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Campus Notes

Cabinet approves creation of National Testing Agency for entrance examinations

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The Union Cabinet today approved creation of the National Testing Agency (NTA) as a society registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860, and as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.
 
An official press release said the NTA would initially conduct those entrance examinations which are currently being conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Other examinations will be taken up gradually after NTA is fully geared up, it said.
 
The entrance examinations will be conducted in online mode at least twice a year, thereby giving adequate opportunity to candidates to bring out their best.
 
In order to serve the requirements of the rural students, it would locate the centres at sub-district/district level and as far as possible would undertake hands-on training to the students.
 
The release said the NTA would be chaired by an eminent educationist appointed by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). The CEO will be the Director General to be appointed by the Government.
 
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There will be a Board of Governors comprising members from user institutions.
 
The Director General will be assisted by 9 verticals headed by academicians/ experts.
 
NTA will be given a one-time grant of Rs. 25 crore from the Government of India to start its operation in the first year. Thereafter, it will be financially self-sustainable.
 
The establishment of NTA will benefit about 40 lakh students appearing in various entrance examinations. It will relieve CBSE, the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and other agencies from responsibility of conducting these entrance examinations, and also bring in high reliability, standardized difficulty level for assessing the aptitude, intelligence and problem solving abilities of the students.
 
In view of the need to have a specialized body in India like in most advanced countries, the Finance Minister in the Budget speech of 2017-18 had announced setting up of the NTA.
 
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Nearly 7 lakh candidates appear for UGC NET examination

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Nearly 7 lakh candidates appeared for the National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) on behalf of the University Grants Commission (UGC) across the country today.
 
The NET determines eligibility for positions of Assistant Professor or Junior Research Fellows in Indian  universities and colleges.
 
More than 9.30 lakh candidates had registered for the test which was conducted in 84 subjects at 1700 examination centres in 91 cities.
 
"Approximately 4,09,439 male, 5,19,557 female candidates and 3 transgenders registered for the examination. More than 75% candidates appeared in the examination," a press release from CBSE said.
 
The candidates appeared in three papers. Paper-I of General Awareness was common for all and Paper-II and III were conducted out of 84 subjects selected by the candidates, it said.
 
The Board had deployed 2091 observers and scores of invigilators for the conduct of the examination, the release added.
 
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MS remains unsurpassed phenomenon in Carnatic music: Naidu

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Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu today said late classical vocalist M.S. Subbulakshmi remains an unsurpassed phenomenon in Carnatic music.
 
Speaking at the birth centenary commemoration of the legendary singer, Mr Naidu said Dr. Subbulakshmi, affectionately referred to as MS Amma, was the face of Indian Carnatic music for several decades.
 
She captivated the hearts of billions, not only in Tamil nadu, South India or India but in the entire world. Setting aside mere gimmicks and gymnastics of classical music, she delved deep into the soul of the music and brought forth the treasures from there, not only to the pundits or the elite but also to the common man, he added. 
 
The Vice President said “she rose to heights where all differences vanished and she took us there with her.” All the nations stood united when she sang in the assembly of the United Nations Organisation. In the enjoyment of such a fine expression of art, all differences of caste creed, race and nationality evaporated, he added.
 
Even Mahatma Gandhi was spell bound when he listened to her rendition of 'Vaishnava Janatho'. Knowing that she might not be able to sing a song he had requested, Gandhiji is supposed to have said, “I would rather hear her recite the lines than hear anyone else sing it.”
 
The Vice-President said that titans on the opposite sides of ideology, the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajaji, united and stood together when it came to appreciating the music that flowed in her mellifluous voice. Even the great sage of Kanchi, Paramacharya Chandrasekhara Saraswati was not an exception. MS was an epitome of grace, respected by one and all, he added.
 
Mr Naidu said that she was not only a singer par excellence, but was also a great actor who donned the roles of Bhaktha Meera and Shakuntala on the silver screen. She had that glow, that divine glow, hailed by the great philosopher president Dr S Radhakrishnan as 'Brahma Tejas' found in the "God intoxicated faces" of great sages. Dr Sarojini Naidu was the Nightingale of India by her verses, Dr MS Subbulakshmi was the Nightingale of India by her voice, he added.
 
“Upon Gandhiji’s insistence, she recorded his favourite Meera bhajan ‘Hari Tum Haro’ overnight and sent it to him on his birthday in 1947,” he pointed out.
 
She was the first musician to be awarded Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour. She was also the first Indian musician to have performed at the United Nations General Assembly and the first Indian musician to be conferred with the Ramon Magsaysay award for public service.
 
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She was called the ‘Nightingale of India’ by Sarojini Naidu and “Tapaswini” by Lata Mangeshkar, while Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan described her as “Suswaralakshmi Subbulakshmi. Apart from UN, she performed at the Edinburg International Festival and for Queen Elizabeth-II at the Royal Albert Hall, London. She mostly sang in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Meera Bhajans in Hindi.
 
For many decades now, it has been a common practice in most South Indian homes for people to wake up in the morning to the strains of M S Subbulakshmi’s rendition of Bhaja Govindam, the popular devotional composition written by Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya, Vishnu Sahasranaamam and Shri Venkateswara Suprabhatam, among others. Her Venkateswara Suprabhatham is played in Tirumala temple daily as part of the ritual.
 
She also made a huge contribution to popularizing Annanmacharya Kritis. MS undertook more than 200 charity concerts and donated the royalties she had earned on devotional albums to the Tirumala temple.
 
“When we celebrate the music of M S Subbulakshmi, we must also remember her husband Sri T.Sadasivam who visualized and orchestrated her career. We must also acknowledge another remarkable person in MS Subbulakshmi life – her daughter Radha Viswanathan who accompanied her mother for almost 55 years on the concert stage and trained her granddaughters Aishwarya and Saundarya. The legacy continues,” he added.
 
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Minister for Fisheries, Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Tamil Nadu, D. Jayakumar, family members of Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
 
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Footwear Design & Development Institute becomes ‘Institute of National Importance’

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The Footwear Design & Development Institute (FDDI) has become an ‘Institute of National Importance’ under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, with  the provisions of the FDDI Act 2017 coming into force from yesterday.
 
The FDDI Bill was passed by Parliament in July  2017 and the notification in this regard was published in The Gazette of India on October 5, 2017, an official press release said.
 
Minister of State for Commerce & Industry C.R. Chaudhary said that the commitment of the Government to resolve the degree issue had culminated in the grant of the status of ‘Institute of National Importance’ (INI) to FDDI. With this, the government has also ensured upgradation of FDDI to a position of eminence so as to enable the institute to effectively serve the sector and industry, he said.
 
Now that it has become an INI, FDDI has the autonomy  to design its courses as per the requirement of the industry, and award its own degrees to its students. FDDI can now independently develop and conduct courses leading to graduate and post-graduate degrees, doctoral and post-doctoral courses and research in the areas of footwear and leather products design and development and allied fields.
 
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Presently FDDI is imparting skill-based graduate and post-graduate courses in the fields of footwear, leather goods, retail and management to around 2,500 students across eight campuses spread over India. With the enhancement of the status of FDDI as an Institute of National Importance by the virtue of the FDDI Act, 2017, the institute will now be able to enroll around 2,500 more students in the coming admission session, across its 12 campuses, out of which four new campuses will become functional with the next academic session.
 
"FDDI is a premier Institute, serving as a ‘one stop solutions provider’ in footwear, leather and allied industry. Since its inception in 1986, FDDI has been playing a pivotal role in facilitating Indian industry by bridging skill gaps in the areas of footwear, leather, fashion, retail and management. FDDI has been functioning as an interface between the untapped talent and industry and its global counterparts, by fulfilling the demand of skilled man power with its specific curriculum, state of the art laboratories, world class infrastructure and experienced faculty," the release added.
 
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CWC signs MoU with IIT Roorkee and MNNIT on dam safety

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The Central Water Commission (CWC) has signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee and Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT), Allahabad to support the dam rehabilitation efforts of various implementing agencies and CWC.
 
The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has taken on board selected premier academic and research institutes for capacity building in the areas of dam safety through the World Bank-assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP).
 
An official press release said the scope of the MoUs includes strengthening the testing laboratories, enhancing analytical capabilities, exposure visits to best global institutions and on ground exposure to dam safety concerns to the faculty of these institutions.
 
The CWC has already signed MoUs with IIT Madras, IISc Bengaluru, NIT Calicut and NIT Rourkela for supporting these institutes for the procurement of specified equipment and software for enhancing their testing and modelling capabilities.
 
Last month, CWC facilitated the signing of MoUs by Madhya Pradesh Water Resources Department (MPWRD) and UJVN Limited (UJVNL), Uttarakhand with the Earthquake Engineering Department of IIT Roorkee.
 
It was for assisting MPWRD and UJVNL in the activities related to the establishment of seismic instruments, certification of these installations, generation of post-seismic event report having an intensity greater than 4.0 on Richter scale and sharing of these reports with State and Central agencies.
 
It also involved data collection, processing, monitoring, analysis, interpretation, integration of the State Dam Seismological Network (SDSN) with Indian Dam Seismological Network (IDSN) being maintained by national agencies to exchange the information and help to strengthen the existing seismological network for a strong national perspective plan, and conducting training programmes for the dam owning personnel.
 
DRIP is assisting rehabilitation of 225 dams in seven States which are experiencing different levels of distress. Owners of these dams require technical support for the investigation of dam conditions and supporting rehabilitation efforts.
 
The Government has decided to enhance the capability of selected premier academic institutes in dam safety areas so that they, in turn, carry out field investigations and material testing, and provide training and consulting services to the dam owners in their dam rehabilitation efforts.
 
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Infosys Foundation signs MoU with Indian Institute of Science for Rs. 5 crore grant

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Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic arm of IT services major Infosys, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, for a Rs. 5 crore grant to the institution.
 
The grant will help enhance infrastructure and broaden research activities at the Centre for Infectious Diseases Research (CIDR) at the institute, a press release from Infosys Foundation said.
 
The release said the amount would be used towards research, training and creating awareness about infectious diseases, benefiting 25 faculty members and 250 students at IISc.
           
IISc is a public university for research and higher education in all science and engineering disciplines.
 
"This association will facilitate an interdisciplinary approach, with a focus on research about infectious diseases, leading to the development of new drug targets, drug delivery systems and novel diagnostic tools," the release said.
 
Mrs. Sudha Murty, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation, said, “With this MoU, Infosys Foundation aims to set milestones in the area of research of infectious diseases. We will focus on motivating researchers to perform cutting-edge research, as well as train them to raise awareness about infectious diseases.”
 
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Tata Steel sets up library at Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences

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Tata Steel has set up a 150-seater library building at the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) here, the world’s largest tribal residential educational institute that has just been conferred with deemed university status by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India.
 
The library was inaugurated here on September 2 by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Others present on the occasion included Dr Achyuta Samanta, founder of KISS, TV Narendran, managing director, Tata Steel India & SEA, Sunil Bhaskaran, vice president, corporate services and Arun Misra, vice president, Project Gopalpur and managing director, Tata Steel Special Economic Zone, among other dignitaries.
 
Set up at an investment of Rs. 4.40 crore, the 150-seater library is a prefabricated engineering building that has been constructed using steel structure as its base, a press release from Tata Steel said.
 
It is equipped with furniture, electrical and sanitary fittings and other furnishings. Of the total cost, an amount of Rs 30 lakh has been contributed by Tata Power. 
 
"The library is indeed yet another testimony of Tata Steel’s commitment to partner and facilitate education initiatives in Odisha," the release said.
 
In 2009, Tata Steel had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with KISS to jointly work towards the uplift of the state’s tribal population, with special emphasis on providing education to the children of the rehabilitated families of Kalinganagar. The collaboration today culminated in Tata Steel setting up the library at the institute, which is home to over 25,000 students belonging to tribal communities, it said.
 
In his address on the occasion, Mr Narendran said, “Improving the quality of life of people living in and around our areas of operations is integral to the business philosophy of Tata Steel. Our operations are largely confined to areas that have a sizeable SC and ST population, and we believe that promoting affirmative action is the right way to serve communities around us."
 
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"Tinker space" set up in Vikram Sarabhai Library at IIM Ahmedabad

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The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) has set up a "tinker space" in the Vikram Sarabhai Library on its campus as a space dedicated to promote creative thinking and conversion of ideas into physical products.
 
The space will be used by the IIMA community members to design and create new products through a 3D printer, a press release from the institute said.
 
The Tinker Space has a 3D scanner and a small electronics lab with basic equipment including Arduino Uno original, Raspberry Pi original, bread board, soldering gun, DC motor, SD card module, Arduino blue tooth module, IT sensor, multi-meter, LEDs, and so on.
 
The Tinker Space has been set up with the help of Fornax, a startup led by students of PGP 2015-17, Saumya Mathur and Nikhil Menon with the  support of Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE).
 
“Vikram Sarabhai Library has provided educational resources and a congenial, educational environment to our students, faculty, and community members. Opening of the Tinker Space keeps it in the forefront of innovations as libraries the world over strive to redefine their role in today’s world of high technology, information, and connectedness. IIMA is proud of our Library. I am particularly delighted that this initiative has been realized with support from our alumni, who have graduated only recently from the Institute to pursue entrepreneurial ambition," said Prof. Ashish Nanda, Director, IIMA.
 
“The IIMA Library is always exploring opportunities to enrich the academic ambience of the campus. It is probably one of the first libraries in India to take up the cause of promoting and nurturing startup culture among its user community seriously. I am glad that we have started the ‘tinker space’ in the library.” said, Dr. H. Anil Kumar, Librarian, IIMA.
 
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IIM Ahmedabad showcases its FABM programme at roadshows in North-East

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The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) conducted  roadshows in two educational institutions of North-East India, showcasing its post-graduate program in food and agri-business management (PGP-FABM). 
 
The purpose of the roadshows was to educate students about the management programme, and answer any queries the students may have about it, a press release from IIMA said.
 
These roadshows were conducted at College of Agricultural Engineering and Post-Harvest Technology (CAEPHT) in Gangtok, Sikkim and Assam Agricultural University (AAU) in Jorhat, Assam. 
 
Prof. Ranjan Ghosh, a faculty member at IIMA and officials who run the day-to- day administration of this key programme represented IIMA.
 
The roadshow at CAEPHT, on August 14, was special as IIMA was also represented by two of its alumni – Mr. Prem Das Rai (1978 batch), a member of Parliament from Sikkim, and Mr. Tenzing Lepcha (2009 batch), an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who is currently serving as the Superintendent of Police, East Sikkim. 
 
More than 200 hundred students attended the event and interacted with the faculty and staff. Both Mr. Rai and Mr. Lepcha shared their experiences with the students and answered all the questions.
 
Prof. Ghosh emphasized the huge role food and agri-business sector plays in nation building and economic development. He highlighted the high demand for skilled managers in this sector who can work across the agri-food value chain and ensure high profits as well as re-distribution among farmers. 
 
In Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Jorhat, on August 17, Prof. Ghosh emphasized that with a little bit of awareness and smart preparation the dream of making into IIM Ahmedabad was very much achievable for students of North East. 
 
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"I was not even aware that PGP-FABM of IIMA is a niche programme dedicated to management education in the agri-food sector and that with a background in agriculture and allied sector education, we stand a good chance to make it to the programme," said Jagan Jyoti Barua, the student General Secretary of the college and a 4th year undergraduate student with an interest in a management career in the tea industry. He echoed the sentiment of many others, of the over 100 students participating in the event at AAU, who were surprised to know about PGP-FABM ranked No.1 Masters in Management in the Food and Agribusiness sector in the world (by ranking agency Eduniversal, Paris). 
 
After the event, when asked by the Dean of the University D.K. Borah, many students said they will now seriously consider preparing for CAT and appear for the interviews for IIMA FABM programme
 
Describing the event as a "huge success", the Vice-Chancellor of Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Dr. K.M. Bujarbaruah, thanked Mr. Pravin Christian (Programmes Officer, PGP-FABM) for taking the initiative to organize the event and for a visit from far-off Ahmedabad.
 
"Through these roadshows, IIMA once again displayed its commitment to quality management programme that is relevant to all regions of India," the release added.
 
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Indian scientists' prediction on solar corona proves right

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The predictions made by Indian scientists about the shape of solar corona during the solar eclipse of August 21 have been largely right.
 
This is a significant development as it was for the first time that physicists attempted to predict the shape of solar corona as it would be visible during an eclipse, using computer simulation and solar models. The development means that in future, scientists will be able to make more complex predictions about space weather which is influenced greatly by solar flares.
 
Dibyendu Nandi, scientist and head of the MHRD Center of Excellence in Space Sciences India (CESSI) at IISER Kolkata and his team of students along with a British physicist, had predicted two broad lotus petal-like structures (known as helmet streamers) on the southeast (lower-left as viewed from Earth) and southwest (lower-right) edge of the Sun, and a third, narrow elongated streamer structure on the northwest (upper-right) edge of the Sun for the solar eclipse on August 21. The team also rightly predicted that the southeast (upper-left) edge of the Sun will be the least active.
 
“These predictions have all been largely verified,” said Niruj Mohan, Chair of the Astronomy Society of India’s Committee on Public Outreach and Education. Preliminary inspection shows the team also rightly predicted location for all the streamers except the one on the southeast (lower-right) edge which is observed to be closer to the Sun’s equator than predicted.
 
The close correspondence between the prediction and observations is an impressive feat for a first attempt which utilized only modest and limited computing powers without recourse to supercomputers. “We got it right on all counts except notable few features, that too with modest facilities we have,” pointed out Nandi. However, he said, “we were not able to reproduce some fine details since our model is not complex enough. We were working on the model and this opportunity arose and we thought why not test our model to see if we are in the right path.”
 
Scientists will be performing a more detailed analysis as more data comes in. “We are very satisfied with the overall success of their prediction,” noted Somak Raychaudhury, Director of Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune.
 
It was a sleepless night for Nandi’s team. “I told my students not to be disappointed if we had got it wrong. After all, this was the first time we were testing our model with live a cosmic event,” he said. “None of us even winked. We were all awake all through the night and remained glued to the live broadcast on NASA TV. Only when the first clear sharp images of the corona came in late night that we could relax."
 
The magnetic lines protruding out of the sun make up the solar sunspots, but the team realised that the overall structure of the solar corona is dependent more on the memory of slow changes and accumulated history in the magnetic field distribution on the Sun's surface. “By incorporating all the sunspots that have emerged on the Sun's surface over the past century, we were able to make computer simulation for possible surface magnetic field on August 21, the day of the total solar eclipse, even with comparatively less powerful computers than the US team,” explained Nandi.
 
The structure of solar corona basically mirrors the invisible magnetic fields, just as the iron filings align along the butterfly shaped magnetic lines around a bar magnet in our high school physics experiments. However, in the blazing sunlight the corona is invisible, and can be seen only during the total solar eclipse. The magnetic structure of sun impacts the space weather, which in turn has implication for satellite communication, electric grids etc. on the earth.
 
The relative success of the model has implications the solar observatory, Aditya-L1, to be launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It will include Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC) instrument designed and developed by Dipankar Banerjee of Indian Institute of Astrophysics. It artificially creates a total solar eclipse in space by blocking emissions coming from the solar disk, revealing otherwise invisible corona. “The work by Nandi's team will let us directly compare observed images with these models and help us understand the corona better” said Banerjee.
 
"This work demonstrates success of IISER mandate, which is to integrate world class research with graduate and under-graduate education, and produce high class manpower for research," said Prasanta K. Panigrahi, director, IISER Kolkata.
 
The team included Dibyendu Nandi, Prantika Bhowmik, Suman Panda, Rajashik Tarafder, and Soumyaranjan Dash from CESSI, IISER Kolkata; and Anthony R. Yeates from Durham University, UK.
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Scientists find natural food preservative from bacteria

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Outbreak of food-borne pathogens can cause havoc. Now Indian scientists have found a solution - a bacterial protein isolated from intestine of chicken. They say it can be used as a food preservative since it can prevent growth of agents that cause food poisoning.
 
This research has been conducted at the School of Life Sciences at Pondicherry University.
 
The researchers have obtained the natural food preservative from Enterococcus faecalis CV7 bacteria which were isolated from intestines of country chicken. Researchers cultured these bacteria in the lab under controlled conditions and isolated a short protein named bacteriocinCV7.
 
“BacteriocinCV7 can be used as a natural food preservative, as we have seen that it inhibits the growth of Salmonella, a causal agent of food poisoning”, explained Arul Venkatesan, who conducted the study along with Venkatesh Perumal. “The demand for natural food preservatives has dramatically increased amongst consumers owing to the need for healthy, safe, and fresh products.”
 
The research results have been published in the journal Food Science and Technology.
 
Studies showed that bacteriocinCV7 remained functional even at high temperatures of 90 degree Celsius and killed disease-causing microbes in food in less than 18 hours even at a low concentration of 1 gram per litre. Therefore, using bacteriocinCV7 can reduce use of synthetic preservatives and make food safe for consumers, said Venkatesan.
 
In addition, he said, bacteriocin CV7 can also be used as a probiotic for poultry to control infections in place of synthetic antibiotics. This will make food safe for humans in the long run. The scientists have found that bacteriocinCV7 is non-toxic and safe by testing it on cultured human cell lines.
 
Ashok Pandey, scientist at the Centre of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing in Mohali, who is not connected to the study, commented that bacteriocinCV7 could be used as a preservative in the food industry, but it would require more studies to evaluate the possibility of commercial exploitation. 
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Supporting young entrepreneurs will be top priority for Kerala government: Vijayan

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Saturday  that his government would focus more strongly on promoting young and budding entrepreneurs with policies and all other necessary support.
 
Interacting with students at the IEDC Summit 2017, billed as India's largest such event for young student entrepreneurs, he encouraged them to set their sights on innovation and excellence.
 
“The students have exhibited a number of prototypes as part of the event that proves the ability of these youngsters. I am sure that you can stretch beyond these. The state government has always been a staunch supporter of the start-up ecosystem and will give you full-fledged support henceforth,” he said.
 
The Chief Minister also launched a startup venture, Traffitizer – a novel solution to help ambulances stuck in traffic. Traffitizer- Emergency Response System (T-ERS) is a centralized Internet of Things (IoT) based system, with artificial intelligence at different levels, that enables automatic switching of traffic lights to green for ambulances to pass through.
 
Kochi City Police Commissioner M P Dinesh also spoke on the occasion. “The product would help the police to manage emergency situations,” he said.
 
Ms. Aruna Sundararajan, Union Telecom Secretary, appreciated the efforts of the state government and the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in nurturing the startup ecosystem in the state.
 
“I am overwhelmed when I see youngsters like six-year-old Saarang Sumesh who has developed a humanoid that can fire bullets. India is full of challenges and when I look at the crowd at IEDC 2017, I am sure that these youngsters will convert those challenges to opportunities,” she said.
 
Kerala IT Secretary M Sivasankar said a number of schemes in the pipeline for supporting the startup ecosystem. “Kerala is the first state to have startups in colleges and the only state which provides incubation and grounding facility for budding student entrepreneurs,” he said.
 
He lauded KSUM for working towards promoting entrepreneurship among youth on behalf of the state. He also released the KSUM status report during the event.
 
The event saw participation from around 200 Innovation Entrepreneurship Development Centres (IEDCs) – small incubators set up in engineering, technical, management and arts and science colleges – to help students pursue innovative ideas and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.
 
Kerala Technical University Vice-Chancellor Kuncheria P Issac,  in his keynote address, highlighted the availability of opportunities to recreate the Silicon Valley in Kerala.
 
“The KTU has been introducing a number of schemes to promote entrepreneurship. We are even set to introduce a minor degree in entrepreneurship, which is probably the first of its kind in the country. There is a favourable eco-system to recreate the Silicon Valley here in Kerala,” he said.
 
KSUM CEO Saji Gopinath presented the IEDC report. He noted that KSUM is on the path of extending the IEDC programme to 500 colleges in the coming year.
 
“IEDC’s major role is to evangelize students, promote innovations and incubate the ones with potential. However, extending the service, we also seek students to support the innovators who have not attended college education,” he said. 
 
Mr. Scott O’Brien, CEO and co-founder Humense, a Sydney-based company specializing in Virtual (VR), Mixed (MR) and Augmented Reality (AR), stressed the need for start-ups to move to scale-ups for progress. "The first thing you need to possess is knowledge about the industry and later learn new things,” he said.
 
Google India Vice-President Rajan Anandan said that India is witnessing a revolutionary change in the digital platform.
 
“Gone are those days, when India lagged behind in technology. India’s start-up companies are making big revolutions across the world,” said Mr. Anandan.
 
Kerala witnessed its first ‘Bitcoin Airdrop’, joining in a worldwide initiative that sees cities, Fintech organisations and educational institutions in 11 regions mine and distribute free bitcoins to grow their local digital currency communities. KSUM also signed different agreements with investors as part of the event. 
 
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Neolithic artefacts of Northeast are 2700 years old: Study

For the first time, the age of the artefacts of Neolithic era recovered from two important sites in northeast India has been unraveled. Indian scientists have found the age using the latest technique of optically stimulated luminescence dating.
 
‘It is now confirmed that the corded pottery and polished stone tools that were recovered during excavations in Daojali Hading in Dima Haso district of Assam in 1961 are 2, 700 years old and those recovered from Gawak Abri in Garo Hills of Meghalaya in 1999 are 2,300 years old," says Dr. Sukanya Sharma of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati. She and her colleague, Pankaj Singh had conducted the study.
 
The study was conducted on an experimental basis with the new technique of optically simulated luminescence dating. The age of the sites was found to be well matched with the radio-carbon dates from other Neolithic sites of the region.
 
The excavation site at Daojali Hading occupies an important place in the archaeological history of India as the first evidence of an Eastern Asiatic Neolithic complex of double-shouldered Celts and cord-marked pottery in India was reported from there. The discovery had put Northeast India on the Neolithic map of the world for the first time. Howeve,r the precise age of the artefacts was not known.
 
The antiquity of the state was hypothetically stated to be of the "late Neolithic phase". Now, with the dating of the artefacts, this hypothesis has been proved and its antiquity has been established.
 
The dating of the Gawak Abri site in Garo Hills is also significant as Garo Hills has the highest density of prehistoric sites in North East India.
 
With the new finding of the age of the two sites, it is confirmed that human beings, with the capacity to make pottery and polished stone tools were present in the north east India over two thousand years ago.
 
The researchers have published their study in the latest issue of science journal, Current Science.
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Scientists develop natural material for faster blood clotting

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Excessive blood loss due to injury may result in serious medical complications and, in extreme situations, even death. The problem could be severe in case of patients with impaired blood clotting capacity such as in hemophilia. To address this challenge, Indian scientists have developed a nature-inspired biomaterial with enhanced blood clotting efficiency to treat injuries.
 
The new material has been developed by scientists at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata (IISERK) and Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata. Researchers have modified natural biomaterials, peptides, to develop sealants with improved strength, stability and clotting properties.
 
"We have engineered fibrin-inspired peptide-based sealants which have demonstrated superior blood clotting ability than natural fibrin,” explained Dr Rituparna Sinha Roy, a member of the research team.
 
The study has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.
 
Computer based analyses was employed, using various approaches, to generate sealant structures with desired properties, explained Prof Dhananjay Bhattacharyya, a senior researcher of the study. These structures were then synthesized and evaluated under laboratory conditions.
 
These tests revealed that the engineered sealant was able to self-assemble, much like the human body’s natural clotting mechanism, to form an interwoven structure resembling a clot but in nearly half the time. This enhanced clotting rate can play an extremely crucial role in treating injuries sustained during accidents or military combat, researchers pointed out.
 
The natural material of the engineered sealant will ensure that it is tolerated by the body with minimal inflammatory response. It is also bio-degradable, similar to the natural clotting factor. “Such sealants might be potentially translated into clinics for handling traumatic coagulopathy and for treating patients suffering from impaired blood clotting", felt Sinha Roy.
 
The researchers claim that the sealant may also find use in treating injuries where surrounding healthy skin tissue is absent and the body is incapable of closing its own wounds. The study also proposes the use of the engineered sealants in suture-free wound closing, such as in deep cuts or after surgical procedure.
 
The research team included Snehasish Ghosh, Sanchita Mukherjee, Chiranjit Dutta, Kasturee Chakraborty, Paramita Gayen, Somnath Jan, Dhananjay Bhattacharyya and Rituparna Sinha Roy. 
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Cabinet approves Director and non-teaching posts at NIT, Andhra Pradesh

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The Union Cabinet today granted its approval for the creation of one post of Director and three non-teaching posts at the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Andhra Pradesh.
 
The Director's post carries a basic pay of Rs 75,000 plus a special allowance of Rs 5,000. The non-teaching posts, that of the Registrar, Librarian and Principal Students Activity & Sports (SAS) Officer, carry a Grade Pay of Rs. 10,000.
NITs are Institutions of National Importance known to be among the best teaching Institutions in the field of engineering and technology in the country.
 
Consequent upon the assent of the President on March 1, 2014, to the bifurcation of the State of Andhra Pradesh, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has established the NIT in the successor State of Andhra Pradesh as per Schedule 13 (Education) of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014, an official press release added.
 
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New technology can keep coconut water fresh for four months

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Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur have found a new method to increase shelf life of tender coconut water. They claim that it can help retain the original taste of coconut water for as long as up to 18 weeks.
 
Fresh tender coconut water is a popular, low-calorie nutritious drink, but untreated coconut water has a shelf life of only 24 hours. The method developed by Sankha Karmakar and Sirshendu De at the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Kharagpur increases shelf life without the use of any preservatives.
 
The new method involves eliminating suspended debris using a nylon mesh and sterilization through a hollow Polyacrylonitrile fiber tube for an hour. This process removes bacteria and other microbes which increases its shelf life, researchers said. Coconut water thus sterilized was stored in wax-sealed glass or polypropylene bottles in a refrigerator at 5 degree Celsius and tested every month for quality and its properties.
 
Sterilization using membranes is known but it has been used for coconut water for the first time, and the polyacrylonitrile membrane used has been modified for this purpose, researchers said.
 
Karmakar told India Science Wire that, “independent experts - professors, PhD students and two kids - tasted treated coconut water. They were asked to score it on different counts such as appearance, texture, aroma, flavor, color and overall quality, besides purchase intention”. He says that the new method of preserving coconut water maintained the clarity and taste for 18 weeks. The results of the study have been published in Journal of Food Engineering.
 
Amit Jain, professor at Department of Chemical Engineering, Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya, Bilaspur, who was not involved with the study but was one of the tasters, commented that the new method is better because it increases the shelf life without adding preservatives. However, he cautioned that “membranes used for sterilization are prone to fouling or clogging and this could limit large scale use of this process”. If membranes are maintained appropriately by routine cleaning, the method can be used on industrial scale and can also be optimized for other beverages, he said.
 
Researchers claim the method can be scaled to an industrial scale in lesser cost. Currently available preservation methods such as pasteurization, microwave heating, freezing, and refrigeration have some limitations. While heating reduces taste and quality, refrigeration increases cost during transportation that limits marketability. 
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Ansari warns against “purifying exclusivism” seeking to replace the pluralist view of nationalism

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Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari today warned against the intrusion of a “purifying exclusivism” seeking to replace the pluralist view of nationalism and Indianness in existence for the past several decades after independence.
 
Delivering the 25th Annual Convocation address at the National Law School of India University here, Mr Ansari said, “For many decades after independence a pluralist view of nationalism and Indianness reflective of the widest possible circle of inclusiveness and a ‘salad bowl’ approach, characterized our thinking.
 
“More recently an alternate viewpoint of ‘purifying exclusivism’ has tended to intrude into and take over the political and cultural landscape. One manifestation of it is ‘an increasingly fragile national ego’ that threatens to rule out any dissent however innocent. Hyper-nationalism and the closing of the mind is also ‘a manifestation of insecurity about one’s place in the world,” he added.
 
“While ensuring external and domestic security is an essential duty of the state, there seems to be a trend towards sanctification of military might overlooking George Washington’s caution to his countrymen over two centuries earlier about ‘overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty,” Mr Ansari said.
 
Citizenship does imply national obligations. It necessitates adherence to and affection for the nation in all its rich diversity. This is what nationalism means, and should mean, in a global community of nations, he added.
 
The Israeli scholar Yael Tamir has dwelt on this at some length. Liberal nationalism, she opines, ‘requires a state of mind characterized by tolerance and respect of diversity for members of one’s own group and for others;’ hence it is ‘polycentric by definition’ and ‘celebrates the particularity of culture with the universality of human rights, the social and cultural embeddedness of individuals together with their personal autonomy.’
 
On the other hand, ‘the version of nationalism that places cultural commitments at its core is usually perceived as the most conservative and illiberal form of nationalism. It promotes intolerance and arrogant patriotism,’ he said.
 
“What are, or could be, implications of the latter for pluralism and secularism? It is evident that both would be abridged since both require for their sustenance a climate of opinion and a state practice that eschews intolerance, distances itself from extremist and illiberal nationalism, subscribes in word and deed to the Constitution and its Preamble, and ensures that citizenship irrespective of caste, creed or ideological affiliation is the sole determinant of Indianness,” he said.
 
“In our plural secular democracy, therefore, the ‘other’ is to be none other than the ‘self’. Any derogation from it would be detrimental to its core values,” Mr Ansari said.
 
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While framing the Constitution, India's founding fathers took cognizance of an existential reality of a plural society and culture imbued with considerable doses of syncretism. “Our population of 1.3 billion comprises of over 4,635 communities, 78 % of whom are not only linguistic and cultural but social categories. Religious minorities constitute 19.4 % of the total. The human diversities are both hierarchical and spatial.
 
“It is this plurality that the Constitution endowed with a democratic polity and a secular state structure. Pluralism as a moral value seeks to ‘transpose social plurality to the level of politics, and to suggest arrangements which articulate plurality with a single political order in which all duly constituted groups and all individuals are actors on an equal footing, reflected in the uniformity of legal capacity. Pluralism in this modern sense presupposes citizenship,” he added.
 
Citizenship as the basic unit is conceptualized as “national-civic rather than national-ethnic” ‘even as national identity remained a rather fragile construct, a complex and increasingly fraught ‘national-civic-plural-ethnic’ combinations.’ In the same vein, Indianness came to be defined not as a singular or exhaustive identity but as embodying the idea of layered Indianness, an accretion of identities, Mr Ansari said.
 
Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, Supreme Court Chief Justice Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Supreme Court Judge, Justice Dipak Misra, Minister of Higher Education, Karnataka, Basavaraj Rayareddi, the Minister for Law and Justice, T B Jayachandra, former Chief Justice of India, Dr. Justice (Rtd.), Rajendra Babu, the Chairman, Bar Council of India, Manan Kumar Mishra, the Vice Chancellor, NLSIU, Prof. R. Venkata Rao were present on the occasion.
 
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IIMs to hold Common Admission Test 2017 on November 26

IIM Ahmedabad
IIM Ahmedabad
The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) today announced that they  would conduct their computer-based Common Admission Test 2017 (CAT 2017) on November 26, 2017 in two sessions.
 
CAT 2017 is a pre-requisite for admission to various post-graduate and fellow programmes of the IIMs.
 
Prof. Neeraj Dwivedi, Convener, CAT 2017, said the registration window for CAT 2017 will open on August 9 and will close at 5.00 pm on September 20. 
 
At the time of registration, the candidates have to select any four Test Cities as per their preference from the drop down menu. After the last date of registration, candidates will be allotted one among the four preferred cities and either of the two sessions. In the rare case that a candidate is not allotted any of the preferred cities, he/she will be allotted a nearby city, the bulletin said.
 
Candidates can download the admit cards from October 18 till November 26. CAT will be conducted in centres spread across around 140 test cities. Details about the test centres in the test cities will be available on the IIM CAT website from October 18 and the name of the test centre will be indicated in the Admit Card.
 
The post-graduate programmes (PGP) in management are offered by the following IIMS: IIM Ahmedabad (PGP,PGP-FABM, ePGP); IIM Amritsar (PGP); IIM Bangalore (PGP, PGPEM, PGPPM); IIM Bodh Gaya (PGP); IIM Calcutta (PGP, PGDM); IIM Indore (PGP (Indore, Mumbai) (EPGP, PGP-HRM); IIM Jammu (PGP); IIM Kashipur (PGP, EPGP); IIM Kozhikode (PGP); IIM Lucknow (PGP, PGP-ABM, PGP-SM); IIM Nagpur (PGP); IIM Raipur (PGP, PGPWE); IIM Ranchi (PGDM, PGDHRM); IIM Rohtak (PGP, EPGP, EPGPX); IIM Sambalpur (PGP); RGIIM Shillong (PGP, PGPEX); IIM Sirmaur (PGP); IIM Tiruchirappalli (PGP, PGPBM); IIM Udaipur (PGP) and IIM Visakhapatnam (PGP).
 
The Fellow Programmes in Management (FPM) [equivalent to Ph.D.] are offered by the following IIMs: IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM lndore, IIM Kashipur, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Lucknow, IIM Raipur, IIM Ranchi, IIM Rohtak, RGIIM Shillong, IIM Tiruchirappalli and IIM Udaipur.
 
Separate advertisements may appear for the Fellow Programme of each institute as well as for PGP-FABM & ePGP of IIM Ahmedabad, PGPEM & PGPPM Programmes of IIM Bangalore, EPGP of IIM Indore, EFPM & EPGPM of IIM Kashipur, PGP-ABM & PGP-SM of IIM Lucknow, PGPWE of IIM Raipur, PGDHRM of IIM Ranchi, EPGP of IIM Rohtak, PGPEX of RGIIM Shillong and PGPBM of IIM Tiruchirappalli.
 
The CAT 2017 Scores are also allowed to be used by some non-IIM member institutions. The IIMs have no role in the selection process of non-IIM institutions.
 
According to the CAT 2017 Information Bulletin, candidates must hold a Bachelor’s Degree, with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA [45% in case of the candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons With Disability (PWD) categories], awarded by any University or educational institution as incorporated by an Act of the Parliament or State legislature in India or declared to be deemed as a University under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification recognized by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India. The percentage of marks obtained by the candidate would be calculated based on the practice as followed by the respective University/Institution. In case of grades / CGPA, the conversion to percentage of marks would be based on the procedure as certified by the respective University/ institution. 
 
If any University/institution confirms that there is no scheme for converting CGPA into equivalent marks, the equivalence would be established by dividing the candidate’s CGPA by the maximum possible CGPA, and multiplying the result with 100.
 
Candidates appearing for the final year of Bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification examination and those who have completed degree requirements and are awaiting results can also apply. Hower, such candidates, if selected, will be allowed to join the programme provisionally, only if they submit a certificate from the Principal / Registrar of their University/ institution (issued on or before the date as stipulated by the respective IIM) stating that they have completed all the requirements for obtaining the Bachelor’s degree/equivalent qualification on the date of the issue of the certificate. 
 
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As per the legal requirements, 15% of the seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC), 7.5% for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates, 27% of seats for Other Backward Classes candidates belonging to the “Non-Creamy” layer (NC-OBC), and 5% for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities (PwD).
 
The registration fee of CAT 2017 is Rs. 900 for SC, ST and PwD category candidates and Rs. 1800 for all other categories of candidates. A candidate needs to pay registration fee only once, irrespective of the number of institutes he/she is applying for. SC, ST and PwD candidates must upload a copy of their SC/ST/PwD certificates at the time of registration. 
 
"We will try our best to assign candidates to their first preferred city. In case it is not possible, they will be assigned a city following their given order of preference. In the rare case that a candidate is not allotted any of the preferred cities, he/she will be allotted to an alternate city. However, candidates will not be able to select the session because it will be assigned randomly," Prof. Dwivedi said.
 
Candidates must pay the registration fee through online payment modes only, which include credit cards, debit cards and net banking.
 
The duration of the test will be 180 minutes. There will be three sections:  Section I: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension; Section II: Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning; and o Section III: Quantitative Ability.
 
"Some questions in each section may not be of multiple choice type. Instead, direct answers will have to be typed on the screen. The tutorials will clearly explain this. Also, we will allow use of basic onscreen calculator for computation," Prof. Dwivedi said in a press release.
 
Candidates will be allotted exactly 60 minutes for answering questions in each section and they cannot switch from one section to another while answering questions in a section. Tutorial to understand the format of the test will be available on the CAT website from October 18. 
 
"Candidates are advised to work on the tutorials, available on the website, well in advance," he said.
 
The website contains a section on Frequently asked Questions (FAQ), which addresses candidates’ queries regarding CAT 2017. Candidates may also contact the CAT helpdesk over email or phone. 
 
CAT 2017 results are likely to be declared by the second week of January, 2018. The score card will be made accessible at the CAT website. Candidates may also be intimated individually by SMS. 
 
CAT 2017 score is valid only till December 31, 2018 and will accordingly be accessible on the website. 
 
The bulletin clarified that each IIM is independent to mandate its own eligibility criteria (including academic cut-offs and relative weights) and follow different selection processes. 
 
"Performance in CAT 2017 examination is an important component for consideration in the selection process. IIMs may also use previous academic performance of the candidates, relevant work experience and other similar inputs in short-listing of candidates at various stages of the selection process," it said.
 
"Instances of any incorrect information or process violation detected at any stage of the selection process will lead to immediate disqualification of the candidate from the selection process and he/she will not be allowed to appear for CAT in future. If such instances go undetected during the current selection process but are detected in subsequent years, such disqualification will take place with retrospective effect," the bulletin added.
 
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IIM Bangalore sets up Case Recording Lab to advance digital delivery of management education

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Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Director G. Raghuram inaugurated a Case Recording Lab set up at IIMB here today as part of its efforts in digital learning.
 
Set up with funding support from Mitsubishi Corporation India Limited and Metal One Corporation India Limited, the laboratory is equipped to record and encapsulate live case discussions, a press release from IIMB said.
 
"The aim is to create a digital repository of teaching and learning aids that captures the essence of the case method of teaching in the IIMB classroom," it said.
 
The release said that, through the IIMBx MOOCs Programme, IIMB has offered Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to more than five lakh global learners in various core and specialized management subjects. Videos are the backbone for delivering pedagogically designed digital content to learners and with this lab, IIMB has strengthened its technical capability to produce world-class MOOCs, it said.
 
Inaugurating the Case Recording Lab, Dr. Mazumdar-Shaw said: “The country needs to leverage MOOCs on a massive scale to enable millions of Indian youth access high-quality education. IIMB has taken great strides in the area of making management education accessible through digital platforms. This lab is another instance of the institute’s continued focus on technology innovation to make education effective and far-reaching.”
 
Observing that IIMB has taken a very strong lead in providing quality digital learning in the management education space to Indian and global learners, she said that when she visited MIT recently, she learnt that IIMB is one of the most important partners of the edX platform and the initiatives are seen as ‘problem solvers’ on the platform. 
 
Dr. Mazumdar-Shaw lauded the "incredible reach" of MOOCs, calling it the true democratization of education. 
 
In his opening remarks, MCI Chairman and Managing Director Eisuke Shiozaki, said:  “It is a great pleasure to be associated with IIM Bangalore and with the project which will allow education to reach to millions of students across the globe.” Describing the IIMBx Case Recording Lab as “another addition to the global IOT movement”, he said he hoped that the lab would go a long way in supporting future managers and decision-makers of India.
 
Professor Raghuram emphasized IIMB’s strong focus on reinforcing Indo-Japan ties in the domain of management education and said, “IIMB is thankful to Mitsubishi and Metal One for their support in our technological endeavor. We hope that the Case Recording Lab is one of many initiatives that the institute accomplishes in collaboration with our Japanese partners.”
 
Thanking the IIMB Board of Governors for their support to IIMB’s MOOCs initiative and the faculty of IIMB for devoting time to create and deliver quality management MOOCs, Prof. Raghuram announced that IIMB would soon be setting up a Japan Centre. “The Japan Centre @ IIMB aims to become a knowledge centre of Japanese business history, business strategies and technology innovations,” he added.
 
As a location, Prof. Raghuram said Bangalore boasts the highest number of Japanese companies and professionals in India. “Further, Bangalore has been ranked among the world’s best innovation ecosystems and IIM Bangalore is ideally positioned to start a Japan Centre.”
 
IIM Bangalore’s Deans of Faculty, Administration and Academic Programmes – Prof. Gopal Naik, Prof. G Shainesh and Prof. Sourav Mukherji, along with senior faculty members Prof. R Ravi Kumar and Prof. M S Narasimhan, were present at the inauguration.
 
Earlier, in his welcome address, Prof. P D Jose, Chairperson, IIMB Digital Learning Initiatives, offered an overview of IIMBx, the MOOCs programme of IIM Bangalore, and highlighted its success in delivering these programmes in 190 countries to those who may not, otherwise, have had access to quality management education. “IIMBx is proof of IIMB’s commitment to delivering quality management education to all," he added.
 
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Mukherjee says higher education institutions must be designed to serve society

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President Pranab Mukherjee has said that it was not enough for higher education institutions to be modern and relevant and they must be designed to serve and make an impact on society.
 
"Their research capability must be used with an aim to innovatively address real world problems that nations face. Higher educational institutions must strive to become community assets," he said at a function to dedicate the BML Munjal University to the nation at Rashtrapati Bhavan here yesterday.
 
The university has been founded by the Hero Group  at Gurgaon in Haryana and named after the chairman and co-founder of the group, Brijmohan Lall Munjal.
 
"One of the things Munjalji discovered from his own life experience was the importance of learning skills and the value of being practical. He believed that life’s education and learning occurred both within and outside the walls of the classroom. True to this philosophy, this university has been modeled on the principle of practicality, which is unique in India’s higher education landscape today. I hope that such an effort is emulated by others venturing into this noble field," Mr. Mukherjee said.
 
The President said campuses serve as an important venue for the transition from adolescence to adulthood. It is a critical phase in the life of the youth when their minds are willing to experiment and think of novel things. 
 
He said that, in the emerging global scenario, the quality of higher education imparted would play an important role in moulding the careers of young men and women.
 
"In less than ten years from now, nearly 140 million people will be in the college-going age group. Every fourth graduate in the world will be a product of our higher education system. In such a competitive environment, only those professionals who are properly skilled and trained will achieve success. The onus is on the higher educational institutions to prepare their students in a way that they are globally relevant and yet sensitive to the needs of the local socio-economy," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee noted that the government had been taking several initiatives to make education in India more skill-centric. 
 
"Higher educational institutions also have a great responsibility in modernizing education. Technology and communication are fast transforming the way the world works. Institutions must catch up with the latest technology to make education more effective and meaningful. They have to reorganize courses, programs and structures to meet the needs of a changing era and suit the aspirations of students.
 
"Students have to be versed in original analytical thinking, communication skills, superior presentation skills and ability to work in teams. This can only happen when the top-down approach to education changes. Rather than the teacher serving as the only source of knowledge dispensation in a classroom, he or she must encourage information sharing between students. Peer-to-peer learning has the potential to unearth and create new knowledge," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said students entering the workforce must be self-managing, self-developing and emotionally self-sustaining. "These are qualities that must be ingrained in students when they enter an institute of higher learning. Students cannot sit and be passive recipients any longer. Curriculum must not be pre-designed. Rather, it must undergo continuous revision to make it increasingly contemporary. The dominant mode of instruction can no longer be text-book and lecture-centric," he stressed.
 
"In today’s world, continuing with the twentieth century template for education can be risky. With a rise in online learning, world class content and courses from the finest universities are now being made available through knowledge networks. MOOCs have become an important component of learning in conventional education system due to the changing profile of learners. There are many who are seeking education from their work places in line with the philosophy of lifelong learning. Online learning allows the learning experience to be tailored to individual style or pace. Tricky concepts can be relearned through programs online or processed through a variety of formats. With this flexibility, students are better prepared to take their learning in stride," he said.
 
The President said it was clearly important for contemporary higher education institutions to offer an extra edge, in terms of a more interactive and unique learning experience. "Making more optimal use of classroom time holds the key. Many are moving from the traditional lecture style towards a discussion-based seminar approach. Others are adopting the concept of ‘flipped classroom’ (astrategy of blended learning that reverses the traditional learning mode by delivering content outside the classroom, often through online communication channels)," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said it was heartening that the university is doing some pioneering work in both the areas of education formats as well as sustainable research and innovation. 
 
"I am told that about 45 percent of the students’ time is spent outside the classroom, where learning takes place through projects, workshops, labs, industry visits and practice school. In these endeavours, students should work in teams to identify problems and think through solutions. 
 
"Accrual of knowledge in renowned institutions takes place through collaborative partnerships with such other institutions as well as industrial organizations. I am glad that BML University has tie-ups with some of the world’s leading institutions like Imperial College, London, Singapore Management University and the University of Maryland as well as corporations such as IBM, KPMG, Intel, Shell, Siemens and Axis Bank. I hope that this momentum is not only maintained but strengthened further," he added.
 
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IIM Kozhikode to incubate 12 start-ups under its IIMK Live Business Incubator

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IIMK LIVE, a business incubator launched by Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIMK) in early 2016, has offered admission to 12 start-ups in its first job creation programme.
 
IIMK LIVE (Laboratory for Innovation, Venturing and Entrepreneurship) is a business incubator and entrepreneurship development centre established by IIM Kozhikode with the support of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. 
 
Responding positively to the proposal submitted by IIMK in early 2016, DST sanctioned a grant of Rs. 3 crore to set-up the business incubator, a press release from the institute said.
 
IIMK has made available required space and facilities on campus and is developing a series of programmes and products that would ensure long-term sustainability of LIVE. As a government recognized on-campus incubator, DST would continue supporting it in various ways including it acting as an important element of its Seed Support System, the release said.
 
"Over last two decades, IIM Kozhikode has always taken initiatives that contribute to national development goals and LIVE is in response to the prime minister’s call - ‘Startup India, Standup India’. LIVE seeks to emerge as national center of excellence in promoting innovation, new business venturing and entreprenuership among student community on campus as well as greater community," Prof. Kulbhooshan Balooni, Director In-charge of IIMK, said.
 
“LIVE would gain immensely from the faculty members, knowledge base, students, alumni, international linkages and other institutional networks of IIM Kozhikode and is in turn expected to contribute to the institute’s various programmes and activities,” he added. 
 
Of the 12 start-ups offered admission to LIVE in first round that concluded recently, five are founded by IIMK alumni. The selected ventures in this group are across a range of sectors but many are based on digital technology. 
 
LIVE registered under Indian Societies Act in June 2016, hopes to support start-ups not just founded by IIMK’s own students/ alumni but also any idea owner with innovation that is believed to have commercial potential.
 
“While we have some thrust areas to focus in mind, in the beginning we are sector agnostic. Also, while we want more and more of our own students taking to entreprenuership, we do not limit supporting only them," Dr. Keyoor Purani, Executive Director, IIMK LIVE and professor of marketing at IIMK, said.
 
Justifying such an approach, he said, "The start-up environment in India is fast evolving and our
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startegy with regard to the sectoral and other focus areas would evolve over a period of time.” 
 
“IIMs and other B-schools have job placements deeply entrentched in many of their programmes as traditionally that has been the sole career track MBAs looked for. Over the years, newer models would evolve that would facilitate entreprenuerial risk taking by MBA students despite burden of educational loans. We are working towards that but as of now I am happy with the response," he added.
 
The 12 start-ups were selected from about 100 applications received for the year-long incubation in the first round of admission. Applications for the programme are invited round the year and enrolments are expected to take place every six months or so. Under the incubation programme, start-ups ready with the proof of concept will work with mentors to develop go-to- market startegy, build team and prepare itself for funding. 
 
Apart from mentorship, training, professional services and a collaborative work space, LIVE hopes to help many of the incubatee companies with seed support funds to help translate innovative idea into a commecial venture, the release added.
 
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MoS (HRD) Mahendra Nath Pandey visits IIT Palakkad site in Kerala

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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. 
 
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Cabinet approves setting up of Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Assam

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

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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.
 
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Mukherjee stresses need for capacity building among youth

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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.
 
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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.
 
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