Campus Notes

Cabinet okays amendment to IIT Act for incorporation of six new IITs

The Union Cabinet today granted ex-post facto approval to the amendment to The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 for incorporation of six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
The new IITs are coming up at Tirupati (AP), Palakkad (Kerala), Dharwar (Karnataka), Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), Goa, Jammu (J&K) and conversion of Indian School of Mines (ISM), Dhanbad to an IIT under the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961.
The approval will bring the six new IITs within the ambit of The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 and declaring them as the institutions of national importance. 
The amendment is also for conversion of ISM, Dhanbad into an IIT, an official press release added.

Prof V S Rao of BITS Pilani to join NIIT University as its next President

NIIT University (NU) today announced the appointment of Prof. V. S. Rao, currently the acting Vice-Chancellor of BITS Pilani, as its next President.
Prof. Rao will join NU in July this year, a press release from NU said here today.
With a distinguished career spanning more than three decades, Prof. Rao has been the founding director of BITS Pilani's Hyderabad campus since 2006.
The release said Prof Rao had demonstrated strong industry linkages by virtue of developing extensive work- integrated programs for the University.  A Ph.D. in Chemistry, with specialization in the field of Green Chemistry, he is deeply involved in promoting innovation in higher education, it said.
Mr. Rajendra S Pawar, Chairman NIIT and founder of NIIT University said, “We are delighted to welcome Prof VS Rao as the next President of NU. He has demonstrated great leadership in institution building over the last three decades.”
“Dr. Rao’s rich experience in implementing innovative ideas in industry-linkage programs is strongly aligned to NU’s uniqueness in partnering with industry leaders in the sunrise sectors of the knowledge economy," he added.
“NIIT University’s four core principles that make learning Industry-Linked, Technology-Based, Research-Driven and Seamless, provide a solid foundation for building the university of the future," Prof. Rao said.
Actively involved with industry associations for promoting innovations in learning, Prof Rao has been a member of the CII State Council since 2012; a member of FICCI Higher Education Committee since 2016; member, AP Society for Knowledge Network (2013-14) and a member of Telangana Academy of Skills & Knowledge (TASK) since 2014.

Indian Culinary Institute to offer B.Sc. (Culinary Arts) course from August

The first academic session of the Indian Culinary Institute (ICI), Tirupati will commence with a three-year B.Sc. programme in Culinary Arts from August this year.
An official press release said that Indian cuisine was immensely popular all over the world and the market for culinary tourism to India was growing as its culinary traditions continue to draw increasing international attention.
It said that, to tap this potential, there was need for an institutional mechanism to promote culinary tourism and to preserve and document thousands of recipes which have evolved over the ages, mostly by tradition and vary greatly from region to region.
Despite having a wide network of Institutes of Hotel Management (IHMs) and Food Craft Institutes (FCIs), these institutions are essentially mandated to meet the trained manpower requirement of the tourism sector at skill and entry-point supervisory / managerial levels, the release said.
"There was no regular credible institutional mechanism at apex level which could provide cuisine specialists to the sector or groom chefs of international standards. ICI, Tirupati is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism to fill this void. It has been established with a view to explore and propagate the Indian cuisine in its varied hue and to promote it across international borders. 
"The ICIs will offer structured regular programmes of study specific to culinary arts leading to graduate and post graduate level degrees, promote research and innovation, organize demand driven certificate and diploma courses, document and create data base specific to Indian cuisine and commission studies and survey on cuisine," it said.
The release said ICI would provide the appropriate training ground at par with the culinary schools functioning in different parts of the developed world. The edifice to be created would be exclusive and one-of-its-kind at selecting and training the best talent in the country. The institute is aimed to facilitate building of a specialized food production work-force of international standard. The course curriculum has been designed and engineered by eminent academicians and doyens of the industry.
"The ICI will endeavour to provide the students exposure to the latest concepts and technologies and access to state of the art facilities available in the field. Research and development as a part of the course curriculum will be paramount and the students will have ample opportunities to explore the finer nuances of the culinary universe. 
"Extra-curricular activities are an integral component of any meaningful programme of study and lead to holistic development of an individual. The ICI will provide a conducive environment for overall growth and development of the students," the release added.

Nadda meets State Health Ministers on NEET for medical courses

Union Health & Family Welfare Minister J. P. Nadda today said that most States were, in principle, in favour of the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to MBBS and post-graduate medical courses but have raised logistics issues which are impeding its implementation.
"Therefore, they have desired for some more time," he said after meeting Health Ministers from various States here to hear their views on issues related to NEET.
Mr. Nadda said the discussions were fruitful, with the Ministers from various States speaking about specific issues theyhad in the context of holding NEET this year.
"While they all agreed that the NEET was a welcome move to bring in transparency and remove several observed malpractices from the field of medical education, they pointed out that in some Sates the examination process was either underway or was soon to commence for induction to the State Government medical colleges," he said.
The States also mentioned issues related to the syllabus of the CBSE being different from what their Boards followed. The States also said that NEET should be allowed in regional languages in addition to Hindi and English in order to have parity for the students who have taken the State Board exams. 
Mr. Nadda said the views and concerns of the States would be examined and a course of action would be worked out. He said the Government was committed to transparency in medical education and the removal of malpractices.
Health Ministers and Health Secretaries of 18 States and Union Territories attended the meeting.

TISS urged to conduct training for ministers, bureaucrats in social sciences

Union Minister of State for Power , Coal, New & Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal today urged the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to conduct social sciences training programmes for ministers, bureaucrats and other public servants.
“TISS should consider training programme in behavioural sciences, ethics and leadership for ministers and other public servants,” Mr Goyal said while addressing the 76th Convocation at the Institute.
"Behavioural science impacts society deeply. Across the country, public servants should be sensitized on how to deal with the poor and the downtrodden who approach them seeking help. Stating that a continuous learning programme for the ministers and bureaucrats was a good idea," Mr. Goyal said a beginning could be made with Mumbai and Maharashtra, which could be extended to other parts of the country later. 
The Minister referred to the vision of the House of Tatas in setting up the social sciences institute way back in 1936. He asserted that over the next 20-25 years, India would emerge as a super power, but stressed that the country had a long way to go, in terms of providing health, education and power for all its citizens and ensuring an inclusive growth. “The task ahead is onerous, but certainly doable,” he added.
Human resource development was an important function in any organization that wants to succeed in the long run. TISS has empowered its students to take up leadership roles in the society. The Minister urged some of the students to consider politics as a career option as well. “The days of the famous saying 'politics is the last resort of the scoundrel' is no more applicable in India. How much ever you may criticize the politician, the reality is we will need honest and good people to ensure good governance.” Mr Goyal said. 
The Minister complimented the efforts of Mumbai Municipal Corporation sweeper Sunil Yadav, who secured the TISS M.Phil degree. “Sunil Yadav securing M.Phil is an inspirational story. It encourages us to contribute to the society,"he said.
Mr Goyal urged the graduating students to be part of the movement of development. 
The Minister honoured the meritorious students with medals and shields in different fields of social sciences. 
Mr S. Ramadorai, Chairman, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, in his welcome address spoke about how the institute collaborated with government in the field of climate change as a run up to the Paris Conference.

SVPISTM, Coimbatore to offer B.Sc, MBA programme in Textiles, Apparel and Retail Management

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International School of Textiles and Management (SVPISTM), Coimbatore will now offer a three-year B. Sc. Textiles programme and an MBA programme in Textiles, Apparel and Retail Management.
This has been made possible due to an initiative by SVPISTM and Central University of Tamil Nadu to collaborate in the domain of textiles and management education, an official press release said here today.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two institutions at Ministry of Textiles in Udyog Bhavan here today in the presence of the Union Textiles Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar.
The eligibility for the undergraduate course is a pass in 12th standard with a minimum score of 65% with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics as subjects. The students will be selected through the Central University Common Entrance Exam (CUCET). About 700 applications have been received for the 40 seats this year.
The CUCET will be held on May 21. The B. Sc. programme contains theory and practical courses spanning the entire textile range from fibre to fashion.
Eligibility for the MBA program is a graduate degree. Live support for project and entrepreneurial activities will be provided by academic and industrial experts. Practical sessions will be conducted in NTC, Mumbai, Textile Committee Lab, NIFT and in in-house laboratories.
Admissions for the MBA programme will open on May 10. Candidates with eligible MAT score or Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Management Aptitude Test (SVP-MAT) score, with any graduate degree will be admitted based on merit.
The degrees will be awarded by the Central University of Tamil Nadu. Academic activities will be conducted in SVPISTM, Coimbatore.
Textiles Secretary Rashmi Verma, CUTN Vice-Chancellor A. Dash and Dean, Academics, SVPISTM, S. Perumalsamy were also present on the occasion.
SVPISTM Director C. Rameshkumar and CUTN Registrar Bhuvaneswari exchanged the MoU on behalf of their respective institutions. 

Land to be transferred for establishment of Agriculture College at Rajahmundry

The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for transfer of 21.93 acre of land belonging to the Central Tobacco Research Institute (CTRI), Rajahmundry to the Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad on a long lease basis for a period of 50 years for establishment of an Agriculture College at Rajahmundry. 
The Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University had established a new agriculture college at Rajahmundry in East Godavari district during the academic year 2008-09 to train agricultural graduates for acquiring advanced agricultural knowledge associated with Godavari Delta.
At present, the college is temporarily running from rented accommodation of local Arts and Science College (SKVT College). 
An official press release said that, after transfer of the land, the college would be able to develop its own permanent campus. 
"Establishment of a new agriculture college at Rajahmundry would certainly go a long way in development of agricultural research and education in Godavari delta and also help the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to fulfill one of its mandates including education research and extension," the release added.

Cabinet okays operationalisation of new IISER at Tirupati

The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for operationalisation of the new Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh from the academic year of 2015-16 from a temporary campus, at an estimated cost of Rs. 137.30 crore for the initial three years (2015-18). 
As a sequel to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, bifurcating the then State of Andhra Pradesh into the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, the Government of India inter alia decided to establish an IISER, an Institute of National Importance, in the residual State of Andhra Pradesh. 
Consequently, the State Government of Andhra Pradesh has earmarked 244 acres of land at Srinivasapuram, Pangur and Chindepalli villages of Yerpedu mandal for construction of the permanent campus of IISER, Tirupati. 
Meanwhile, pending construction of the permanent campus for the Institute, on the recommendation of the Site Selection Committee, it has been decided to commence its functioning from the academic session of 2015-16 from the transit/temporary campus at Sree Rama Engineering College, Tirupati, an official press release added.

Govt. notifies changes in IIT JEE pattern, proposes hike in IIT fees to Rs. 2 lakh per annum

The Government today notified changes in the pattern of Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for 2017 for admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and doubled the fees in the premier institutions from Rs. 90,000 to Rs. 2 lakh per annum.
An official press release said the changes in the JEE pattern had been made by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) after examining the report of the Ashok Misra Committee and considering public feedback.
The release said the performance of students in the 12th Class Examination shall be a crucial parameter for determining the eligibility of the student for the JEE examination. 
For the candidates to qualify in the JEE Examination, they shall have secured at least 75% marks or be in the top 20 percentile in the 12th Class Examination conducted by respective Boards. For SC/ST students this condition shall be relaxed to 65% marks. 
The release said the present system of giving 40% weightage for the 12th Class marks in calculating the ranks in the JEE Main shall be dispensed with. All other JEE Examination systems shall remain unchanged, it said.
The release said the Ministry had also examined the report of the committee on funding of IITs and the recommendations of the Standing Committee of IIT Council (SCIC) for revision of annual fee in IITs to Rs.3 lakhs per year from the current Rs.90000.
"The rationale for the SCIC recommendation arises from the fact that the cost of maintenance of the IITs is to be met largely from the student fee. On an average, the Government is spending about Rs 6 lakh per year on each student in the IITs. 
"Keeping in view the interests of the students, proposed hike is denied. Instead, it has been proposed that the increase is capped at Rs.2 lakh per annum," it said.
The release said the increase in fee was subject to the following safeguards for protecting the interests of the socially and economically backward students: 
A) The SC/ST/Differently abled students shall get complete fee waiver. 
B) The most economically backward students (whose family income is less than Rs.1 lakh per annum) shall get full remission of the fee. 
C) The other economically backward students (whose family income is between Rs.1 lakh to Rs.5 lakh per annum) shall get remission of 2/3rd of the fee. 
D) All students shall have access to interest free loan under the ‘Vidya Lakshmi Scheme’ for the total portion of the tuition fee payable. 
Further, all IITs are asked to use the increased student fee for infrastructure development with the assistance of funds from the Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) so that the increased fee directly translates into better infrastructure for the students, it said.
"As per orders issued, the matter will be placed in next meeting of the IIT Council for ratification," the release added.

Dynamism of Indian culture derived from variety, plurality: Ansari

The dynamism of Indian culture has been derived from variety and plurality rather than homogeneity, according to Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari.
Delivering the address at the 16th convocation of Jammu University here yesterday, Mr Ansari referred to an analysis by a historian that the social and cultural life incorporated within it a multi-regional and multi-religious form and content.
This interpretation of cultural influences was neither uniform nor equally intense in all regions. Yet their presence is marked all over. As a result, although historically cultural transactions and social negotiations embraced the entire sub-continent, they led to variety and plurality rather than to homogeneity, he said.
“In almost all realms of cultural production, music, drama, painting, architecture, as well as religion, different influences made their mark, imparting to them a composite character.
“As a result, historically, India developed as a colourful cultural mosaic and not as the manifestation of cultural practices inspired by a single source,” the Vice-President pointed out.
He said society is characterised by heterogeneity; a population of 1.3 billion comprising of over 4,635 communities, 78 percent of whom are not only linguistic and cultural but social categories. Religious minorities constitute 19.4 percent of the total.
Mr Ansari also honoured Chief Justice of India Justice T S Thakur, who was present at the convocation. He began his speech by congratulating the Chief Justice. 
“This is indeed a special occasion. The university is honouring one the most eminent sons of the State of Jammu & Kashmir whose achievement is but a rarity and worthy of celebration.
“After all, it is only the chosen few in the calling of law who climb the ladder to the very top in the highest court of the Republic to join the galaxy of men who have presided over the Supreme Court of India,” he added.
Jammu & Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra and University of Jammu Vice-Chancellor Prof. R.D. Sharma were present at the function along with several other dignitaries, faculty members and students.
One of the matters in the societal domain that figure prominently in public discourse relate to the constitutional ideal of India being a ‘secular’ republic having a ‘composite culture.’ The former expression is in the Preamble and the latter in Article 51A(f), Mr Ansari said.
 “Any discussion of these constitutional values has to be premised on the existential reality of our society. It is characterised by heterogeneity; a population of 1.3 billion comprising of over 4,635 communities 78 percent of whom are not only linguistic and cultural but social categories. Religious minorities constitute 19.4 percent of the total,” he added.
“Our democratic polity and its secular State structure were put in place in full awareness of this plurality. There was no suggestion to erase identities and homogenise them,” Mr Ansari said.
Political scientists and sociologists have written a good deal on the Indian perception of secularism. The three generally accepted characteristics of a secular state, namely liberty to practice religion, equality between religions as far as state practice is concerned, and neutrality or a fence of separation between the state and religion, have been invoked but ‘their application has been contradictory and has led to major anomalies, he said.
The challenge, then, is to reduce if not eliminate these anomalies, the Vice-President said.

Quality education needed for reaping demographic dividends: Mukherjee

Terming universities as “the apex of the education system,” President Pranab Mukherjee has stated that it is therefore incumbent on higher institutions of learning to provide quality education.
Delivering the first convocation address at Swami Rama Himalayan University (SRHU) here yesterday, Mr Mukherjee pointed out that the demographic dividend would fructify if the growing number of the youth gets good education, knowledge and skills.
“Mere expansion of higher education by establishing more centres of higher learning is not enough. Unless we take care of quality, the objective of preparing young minds into capable, confident and committed individuals will not be met,” he said.
“An all-out effort to maintain good standards in our higher academic institutions is required, be it in developing the faculty, nurturing core competencies, establishing linkages with other institutions, networking with the industry, or focusing on research and innovation,” he added.
The research areas should be prioritized so as to solve specific socio-economic problems. It is the duty of the institutions to instil in their students core civilizational values - love for their motherland, a sense of responsibility towards their society, and a compassion for all. The higher education system should produce sound professionals with a strong social sensitivity, the President said.
Referring to Swami Rama as a multi-faceted personality with great love for his motherland and the place of his birth, he said the Swamy, though anointed as the Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham at a young age, had renounced the spiritual post in order to pursue his yogic-meditative lifestyle.
The Swamy established holistic health as a new discipline that had much to offer to allopathic medicine. At Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, he stressed upon the importance of amalgamating the wisdom of the East with the modern technologies of the West, Mr Mukherjee said.
“It was heartening to note that what started 25 years ago - with an OPD in a tin shed and a small house for rural development - has bloomed into a beautiful township and a university,” he added.
Today, SRHU provides quality higher education in medicine, para-medical sciences, nursing, engineering and management. It serves the rural masses comprising more than 1,200 villages of Uttarakhand. It provides tertiary care services through its 750-bedded multi-specialty hospital and state-of-the-art 250 bed cancer centre.
The President noted that SRHU was taking all steps necessary to align itself to international standards in the delivery of quality education. Its Department of Medical Education was designated in 2014 as a Regional Medical Education Training Centre by the Medical Council of India. This unit is involved in faculty development programmes and the development of innovative teaching and assessment tools, the release added.

Minority scholarship funds for 2015-16 allowed to be disbursed in 2016-17

In order to ensure timely disbursal of scholarships due in 2015-16 to minority students, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has been allowed to use the scholarship funds earmarked for 2015-16 in the next financial year through an alternative mechanism.
An official press release said that the step had been taken to ensure the disbursal of scholarships due in 2015-16 to minority students all over the country, acknowledging the technical difficulties faced by them on the new National Scholarship Portal.
Efforts were on to address the challenges being faced to shift payment of scholarships to the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode. Regular meetings at the highest levels in the Government of India and with the State Governments helped to overcome most of the challenges, it said.
From February onwards the scholarship disbursement picked up speed and till now about 3.9 million minority students have already received scholarships in their bank accounts under the DBT mode, it siad.
The Ministry distributes scholarship to more than eight million students every year.
It had earlier taken a decision that all the scholarships should be transferred directly to the students’ bank account through the National Scholarship Portal.
This would address the problems faced by the students in receiving the full scholarship timely due to the involvement of many channels in the process of disbursement. It will also remove the leakages and malpractices by which some students received scholarship from multiple sources while others were denied the benefit.
This being the first attempt for such a massive online verification and transfer of funds directly to the bank accounts of the students, some technical and administrative challenges were faced by the Government which included incomplete information in the forms, anomalies in the information provided in the application forms and a few software glitches.
Further, the Ministry has also released an additional fund of Rs. 5.75 crore to the University Grant Commission for the Maulana Azad National Fellowship to meet the requirement of pending fellowships of minority students during 2015-16.
Altogether, the Ministry has released Rs.55.43 crore for the Fellowship Scheme during 2015-16, it added.

Mukherjee to attend first convocation of Swami Rama Himalayan University on Friday

President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a day's visit to Uttarakhand tomorrow and attend the first convocation of Swami Rama Himalayan University in Dehradun. 
The Swami Rama Himalayan University has been promoted by Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust founded by spiritual guru Swami Rama. 

Cabinet nod for transfer of land to Rajasthan govt. for Veterinary University Training and Research Centre

The Union Cabinet yesterday gave its approval for transfer of 50 acre of land from Central Sheep & Wool Research Institute (CSWRI) , Avikanagar in Tonk district of Rajasthan to the State Government free of cost for the establishment of Veterinary University Training and Research Centre by the Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Bikaner. 
An official press release said the transfer shall be subject to an undertaking by the Government of Rajasthan that the transferred land would be used exclusively for the stated purpose and CSWRI and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) would extend the needed technical support (without any financial involvement) for carrying out research in the area of Veterinary and Animal Science in Rajasthan.
If the training centre is discontinued in future, the said 50 acres of land will be returned back to CSWRI along with the available infrastructure free of cost for veterinary and animal science research.
The release said establishment of the Centre at Avikanagar would strengthen collaboration between the University and the CSWRI for mutual benefit. 
The Centre will impart training to rural masses, especially women for enhancing livelihood security and gender equity leading to empowerment of rural people, especially women. Further, the Centre will showcase/demonstrate and transfer area specific, low cost, eco-friendly and sustainable technologies for enhancing productivity and profitability from livestock rearing, it added.

IIMA Board approves increase in fees for PG programmes to Rs. 19.50 lakh

The Board of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) has approved an increase in the fees for its flagship two-year post-graduate programme (PGP) in management to Rs. 19.50 lakh from Rs. 18.50 lakh.
The enhanced fee is applicable from the 2016-18 batch, a press release from the institute said.
The amount is cumulative fee for both years, including tuition, academic support (case materials, books, etc.), accommodation, basic health care, medical insurance, and alumni association membership fee.   
"IIMA fee increases have tended to lag inflation rate over the past several years. Taking 2009 as base, even with the proposed increase, 2016-18 fee would be 10% lower in inflation adjusted terms compared to 2009-11 fee. 
"Institute costs have been rising in step with inflation. Although we continue to drive for efficiency, part of the cost increase is reflected in fee increase," the release said.
"The Institute feels a moral commitment to ensure that all deserving candidates that are admitted to the two year post-graduate programs (PGP and PGP-FABM) avail of the program 
irrespective of their economic circumstances. Towards that objective, we are committed to continue offering deserving students the most generous scholarship scheme among management schools in India. For 2016-17, financial aid is being offered to 251 PGP and PGP-FABM students, which is 29% of the total student strength,” said Prof. Ashish Nanda, Director, IIMA. 

Students from Stanford University call on Modi

A group of 25 students of the International Policy Studies program at Stanford University, United States, called on Prime Minister  Narendra Modi here today. 
The group included students from various countries, including India, an official press release said.
Welcoming the students to India, the Prime Minister said that they are all soon-to-be policy-makers, and therefore, what they assimilate at this point in time, will definitely shape their decisions and choices in the near future. 
In the course of the interaction, Mr. Modi answered questions on diplomatic relations between countries, India’s relationship with neighbouring countries, the Act East Policy, his recent visit to Silicon Valley, his commitment to technology and e-governance, and competitive cooperative federalism, the release added.

IIMA announces five new projects, including Jindal School of Public Policy

The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) today announced the launch of five new projects as part of campus growth and renewal, including the Jindal School of Public Policy.
The other projects are a new academic block, apartments for the  faculty, dormitories for students, and a brand new sports complex including the IIFL Swimming Pool. 
The institute appointed three architects for these projects: RMA Architects for the School of Public Policy, Arcop for faculty and student housing, and HCP for the new academic block and the sports complex. 
"These five projects are the first phase of a multi-year plan for increasing the capacity and renewing the IIMA campus, while maintaining its unique character," a press release from IIMA said here today.
The release said the Jindal School of Public Policy at IIMA would  be a multi-storey structure, including several classrooms and faculty offices. Prof. Rahul Mehrotra, Founder Principal of RMA Architects and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, will lead the design of the Jindal School of Public Policy. 
JSW has pledged a contribution of Rs. 85 crore towards developing this school, of which Rs. 25 crore has been earmarked for the building and support infrastructure.
JSW Group is one of India's leading conglomerates with interests in diverse sectors of the economy, including steel, power and infrastructure. “As part of our efforts towards furthering greater interface between Indian industry and academia, we have consistently been cognizant of the need to establish a durable mechanism to facilitate constructive interaction amongst government, regulatory agencies, academia, and industry participants in the development of policies affecting our economic environment, and our society at large,” said Mr. Sandeep Gokhale, President, JSW Group. 
“In furtherance of this objective, we are pleased to be a part of the initiative undertaken by the IIM - Ahmedabad through the establishment of the Jindal School for Public Policy. We hope that the school will go on to become an enduring platform in encouraging stakeholder interaction in the years ahead.”
The faculty housing and student housing facilities will be designed by the Montreal-based Arcop group — a pioneer in transformative design approach driven by sustainability. Faculty housing will be a multi-storeyed modern apartment building. 
The student housing facility will offer single-occupancy rooms for student accommodation within the context of a modern building.
“Arcop is honoured and delighted to be associated with IIMA in shaping the future of this campus, by celebrating the legacy and also by focusing on an innovative and integrated approach,” said Mr. Debasish Guha, Director, Arcop Associates Pvt. Ltd.
The new academic block and sports facility will be designed by HCP. The academic block will be built facing the existing academic block in the new campus. It will have several classrooms, faculty offices, and administrative offices. The sports complex will include an olympic-sized swimming pool contributed by IIFL, whose chairman is IIMA alumnus Nirmal Jain. The complex will also include squash courts, badminton courts, gymnasium, an athletics track, and other ancillary facilities.
“I had a transformative experience at IIM Ahmedabad, The relationships built here continued with me in earlier stint at HUL and then in my entrepreneurial journey at IIFL. This prestigious institute has shaped my life and it is my privilege that I can give back something to my alma mater in a meaningful way. In addition to the highest scholarship at the institution, I am sure the swimming pool will reinvigorate the young minds with the spirit of sportsmanship and refresh their minds to innovate and contribute to the greater development of society,” said Mr. Jain.
“IIMA has a world-class reputation as a management institute, but it also has a fine history of architectural patronage. As master architects for both campuses, HCP is honoured to be a part of the IIM Ahmedabad story. We are very happy to have the opportunity to continue our association with the institute with commissions to design additional state-of-the-art academic spaces and a new world-class sports complex, which will include Olympic-standard swimming and athletics facilities,” said Mr. Bobby Desai, Director of Design, HCP.
On the occasion, Prof. Ashish Nanda, Director, IIMA, said: “This is an important step in the growth and renewal of our beautiful campus. We are adding these new buildings to help achieve our strategic goals while keeping true to the heritage and integrity of the campus. I am grateful to the Building Committee for their stewardship of the projects, to the Master Architect HCP for developing with us a shared vision of the future of the IIMA campus, and the architects for these projects — RMA, Arcop, and HCP —for joining us in taking our vision for IIMA forward.”

Applications open for 2017 Fulbright-Nehru and other Fulbright fellowships

The United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) today announced the opening of its annual competition for Fulbright-Nehru and other Fulbright fellowships.  
Such exchanges have, over the years, helped bring the people of India and the United States closer together, a press release from USIEF said.
In 2008, the U.S. and Indian governments agreed to significantly increase the number of scholarships awarded each year.  The Fulbright program offers opportunities in the United States that enrich fellows’ academic, research, teaching and professional capacity.
This year marks the inaugural call for applications for the Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowships.  By funding these new fellowships, the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India intend to work in partnership to build long-term capacity in the United States and India by engaging scientific and technical research scholars and professionals from both countries related to climate research and education.
Manju Vasudevan Sharma, a 2014 Fulbright-Nehru Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara said, “Being part of the research community in the U.S. has been a stimulating and enriching experience – something that will help build future collaborations for my work in tropical forest ecology.  What will be treasured in the heart for a long time to come are the warmth and vibrancy of people, the extraordinary nature reserves, and the independent and alternate thinking society that I so felt part of.” 
Ivan P. Marbaniang, a 2014 Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellow at Johns Hopkins University, observed, "The greatest advantage of attending a school in the U.S. is that it allowed me to contextualize several issues on a global scale.  My exposure to a dynamic and interdisciplinary education system broadened my perspectives and has helped me to develop pragmatic approaches to problem-solving."
USIEF alumni have demonstrated strong leadership in all fields, including agriculture, the arts, business, education, the environment, humanities and social sciences, public health, and science and technology.  Outstanding Indian students, academics, teachers, policy makers, administrators, and professionals are encouraged to apply.
USIEF expects to offer approximately 90 Fulbright-Nehru and six Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowships to Indian applicants in 2017.  Fellowship details are posted on the USIEF website and the first application deadline is June 15, 2016.  
Applicants may send any queries to or contact one of the USIEF offices in New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, or Mumbai, the release added.

Central University VCs resolve that national flag should be flown at every university

The Conference of Central University Vice-Chancellors chaired by Union Minister of Human Resource Development Smriti Irani at Surajkund near here yesterday has resolved, among other things, that the national flag would be flown "prominently and proudly" at a central place at every central univeristy.
In other resolutions adopted unanimously, the conference decided that, in order to optimize academic output of the student community, universities would institutionalize peer-assisted learning through an active mentoring system involving senior students and faculty. 
To ensure a transparent proactive mechanism for grievance redressal of the university community, including students, staff and faculty, steps would be taken to appoint an Anti-Discrimination officer, an official press release said.
An online admission process would be commenced to increase cost-effective and transparent access to Higher Education, it said.
To increase Gross Enrolment Ratio to 30% in Higher Education, universities will increase access through starting classes in double shifts to overcome the infrastructure and human resource bottlenecks. 
In order to keep pace with the fast emerging knowledge society in the global world, new and innovative courses have been proposed to prepare for the future needs of the nation. 
These include Social Sciences and Humanities; Applied courses in Foreign Languages; New Media and Youth; Inter-faith Studies; Dialogue of culture & Civilizations; Women and entrepreneurship; Epidemiology & Public Health; Gerontology; Citizenship and value education; Diaspora studies; Science, Technology & Agriculture; Nano-technology; Converging technologies; Applied Science & Maths; Farming Technology; Rural Supply Chain Management; and Renewable energy development.
The conference resolved that, in order to ensure that no student is deprived of Higher Education due to language limitation, universities would ensure instruction in English and an Indian language as applicable to the state. 
To enable students to take correct personal and professional decisions, they will implement a professional system of comprehensive guidance and counseling by experts. 
In order to ensure a healthy, safe and congenial work environment for women, students, staff & faculty, universities will institutionalize a suitable redressal mechanism and strengthen the existing system. 
To motivate students to be socially aware and responsible citizens and to inculcate a spirit of dignity of labour among the youth and commitment for social upliftment, the village adoption programme already in place under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan will be strengthened. 
For ensuring transparency in and speedy delivery of services, administrative reforms coupled with e-governance will be taken up on priority.
The meeting also decided that a one-week course on leadership and management will be held at two select Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) for Vice-Chancellors, Pro-Vice-Chancellors and Registrars.

Homi Bhabha National Institute gets nod for Off-Campus Centre in Bhubaneswar

The Central Government, on the advice of the University Grants Commission (UGC), has accorded its approval to the Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), Mumbai, Maharashtra to start an off-campus centre at Bhubaneswar in the name of National Institute of Science Education & Research (NISER) with prospective effect.  
An official press release said that the Central Government is empowered under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act, 1956 to declare, on the advice of the UGC, an institution of higher learning as a Deemed to be University;
The Act allows for conduct of academic course/programmes, subject to review of the off-campus centre by the UGC biennially for six years and subsequently after every five year subject to usual terms and conditions as prescribed under the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010 and its amendments in 2014 and 2015.
HBNI had submitted a proposal to Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2010 for establishment of an off-campus centre at Bhubaneswar in the name of National Institute of Science Education & Research (NISER). The proposal was examined by the UGC with the help of an Expert Committee in terms of the provisions of UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010 and its amendments.
The UGC, vide its communication dated 4th February, 2016 conveyed its approval for declaring National Institute of Science Education & Research(NISER), Bhubaneswar as an Off-Campus Centre of Homi Bhaba National Institute (HBNI) subject to concurrence of the Ministry on amendments in Clause 12.03A of the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2010 as amended in the year 2014 and 2015, which relaxes the restrictions of six off-campuses to the Institutions Deemed to be Universities which are established and managed by the Government.
HBNI was declared as an as Institution Deemed to be University on the advice of the UGC on 3rd July 2005 consisting of ten Constituent Units: Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai; Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam; Centre for Advanced Technology (CAT), Indore; Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), Kolkata; Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP), Kolkata; Institute of Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar; Institute of Physics (IOP), Bhubaneswar; Harish-Chandra Research Institute (HRI), Allahabad; Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), Mumbai and Institute of Mathematical Science (IMSc), Chennai.

BSE Institute Ltd. launches online platform

BSE Institute, a wholly owned subsidiary of BSE Limited, launched its online platform - - here yesterday.
“We have always aimed at spreading our wings across those regions and countries where there is a need and demand of financial markets education, but is not available," Mr. Ambarish Datta, MD & CEO of BSE Institute Ltd. said.
"Our government’s Digital India initiative movement has taken pace with more and more people becoming digitally savvy and well connected to the online world. 
"  is one such platform which offers finance courses and learning to anybody and everybody in this world on the click of a button, whether you are on your desktop/laptop or on your smartphone," he said.
A press release from BSE Institute said had the facility of online payment as well. 
"BSE Institute has a team of dedicated professionals working on the content of these courses offered, which are in line with the current industry requirements," it said.
According to it, the step had enabled BSE Institute Ltd to bring to learners across the globe the knowledge and insights into the capital markets industry, garnered by BSE over the past 140 years.
"BSE, the fastest stock exchange in the world, with a trading speed of 6 micro seconds has been enabling high speed trading. The launch of – 'the new way of high speed learning', will now enable learning at the speed of thought," it said.
The release said the platform would help BSE Institute to address the major challenge faced by students and professionals because the knowledge that they acquire from conventional sources is not only out dated but also not aligned to application in the workplace environment.  
"This is an even bigger challenge for students from tier 2 and tier 3 cities, who have almost no access to industry experts. A wide range of audiences will be addressed ranging from undergraduate programs, to post-graduate programs, to niche programs for senior professionals," it said.
The platform offers a wide range of courses in the areas of finance, capital markets, banking and insurance. The courses contain video lectures, live webinars, discussions, case studies and assignments leading to a certificate from BSE Institute. 
"The established strengths of the BSE Institute - industry aligned contemporary curriculum taught by leading market experts - will now be available to learners all over the world at the click of a mouse. In addition, students from the remotest parts of the country will now be able to learn global best practices and acquire global certifications and aspire for international jobs," the release added.

Increased participation of IITs, IIITS at Army Technology Board meeting

A two-day meeting of the Army Technology Board (ATB) opened here today with a review of the progress of 21 ongoing projects and examination of certain new proposals under the enhanced budget ceiling for R&D projects through technical government institutes.
The 18th Meeting of ATB is being held at College of Military Engineering, Pune under the chairmanship of Lt Gen PM Hariz, General Officer Commanding in Chief, Army Training Command (ARTRAC).
The ATB provides a platform to leverage the technological expertise of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) into useful solutions and products for the Army, in an economical and reasonable time frame.
The meeting saw increased participation from a number of IITs and IIITs, which provided greater impetus towards the aim of generating successful research work in support of the Army, a Defence Ministry press release said.
Lt Gen Hariz, in his address, asked the forum to synergize R & D efforts under ATB with Army’s capability development plans and focus on technologies as reflected in technology perspective and capability road maps document issued by Ministry of Defence.
He highlighted the key emerging technology fields of Battlefield Transparency, Command and Control Systems, Communication Systems, Nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defence and Smart Antenna System that could be pursued by ATB.
The vision of the ATB envisages meeting immediate requirements of field formations and training institutes with projects that have low gestation period and help to improve efficiency of the troops, the release added.

IIT Madras partners with Nokia to boost broadband connectivity in rural India

The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) has partnered with Nokia to create technology solutions that will enhance broadband connectivity in rural India. 
Under the three-year partnership, Nokia will fund and provide technological expertise for research at IIT-M's Center of Excellence for Wireless Technology (CEWiT). 
A press release from Nokia said the project would evaluate the option of using unlicensed spectrum to deliver cost-efficient, last-mile broadband connectivity to remote rural communities in India, complementing the government's National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) initiative.
The release said the research project aimed to bridge the connectivity divide in India by broadening the reach of broadband in rural areas. As part of this research,  CEWiT at IIT-M will undertake the following measures: 
* Verify the feasibility of using unlicensed spectrum radio access technologies for cost-efficient, last-mile broadband connectivity
* Complement the Indian government's ambitious plans of providing fiber optic connectivity to 230,000 gram panchayats* by providing last-mile connectivity from gram panchayats to their respective villages
* Create effective low cost rural access solutions based on Wi-Fi technology
Mr. Sandeep Girotra, Vice President and Head of India region, Nokia, said: "India is on the cusp of a digital revolution. We are really excited about this research collaboration with IIT-Madras, which will leverage its talent and innovation to drive the Indian government's vision of empowering rural communities through broadband connectivity - an initiative that will revolutionize access to government services and the Internet.The successful implementation of this project is a key social development objective for Nokia in India."
Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, said: "Together with Nokia, IIT-Madras, through its Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology, will explore new avenues for getting affordable wireless broadband technology to rural India in an effort to bridge the digital divide. Our research will focus on leveraging the power of the Internet to accelerate the development of India's rural communities, home to the vast majority of India's population."

MIT President Rafael Reif meets Modi

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) President L. Rafael Reif calling on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on January 28, 2016.  Former Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata is also seen.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) President L. Rafael Reif calling on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on January 28, 2016. Former Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata is also seen.
Dr. L. Rafael Reif, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi today.
During their discussions, Dr. Reif apprised Mr. Modi of the work being done by the institute in the areas of education, health, water and innovation. He invited the Prime Minister to visit MIT and interact with its students and faculty.
Mr. Modi urged Dr. Reif to explore the possibility of using MIT’s expertise in the government's flagship programmes of Skill India, Digital India and Start-Up India. 
He also suggested that senior or retired faculty members from MIT could visit India for a few months to teach in Indian universities. 
Dr. Reif appreciated the suggestion, and offered his assistance in this regard. 
Mr. Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts, and former Chairman, Tata Sons was also present on the occasion.

Central Institute of Buddhist Studies to be a deemed-to-be-university

The Central Government, on the advice of the University Grants Commission (UGC), has declared that the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS), Choglamsar, Leh (Ladakh), Jammu & Kashmir, shall be a deemed-to-be-university for the purpose of the UGC Act,1956, provisionally, for a period of five years under the de novo category.
This will come into effect from the date CIBS disaffiliates itself for its courses and programmes from Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi and Tibetan Medicines and Astrology Department, Dharamsala, an official press release said here today.
The declaration of CIBS as deemed-to-be-university shall be confirmed after five years on the basis of five successive annual performance reports of UGC Expert Committee(s). This has been notified on 15th January 2016 for publication in Gazette of India Part-1, Section-1, it said.
According to the release, the declaration made shall be subject to following conditions: 
I. UGC Regulations (Institutions Deemed to be University) 2010 amended in the year 2014 and 2015 and any further amendments, and guidelines of UGC issued from time to time with respect to Deemed to be University shall be binding on the CIBS. 
II. Notwithstanding anything in (I) above, the declaration is further subject to the following conditions: 
a) The CIBS shall amend / update its Memorandum of Association (MoA)/Rules, as and when necessary, in consultation & concurrence with the UGC/Government of India. The Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS) shall also carry out amendments / improvements, if any, suggested by the Government of India or the UGC, in its MoA/Rules. 
b) The CIBS shall not offer any distance education programmes. 
c) The CIBS shall not open or operate any off campus(s)/off shore campus(es) / new Department(s) without prior approval of the UGC and the Government of India. 
d) CIBS is also not permitted to affiliate any college(s) / institution(s). 
e) CIBS shall not undertake franchising of higher education which is not permissible under any circumstances. 
f) The academic programmes offered or to be offered by CIBS will conform to the norms and standards prescribed by the relevant Statutory Councils. 
g) The CIBS shall not offer / award, as the case may be, any degrees that are not specified by the UGC. It shall also ensure that the nomenclatures of the degrees, etc. to be awarded by it are specified by the UGC under Section 22 of the UGC Act, 1956. 
h) All the prescribed norms and procedures of the relevant Statutory Councils and other authorities concerned in the matter of admission of students, intake capacity of students, starting of new courses/ programmes, renewal of approval to the courses, etc. will continue to be in force, and shall be adhered to by the CIBS. 
i) The CIBS shall take all necessary steps to comply with the observations and suggestions, if any, of the Expert Committee of the UGC as made out in its relevant Inspection Report.
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