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Campus Notes

Dr Ambedkar International Centre inks MoU with JNU

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Dr Ambedkar International Centre (DAIC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) here to facilitate and enhance research activities and policy formulation aimed at socio-economic transformation and sustainable development. 
 
The MoU was signed by JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadish Kumar and DAIC Director Atul Dev Sarmah here last week.
 
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, among others.
 
DAIC is a centrally located state-of-the-art centre for quality research in socio-economic transformation and it has been envisaged as a think-tank for preparing policy briefs. JNU with the status of the ‘University of Excellence’ given by the UGC is a world-renowned centre for teaching and research, having collaborations and MoUs with universities across the world in research projects, conferences, and publications.
 
"The MoU will facilitate and enhance research activities and policy formulation aimed at Socio-economic Transformation and Sustainable Development. The two organizations resolved to cooperate within the scope of their mandates and sphere of competences to work for these issues. 
 
"The parties recognized the benefits to be derived from increased collaboration, cooperation and interaction for the further promotion and understanding of high performance in research training and organizing various programmes including conferences, seminars, symposia and lecture series.
 
"The MoU aims to define the areas for fundamental, academic research in which both the Parties desire to work together in future for their mutual benefit to foster a collaborative framework with a view to benefiting from each other’s initiatives," an official press release said.
 
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Cabinet approves setting up of medical college at Silvassa

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The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the setting up of a medical college at Silvassa in the Union Territory (UT) of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
 
The college, with an yearly intake of 150 students, will be set up at a capital cost of Rs 189 crore to be incurred in two years, Rs 114 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 75 crore in the next, an official press release said.
 
The project will be completed by 2019-20 and the construction and capital expenditure will be incurred as per the norms of Medical Council of India (MCI) and extant guidelines of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
 
The annual recurring expenditure for the Medical College will be managed within the budget provision for the UT.
 
The creation of 21 regular posts of 14 (JS) level and above (including teaching and non-teaching) out of 357 regular posts which were recommended by the Committee on Establishment Expenditure (CEE) was also approved.
 
The approval will increase the availability of doctors and address the issue of shortage of doctors. It will enhance medical education opportunities for students. It will also result in the optimal utilization of the existing infrastructure of district hospitals and improve tertiary care facilities for the people of the two UTs and adjoining areas, the release added.
 
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Anju Seth takes over as Director of IIM Calcutta

Anju Seth
Anju Seth
Prof. Anju Seth took over as the new Director of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta here this morning -- the first woman to hold the coveted position.
 
An announcement to this effect was made by the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of IIM Calcutta, Mr. Shrikrishna Kulkarni.
 
“We are indeed delighted that Anju will be the first woman Director of IIMC. She was the unanimous choice of the Search Cum Selection Committee and the BOG. On behalf of the IIMC fraternity, it is my privilege to welcome her to the IIMC team," Mr. Kulkarni added.
 
Prof. Seth is an alumnus of IIMC and has most recently held the position of Pamplin Professor of Management at Virginia Tech in the United States.
 
She completed her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and has a distinguished academic career spanning over 25 years.
 
Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Prof. Seth was Professor of Business Administration at University of Illinois. She has received numerous awards for her teaching and research.
 
She is on the editorial board of many scholarly journals. During the past several years she has maintained strong connections with academic and professional organizations in India such as Vedica Scholars Program and many others.
 
Speaking on her new responsibility, Prof. Seth said, “It is an honour and privilege to be appointed to serve IIM Calcutta in the position of Director. I look forward to working with faculty, staff, students, Governors and all other stakeholders to build on the Institute’s strong foundations and accomplish new heights of eminence.”
 
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Centre withdraws its nominees from IIM Boards in accordance with IIM Act 2017

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The Union Government on Monday approved the process of constitution of Board of Governors for the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in accordance with the IIM Act 2017.
 
As per the approval given after consultation with the Ministry of Law and Justice, the government has decided to withdraw its nominees from the existing boards. 
 
"In spirit of the Act, the government has decided to immediately withdraw the government nominees who are in excess of the provisions of the Act. This will pave the way for complete control of the institutions by reputed academicians and alumni," read the statement issued by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry. 
 
Under the decision, three ex-officio members will re-select the current Chairperson -- unless there are issues with ineligibility -- and allow him or her to continue for a new full term. The Chairperson will then constitute the board as laid down in the Act's Section 10. 
 
The Chairperson will now select five alumni members, four eminent persons, and two faculty members, for a full new term. 
 
"This process is expected to be completed before December 15, 2018. On completion of the constitution of the Boards... The rules under the IIM Act would be issued, which would bring out the operational details more clearly," read the statement. 
 
That government nominees will become part of the Board in future is not yet clear, since Section 10 of the IIM Act, 2017 prescribes inclusion of one nominee each from the central and state governments in the Board. 
 
"The process of constitution of Boards for the IIMs, which have been given full powers of running the institutions, is a major development which signals complete autonomy of quality institutions in higher education and will ensure quality expansion of higher education," HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said in the statement.
 
The Board has the authority to decide fees for courses, and to create academic and administrative posts and also establish faculties as well as departments. 
 
IANS
 

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IIMA’s RTERC to conduct Winter School from December 13-16

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The Right to Education Resource Centre (RTERC) of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), will host the fifth edition of its annual flagship event, Winter School, here from December 13-16.
 
The programme aims to orient students towards public policy and social change, a press release from the organisers said.
 
Participants of Winter School go through an orientation programme for four days on IIMA Campus. Professors of the institute and other dignitaries from all over India take orientation classes for the participants. The purpose of the orientation programme is to give the participants a basic set of tools for understanding the social equations surrounding them.
 
The theme of Winter School this year is citizenship to imbibe a feeling of bonding with the nation and act to create a better future for young people across India. Post the orientation programme, participants pick a policy of their choice and do a practicum at a place of their choice. The practicum would ideally take 10 days. Participants are expected to send a report to the RTERC, detailing the work they have done, to earn a certificate.
 
Participants of the previous years have mentioned that the sessions at winter school have led them to understand some problems faced by society, and, more importantly, enabled them to find solutions and bring about social change. Also, the final policy-related work has led to an understanding of how things actually work at the grass-root level.
 
Ankur Sarin, Professor and Faculty Coordinator - RTERC at IIMA, said, “RTERC's Winter School provides a platform for participants to engage with ideas in education and public policy and enact their roles as citizens towards the creation of a socially just society.”
 
The deadline for applying to the programme is November 10, 2018.
 
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Cabinet okays setting up of Central Tribal University in Andhra

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The Union Cabinet today approved setting up of a Central Tribal University in Andhra Pradesh. 
 
 The Central Tribal University of Andhra Pradesh will be set up in Relli village of Vizianagaram District as provided under the Thirteenth Schedule to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 (No. 6 of 2014).  
 
The Cabinet has also approved the provision of funds of Rs. 420 crore for the first phase expenditure towards establishment of the Central Tribal University, an official press release added.
 
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‘Institutes of eminence’ to fill gaps in quality of education in India, says Kovind

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President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday said that, despite having a massive network of 903 universities and 39,050 colleges, India was faced with gaps in quality and in attaining world-class excellence across the spectrum.
 
Addressing the 15th convocation of the Symbiosis International University here, Mr Kovind said it was in this context that the government took the decision to promote and support 20 institutions of higher education as “institutes of eminence” – to grant them recruitment and curricula flexibility in order to reach best-in-class global standards.
 
He urged the administrators, professors and students and alumni of Symbiosis to aim to build and locate at least one such “institute of eminence” at their University.
 
“It is a matter of pride for us that India has been a centre of learning for centuries. From Taxila to Nalanda, the subcontinent’s age-old universities attracted students from different parts of Asia and beyond.
 
“In modern times as well our campuses have been open to and welcoming of talented young people from many countries, especially those in our neighbourhood and in Africa – a continent with which we have a special relationship, shaped in classrooms,” he said.
 
“It is worth noting that 46,144 international students from 166 countries study in various colleges, universities and institutions of higher learning in India. Symbiosis plays a significant role in this process. He was happy to note that over 1,000 international students study in Symbiosis. Of those who graduating today, 329 students are from 33 countries other than India.
 
“This adds to the multicultural and cosmopolitan atmosphere of Symbiosis’s campus, and promotes goodwill among nations,” he said.
 
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Students to get fee refund if they forego their admission: Javadekar

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Union Home Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that students will be able to get a fee refund if they decide against enrolling for an academic programme after their admission.
 
Addressing a press conference, Mr Javadekar said the University Grants Commission (UGC) will issue a notification on refund of fees and non-retention of original certificates by institutions in such cases.
 
The students were facing several problems during admissions, due to coercive and profiteering institutional practices being adopted by some institutions. For the facilitation of the students, the UGC notification on Refund of Fees and Non Retention of Original Certificates is being brought out.
 
Now, no student will be required to submit original academic and personal certificates at the time of submission of admission form. They will get a refund of fee from the Institution if they withdraw their admission from the programme.
 
This notification will be applicable to Under Graduate, Post Graduate and Research Programmes run by Universities included under Section 2(f) of the UGC Act, all Colleges under their affiliating domain and Institutions declared as Deemed to be Universities under Section 3 of the UGC Act.
 
The institutes could charge fees in advance only for the semester/ year in which a student wants to engage in academic activities. Collecting advance fees for the entire programme of study is strictly prohibited.
 
The institute will be required to refund the fees, in case a student withdraws from the programme. In case a student decides to withdraw 15 days or more before the formally notified last date of admission, 100% of the fees should be refunded. Not more than 5% of the fees paid by the student, subject to a maximum of Rs. 5000, will be deducted as processing charges.
 
It will be 90% in case a student decides to withdraw within 15 days before the formally notified last date of admission. In case a student decides to withdraw within 15 days after the formally notified last date of admission 80% is to be returned.
 
The refund will be 50% in case a student decides to withdraw between 16 days and 30 days after the formally notified last date of admission. It will be nil in case a student decides to withdraw after 30 days of the formally notified last date of admission.
 
The entire caution money and security deposit, which are not part of the fees chargeable, should be refunded in full.
 
Refund of fees should be made by the institutions within 15 days of receipt of a written application from a student. No student will be required to submit original academic and personal certificates like mark sheets, school leaving certificates, etc., at the time of submission of admission form.
 
In case required, the institution concerned will only ensure verification of the same with the original certificates and these certificates shall be returned to the students immediately. No institution can take any original certificate into their custody.
 
No institute can make it mandatory for applicants to purchase the institutional prospectus at any time during the course of the time of study.
 
All institutes will be required to disclose on their website and prospectus the information regarding the status of the institutions, its affiliating, accreditation status, physical assets and amenities, course-wise sanctioned intake of students, various types of fees payable for different programmes, total fees payable for an entire programme, last date of admission and details of faculty.
 
They also have to disclose the members of Governing Bodies and minutes of the meeting of bodies, sources of income, financial situation and any other information about its functioning, necessary for an applicant to make a fully informed choice.
 
All institutes will be mandatorily required to have a Grievance Redressal Mechanism (GRM), according to the provisions of the UGC (Grievance Redressal) Regulations, 2012. This GRM should be available on the HEI website and the HEIs will be required to ensure that all grievance received are addressed within 30 days.
 
This notification provides for initiation of strict punitive actions by the Commission against defaulting institutions. It may result in withdrawal of a declaration of fitness to receive grants from UGC; Withholding of grants allocated; Declaration of the as ineligible to receive any assistance from UGC for General or Special Programmes.
 
Display of notice in newspapers, other media platforms and the website of the Commission regarding non-compliance by the HEI would ensure that the general public, including candidates seeking admission in that institute, are well informed.
 
In case of a College/Institute, a recommendation would be sent to the affiliating university for withdrawal of affiliation and in the case of an institution Deemed to be University, the recommendation will be sent to the Central Government.  
 
The appropriate State Government will be asked for appropriate necessary action in case of University established or incorporated under a State Act.
 
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Cabinet approves permanent campuses of IISERs at Tirupati, Berhampur

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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the establishment and operationalisation of permanent campuses of the two new Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research (IISERs) at Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) and Berhampur (Odisha). 
 
The total cost likely to be incurred is Rs. 3074.12 crore (Non-Recurring: Rs. 2366.48 crore and Recurring: Rs. 707.64 crore).
 
Creation of two posts of Registrar, one in each IISER in Level 14 of 7lh CPC has also been approved by the Cabinet.
 
The total cost is assessed at Rs. 3074.12 crore, out of which Rs. 2366.48 crore will be spent for construction of permanent campuses of these institutes.
 
Both the IISERs will construct an area of 1,17,000 sq. m which will have complete infrastructural facilities for 1855 students in each IISER.
 
The construction of permanent campuses of these institutes shall be completed by December 2021.
 
The IISERs will provide top quality science education at the Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate levels, PHDs & Integrated PHDs.  They will carry out research in frontier areas of science.  They will enable India to move towards being a knowledge economy by attracting the best scientific talent as faculty and prepare a strong base of scientific manpower in India.
 
In 2015, IISER, Tirupati was established in pursuance to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, while IISER, Berhampur was established in 2016 in pursuance to the announcement made by the Union Finance Minister in his Budget speech, 2015. These institutes are presently functioning from transit campuses.
 
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ABVP bags president, two other posts in DUSU polls

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Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) won three out of four seats, including that of the president, in Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU) polls, the results of which were announced late on Thursday.
 
ABVP's presidential candidate Ankiv Basoya from the Department of Buddhist Studies defeated Sunny Chhillar of Shivaji College, a candidate of the Congress-affiliated National Students' Union of India (NSUI), by a margin of 1,724 votes.
 
A total of 20,467 votes were polled for Basoya, while Chhillar trailed behind at 18,743 votes.
 
Shakti Singh of ABVP defeated his closest rival, Leena of NSUI -- who also happened to be the only Dalit candidate in the fray -- by a wide margin of 7,673 for the post of vice-president.
 
The lone saving grace for NSUI was the secretary's post, which its candidate Akash Chaudhary won by defeating ABVP's Sudhir Dedha by a margin of over six thousand votes.
 
ABVP's Jyoti Chaudhary grabbed the post of joint secretary, defeating NSUI's Saurabh Yadav by a difference of just under five thousand votes.
 
The CYSS-AISA alliance failed to make an impact in its first outing together. Its presidential candidate -- fielded by CYSS which is affiliated with Aam Aadmi Party -- managed to get about eight thousand votes, less than half of the first runner-up's tally.
 
The counting of votes -- which began around 10 a.m. -- was anything but smooth and faced a deadlock when NSUI demanded recounting after few hours of the beginning of the process raising the issue of glitch in a few EVMs.
 
While the counting remained suspended for over four hours, the CYSS-AISA and ABVP raised slogans demanding the resumption of the counting process, which could only be done after 6 p.m.
 
"Apprehensions about EVM tampering are only valid when the victory margin is huge, while this is the not the case here, where vote gap is fairly close," the Joint Secretary-elect Jyoti Chaudhary told reporters after her win was announced.
 
CYSS-AISA criticised the incidents of violence which marred the election campaign at places and demanded an inquiry into the EVM glitch.
 
"AISA-CYSS alliance was forged at the very last moment and we couldn't convert the immense support we received into votes. Yet, the way we fought this election has given a new dimension to students politics in DU.
 
"We demand a high-level judicial enquiry in the poll mismanagement and EVM malfunctioning," CYSS-AISA said in a statement after the results.
 
IANS
 

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Cabinet approves amendment to National Institute of Design (NID) Act, 2014

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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its approval for introduction of a Bill in Parliament for amendment of NID Act, 2014 to include the four new National Institutes of Design (NID).
 
The proposed institutes would come up in Amaravati/Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Jorhat (Assam) and Kurukshetra (Haryana). These are also to be Institutions of National Importance (INIs) at par with the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
 
Some minor amendments to the Act including consequential changes considered necessary namely, to rename NID Vijayawada as NID Amaravati and nomenclature of Principal Designer as equivalent to Professor are also proposed in the Bill.
 
"Establishing new NIDs as Institutions of National Importance in different geographical regions of the country will help produce highly skilled manpower in design which, in turn, will create job opportunities, both direct and indirect, by providing sustainable design interventions for crafts, handloom, rural technology, small, medium and large scale enterprises; and outreach programmes for capacity, capability and institution building," the release added.
 
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HC stays JNU order to cancel NSUI member's candidature

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The Delhi High Court on Monday stayed the Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) decision to cancel the candidature of National Students Union of India member Vikas Yadav for the September 14 students union elections.
 
Justice Siddharth Mridul said that the stay order will remain till November 27, the next date of hearing.
 
Yadav had challenged the JNU's September 7 order to debar him, citing a proctorial inquiry initiated against him wherein he was asked to pay Rs 20,000 in fine and transfer of hostel.
 
Yadav, pursuing M. Phil in International Relations from the university, had also sought directions for calling the records of the disciplinary inquiry against him.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Former President Pranab Mukherjee to teach IIMA students

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Former President Pranab Mukherjee will teach students of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) who will be attending a new course called "Public Policy for Inclusive Development of India".
 
The course will be taken by students across the PGPM (Post Graduate Programme in Management), FABM (Food and Agri-Business Management) and PGPX (Post Graduate Program in Management for Executives) programmes at the institute.
 
The new course is housed within the JSW School of Public Policy at IIMA and Mr. Mukherjee will be the faculty for at least 12 of 22 sessions, a press release from IIMA said.
 
Prof. Vijaya Sherry Chand, Chairperson of JSW School of Public Policy and Prof. Anil Gupta will handle other sessions of the course.
 
The course deals with a broad overview of the interplay between the desired end of inclusive development and the system of parliamentary democracy in India.
 
The pedagogy draws on the experiences of Mr. Mukherjee to reflect on the theory and practice of public policy for the inclusive development of India. 
 
During the last five decades, Mr. Mukherjee has not only had a ringside view of Indian politics and governance, but has shaped many public policies and triggered off institutional innovations to execute many of these. 
 
"The course provides a unique opportunity for students to learn from the deep insights that Mr. Mukherjee alone can share with complete authenticity and conviction.
 
Mr. Mukherjee will be delivering lectures on the following broad themes:
 
-- Constitutional Provisions for Socio-economic Inclusivity: Theory and Parliamentary Practice
-- Policy and Institutional Intervention for Financial Inclusion: A Legacy to be Built Upon
-- Articulating Policy and Institutional Agenda for Future Transformation of India
 
Out of these, certain sessions will also include presentations of selected student projects that address developmental and institutional challenges identified in the beginning of the course.
 
Prof. Chand said, “Listening to Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, our students should develop a better understanding of the politics of inclusive development. In a complex democratic society such as ours, technically ideal solutions to public problems have to be balanced by the management of conflicts that are inevitable when there are multiple and contradictory pulls. This should also help in understanding why the idea of inclusion goes beyond narrow economic perspectives on poverty and its alleviation.”
 
After leaving his office as President, Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam had also taken up teaching positions at three IIMs, including IIMA. At IIMA, Mr. Kalam taught a course titled “Globalising and Resurgent India through Innovative Transform”.
 
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Cabinet approves establishment, operationalisation of permanent campuses of seven new IIMs

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The Union Cabinet today approved the establishment and operationalization of permanent campuses of seven new Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) at Amritsar, Bodh Gaya, Nagpur, Sambalpur, Sirmaur, Vishakhapatnam and Jammu.
 
At its meeting, the Cabinet also approved their recurring expenditure at a total cost of Rs 3775.42 crore (Rs 2999.96 crore as non-recurring and Rs 775.46 crore as recurring expenditure), an official press release said.
 
These IIMs, established in the year 2015-16/2016-17, are presently functioning from transit campuses.
 
The release said that, out of the total assessed cost of Rs. 3775.42 crore, Rs. 2804.09 crore will be spent for construction of permanent campuses of these institutes, as per the following details:
 
IIM Amritsar -- Rs. 348.31 crore
IIM Bodh Gaya -- Rs. 411.72 crore
IIM Nagpur -- Rs. 379.68 crore
IIM Sambalpur -- Rs. 401.94 crore
IIM Sirmaur -- Rs. 392.51 crore
IIM Vishakhapatnam -- Rs. 445.00 crore
IIM Jammu -- Rs. 424.93 crore
 
Each of these IIMs will construct an area of 60384 sqm, which will have complete infrastructural facilities for 600 students in each IIM. Recurring grants to these institute have also been approved at the rate of Rs 5 lakh per student per year for five years. Thereafter, the institutes are expected to meet their running cost / maintenance cost from the internal generation of funds.
 
"The construction of permanent campus of these institutes shall be completed by June, 2021. With this, all the 20 IIMs will have their own permanent campuses," the release added.
 
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CBSE declares results of 7th UGC-NET

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The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) today declared the results of the 7th UGC-NET conducted by it on July 8 across 91 cities in the country.
 
The results can be seen here after entering the registration number, roll number and date of birth.
 
A total of 11,48,235 candidates had registered for the examination, the highest number ever for the examination.
 
The National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by the CBSE on behalf of the University Grants Commission (UGC) determines eligibility for positions of Assistant Professor or Junior Research Fellows in Indian  universities and colleges.
 
A press release from CBSE said that, out of the 8,59,498 candidates who appeared for both papers, as many as 55,872 candiddates qualified for eligibility for assistant proessor, including those who qualified for JRF.
 
The release said 3,929 candidates had qualified for JRF and became eligible for assistant professor's position also.
 
As per the UGC policy, 6% of the candidates who appear in both  the papers and obtain minimum qualifying marks in aggregate of both papers are declared NET qualified. The certificates to the qualified candidates will be issued by UGC>
 
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Rs 1000 crore grant only to public institutions under Institutes of Eminence tag: Javadekar

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Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Thursday only public institutions would be eligible for the Rs 1000 crore grant for Institutes of Eminence.
 
Mr Javadekar informed the Rajya Sabha during question hour that the University Grants Commission (UGC) had notified the UGC (Declaration of Government Educational Institutions as Institutions of Eminence) Guidelines, 2017 for public institutions and UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2017 for private institutions for setting up or upgrading of 20 institutions (10 from public sector and 10 from private sector) as world-class teaching and research institutions called as ‘Institutions of Eminence’ (IoEs).  
 
The Regulations inter-alia provide for Greenfield category, too, he said.
 
Accordingly, applications were invited through UGC’s notification dated September 13, 2017, from existing Government Institutions and existing Private Institution along with from Sponsoring Organizations which intends to set up new Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be University.
 
A total of 114 applications, 74 from the public sector and 40 from the private sector, including 11 applications in the Greenfield projects had been received, he said.
 
These applications had been entrusted to an Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) constituted for this purpose. The EEC, after a thorough examination of applications and presentations made by the institutions, made its recommendations to UGC.
 
The Institutions were recommended and approved by the EEC and the UGC based on their detailed 15 year strategic vision plan and a five-year rolling implementation plan: Academic Plan, Faculty Recruitment Plan, Students Admission plan, Research Plan, Networking Plan, Infrastructure development Plan, Finance Plan, Administrative Plan, Governance Plan, and so on.
 
They also had to come out with clear annual milestones and action plans on how the Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities were to be set up, with identifiable outputs and outcomes and their plan to meet the criteria for attaining the status.
 
The Minister clarified that the Institute of Eminence tag has not been given to Jio Institute yet; only Letter of Intent has been given on the recommendation of the EEC.
 
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Kovind urges IITs to ensure more participation of girls in science & technology

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President Ram Nath Kovind today urged the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to take the lead in ensuring the greater participation of girls in higher education, especially in science and technology, and take it to fair and acceptable levels within the coming decade.
 
Addressing the 64th annual convocation of IIT Kharagpur here, he said that, in the colleges and universities that he has visited across the country, he found that girl students tend to win more medals and awards than their male counterparts.
 
“Yet, when it comes to IITs, the intake of girl students is distressingly low. In 2017, about 160,000 candidates appeared for the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced). Only some 30,000 were girls. In 2017, 10,878 students got admission into the undergraduate class of the IITs. Only 995 were girls,” he added.
 
He noted that of the 11,653 students enrolled at IIT Kharagpur, only 1,925 were girls, a little over 16%. “This cannot go on. We need to do something about these numbers. The participation of women in higher education, in science and technology and in the workforce of our country has to rise to fair and acceptable levels within the coming decade. This should be a national priority, and the IIT community must take the lead,” he added.
 
Mr Kovind said IIT Kharagpur has its origins in a committee that was set up by the government shortly after Independence to take stock of technical education. The committee was headed by the British Nobel laureate Dr A.V. Hill who recommended the setting up of an institution modelled on the pattern of MIT in the United States. The use of global experts to conceive this Institute was appropriate.
 
“Over the years, IIT Kharagpur and in fact the IIT network and community has become an important window to the world. This is in keeping with our country’s and our civilisation’s character. Exchange of ideas, of expertise, of knowledge – across fields, from engineering to economics, from medicine to management – has contributed to our policy choices and our people’s development. We must continue to celebrate this,” he added.
 
IIT Kharagpur’s diverse and trans-disciplinary academic portfolio has led to joint research programmes with several institutions. These include the Indian Statistical Institute, the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, and Tata Medical Centre, all located in Kolkata.
 
“With its wealth of knowledge, it is for IIT Kharagpur to continue to guide the nation by helping find solutions to the pressing problems of our age – whether agricultural productivity or emerging infectious diseases, whether renewable energy or low-cost housing and sustainable cities," Mr Kovind said.
 
He noted that IIT Kharagpur has signed a MoU with the Ministry of Rural Development to set up a Centre for Excellence in Big Data Analytics for Rural Development.
 
The President also unveiled the foundation stone for the Savitribai Phule Girls’ Hostel and the APJ Abdul Kalam International Visitors’ Guest House on the occasion.
 
Mr Kovind said, “Of all the IITs, I understand IIT Kharagpur has the largest percentage of women in leadership roles. This must translate into more girl students as well. Your institute has created 113 supernumerary seats for girl candidates in the undergraduate programme. I have also been told about a special initiative, with support from the Infosys Foundation, to fund women researchers who wish to attend major international conferences. These are good steps but a long road lies ahead of us."
 
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Kovind meets Directors of 59 Central institutes of higher learning

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Rashtrapati Bhavan hosted a one-day meeting of directors of 59 Central institutes of higher learning in the fields of information technology, engineering science and technology, and planning and architecture here on Thursday.
 
The meeting was part of regular interactions by President Ram Nath Kovind with such institutions in his capacity as Visitor to 146 Central Universities and institutions of higher learning.
 
Speaking at the concluding session, the President said the NIT system has been able to provide high-quality technical education to talented students across the country. This network of institutes has taken the opportunity of engineering education to remote corners. NITs were critical to promoting technical education and research.
 
The President said information technology has a pivotal role in today’s world. “Our Institutes of Information Technology strive to create a unique meeting ground for the two fields of information technology and of management. They contribute significantly to research, teaching and extension work for the integrated application of information technology and management. In an age when IT is critical to almost all our endeavours, this is extremely valuable,” he added.
 
The heads of these institutes have been gifted with the opportunity to shape the future of the youth of our country. Their work directly affects not only the future of their graduates but also the future of India. The young graduates from their institutes will be the torch-bearers of their generation. By giving them the right knowledge, the right values and the right ethics, the institutes are doing a service to the society, he added.
 
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CCEA approves establishment of Medical College, Salempur at Deoria

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved the proposal of Uttar Pradesh government for the establishment of a new medical college at Deoria at a cost of Rs 250 crore under Phase-II of the centrally sponsored scheme.
 
Under Phase-II of the scheme for the establishment of new medical colleges attached with existing District/Referral hospitals, the criteria for one medical college in every three Parliamentary constituencies and one Government medical college in each State was adopted.  Accordingly, a requirement of 24 additional medical colleges including eight medical colleges in Uttar Pradesh has been approved.
 
Out of the eight identified blocks in Uttar Pradesh, Block-6 consists of (70) Ghosi, (71) Salempur and (72) Ballia Parliamentary constituencies.  The State Government has recommended for establishment of Medical College, Salempur at Deoria by up-gradation of District Hospital, Deoria.
 
The District Hospital, Deoria is also suitable as it has a sufficient number of beds and other facilities including the availability of land as per MCI norms for the establishment of a medical college of all possible locations in the identified block, an official press release added.
 
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Kovind tells Central Universities, institutes to collaborate and learn from each other

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Saying that knowledge cannot grow in silos, President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday urged the   Heads of Central Universities and Institutes of higher learning to collaborate and learn from each other.
 
“I would nudge you towards partnering with universities in our country and outside; in your respective fields and beyond. Knowledge cannot grow in silos and it is essential that each of you participate in the growth of the other,” Mr Kovind said at the one-day meeting of Vice Chancellors, Directors and Heads of 19 Central Institutes of Higher Learning hosted by him at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
 
“And all along, you must remember that you are institutions of national importance. The students you produce will shape the professions that will build our nation. This is what the people of India expect from you. And this is the benchmark by which you must measure yourselves,” he added.
 
Speaking at the concluding session, the President said each of these institutes has a rich history. Each of these is instrumental to the realisation of social and economic goals that India has set itself as it strives to eliminate poverty and become a middle-income country.
 
Mr Kovind, who is Visitor to 146 Central Universities and institutions of higher learning, said, on taking office, he was informed about the tradition of an annual conference of all the vice-chancellors, directors and other heads of these institutions. The President would address the gathering at the beginning of the conference and then the other sessions would begin.
 
However, when he thought about it, he felt that an omnibus conference, where 146 different types of institutions, with different systems, frameworks, motivations and challenges, would serve only a limited purpose. It was better to categorise the institutions into smaller, more manageable groups of similar institutions, or at least institutions with similar administrative regimes and issues. “To my mind, this would be a more worthwhile exercise if problem-solving was indeed a priority,” he added.
 
“This set of 19 Central Institutes of Higher Learning is the fourth such cohort with which I am interacting. Next week there will a meeting with the National Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology and that will complete the engagement with all 146 institutions well within one year of my tenure to be completed by the end of this month,” he said.
 
The 19 Central Institutes promoted technical education in critical areas such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, aviation, design, footwear design, fashion, petroleum and energy, maritime studies and youth development.
 
“As such, it is important to plan the future of your institutes in the context of an India with a large youth population for the foreseeable future – and with the prospect of a $5 trillion GDP by 2025. This requires us to think big and to take risks – and each of your institutes must be equal to the challenge,” he said.
 
Take the seven National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research. India has a strong and vibrant pharmaceutical industry and an appreciable record in producing generics. Yet, it is now time to make a quantum leap in drug discovery and the developing of cutting-edge, patented medicines, he said.
 
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A stress on solutions for long-standing public health issues such as TB and a thrust on the management of emerging lifestyle diseases and the pharmaceutical products is needed along with an enabling environment for a thriving clinical research industry. “All this will create enormous economic and job opportunities for our young people. Incubating such an entrepreneurial environment should be vital for your institutes,” he said.
 
The three Central Agricultural Universities participating in the conference are force multipliers in the government’s resolve to enhance the quality of life for our farmers who are the backbone of our nation. 
 
“Nearly 61% of our population continues to be dependent on agriculture. We need to be mindful that the pressure on land and on water is immense. New technologies, including technologies we have so far shied away from, will need to be studied and adopted, as feasible. The food and agricultural value chain will have to be made more robust. Agricultural Universities have a mandate that goes beyond the farm,” he added.
 
“While developing your specialisations, I would urge you to collaborate and learn from each other. This is possible for institutes in the same field. It is also possible across categories. For example, the National Institute of Design and the National Institute of Youth Development have a cross-cutting identity.
 
“Design can add value to several fields, and our youth are at the centre of all our national endeavours and for all of the institutes here today. Please make actionable and focused plans for collaboration. The Nalanda University, which has a pan-Asian footprint and is a tribute to the heritage of learning that India shares with Southeast Asia, can also provide a platform,” Mr Kovind said.
 
The President also pointed out the need to create new posts at the earliest, filling up of vacant faculty positions and regular holding of convocations. In an era of global competition, it is important that the syllabus of various courses are updated on regular basis.    
 
Institutes whose heads participated in the meeting were: Central Agriculture University; Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agriculture University; Rani Lakshmi Bai Central Agriculture University; National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Ahmedabad, Guwahati; Hajipur;  Hyderabad; Kolkata, Rai Bareli, Mohali; Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University; Footwear design & Development Institute; National Institute of Design; Nalanda University; Indian Maritime University; National Institute of Fashion Technology; Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy; Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum and Technology and Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development.
 
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IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IISc among six Institutions of Eminence

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The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry on Monday announced that six institutes -- three private and three public -- have been chosen as Institutions of Eminence (IoE), entitling them to more autonomy and grants from the government.
 
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, IIT Bombay and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru were the three public institutes announced as IoE. They will get Rs 1,000 crore from the government in the next five years. 
 
From the private sector, BITS Pilani, Manipal Academy of Higher Education and Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation were granted the status. 
 
"This decision is a landmark decision for the following reasons: this was never thought of and tried; it is more than a graded autonomy, it is really full autonomy to the institutes; the institutes can take their own decisions," HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted. 
 
As per the University Grants Commission (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2017, the Ministry was to select 20 IoEs -- 10 private and 10 public -- and had formed a high-level committee to shortlist the entries solicited from the institutes on the basis of their research calibre and other criteria. 
 
According to a government statement issued earlier, these IoEs will have greater autonomy in that they will be able to admit foreign students up to 30 per cent of the admitted students and recruit foreign faculty up to 25 per cent of the faculty strength. 
 
They can also offer online courses up to 20 per cent of its programmes. 
 
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CCEA okays expansion of scope of Higher Education Financing Agency, enhances its capital base

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved a proposal for expanding the scope of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) by enhancing its capital base to Rs. 10,000 crore and tasking it to mobilise Rs. 1,00,000 crore for Revitalizing Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022.
 
An official press release said that, in order to expand this facility to all institutions, especially to the institutions set up after 2014, Central Universities which have very little internal resources, and the school education/health education infrastructure like AllMSs and Kendriya Vidyalayas, the CCEA has approved five windows for financing under HEFA and the modalities of repaying the principal portion of the fund (interest continues to be serviced through Government grants in all these cases).
 
The five windows are:
 
Technical Institutions more than  10 years old:  Repay the whole Principal Portion from the internally generated budgetary resources.
Technical Institutions started between 2008 and 2014: Repay 25% of the principal portion from internal resources, and receive grant for the balance of the Principal portion.
Central Universities started prior to 2014: Repay 10% of the principal portion from internal resources, and receive grant for the balance of the Principal portion.
Newly established   Institutions  (started   after   2014):   for   funding construction of permanent campuses: Grant would be provided for complete servicing of loan including the Principal and interest.
Other educational institutions and grant-in-aid institutions of Ministry of Health: All the newly set up AIIMSs and other health institutions, the Kendriya Vidyalayas / Navodaya Vidyalayas would be funded and the Department/Ministry concerned will give a commitment for complete servicing of the principal and interest by ensuring adequate grants to the institution.
 
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The CCEA has also permitted HEFA to mobilise Rs 1,00,000 crore over the next four years till 2022 to meet the infrastructure needs of these institutions. The CCEA has also approved increasing the authorized share capital of HEFA to Rs. 10,000 crore, and approved infusing additional Government equity of Rs. 5,000 crore (in addition to Rs. 1,000 crore already provided) in HEFA.
 
The CCEA has also approved that the modalities for raising money from the market through Government-guaranteed bonds and commercial borrowings would be decided in consultation with the Department of Economic Affairs so that the funds are mobilized at the least cost.
 
The decision would enable addressing the needs of all educational institutions with differing financial capacity in an inclusive manner, the release said.
 
It would enable HEFA to leverage additional resources from the market to supplement equity, to be deployed to fund the requirements of institutions.  Government guarantee would eliminate the risk factor in bonds issue and attract investment in to this important national activity, the release added.
 
HEFA was set up on May 31, 2017 by the Central Government as a non-profit, non-banking financing company (NBFC) for mobilising extra-budgetary resources for building crucial infrastructure in the higher educational institutions under Central Government. In the existing arrangement, the entire principle portion is repaid by the institution over ten years, and the interest portion is serviced by the Government by providing additional grants to the institution. 
 
So far, funding proposals worth Rs. 2,016 crore have been approved by the HEFA.
 
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Cabinet clears three-year action plan of Agricultural Education Division & ICAR Institutes

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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the continuation of the Three-Year Action Plan (2017-2020) of the scheme for Agricultural Education Division and ICAR Institutes with an outlay of Rs. 2225.46 crore [Rs. 2197.51 crore + Rs. 27.95 crore (State share) as salary component for AICRP-HS] for strengthening and developing higher agricultural education in India. 
 
The plan comprises Strengthening and Development of Higher Agricultural Education in India - Rs. Rs.2050.00 crore; ICAR-National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) - Rs. 24.25 crore and ICAR - Central Institute of Women in Agriculture (CIWA) including All India Coordinated Research Project on Home Science (AICRP-HS) - Rs. 151.21 crore.
 
An official press release said the scheme is aimed at generating quality human resources from the institutions of higher agricultural education. It encompasses several new initiatives, including steps to attract talented students, reducing academic inbreeding and addressing faculty shortage.  
 
"This will lead to generation of competitive and confident human resource. In addition, research on gender issues in agriculture and allied fields, formulating gender-equitable agricultural, policies/programmes and gender-sensitive agricultural-sector responses will be undertaken by ICAR-CIWA and capacity building needs of the human resources and stakeholders of the entire National Agricultural Research & Education System (NARES) will be catered leading to enhancing of competencies and capacities of the stakeholders including farmers, young scientists, students and agri-industry in NARES by ICAR-NAARM," the release said.
 
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Cabinet okays withdrawal of Nalanda University (Amendment) Bill pending in RS

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The Union Cabinet today approved a proposal for withdrawal of the Nalanda University (Amendment) Bill, 2013 pending in the Rajya Sabha.
 
The Nalanda University was established on the basis of a Joint Press Statement at the 4th East Asia Summit held in Thailand in October, 2009, which supported its establishment as a non-state, non-profit, secular and self-governing international institution. 
 
Subsequently, the Nalanda University Act, 2010 was passed by the Parliament and came into effect from 25th November 2010.
 
The present proposal is for moving a motion in Rajya Sabha withdrawing the Nalanda University (Amendment) Bill, 2013 introduced in Rajya Sabha on August 26, 2013 to amend certain existing provisions of the Nalanda University Act, 2010 and add some new provisions.
 
The Governing Board of Nalanda University has since been constituted as per section 7 of Nalanda University Act, 2010 with effect from 21.11.2016 with, the approval of Hon'ble President of India. The Amendment Bill will need to be discussed with the current Governing Board of Nalanda University before a final decision could be taken on going ahead with the proposed amendments. Further, the current Governing Board may also look into the entire Nalanda University Act, 2010 afresh and suggest amendments/additions wherever necessary.
 
Teaching in the University was inaugurated by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in September 2014. The President of India is the Visitor of the University, Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, the Chancellor and Professor Sunaina Singh, is the Vice-Chancellor. 
 
At present, the University has 116 students in three schools of studies --  School of Historical Studies, School of Ecology and Environment Studies and School of Buddhist Studies. This includes 35 international students from 21 foreign countries.
 
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SC gives go-ahead to declare CLAT-2018 results on Thursday

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave its nod for the declaration of the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT-2018) results on Thursday while giving more time to the Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC) to probe complaints received by it on glitches in the conduct of the online examination.
 
Permitting the Kochi-based National University of Advanced Legal Studies to go ahead with the declaration of results scheduled for May 31, a bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar allowed the GRC headed by Justice M.R. Hariharan Nair to take up the complaints on the conduct of the examination by the candidates who took the common entrance test for admission to national law universities.
 
The court has given GRC time till June 6 to look into the complaints and submit its report.
 
The report of the GRC, which has Professor Santosh Kumar as its other member, that was submitted to the court in a sealed cover, said that it has gone into the complaints of 167 examinees out of 251 complaints that were received till May 23.
 
The committee had urged the court to grant it more time to complete scrutiny of the complaints which it has received beyond 251 and another 25 who had approached the top court and the high courts seeking the annulling of the exams.
 
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