch of under-graduate students enrolled in the Year 2013-14 will be passing out in the Year 2017. 

Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill, 2017 introduced in Lok Sabha

Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman yesterday introduced in the Lok Sabha the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017 that seeks to declare the FDDI as an Institution of National Importance (INI).
The FDDI was established in 1986 with the objective of providing trained human resource and assistance to the sector. FDDI has pan-India presence with campuses at Noida, Kolkata, Chennai, Fursatganj (UP), Rohtak (Haryana), Chhindwara (M.P) and Jodhpur (Rajasthan) equipped with state-of-the-art academic facilities and infrastructure.
New campuses at Hyderabad, Patna, Ankleshwar (Gujarat), Banur(Punjab) and Guna (M.P) will also start functioning shortly.
The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill said the footwear, leather and retail sector in India had been growing both in terms of value and volume. India is the third biggest market of footwear and prominent exporter of the footwear and leather goods. Being a highly labour intensive industry, the requirement for trained human resources for leather and footwear sector is immense. 
The statement said there was a strong need for upgradation of the institution to enable it to deal with international standards and market.
According to it, the global footwear market is expected to reach $220.2 billion by 2020 from the current level of $ 198.7 billion. 
"The opportunity cost of not investing in human resources required for this sector in India at this juncture would result in increased imports, thereby impacting the domestic and exports sector of footwear and leather products. It is proposed to empower the institute to improve its capacity and performance with a view to address the shortage of the trained human resource.
"In view of the above, it is proposed to declare the Footwear Design and Development Institute as an institution of national importance and enable it to emerge as centre of excellence with the objective of meeting the national and international standards for the promotion and development of quality and excellence in education, research and training in all disciplines relating to footwear and leather products design and development," the statement said.
Among other things, the Bill proposes to establish a Governing Council and other authorities of the institute; and empower it to grant degrees, diplomas, certificates, or any other qualification to its students.

IIMA invites alumni, corporates to contribute to restoration, conservation of its campus

IIM Ahmedabad
IIM Ahmedabad
For the first time in its history, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) has invited its alumni and corporates to contribute to the conservation and restoration of its Heritage Campus.
"About five decades ago, the renowned American architect Louis Kahn translated education philosophy into infrastructure when he assumed responsibility of building IIMA’s infrastructure," a press release from IIMA said.
"Generations of students since then have been inspired by the spaces to reflect, deliberate, break the mould, and free the spirit. These buildings have witnessed generations of academic life on campus and withstood Gujarat Earthquake. The grandeur of the Louis Kahn Campus infrastructure leaves the visitors to campus awestruck. But age has taken its toll, requiring conservation and restoration on priority," it said.
The release said the Government of India had recognized the conservation and restoration of IIMA’s iconic Louis Kahn Campus buildings as an important task and contributions for this are covered within the ambit of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the Companies Act 2013 under “protection of national heritage, art and culture, including restoration of sights of historical importance as well as promoting education.”
IIMA has recently received significant funding from individual alumni and alumni batches to support conservation and restoration of dorms, classrooms, and other infrastructure. 
The institute had announced last year the TCS–IIMA partnership for restoration and upgradation of Vikram Sarabhai Library at IIMA, supported by a Rs. 20 crore funding by TCS Foundation.
Dorm D1 is being renamed the “D-1 Professor Kamla Chowdhury Dorm” in memory of a founding faculty of the institute, with funding support of Rs. 3.5 crore by individual alumni. Classroom 3 is being renamed “CR-3: Professor Labdhi Bhandari Classroom” in the memory of another distinguished faculty member, with financial support of Rs. 2.5 crore also contributed by one of its alumni.
Classroom 4 is being renamed "CR 4:  1992 Batch Classroom" supported by a Rs. 2.5 crore contribution by the Silver Jubilee Reunion batch last December. The 1992 batch representative, Mr. Birendra Baid, said, "The time we spent at IIMA was among the best years of our lives. IIMA has given us much more than just an MBA degree –it is here we made lifelong friends, developed our personalities, and gained life skills that allowed us to pursue our careers with confidence. Giving back to the alma mater was always one of the top items on our agenda when we started planning our Silver Jubilee Reunion that was held in December 2016. We were fortunate that around the same time IIMA was embarking on a comprehensive restoration project for the Heritage Campus. The Batch of '92 is delighted to have contributed towards restoration of one of the Classrooms where we studied 25 years ago."
Tower Lawn opposite Louis Kahn Plaza is being conserved and upgraded with funding support of Rs. 1 crore by the 1995 batch that came for their reunion on campus in December 2015. The 1995 batch coordinator, Mr. Rahul Phondke, said, "It was a small gesture from the batch reflecting our collective recognition of the fact that we all owe a significant part of our careers, lives and relationships to the Institute and no amount of financial contributions can really pay back the emotional debt which we owe to the Institute."
Ms. Susan Macdonald, Head – Buildings and Sites, the Getty Conservation Institute added, “After some 50 years, Louis Kahn's magnificent IIM complex still has the ability to inspire and move the human spirit. Inevitably, it is now suffering many of the conservation challenges typical of many great architectural works of the modern era. It is to be commended that IIM has commenced a careful and thorough program of work that seeks to understand these challenges and develop conservation approaches to sustain Kahn's great work over the next 50 years.”
 “I am touched by these gestures and thankful to our alumni for the love and care that they have for the Institute. The strong commitment of IIMA alumni to the institute will enable us to pursue excellence in teaching, research, and infrastructure and educate future generations of leaders,” said Prof. Ashish Nanda, Director IIMA.

President presents Visitor’s Awards for ‘Best University’, ‘Research’ and 'Innovation’

President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday called upon researchers in universities to apply themselves to meeting the developmental challenges of the nation.
“The best minds in our universities should apply themselves to work out solutions in areas like sanitation, urban transportation, sewage disposal, clean river systems, healthcare and drought-resistant farming,” he said during the presentation of the Visitor's Awards for the year 2017 at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
“They should also convert new knowledge into innovative products that are directly beneficial to the common population. Innovative minds should create tools and implements that alleviate the drudgery of farmers, workers, artisans and weavers.
“The number one barometer for successful outcome of research and innovation should be its beneficial applicability to a wider section of the population,” he added.
The award presentation was on the third day of the Festival of Innovation at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The President presented the Visitor’s Award for the ‘Best University’ to Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
The Visitor’s Award for ‘Innovation’ was presented to Dr. Deepak Pant, Department of Environmental Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Central University of Himachal Pradesh for development of a reactor for direct conversion of waste plastic to LPG in small scale.
The Visitor’s Award for ‘Research’ was jointly received by Dr. Shyam Sunder, Department of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University and Prof. Niranjan Karak, Department of Chemical Sciences, Tezpur University.
Dr Shyam Sunder got the award for his work in the area of diagnosis and treatment of Indian Kala-azar. Prof. Karak was honoured for development of renewable resource based bio-degradable hyper-branched polymer nano-composites as self-cleaning, self-healing and bio-compatible smart sustainable futuristic material.
For selecting the winners, online applications were invited from all Central Universities for each category. A Selection Committee headed by Ms. Omita Paul, Secretary to the President and comprising Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Chairman, UGC; Executive Vice-Chairperson, National Innovation Foundation and DG, CSIR screened the applications and selected the winners of the Awards.
The President said the honours recognize the single-minded devotion and painstaking work in the pursuit of excellence of the winners. JNU has been adjudged the best university for its unrelenting pursuit of academic excellence.
It has shown outstanding performance in all key parameters like quality of students and faculty, training of faculty, citations, publications, research projects, foreign collaborations, seminars and innovation exhibitions. He urged the university to continue the good work.
“A lot has been said about the quality of India’s higher education system. Many have debated that standards are declining as a corollary of the vast expansion seen over the past few years. Yet, many have argued that increasing our capacity to provide higher education is a dire need in the context of a growing youth population,” the President said.
“There are over 250 million young people – one-fifth of the country’s total population - in the age group of 15-24 years. The onus is on the higher education system to realize their aspirations and perfect their scholastic potential.
“I, for one, do not see any dichotomy between greater access and better quality; or between higher equity and superior standards. It is entirely possible for the attributes of quantity and quality to move in the same direction at the same time,” he added.
Referring to the concept of ‘world-class’ institutions that have, of late, engaged the minds of policy-makers, educators and academic experts lately, he said, "The jury is still out on what elements a world-class institution constitutes. And whether some features of such institutions can be specific to the context of a region or an economy. But, presence of certain key traits is essential to label any institution world-class."
"Firstly, a sizeable presence of meritorious students and faculty. This does not happen all of a sudden as institutions have to attain a certain degree of maturity before it starts gathering a pool of talented people.
“Many of our institutions of recent vintage may face problem in the beginning on this account. But policy catalysts may help. Under the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) programme, about 780 foreign faculty experts have enrolled to teach in Indian institutions.
“We are also witnessing a favourable economic climate pulling Indians working abroad, back to their motherland to seek the opportunities emerging here. Our institutions would do well to leverage this ‘brain rain,” he added.
"Secondly, adequacy of financial resources to boost physical infrastructure and academic resources: Institutions have to look beyond government funding to innovative mechanisms like industrial projects, sponsorship of chairs, and tie-ups for setting up research facilities.
"Thirdly, a governance model that allows institutions to respond quickly to change while enforcing a mechanism of critical analysis and honest reflection.
"Such a system requires strong institutional leaders who can enlist the cooperation and commitment of all in driving the vision of the institution. It also calls for building a cadre of academic leaders who can inspire students and fellow educators. Drafting alumni and industry experts in governance structures, too, can bring in a fresh perspective to the academic environment.
"Fourthly, an eco-system that supports research and innovation.” A challenge for our institutions has been to retain bright students after education to do research. Good students either leave formal education to enter the corporate, government and other sectors, or pursue a higher degree in universities abroad.
“To arrest this trend, we need to make holistic changes in our education system. The pedagogy in our institutions at all levels has to promote creative thinking, novel learning and scientific scrutiny,” he pointed out.
“An atmosphere where learning modules are supplemented by inquiry-based project work will be necessary. This will build in students an inclination to do research and to innovate,” he said.
“If we have a large pool of meritorious researchers – complemented by top-notch research laboratories, tie-ups with industry, collaborations with foreign institutions, and an attractive compensation system – our institutions could be involved in doing more cutting-edge research,” he added.

Government has added over 4000 medical PG seats for 2017-18: Nadda

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare has said that a record number of 4,000 post-graduate medical seats had been approved by the Government of India in various medical colleges and hospitals for the academic session 2017-18.
Mr. Nadda said that this would take the total number of post-graduate medical seats available to 35, 117.
He said the Government was committed to strengthening tertiary care and improving medical education in the country.
The Health Minister said that, of the total increase, 2,046 seats are in medical colleges.
Looking at the need to increase PG seats in clinical subjects, the Government had decided to amend the teacher student ratio in clinical subjects in government medical colleges. This change alone has resulted in the creation of 1,137 extra seats in 71 colleges. 
Many others out of the total of 212 government colleges are sending their proposals and it is expected that at least 1000 more seats could be added during the month of March 2017, Mr. Nadda stated. 
This includes DNB seats, which are equivalent to MD/MS and have increased by 2,147 in the last one year, he said.
Mr. Nadda said that there had been a total addition of 4,193 PG seats in the country so far, and a further addition of more than 1000 seats is likely during March 2017. The budget announcement of adding 5,000 PG medical seats in the country is thus likely to be achieved soon, he added.

Prof. G. Raghuram takes over as Director of IIM Bangalore

G. Raghuram
G. Raghuram
Professor G. Raghuram, who has been a member of the faculty at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA), took charge as the new Director of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB) here today.
Prior to this, he was Professor and Chairperson of the Public Systems Group at IIMA.
Prof. Raghuram has a Ph. D. from Northwestern University, USA, a Post-graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) from IIMA and a B. Tech. degree from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.
“I feel honoured and privileged to get the opportunity to work for IIM Bangalore. This is a top rated institution with a unique culture which I look forward to discovering. I would like to reach out to all its stakeholders: students and participants, faculty, staff, alumni, board members and the external ecosystem including industry and government, to enable IIMB reach greater heights," he said in a message to faculty and staff at IIMB soon after assuming charge.
Prof. Raghuram was Dean (Faculty), IIMA, from September 2013 to December 2015. He was Vice-Chancellor of the Indian Maritime University from July 2012 to March 2013. He was the Indian Railways Chair Professor from January 2008 to August 2010. He specializes in infrastructure and transport systems, and logistics and supply chain management. He conducts research on the railway, port, shipping, aviation and road sectors. He has published over 35 refereed papers in journals and written over 155 case studies. He has published six co-authored books. He was awarded the ‘MC Puri Memorial Award’ for Contribution to Operational Research in India, 2016; ‘Academician of the Year’ by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in 2012, and ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for contribution to logistics and infrastructure by EXIM News in 2014. He is a Fellow of the Operational Research Society of India, and Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. He has teaching experience at universities in India, USA, Canada, Yugoslavia, Singapore, Tanzania and UAE.
He is a member of the Global Future Council on Mobility of the World Economic Forum, Executive Council of the National Aviation University, and of the Board of Directors of six companies in the fields of infrastructure, logistics and education. Overall, he has been on the Board of 12 companies. He has offered consultancy services to over 100 organizations including multilateral agencies. He has served on various government policy making and advisory committees for the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Shipping, Cabinet Secretariat, Comptroller and Auditor General, the Planning Commission and various State Governments.

MoS Finance promises to sort out problems in education loans by banks

Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal assured students and banks dispensing education loans that the problems faced by both would be sorted out soonest by convening a meeting of officials of the Ministry of Finance, Education Departments and banks and NGOs concerned with the issue.
“I will convene a meeting of secretaries of finance and officials of the education ministry and also top bank officials and representatives of NGOs espousing the cause of students to hear and help resolve the problems faced," he said at a seminar organised by the ELTF, a wing of the PreSense portal, and part of the NGO Prime Point Foundation.
Mr. Meghwal said that, as a start, he would ask banks in urban areas to set up a grievances cell at their corporate office and a nodal officer in the regional centres of the banks in tier two and tier three cities to deal exclusively with the issue of education loans. 
The demand for the grievances cell was made by ELTF convener and PreSense Editor K Srinivasan, who claimed that the system of dispensing and recovery of education loans needed to be streamlined so that students did not face any problems in the repayment mode. He also demanded 100% reimbursement of interest subsidy.
Mr. Subramanya Kumar, Executive Director, of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB), which has disbursed the highest amount of education loans at over Rs 3,600 crore, said there was no question of a loan waiver but the repayment system could be looked at again to make it easier for the students.
Some politicians promised students at the time of elections that education loans would be waived which was not possible in reality, he said.
While the rate of interest for education loans should be reduced, Mr. Srinivasan said, a new institution on the lines of NABARD or SIDBI should be set to provide refinance for all education loans. Also, a high level committee should be set up with all stake holders to examine the present education loan interest subsidy management.
A demand was also made to separate education loan from other loans and that the task of recovery should not be outsourced to collection agencies but done by bank officers themselves. It was pointed out that students were often threatened, muzzled and harassed by collection agencies to return the loans with unreasonable deadlines which generated tremendous pressure on the students .
Mr. Meghwal promised to look into this matter and discuss it with banks to separate education loans from the regular non-performing assets (NPA) category. Parents attending the meeting and some NGO representatives pointed out that students were future assets of the country and education loan was an investment made on them. As such, it was not right to treat their loans as an NPA.
Most of the times, students, after they passed out, found it difficult to find jobs and hence there was a delay in repayment of loans which the banks needed to understand, it was pointed out.
As per information given in the Lok Sabha recently , public sector banks disbursed education loans to the tune of Rs. 9674 crore in 2015-16 against Rs. 8312 crore in 2014-15. Private sector banks disbursed Rs. 9049 crore in 2015-16 against Rs. 7619 crore in 2014-15.
In Tamil Nadu alone, education loans disbursed by all banks amounted to Rs. 1583 crore in 2015-16 against Rs. 1952 crore. The top four banks which sanctioned maximum education loans in Tamil Nadu are:
Indian Overseas bank – 2.07 lakh accounts – amount outstanding Rs 3679 crore.
Canara Bank – 1.51 lakh accounts – amount outstanding Rs 3017 crore
Indian bank – 1.44 lakh accounts – amount outstanding Rs 2906 crore
State Bank of India – 1.01 lakh accounts – amount outstanding Rs 2351 crore.
Total 6.03 lakh accounts – amount outstanding Rs. 11, 953 crore.
According to RBI statistics released in December last year, Gross Bank Credit until December 2016 was Rs. 66,458 billion , out of which education loan amounted to Rs 608 billion which was 0.91% of the whole. In the same period last year, gross bank credit was Rs 64,335 billion, out of which education amounted to Rs. 609 billion, which was 0.94 % of the total.

Six FTII courses get Master’s degree equivalence

A view of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune
A view of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune
The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) has equated six post-graduate diploma programmes of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune with Master's degree.
"The Master's equivalence launches FTII into a new academic orbit and introduces a new dimension for students who can now leverage this attribute for higher studies, in India and abroad," an official press release said.
According to it, FTII had been making efforts since 2011 for securing the Master’s degree equivalence for its programs. Recently, a four-member committee from Association of Indian Universities visited the institute and were briefed by the Heads of Department and Faculty members who made detailed presentations before the AIU Committee. The committee also visited the academic locations as well as technical facilities and also met student representatives on the campus. 
Mr. Gajendra Chauhan, Chairman FTII, Mr. Pawan Manvi and Mr. Rajan Welukar, members of FTII Academic Council, briefed the committee on the credentials of FTII. Renowned FTII alumni Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Satish Shah, Tom Alter, Amitabh Shukla, Mahesh Aney, Bishwadeep Chatterjee and Siddharth Tatooskar were also present during the presentations. 
The two- and three-year programmes which have been given Master's equivalence are: Cinematography; Editing; Direction & Screenplay Writing; Sound Recording & Sound Design; Art Direction & Production Design; and Acting, the release added.

Govt. proposes National Testing Agency for Entrance Examinations for Higher Education Institutions

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the Government proposed to establish a National Testing Agency as an autonomous and self-sustaining premier testing organization to conduct all entrance examinations for higher education institutions in the country.
Presidenting the General Budget for 2017-18 in Parliament, he said this would free the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and other premier institutions from these administrative responsibilities so that they can focus more on academics.

IIITDM Kurnool to be declared as Institute of National Importance

The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for introduction of The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in Parliament, which provides for inclusion of Indian Institute of Information Technology Design and Manufacturing (IIITDM), Kurnool along with the other IIITs in the Principal Act. 
Subsequently, IITDM Kurnool will be declared as an institute of National Importance with the power to award degrees to students, an official press release said.
The expenditure for the operationalization of IITDM Kurnool is incurred from the Plan funds of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
"The emerging needs of the industry and the economy as a whole for skilled technical manpower is expected to be met from the talent pool of trained personnel of the Institute. The Institute shall be open to all persons irrespective of gender, caste, creed, disability, domicile, ethnicity, social or economic background," the release said.
The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Act, 2014 confers the status of Institutions of National Importance on the IIITs and also provides for matters connected with administering these IIITs. 
Subsequently, the Government has approved creation of a new IIIT at Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh as embodied in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014. Due to addition of a new IIIT, amendment has to be made in the IIIT Act, 2014. With this, IIITDM. Kurnool will be the fifth Member as a Centrally Funded IIIT.
Academic session has commenced in IITDM Kurnool in two branches of study in 2015-16, the release added.

Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University to launch Executive Development Programme

The Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University in collaboration with US-India Aviation Cooperation Programme will launch its first Executive Development Programme on February 2.
The programme will be delivered by leading experts in the aviation sector and would cover key topics such as Next Generation Transportation Systems, Airport Planning, Air Traffic Flow Management, Safety and Security and Sustainability in Aviation, an official press release said.
The programme will be attended by CXO level professionals from the industry and senior officials from the Regulatory Authorities.
The programme will help senior professionals keep abreast with latest trends in the sector, Air Vice-Marshal Nalin Tandon, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said.
The programme will fulfil the objectives of the university by facilitating and promoting aviation studies and research, he added.
The programme will also provide a platform for active exchange of ideas on opportunities and challenges in the areas of growth and development of Indian aviation sector, the release said.

Applications open for NEET (UG)-2017 for admission to MBBS/BDS courses

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) today opened a month-long window for the acceptance of online applications for the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (UG)-2017 (NEET(UG)-2017) to be conducted by it on May 7 for admission to MBBS and BDS courses in India.
The test is conducted as per the Indian Medical Council Act-1956 as amended in 2016 and the Dentists Act-1948 as amended in 2016 for admission to Medical and Dental Colleges run with the approval of the Medical Council of India and the Dental Council of India under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India except for the institutions established through an Act of Parliament such as AIIMS and JIPMER, Puducherry.
"Candidates have been given an opportunity to submit the online application for a month period from 31.01.2017 to 01.03.2017," a press release from CBSE said.
The release said that, this year, admission for all the MBBS/BDS seats would be made through NEET (UG) 2017. Accordingly, admissions will be made in All India Quota Seats, State Government Quota Seats, State/ Management/ NRI Quota Seats in Private Medical / Dental Colleges or any Private/ Deemed University and Central Pool Quota Seats, it said.
The examination will be conducted in 80 cities across the country on 7th May, 2017, it said.
Indian citizens, Non-Resident Indians, Overseas Citizens of India, Persons of Indian Origin and Foreign Nationals are eligible to appear in NEET (UG) 2017 and will also be eligible for 15% All India Quota seats, the release said.
The upper age limit of the candidates has been fixed at 25 years on the date of conduct of examination. There will be a five-year relaxation for  reserved category candidates. There shall be three attempts available uniformly for all the candidates in NEET examination.
The release said Aadhaar number is required to fill up the online application of NEET 2017 for the candidates of all States except Jammu & Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya. In this regard, based on the Aadhaar Act, CBSE has issued a public notice to make the candidates aware of the requirement.
"The responsibility of the CBSE is to conduct the NEET 2017, prepare All India Rank based as per the instructions supplied by Medical Council of India.
"CBSE will hold NEET-UG, 2017 for the first time for admission in MBBS/BDS courses for all seats and all Medical/Dental Colleges. Looking into the magnitude of this examination and the requirement of various States, CBSE is making all preparations for the smooth conduct of examination by selecting examination centres on vigorous parameters as about 1500 examination centres will be fixed across the country for the conduct of NEET for more than 10 lakh candidates," the release said.
Last year, in both NEET-I & NEET-II, as many as 8,02,594 candidates were registered. 
Detailed information and Information Bulletin alongwith the frequently asked questions are available on the NEET website.
CBSE will give the results of the examination to the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for providing the same to admitting authorities. Admitting authorities will invite applications for counselling and Merit List shall be drawn based on All India Rank by the admitting authorities subject to their applicable rules, the release added.

Arts thrive only when people pay: Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Acclaimed film director, screenwriter and producer Adoor Gopalakrishnan today said only when people pay to enjoy the arts can artistes thrive.
Airing his views at a panel discussion on ‘Creative Approaches to Sustainability’ at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) here, Gopalakrishnan raised questions on the impact of technology on the arts, the role of an artiste in society and the need for people, and not just the state, to nurture art.
“Why must we only depend on government patronage? In our country, arts and culture are given last priority – they come after sports in every budget! So it is important to educate people on their responsibility to provide sustenance to the performing arts be it ‘Koodiyattam’ or ‘Kathakali,” he said.
Sanjna Kapoor, director of Junoon, the travelling theatre company, building on the theme of sustenance, spoke of the crying need for professional management in the field of the arts.
“Although there is a rich variety of the arts in India, we are not doing anything to value them or make them flourish. When we urbanize, if we don’t think of spaces for the arts, it is going to be detrimental to the health of the country. Our role as artistes is to claim our spaces, explore terrifying and new areas and shout out our needs,” she said.
On the subject of technology, while Adoor, ever the minimalist, observed that technology often diminishes palpability but can be harnessed by better technique, Sanjna chose the middle ground, suggesting that technology can help the artiste if used well.
“The arts should not be static; they should evolve and adapt. Opportunities, be it from technology or from the corporate world, need to be grabbed and managed well,” she added.
Responding to the role of an artiste in society, Odissi, Chau and Manipuri danseuse Sharon Lowen said an artiste must be a risk taker. “Creativity is the opportunity to keep exploring and learning, and to keep taking risks.” 
Indian classical dancer and choreographer Alarmel Valli spoke about the process of creating art. “Art becomes a cliché when the artiste becomes too secure. Vibrant tradition can fall prey to straitjackets. As artistes, we need to understand traditions, practice and internalise them and come up with something new. We should take the ‘then and there’ and make it our ‘here and now’,” she explained.
Award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter Vipin Vijay struck a different note when he confessed that contemporary artistes need to speak their mind more often.
Actor, director and screenwriter Pawan Kumar, whose films ‘Lucia’ and ‘U-turn’, have seen commercial and critical success said, “As a film maker, I see myself more as an artisan and less as an artiste.”
He spoke of sustenance in the context of his own creative journey from dropping out of engineering college to staging plays in an almost-empty theatre to enjoying box office success.
“Rewards and marketing are important for sustainability in the arts. As an artiste, I want people to listen to me. To have an audience is vital for sustainability. It is all about finding the right balance between making money and getting work acclaimed critically. Managerial competence and finance are also important for good art to thrive,” he explained.
The workshop, led by Prof. A. Damodaran, the IPR Chair at IIMB, brought together film directors, leading performing artistes and thought leaders for a day of stimulating discussions on how innovative creative organizations can make a transformative difference.
Earlier in the day, while welcoming participants to the round table, Prof. Damodaran said the forum was not a lit fest or a film fest, but a platform to explore whether simple can be beautiful, in the context of minimalism.
IIMB’s Dean Faculty Prof. Ishwar Murthy pointed out that IIMB strives to create a platform for exchange of ideas. “You can plant seeds of thought here today and things will happen. You can create the dots in a way that we all connect them,” he said.
The day’s other highlights included the screening of the 70-minute film, ‘A Door to Adoor: Images/ Reflections’, by well-known filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli on imagery in Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s films.
“There’s a huge difference between both our styles of film making. I use imagery to embellish my offerings, he uses imagery to heighten the minimalistic effect in his films,” said Kasaravalli.
Divided into five segments – all named after the master’s works – Kasarvalli’s film explored the use of minimalism in Adoor’s films through his choice of music, lighting and imagery.
This was followed by a masterclass on ‘Spinning Creative Ventures: The Junoon Saga’ by Sanjna Kapoor. There was a mesmerizing Kathakali performance by Margi, an organization dedicated to the revival of ‘Kathakali’ and ‘Koodiyattam’, through the Gurukula system of training.

Cabinet approves establishment of Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Jharkhand

The Union Cabinet yesterday gave its approval for the 12th Plan proposal of the DARE/ICAR Plan Scheme of the Establishment of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (lARI)-Jharkhand.
It will have an estimated outlay of Rs. 200.78 crores (100% ICAR share) on 1,000 acres of land provided by the Government of Jharkhand at Gauria Karma village in Barhi block of Hazaribag district, an official press release said.
lARI-Jharkhand would possess all the hallmark identities as those of IARI in New Delhi including all sectors of agriculture like field crops, horticultural crops, agro-forestry, animal husbandry, fisheries, poultry, piggery, silk and lac rearing, honey production and so on, it said.
The release said IARI-Jharkhand would work on the agrarian challenges and complexities of eastern India with all existing Central and State Government R&D institutions and private sector enterprises.
It will undertake research, education, extension programmes in its mission towards developing quality human resource, generation of farmer friendly technologies to enhance productivity, quality and profitability. It will also promote agro-based industries and generate employment opportunities for holistic and sustainable development of the agriculture sector in the eastern region. 
It will be an off-campus of IARI, New Delhi and integrated multi-disciplinary research would be undertaken in school mode, that is,  Schools of Crop Sciences, Natural Resource Management, and Animal Sciences, the release added.

Dusk-to-dawn tryst with classical music,dance at IIM Bangalore on R-Day eve

Akkarai sisters
Akkarai sisters
The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB) will host a dusk-to-dawn extravaganza of classical music and dance from 6 pm on January 25 till the dawn of Republic Day, featuring well-known names in Hindustani classical, Carnatic music and classical dance.
Hosted in association with SPICMACAY chapter at IIMB, the event,‘Yamini’, is held every year under the starry skies at the open air amphitheatre at the IIMB campus on Bannerghatta Road here.
This year, the event features Padma Shri award winners Pt. Venkatesh Kumar (Hindustani Vocal) and Ustad Shahid Pervez (Sitar), renowned danseuse Sujata Mohapatra (Odissi) and the youth sensations Sikkil Gurucharan (Carnatic Vocal) and the Akkarai Sisters (Carnatic Violin).
Entry is open to all. The event details and entry passes are available at, or on the Facebook event page:
Pt. Venkatesh Kumar from Dharwad near the Maharashtra-Karnataka border, a place famous for its rich musical tradition, especially Hindustani, has learnt music under the tutelage of the late Puttaraj Gawai, a saint-musician. Having received music training at Gawai’s ashram in Gadag, over the years, he earned national recognition. His robust style and seamless blending of key elements of the Kirana and Gwalior gharanas is also enriched by characteristics of the Patiala school.
Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan descends from six generations of sitarists. He is one of the leading exponents of the Etawah Gharana, committed to this most famous of Indian instruments. He was trained by his father and guru, Ustad Aziz Khan.
A distinguished practitioner of Odissi, Sujata Mohapatra made her initial foray into the dancing arena in her early childhood. Born into a rich cultural background, she grew up in an artistic environment that delicately nourished her creativity and brought out her innate interest in dance.
Mohapatra, as the disciple and daughter- in-law of the late Guru Padmabibhushan Kelucharan Mohapatra, had received 18 years of rigorous training under the guidance from him. She subsequently did further studies on the dance form and also undertook research work at the Odissi Research Centre, Bhubaneshwar. She is at present Principal of ‘Srjan’ an Odissi dance institution founded by Kelucharan Mohapatra.
Sikkil C. Gurucharan, born on June 21,1982 is the grandson of Sikkil Kunjumani, elder of the internationally acclaimed flautists, the Sikkil Sisters. Gurucharan has been under the tutelage of Vaigal S. Gnanaskandan and is currently being mentored by B. Krishnamurthy.
Akkarai Sisters, S Subhalakshmi and S Sornalatha, hail from a family with a rich background in Indian classical music. Their grandfather, Suchindram Shri S P Sivasubramanian, was a multifaceted musician renowned as a vocalist, violinist, and composer, and their grandmother R Sornambal was a Harikatha exponent. The sisters are the disciples of their father, Akkarai S Swamynathan, a veteran violinist and founder of the Swara Raga Sudha school of music.
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