Campus Notes

Connected Learning Initiative by TISS, MIT, Tata Trusts wins UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize

The Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx), a tripartite initiative of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tata Trusts, has won UNESCO’s prestigious King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize, an international recognition, for the Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the field of Education.
CLIx, which leverages technology to improve learning levels in Mathematis, English and Science, was chosen out of 143 applications from 79 countries, and the only Indian initiative to have been honoured, since 2006 when this award was instituted, a press release from Tata Trusts said.
The initiative was selected by the director-general of UNESCO based on the recommendations of an international jury, which comprised eminent education experts, bureaucrats and academicians working ICT in education, drawn from five countries.
"The Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx), a bold and innovative experiment, offers quality teaching and learning through the use of modern technology to improve the academic prospects of high school students from underserved communities of India. With a four-pronged approach that includes Classroom Activities, Lab Activities, IT enabled Activities and Review and Assessment to deliver learning outcomes, CLIx aims to provide high quality learning experiences in Hindi, Telugu and English. CLIx focuses on authentic, hands-on, conceptual learning and development of values, skills and competencies. 
"CLIx has helped improve the education outcomes in a total of 478 government secondary schools; covering 2,130 teachers and 32,437 students in the states of Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana. Currently CLIx offers over 15 modules in Mathematics, Science, English and Digital Literacy in three languages in these schools in which ICT labs have been activated, 1767 teachers who have participated in Teacher Professional Development workshops and are on mobile-phone enabled Communities of Practice," the release said.
Padma Sarangapani, Project Director, CLIx and Professor, TISS, said, “We have designed to harness technology to enhance constructivist learning—getting students to think, solve problems, explore, interact and collaborate and involving teachers in developing their pedagogy for active learning.  This is the curriculum transformation that our education system needs, at scale, envisioned in the National Curriculum Framework 2005.  The enthusiasm of students to learn through exploration and of teachers who are learning to integrate ICT into their subject teaching, and of the State governments of Mizoram, Rajasthan, Telangana and Chhattisgarh who are happy to see the ICT@School labs being maintained and used by students, has been a great source of motivation for us.”
M S Vijay Kumar,   Associate Dean for Open Learning. Executive Director, J-WEL, MIT, said, “We hope that the project's commitment to openness, connectedness, and pedagogical principles will serve as useful model for educational change at scale, in India and elsewhere. It is at once humbling, gratifying and energizing to receive the King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa prize from UNESCO. This honour is not only a recognition of the collaborative effort so far in each aspect of this project (curriculum design, technology applications, teacher preparation) but also incentive to continue to look for innovative solutions to address the important goal of providing universal quality education”.
R Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee, Tata Trusts, said, “UNESCO's award to Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx), reaffirms Tata Trust’s vision of building lasting solutions to complex educational challenges. This is only possible through national and international collaborations and meaningful use of technology. CLIx exemplifies principles of innovation, collaboration and openness. We remain committed to working with multiple stakeholders to implement CLIx at scale to foster quality and equity in education.”
The release said the initiative draws on MIT’s leadership in platform-based blended-learning and interactive technologies in Education, TISS’s experience of impactful field action programmes in school and teacher education, and Tata Trusts’ commitment to serve disadvantaged communities in India. The Initiative has partnered with four Indian States to work in government high schools with students and teachers. It has also worked with a number Indian non-profits such as Eklavya, Centre for Education Research and Practice and academic institutions such as Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education and University of Mizoram for curriculum development and implementation.
The theme of this year’s edition was “Use of ICT to Increase Access to Quality Education” with a view to promote innovations in leveraging ICTs for achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4. 
Since 2006, the Prize is dedicated to reward innovative ICT practices in education that aim to develop education systems worldwide and to foster high quality and inclusive lifelong opportunities for all. 
The national Programme on Mainstreaming ICTs for Education (Programme de Généralisation des Technologies de l´Information et de la Communication pour l´Enseignement, Programme GENIE), from Morocco has also won the award, the release said.
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IIMA ties up with NTPC to create world class research institute

Public sector power producer NTPC and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), the country's top business school, today announced a joint initiative to create a world class research institute at NTPC School of Business for policy prescription and churn out management graduates with focus on energy sector.
"We are proud to have entered an agreement, under which India's marquee business school -- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - will hand hold NTPC School of Business to replicate its management degree courses beginning this year with special focus on energy verticals not only for NTPC but for the entire power sector," Mr Saptarshi Roy, Human Resource Director, NTPC, said.
"This is the first time we are tying up with a leading academic institution for degree and other specialised courses on the lines of IIM-A. We were blessed with handholding from IIM-A for five years and we are proud of it. We will be doing the same with NTPC School of Business (NSB) and hand hold it for five years, create a top class faculty like our own and offer a host of specialised electives for various aspects related to energy and power sectors," IIM-A's HRM Area Chair and Strategic Management Professor Sunil Kumar Maheshwari said.
"We wish to create a strong research and policy centre. To create manpower for this centre, NSB shall be ideal institute to take lead and this will become Centre of excellence for policy research and policy documentation," Mr Maheshwari said.
Under the scheme of arrangement, NSB, guided and shepherded by IIM-A specialists, will seek applications from aspirants for MBA degree from April this year for a two-year degree course with specialisation in energy sector.
IIM, apart from bringing professionals from the parent organisation, will gradually create NSB's own faculty by the end of the fifth year.
Mr Roy, who also holds additional charge as Director Finance, said that NTPC is focused on creating robust leadership for the future of the organisation that accounts for 16 per cent of the country's total power generation capacity. He added that NTPC's budget for learning and development has significantly gone up this year.
"The NSB tie-up is the latest in the series of learning and development initiatives at NTPC. We also have tied up with Harvard Business School and other Ivy League institutions under which a total of 180 senior executives are being given global exposure for the first hand learning of leadership modules and best business practices as part of efforts to create future leadership for the organisation that is supplementing the national economic growth by way of meeting electricity requirement," he said.
“We have the entire infrastructure at our NSB’s Noida campus ready to start the courses from the academic year including residential facility for the students.  We intend to enrol 120 students in the first year,” said Mr. A.K. Bhatnagar, Executive Director, Head of Power Management Institute & NSB, Noida.
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Kovind addresses golden jubilee celebrations of MC Mahajan DAV College for Women, Chandigarh

President Ram Nath Kovind today said the MC Mahajan DAV College for Women has been playing an important role in the field of female education drawing inspiration from the vision of the great social reformer Swami Dayanand Saraswati as well as the former Chief Justice of India, late Mehar Chand Mahajan.
Addressing the golden jubilee celebrations of the college, Mr Kovind said the institution has contributed greatly to women’s education in North India in the past five decades. He expressed the hope that this college will continue to be a model in the region and will rise to even higher prominence in the coming 50 years.
The President paid tributes to Chandigarh as the first planned city of independent India. It offers an example, he said, for town planning for the country.
The city is a symbol of ‘Green India’, ‘Swachh Bharat’ and ‘Swasth Bharat’. He congratulated the citizens and administrators of Chandigarh for their contribution.
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NEET results to be used for merit list for filling up 15% All India quota in veterinary colleges in 2018-19

The Veterinary Council of India has said that the merit list of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (UG) 2018 for medical courses would be used for allocation of seats under 15% All India quota for allocation of seats to the recognized Veterinary Colleges for admission to B.V.Sc & A.H. course during 2018-19.
"All those students desirous to take admission to B.V.Sc & A.H.Degree Course under 15% seats on All India Basis are hereby advised to appear in NEET (UG) 2018 to be conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on 6th May,2018," an official press release said.
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Kovind says definition of employment is changing, it is no longer about conventional jobs

Stating that the definition of employment is changing and it is no longer just a conventional job, President Ram Nath Kovind today said that creating self-employment opportunities for oneself and for others had become more feasibile.
"In order to encourage self-employment, the Government is providing assistance through various schemes," he said in  his address at the diamond jubilee celebrations of PGDAV College, University of Delhi, here.
He urged students to use these opportunities for their career development as well as to create opportunities for others.
Mr. Kovind said the 21st century is the age of the knowledge economy, pointing out that, in today’s era, the power of new ideas, new thinking and innovation is greater than money.
He pointed to the success of youth and their start-ups in online commerce, transport and tourism as examples. More than capital investment, it is human talent and ingenuity that is behind such success, he said.
The President said the DAV family of educational institutions has imparted education based on modern scientific perspectives, as well as inspired by Indian traditions, to successive generations in the country. 
"Sustainable development of human society is possible through the confluence of Indian values ??and modern science and technology. Indeed, the philosophy of the DAV institutions, which were first founded in the 19th century, can stand us in good stead in the 21st century as well," he added.
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Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship Programme transforms India’s scientific scenario

The Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship, conceived in the year 2006-07 with the idea of encouraging scientists (Indian nationals) working outside the country to return to their home country to pursue their research interests, has achieved good results, an official press release has said.
According to it, during the last ten years, 1492 applications were received and out of these 396 were offered fellowship and 280 have already taken up positions in Indian laboratories.
So far, 188 fellows have already been able to seek permanent faculty positions in various host institutes in India. The fellowship over the years has picked up momentum and resulted in creating a brand value in itself, the release said.
"Fellows have performed extremely well and they have been able to publish their research work in peer-reviewed national and international scientific journals. Over the past decade, the programme has been able to transform the scientific scenario of the country through innovative technologies and outstanding research with special emphasis on issues of national relevance.
"The work done by fellows is regularly monitored by organizing three days' conclave to listen to their research, mentor them and try to help them in understanding the scientific ecosystem in the country," the release said.
On the successful completion of ten years, the department is now hosting a conclave to celebrate the achievements and revisit the journey of the programme over the years.
The 8th Conclave is being organized by National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR) New Delhi during February15-17 on behalf of Department of Biotechnology at The Ashok Hotel and NIPGR, New Delhi.
The meeting would be presided over by Union Minister for Science & Technology & Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DBT.
The meeting would monitor the progress of the fellows, provide a platform to interact, discuss and exchange innovative ideas. It includes key note lectures and mentor lectures by eminent scientists of India, the release said.
The mentor talks focus on how, despite all odds, scientists are able to establish themselves and create a niche for themselves.  Guidance will be provided on how to set up a lab and grant writing to the newly joined fellows. Besides, the alumni shall also be encouraged to share their experiences as a Ramalinga Fellow.
"The overall idea is to provide a fertile environment to the fellows, who have returned to India in terms of resources and funding. The fellows also would be made aware of the current scientific scenario and the pressing issues that need to be immediately addressed so that the enthusiastic scientists can work together for the progress of the country," the release added.
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GAIL launches Utkarsh programme to train students for IIT, NIT entrance exams in Uttarakhand

The Uttarakhand Government, public sector natural gas major GAIL (India) Limited and the Centre for Social Responsibility and Leadership (CSRL) have come together to train meritorious children from underprivileged families in the state who dream of studying in prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology and other top engineering colleges. 
Two centres will be set up Kumaon and Garhwal regions to benefit such students under the GAIL Utkarsh Super 100 programme, a press release from GAIL said.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat launched the programme in the presence of Minister of State for Higher Education Dhan Singh Rawat and GAIL Chairman and Managing Director B C Tripathi.
GAIL is implementing a slew of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in Uttarakhand and Project Utkarsh is one of them, aimed at deserving students from marginalized communities.
Fifty students will be provided training in each of the two new centres, the release said.
CSRL had established its first center in 2007 in Kanpur in collaboration of GAIL. It provides all-expenses paid, specialized residential coaching and intensive mentoring so that they can compete for engineering entrance examinations such as Indian Institute of Technology – Joint Entrance Examination, Uttar Pradesh Technical University, and so on.
Since its inception in 2009-10, 690 students have been trained under GAIL’s patronage, of which 598 have been selected – 125 in IITs and 473 in NITs and other engineering colleges. Some students from the initial batches are now employed in top organisations such as Wipro, TCS, Larsen & Toubro, ISRO, Infosys and Coal India Limited.
Meanwhile, CSRL has scaled up from one centre to 15 centres across nine states.
RailTel, a Government of India PSU, and CSRL had collaborated to establish RailTel Akansha Super 30 in Dehradun in 2015 which has successfully guided students to get admission in IITs, NITs and various other prestigious institutions. With the addition of the GAIL centres, the number of CSRL centres in Uttarakhand will increase from one to three, the release added.
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TCS TechBytes -- IT Quiz for engineering students in Karnataka -- to be held from March 6-21

IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and the Board for IT Education Standards (BITES), an autonomous body promoted by Government of Karnataka in association with IT industries and educational institutions, will hold the ninth edition of TCS TechBytes, an IT quiz for engineering students in Karnataka from March 6-21.
The quiz is open for engineering students (BE/BTech) of all streams and semesters in Karnataka, a press release from TCS said.
Nagaraj Ijari, VP & Head, TCS Bangalore Operations, said, “With the technology space evolving at a rapid pace every year, it is vital for engineering students to stay on top of the learning curve. TCS TechBytes showcases the emerging technology trends, underlining that learning is a continuous process for one to excel in a global environment.”
Dr. K.N. Balasubramanya Murthy, Chairman, BITES said, “We are delighted to partner with TCS and launch the ninth edition of TCS TechBytes. Students participating in the program can leverage the technology exposure they gain which would enable them to succeed in their careers.”
TCS TechBytes, a campus outreach programme, strives to provide a better understanding of IT to students of all streams of engineering. The objective is to enhance the knowledge and awareness of students and enable them to compete in the fast paced technology intensive industry, the release said.
Each institution can send 10 teams (two students per team) to participate in the Regional Finals of the quiz through an internal selection process. There is no participation fee. Entries have to be sent by the respective institutions on or before February 26, 2018 to: or The Coordinator, BITES-TCS IT Quiz, BITES, IIIT-B Campus,2nd Floor, Innovation Centre,26/C, Electronics City Phase 1,Hosur Road, Bangalore – 560100, Ph: 080-41235889.
The Regional Level Quiz will be conducted at the following six locations: Mangalore - March 6, Mysore - March 8, Gulbarga – March 12, Hubli – March 13, Tumkur - March 15 and Bengaluru on March 21. The State Finals will also be held at Bengaluru on March 21, 2018, the release said.
Winners at both the Regional and State Finals will receive educational scholarships and other prizes from TCS.
The quiz will focus on application of technology across various sectors and aspects such as: the technology environment, the business, its people, new trends, legends, etc. It will also focus on emerging areas such as: digital, cloud computing, telecom, social media, big data, artificial intelligence, biometrics, mobility and robotics, besides covering personalia – international and national, software products, history of IT and areas where IT has made an impact such as education, entertainment, books, multimedia, music, movies, internet, banking, advertising, sports, gaming, social networking, cell phones, and so on.
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MCI makes it mandatory for students to qualify in NEET to pursue foreign medical course

The Government has accepted a proposal of the Medical Council of India (MCI) to amend the Screening Test Regulations, 2002 to make it mandatory for students to qualify in  the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) to pursue a foreign medical course.
NEET, the common national entrance examination, has already been made mandatory for admission to all medical courses in India.
Indian students could also pursue medical education abroad and had to qualify a Screening Test called Foreign Medical Graduates Exam (FMGE), for registration to practice in India after obtaining primary medical qualification (MBBS) overseas. 
"It has come to notice that medical institutions / Universities of foreign countries admit Indian students without proper assessment or screening of the students’ academic ability to cope up with medical education with the result that many students fail to qualify the Screening Test," an official press release said.
"In this regard, the proposal of Medical Council of India (MCI) to amend the Screening Test Regulations, 2002, making it mandatory to qualify NEET to pursue foreign medical course has been approved by this Ministry.
"Thus, the Indian Citizens / Overseas Citizen of India intending to obtain primary medical qualification from any medical institution outside India, on or after May 2018, shall have to mandatorily qualify the NEET for admission to MBBS course abroad. The result of NEET shall be deemed to be treated as the Eligibility Certificate for such persons, provided that such persons fulfil the eligibility criteria for admission to the MBBS course prescribed in the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997," the release added.
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USIEF announces opening of 2019 Fulbright Fellowship Application Season

The United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) today announced the opening of its annual competition for Fulbright-Nehru, Fulbright-Kalam and other Fulbright fellowships, which have helped bring the people of India and the United States closer together through opportunities that enrich fellows’ academic, research, teaching and professional capacity.  
Alumni of exchange and scholarship programs administered by USIEF have demonstrated strong leadership in several fields, including agriculture, the arts, business, education, the environment, humanities and social sciences, public health, and science and technology, a press release from USIEF said.
Outstanding Indian students, academics, teachers, policy makers, administrators, and professionals are encouraged to apply, it said.
Diksha Dhar, a Fulbright Nehru Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA said, “while on the Fulbright-Nehru grant, I attended three major conferences in the U.S. and had the opportunity to present my research.  These events provided a platform for me to network and discuss various issues that impact the bilateral ties between India and the U.S.  Currently, I lead an English Language Enhancement Program for tribal teachers and students across 113 government schools in Khunti, Jharkand.”
Usha Raman, a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA said, “while on the Fulbright-Nehru grant, I was able to make considerable progress on two research papers as a result of access to excellent library resources and a peer group with whom I could share ideas.”
The release said USIEF expected to offer approximately 100 Fulbright-Nehru and six Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowships to Indian applicants in 2019.  Fellowship details are posted on the USIEF website ( and the first application deadline is June 15, 2018.  
Applicants may send any queries to or contact one of the USIEF offices in New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, or Mumbai, the release added.
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1225 graduates from premier institutions recruited to improve tech. education in backward areas

As many as 1200 highly qualified and motivated graduates from premier institutes including IITs and NITs have been recruited to teach in engineering colleges in backward areas of various States and Union Territories, Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said today.
The States and Union Territories include Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Assam, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. 
This is the first time that such a measure has been taken to improve the quality of education, he said at a press conference.
Mr Javadekar said these bright minds will bring with them the openness to innovation, new methods of teaching and enthusiasm to serve and act as agents of change.
This initiative will help meet the aspirations of youth in the backward areas and fulfil the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He expressed the hope that these teachers would contribute to the entire educational eco-system of the backward areas, apart from promoting a start-up culture among students.
Earlier, a public appeal was given to the MTech and PhD students from the premier institutions to work in these backward areas and serve the nation. There was an overwhelming response to the call, and more than 5,000 highly qualified persons applied. The interviews were conducted in 20 NITs by constituting expert teams.
The entire process was completed through a competitive and rigorous process of selection through NITs in a two-month period. Finally, 1225 candidates were selected and they have joined 53 colleges in these states. The new faculty will train the youngsters in a host of technical institutions for the next three years.
Each of the new faculty will be paid Rs. 70,000 per month and the Government proposes to spend about Rs 375 crore in a 3-year period on this initiative. More than 100,000 engineering students in the most backward areas are expected to benefit from better quality education under this initiative.
The reason for backwardness was essentially due to lack of quality teachers in these areas. Many of these institutions have vacancies of teaching faculty, some of them up to 40%. The States had requested the Ministry to help to find teaching support.
The HRD Ministry started the Technical Education Quality Improvement Project (TEQIP-III) for improving the quality of engineering graduates at a cost of Rs 2,300 crore to be implemented in 3-year period till 2020. The focus is on the most-backward states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, North-East, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Under this project, all the Government engineering colleges are selected for direct intervention, and all private engineering colleges are selected for indirect intervention.
The institution based measures involve accreditation of the courses through NBA, governance reforms, improving the processes, digital initiatives, securing autonomy for the colleges.
The student-based steps include improving the quality of teaching, teacher training, equipping the classrooms, revision of syllabus, industry interaction, compulsory internships for students, training the students in industry-relevant skills, preparing them for the GATE examination, and so on.
While 86% of the teachers are from premier institutions like IITs, NITs, IISERs and IIITs, 24% of them are PhDs. Most of these institutions, till now, did not have teachers with PhD qualifications.
Due to pan-India selection, the faculty are coming from 369 districts of 26 states, bringing an all-India character to these colleges.
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Errol D'Souza appointed as Director of IIM, Ahmedabad

Prof. Errol D'Souza
Prof. Errol D'Souza
Prof. Errol D'Souza has been appointed as the new Director of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) for a five-year term with effect from tomorrow.
The announcement was made by IIM Ahmedabad Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla here today.
Prof. D’Souza studied Economics and Statistics at the University of Mumbai where he was awarded the Kashinath Trimbak Telang gold medal for obtaining the first rank in in his M.A. (Economics) degree. He obtained his PhD as a University Grants Commission National Research Fellow from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Prior to accepting this position, he served as a Professor of Economics and the Dean of Faculty at the Institute. He has held appointments such as the IFCI Chair Professor at the University of Mumbai, India Chair Professor at the University Sciences Po in Paris, as a Visiting Professor of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, as an Honorary Senior Fellow of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, and as a Visiting Professor at the Turin School of Development of the ILO. He has worked on academic committees of the University Grants Commission and the Indian Council of Social Science Research, and has been associated with the Planning Commission of India and the Reserve Bank of India in various capacities, including as a Member, Technical Advisory Committee on Monetary Policy.
"Prof. D'Souza brings experience and a track record which will be invaluable in meeting the Institute's goals and objectives. I would like to thank my colleagues who participated in the selection process. Their efforts are deeply appreciated," Mr. Birla said.
"I am confident that Prof. D'Souza will be an excellent match for this position and a strong asset to the IIMA Community," he added.
Prof. D'Souza had been appointed as Director-in-charge of the institute with effect from September 2, 2017 for a period of six months or till the appointment of a regular Director, whichever is earlier.
He replaced Prof. Ashish Nanda, who had announced on April 27 his decision to step aside from his position as Director, IIMA with effect from September 1, citing personal reasons.
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NBE declares results of NEET-PG 2018 for admission to post-graduate medical courses

The National Board of Examinations (NBE) has declared the results of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) Post-graduate (PG) 2018 conducted by it on January 7 for post-graduate medical courses in India.
The results can be seen here, a notification from NBE said.
The NBE said the merit position of the candidates shall be declared in due course after applying the tie-breaker criteria as given in the Information Bulletin for NEET-PG 2018.
The notification said that, in accordance with the eligibility criteria for admission to Post Graduate course as mentioned in the Information Bulletin for NEET-PG 2018, the cut off scores for various categories is as follows:
General Category (UR): 50th percentile
SC/ST/OBC: 40th Percentile 
Persons with Disability: 45th Percentile 
The score card of all the candidates who appeared in NEET-PG 2018 can be downloaded from NEET-PG website . Score card will not be sent individually to the candidates, the notification said.
Candidature is purely provisional subject to fulfillment of eligibility criteria as mentioned in NEET-PG 2018 Information Bulletin, the notification added.
NEET-PG is an eligibility-cum-ranking examination prescribed as the single entrance examination to various MD/MS and PG Diploma Courses as per Section (10) of Indian Medical Council Act, 1956. It is a single window entrance examination for PG courses. No other entrance examination, either at state or institution level, shall be valid for entry to MD/MS/PG Diploma Courses as per the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 w.e.f. 2017 admission session.
NEET-PG 2018 is single eligibility cum entrance examination for admission to Postgraduate Medical Courses’ for the academic session 2018 which include the following:
--All India 50% quota seats for MD/MS/PG Diploma courses (all states except Andhra Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Telangana)
--State quota seats for MD/MS/PG Diploma courses for all States/Union territories of India (including the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana & Jammu & Kashmir)
--MD/MS/PG Diploma courses at all Private Medical Colleges, Institutions & Universities/Deemed Universities all across the country.
--MD/MS/PG Diploma courses at Armed Forces Medical Services Institutions.
--DNB Broad specialty courses (January 2018 Admission Session)
The following Medical institutions are not covered by centralized admissions for MD/MS seats through NEET- PG for 2018 session: AIIMS, New Delhi; PGIMER, Chandigarh; JIPMER, Puducherry; NIMHANS, Bengaluru; and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum.
No state government /private medical college/universities including the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana & Andhra Pradesh shall be conducting any separate entrance exam for admission to their MD/MS/PG Diploma Courses for the academic session 2018-2019.
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CIPAM-DIPP launches IP competition for college & university students

The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM), Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), has launched an Intellectual Property (IP) competition ‘IPrism’ for college and university students.
The competition, in collaboration with ASSOCHAM and Ericsson India, invites students to submit films on piracy and counterfeiting under two categories of 30 and 60 seconds.
Another category in the competition is for a mobile gaming app on IP. The last date for receiving entries is 31st March 2018, an official press release said.
Cash prizes worth Rs 4 lakh will be given to the winning teams along with mementoes, certificates and recognition on the CIPAM website.
The competition aims to foster a culture of innovation and creativity in the younger generation. It will provide young creators with a unique opportunity to see their creations recognized on a national platform, the release said.
"Counterfeiting and piracy cause significant loss to the industry and pose serious safety threats to the consumers. Generating awareness can help in tackling such crimes since limited knowledge about their adverse social and economic impact leads to circulation and consumption of pirated content and fake goods," the release added.
The National IPR Policy was adopted on May 12, 2016, to create a vibrant IP ecosystem in the country. Creating IPR Awareness through outreach and promotional activities is the first and foremost objective of the Policy. CIPAM, a professional body under DIPP, has been actively involved in many activities including a nation-wide IPR awareness campaign.
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IIM Nagpur ties up with NSRCEL, IIM Bangalore for ‘Women Start-up Programme’

The Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Nagpur has partnered with the N. S. Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) at IIM Bangalore for the "Women Start-up Programme" this year.
The programme, funded by Goldman Sachs and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, is targeted at aspiring women entrepreneurs, a press release from IIM Nagpur said. 
The programme aims to convert entrepreneurial business ideas by women into business ventures and will provide training in managerial and entrepreneurial skills for the participants. At the end of the training, the programme will provide mentoring and advice, and incubation with modest financial support for selected business plans. 
For the year 2018-19, the programme intends to incubate 100 women entrepreneurs across the breadth of the country, the release said.
The programme was conducted by IIM Bangalore in 2016-17 and 15 women entrepreneurs were incubated at the NSRCEL. Participation by IIM Nagpur and other partners is expected to spread the programme across the different cities in the country.
"There is a strong need for such a programme, given the entrepreneurial landscape in our country. As of 2013, India had the lowest share of entrepreneurs in working population among the emerging BRICS economies," the release said.
"This share among female population in India was alarmingly low and reduced from 9% in 2006 to 6% in 2013. According to a NASSCOM report in November 2017, women entrepreneurs contributed to only 11% of Indian start-ups, and SAHA fund’s statistics indicate that only 3% of women entrepreneurs have received VC funding . All these observations suggest that the right time to work towards creating and unleashing the potential of women entrepreneurship in India was ‘yesterday’. To unleash the potential of female entrepreneurship, the need for human capital has been widely recognized. 
"It is in this context that this programme aims to build on human capital required for female entrepreneurs. While Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai have remained the principal start-up hubs in India, 20% of the startups in India in the year 2017 emerged in tier II and III cities 3 . Nagpur is a critical investment hub in the country and has been identified as one of the high-potential cities in India beyond the metros," the release added.
The programme will help in creating unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of aspiring women entrepreneurs in Nagpur. Speaking at the launch of the ‘Women Startup Programme’, the Chairperson for this initiative at IIM Nagpur, Prof. Thiagu Ranganathan said, "We feel very fortunate and are thrilled to partner in this programme and hope to collaborate in making the programme reach out its full potential."
The registration for the programme is free. The registered participants will participate in a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) starting from 22 nd January which will be followed by two bootcamps and incubation for shortlisted participants.
More information about the programme, including registration details, can be seen here.
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Cabinet okays establishment of National Rail and Transportation University at Vadodara

The Union Cabinet yesterday approved a proposal to set up the first National Rail and Transport University (NRTU) at Vadodara in Gujarat to skill its human resources and build capability.
An official press release said this transformative initiative of the Ministry of Railways would be catalyst for transformation of the rail and transport sector towards "New India".
The University will be set up as a Deemed to Be University under de novo category as per the UGC [Institutions Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2016. Government is working towards completing all approvals by April 2018 and to launch the first academic program in July 2018, it said.
The release said a not-for-profit company under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013 would be created by the Ministry of Railways which shall be the Managing Company of the proposed university. The company will provide financial and infrastructural support to the university, and appoint Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor of the university. 
Its Board of Management, comprising professionals and academics, shall be independent of the Managing Company with full autonomy to perform its academic and administrative responsibilities, it said.
The existing land and infrastructure at National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) (formerly Railway Staff College) at Vadodara will be utilized, and suitably modified and modernized for the purpose of the university. In its full enrolment, it is expected to have 3000 full-time students. The funding of the new University/Institute will entirely come from the Ministry of Railways, it said.
"This university will set Indian Railways on the path of modernisation and help India become a global leader in transport sector by enhancing productivity and promoting 'Make in India'. It will create a resource pool of skilled manpower and leverage state-of-the-art technology to provide better safety, speed and service in Indian Railways. It will support 'Startup India' and 'Skill India' by channeling technology and delivering knowhow, and foster entrepreneurship, generating large scale employment opportunities. This will lead to transformation of railway and transportation sector and enable faster movement of people and goods. Through global partnerships and accessing cutting edge technologies, India will emerge as a global centre of expertise," the release said.
According to it, the university plans to use latest pedagogy and technology applications (satellite based tracking, Radio Frequency Identification and Artificial Intelligence) to improve on-the-job performance and productivity. Close collaboration with the Indian Railways will ensure that the stakeholders have access to Railways' facilities, which will work as 'live labs' and they will be able to work on solving real life problems. It will have 'Centres of Excellence' showcasing high-end, niche technology like High Speed Train.

Kovind urges educational institutions to help find solutions to problems related to their surroundings

Stressing that education was the foundation of the country, President Ram Nath Kovind said here yesterday that true education, apart from providing technical skills, made people aware of their responsibilities towards society by building an ethical character.
"And this is the real contribution of education to the nation," he said in his address at the 14th convocation of the Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT) here.
Mr. Kovind said that, if students use their talent and knowledge in everyday life, they will be able to advance their prospects in a balanced and rounded manner and also contribute to society. 
He said that MNNIT should help find comprehensive solutions to problems related to its surroundings. 
"For instance, its students could contribute to the Namami Gange campaign by making technical suggestions," he said.
He was also happy to note that MNNIT has set up an Entrepreneurship Cell, the aim of which is to produce job creators. 
Mr. Kovind expressed happiness at the fact that since 2007 the Institute has the status of an “Institute of National Importance”. He noted that talented students from this institution are contributing impressively across the country and abroad. 
MNNIT, he said, should now set itself the goal of figuring in global rankings of best technology institutions.

Become job creators rather than job seekers, Kovind tells students

President Ram Nath Kovind today exhorted students to become job creators rather than job seekers by unleashing their entrepreneurial spirit.  
Addressing the 7th Convocation of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University here, Mr Kovind advised them to follow ethics and principles to attain true success in whichever walk of life they chose. He said there could be no ambiguity or scope for argument on ethics, he added.
While the country is making rapid progress, more needed to be done on specific social and economic challenges as well as in the areas of science and technology. When the country moves forward, he said, every citizen benefits and gets opportunities for personal development.
The President noted that the University has taken various steps to highlight social concerns and provide access to the disadvantaged. It has provided for reservations for single girl children as well as students with serious ailments.
It has also adopted villages near the University and worked with the local community on education and development – and connected local people to the University’s Innovators' Club.
He appreciated such efforts, calling them an example of the students’ sensitivity and sense of responsibility. The President also inaugurated Ambedkar Bhawan on the University campus.

Cabinet approves creation of National Testing Agency for entrance examinations

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.
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.

Nearly 7 lakh candidates appear for UGC NET examination

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.

MS remains unsurpassed phenomenon in Carnatic music: Naidu

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.
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.

Footwear Design & Development Institute becomes ‘Institute of National Importance’

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.
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.

CWC signs MoU with IIT Roorkee and MNNIT on dam safety

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.

Infosys Foundation signs MoU with Indian Institute of Science for Rs. 5 crore grant

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.”

Tata Steel sets up library at Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences

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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