Campus Notes

IIMA announces five new chaired professor positions, three student scholarships

IIM Ahmedabad
IIM Ahmedabad
The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA), the country's top business school, today announced five new chaired professor positions and three student scholarships.
IIMA Director Ashish Nanda also said that an anonymous contribution had been made by an alumnus in support of the institute's admissions process and entrepreneurship among students. 
"Alumni contributions will help upgrade the Child Care Centre to modern standards," he said.
“We are also delighted to partner with the Infosys Foundation, for Chair of Societal Development; Edelweiss, through establishing Edelweiss Term Chair in Finance; PwC, for establishing PwC Chair of Financial Reporting and Corporate Governance; UTI, for a term chair in Macro-Economics; and Kasturbhai Lalbhai for the Chair in Management Development,” said Prof. Nanda.
“I am also thankful to Ajay and Ritu Banga for their contribution towards PGP scholarships. I am also pleased to announce Shapoorji Pallonji’s contribution towards PGPX scholarships. Contributions from the 1986 PGP batch and other alumni, including the 2014 PGP batch and several of our women alumni will help upgrade the IIMA Child Care Centre," he said.
Speaking about the Infosys Chair of Societal Development at IIMA, Mrs. Sudha Murty, Chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, said, “With over 65% of the Indian population living in rural areas, development in these regions will play a significant role in influencing the economic growth of the country. Through the establishment of the Infosys Chair of Societal Development, we aim to provide the much-needed impetus to researchers of IIMA to formulate policies, regulations, technology interventions and programs for Rural Development."
"The Chair intends to support studies that will lead to the creation of gainful employment, better housing and sanitation, non-conventional methods to alleviate poverty, and inclusive growth of population across the pyramid," she said.
Edelweiss Group Chairman Rashesh Shah, who has helped set up the Edelweiss Term Chair in Finance, said, "Today's complex world of finance is ever-changing, highly inter-connected, with inter-linkages across business, government and society."
“There is a clear need for collaboration between industry and academia in order to develop new thought, new ways of looking at things and to ably spot, understand and smartly navigate the emerging winds of change. Having experienced firsthand the thought leadership that IIMA provides, led to the decision to endow the Edelweiss Chair of Finance. 
"The chair aims to support faculty for research around higher levels of learning in the areas of finance, markets and economy," he said.
UTI AMC Managing Director Leo Puri said the UTI Chair in Macro-Economics was being established as part of the company's commitment to contributing to the growth of the Indian financial markets and promoting education and research in the area of capital markets. 
“India will play a significant role in shaping the global economy, going forward. Top quality educational and financial institutions will have an important role in this journey. This collaboration between UTI AMC and IIM-A to start the UTI Chair in Macro-Economics is an important step in that direction. The valuable insights generated will benefit all stakeholders in the years to come.” 
"Policy makers and regulators around the world are focussed on changes to financial reporting and corporate governance frameworks and regulations to improve transparency and accountability and thus capital flows. We believe that collaboration among businesses, regulators, other stakeholders and academia is critical in achieving these objectives. We are delighted to establish the PwC Chair of Financial Reporting and Governance at IIMA to support excellence in research and teaching in this area," PwC India Chairman Deepak Kapoor said.
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri, Group Head, HR, Shapoorji Pallonji, said: “Executive Management programs bring out the best in experienced people. We congratulate IIMA for their pioneering effort in the executive education arena - the PGPX course in its 10th year has been building the talent pipeline for industry at large. We, at Shapoorji Pallonji, believe that experienced executives bring in value from day one and can be assimilated into varied environments with relative ease. Programs such as the PGPX play an important role in making this happen. The program proves that academic excellence and managerial excellence can complement each other at different stages in one’s career. Shapoorji Pallonji is happy to partner with IIMA to institute the debutant award for academic excellence in the PGPX batch. The award is presented to the topper of the PGPX batch at the time of the convocation.”

Highest registration for IIM CAT in five years, rise in female candidates

IIM Ahmedabad
IIM Ahmedabad
As many as 2,18,664 registrations have been made for the Common Admission Test (CAT) of the Indian Institutes Management (IIMs) in the country -- the highest number in the last five years.
The test will be conducted in two sessions on November 29 this year at 650 test sites in 136 cities. Online registration for the examination opened on August 6 and ended on September 25, following a five-day extension.
The CAT is a pre-requisite for admission to the flagship post-graduate programmes (PGP) in management of the IIMs. Several other institutions also use the CAT scorecard to decide their admissions.
“Of late, some observers have expressed concern whether CAT examination is losing its potency because of slight decline in numbers in recent years, except last year. This year’s applications, a five-year-high, should put such doubts to rest,” said Prof. Tathagata Bandyopadhyay, Convener, CAT 2015. 
“Also, IIMs would be interested in the quality of students taking CAT rather than the number of CAT applicants. From the data of the last few years, it is evident that in recent years more focused candidates are taking CAT than when we touched the peak in terms of the highest number of registrations,” he said.
The number of female candidates in the applicant pool has increased, from 59,211 in 2014 to 69,176 in 2015 - an increase of 17%. There is also a significant increase in the number of candidates from non-engineering background from 37% in 2014 to 46% in 2015.
“We have been striving to bring diversity to our classrooms and these changes should reflect in the next PGP cohort at IIMA. I am sure we would see increase in diversity for other IIMs as well. I would like to thank our friends in the media, who have helped to get the word out in this regard to the applicants. We also see the diversity reflected in the number of transgender applicants, which stands at 80,” said Prof. Bandyopadhyay.
There has been a 26% increase in the number of registrations from Maharashtra (6,973), the highest increase among all states, followed by Uttar Pradesh (2,181, about 9%), and Telangana (1,909, about 23%). One of the reasons for the substantial increase in registrations in Maharashtra could be attributed to the setting up of IIM Nagpur. There has been a 16% (457) increase in the number of registrations from the North Eastern states of India.
Candidates will be permitted to download their Admit Card from mid-October onwards till the date of examination.
The duration of the examination has been increased to 180 minutes instead of 170 minutes. There will be three sections, ‘Quantitative Aptitude (QA)’, ‘Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)’ and ‘Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC)’. 
QA and VRC will have 34 questions each, and DILR will have 32 questions. Some questions in each section may not be of multiple choice type. Instead, direct answers are to be typed on the screen. 
Candidates will be allotted exactly 60 minutes for answering questions in each section and they cannot switch from one section to another while answering questions in a section. Tutorial to understand the format of the examination will be available on the CAT website from 15th October.
The results of the test are expected to be declared in the second week of January 2016.
As per the Government of India requirements, 15% of the seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and 7.5% for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates. 
Another 27% of seats are reserved for Other Backward Classes candidates belonging to the “non-creamy” layer (NC - OBC).

Indian-Americans Chandrika, Ranjan Tandon gift $ 100 m to NYU School of Engineering

An Indian-American couple, Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon, has gifted $ 100 milion for engineering at the NYU in the United States, NYU President John Sexton and Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, dean of the School of Engineering at the university, have announced.
The gift — which will principally support faculty hiring and academic programs — is intended to build on the engineering school’s existing practice of cross-disciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship and achieve new levels of academic excellence in engineering, a press release from the US Embassy said.
The school will be re-named the NYU Tandon School of Engineering in recognition of the Tandons’ generosity and their belief in the school’s mission and promise. The University has agreed to a challenge from the donors to raise an additional, separate $50 million, which will be principally focused on scholarship aid. 
Chandrika Tandon is a member of the Board of Overseers of NYU’s business school, a member of the NYU Board of Trustees, and leads the NYU President’s Global Council.  A former partner at McKinsey and Company, she is chair of Tandon Capital Associates, a financial advisory firm she founded in 1992. 
She also is a Grammy-nominated musician, with an album, Soul Call, nominated for Best Contemporary World Music in 2011.  
Her husband, Ranjan Tandon, is an engineer by training and a graduate of the Harvard Business School.  He is founder and chair of Libra Advisors, a hedge fund he founded in 1990 that is now a family office.
The Tandons’ donation is believed to be the largest philanthropic gift by a member of the Indian-American community.
Engineering was only recently restored to NYU after a 40-year absence when NYU merged with Polytechnic University in 2014.  Since affiliating, the University has invested approximately $100 million in engineering, with improvements in facilities, faculty hiring, admissions, and fundraising, and has also established the related Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP). 
"This gift will accelerate the School of Engineering’s academic advancement, enabling it to develop new areas of strength in engineering and to hire additional faculty," the release said.
Ms. Tandon said, “We feel privileged to be able to participate in the transformation that is happening at NYU and at the School of Engineering. As a Trustee of NYU, I have had a front row seat to the energy and excitement of the Global Network University and the scale of possibility it presents.
“Getting to know the engineering school was truly electrifying.  The imagination and inventiveness of the students and faculty as they worked together on real world problems; the cutting- edge work being done both within the school and collaboratively across schools in such diverse areas like the arts, medicine, education, incubators; the entrepreneurial spirit that pervades the place — all this inspired us so.  We truly believe that these students with the benefit of NYU’s global vision will make the world a better place.
“We also deeply respect the school’s extraordinary history and are honored to have a part in moving it forward with the visionary leadership team at the school and at the University.
“More broadly, Ranjan and I are great believers in STEM education, in the applied sciences, and in the analytic and creative disciplines that such an education develops.  And we want to give back to the city that has given us so much. Our hope is that this gift will bring many more of us together to reinvent engineering, advance New York’s efforts to become a science and tech capital, and foster the talents of young innovators, applied scientists, and entrepreneurs. We believe this is just the beginning.”
Dr. Sexton said, “As an institution, NYU is good at many things.  One is taking a program or a school or even an entire university to the next level of excellence.  We often see the promise of greatness where others fail to see it; and, when we do, we act on it.  That is the outlook that Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon have too.  They understand how dynamic our School of Engineering is and how their gift can accelerate its magnificent trajectory.  This will transform engineering at NYU and will have an impact that will reach far beyond its students and faculty, beyond even NYU.  It will boost New York City’s — and especially Brooklyn’s — growing tech sector and, most of all, it will yield generations of innovators who, connected to NYU’s global network, will solve pressing and challenging problems throughout the world.  I am immensely grateful to Chandrika and Ranjan.”
NYU Board of Trustees Chair Martin Lipton said, “On behalf of the NYU community, let me express my and our enormous gratitude to Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon.  For many reasons I treasure my personal relationship and friendship with Chandrika and Ranjan. In addition, Chandrika stands out among the trustees not just for her extraordinary generosity, and not just for the conviction she so clearly demonstrates in the School of Engineering’s bright future, but also for her selfless involvement with the University community.  Seldom have I seen someone who relishes her role as a Trustee more and who takes her responsibilities as seriously. Chandrika has been an enormous help to me in dealing with a number of the most important issues the Board has faced. As I look back over many decades of association with NYU, few developments will bring me as much satisfaction as restoring engineering to the University.  And that’s why I am especially gratified by the Tandons’ wonderful gift: because it will help propel engineering at NYU so far.  It is only fitting that the school will bear the name of people who are so visionary.”
William Berkley, Chair-designate of the NYU Board of Trustees, said, “This is an extraordinary gift, one that will ensure that engineering will be a center of excellence and a continuing source of vitality and entrepreneurial spirit for NYU as a whole.  Though this gift is striking for its generosity, it is not Chandrika and Ranjan’s first gift to NYU, but it is emblematic of how their giving is special in three important ways: they make gifts that are entrepreneurial and cross-disciplinary and that they know will have an impact; their giving goes to great ideas, not just to institutions to which they have longstanding ties; and their gifts are indicative of the commitment they show to NYU in so many, many ways.  The School of Engineering, the Board of Trustees, and the entire NYU community will always be grateful to them for their enormous generosity.”
“The Tandons' extraordinary act of generosity is remarkable not only because of the size of the gift, but also because it recognizes the importance of a school with which they had no prior affiliation,” said Dean Sreenivasan. “Engineering is at the core of so many aspects of our lives, and the Tandons' generosity will heighten our school’s already significant transformative role in the economy, medical advances, communications, and applied sciences. It is clear that the School is poised for higher levels of excellence. As a fellow native of India, I am deeply moved that the Tandons have chosen to support our path to academic excellence in this way and hope that their gift will inspire other successful Indians wherever they have chosen to live, to engage in large-scale philanthropy.”
Andrew Hamilton, NYU’s President-designate, said, “As a chemist, I understand full well the important role that engineering and applied sciences play in the university environment.  I am absolutely delighted by this enormously generous gift, and, as I step into the presidency of NYU, I look forward to working closely with the Tandons in the years to come to fulfill their gift’s great promise for advancing engineering at NYU.”
The school has 2,264 undergraduates and 2,738 graduate students, and 180 full-time faculty within 10 academic departments.
In addition to programs at its main campus in downtown Brooklyn, it is closely connected to engineering programs in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, it operates business incubators in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, it houses a robust K-12 STEM Education Center, and it thrives on interdisciplinary programs jointly with the rest of NYU.?

Jayant Haritsa delivers ISF lecture on Robust Query Processing at IIIT-D

Prof Jayant Haritsa, Supercomputer Education & Research Centre and Chair of Department of Computer Science & Automation, Indian Insitute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, delivered the The Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) lecture here yesterday.
The lecture, on “The Latent Power of Absurd Ideas aka Robust Query Processing”, was organizd by ISF in association with the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology - Delhi (IIIT-D) and attended by academicians and students from IIIT-D and other colleges.
A press release from the foundation said the lecture was part of its  ISF Lecture series introduced in 2011, with an aim to popularize science and research in the country.
"ISF Lectures have gained great popularity within the research fraternity and intend to serve as a platform for young talent to stay informed about different fields of scientific research and studies, and inspire them to take up research as a career," it said.
The talk by Prof. Haritsa, winner of Infosys Prize 2014 for Engineering and Computer Science, was the tenth lecture in the current year’s series of public talks organized by the Foundation.
Prof. Haritsa’s talk aimed at highlighting how a pair of seemingly irrational ideas, operating in tandem, can substantively address the statistical estimation problem. The session witnessed an interactive discussion on the effective operations of "database engines", and the extremely complex and massive software systems that constitute the backbone of today's information-rich society.
Prof. Haritsa’s work lies at the intersection of database systems and data mining, with a focus on query processing across a range of database systems. He founded the Database Systems Lab at IISc in 1995 from which more than 80 students have completed their post-graduation. 
He received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award and Distinguished Scientist of ACM award in 2009 and the ACCS CDAC Foundation Award in 2013. He is a Fellow of IEEE, Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Academy of Engineering, and National Academy of Sciences, India.
The Infosys Prize is awarded under the aegis of the ISF, a not-for-profit trust instituted in February 2009. The foundation is funded by a corpus which today stands at over Rs 120 crore, contributed by the trustees and Infosys.

Bank of Baroda contributes over Rs 2 crore to boost case research at IIMA

The public sector Bank of Baroda (BoB) today announced a contribution of Rs 2 crore to boost case research at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA).
The funding is part of the institute’s effort to reach out to the 
industry and collaborate on field-based research, a press release from IIMA said.
“This fund will sustain development of cases in banking and financial sector. Case studies are a wonderful means to conducting cutting-edge field-based, inductive research.The case materials that are produced will be available for research and 
teaching not only at IIMA, but also to other institutions, as we have been doing in the past with our case research,” said Prof. Ashish Nanda, Director, IIMA.
“I thank the Bank of Baroda Board of Directors and their Apex Academy for supporting this important initiative,” he added.
According to the release, BoB has been keen on supporting quality research in the Banking and Finance sector. IIMA is focusing intensively on strengthening its Case Centre. 
"The coming together of both institutions will contribute to top quality research that is connected with the latest developments in banking and finance. 
“One should not see Bank of Baroda’s contribution in the light of only funding research output of IIMA. It is an amalgamation of a shared vision to make a difference in the quality of available research cases to benefit the sector. Bank of Baroda, as a leading bank, has always been committed to quality internal training and has been supportive of similar initiatives,” said Mr. Ranjan Dhawan, Managing Director & CEO, Bank of Baroda.

Cabinet nod for creation of posts of Directors for four new NIDs

The Union Cabinet today approved the creation of four posts of Directors for four new National Institutes of Design (NIDs) at Kurukshetra (Haryana), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Jorhat (Assam) and Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh). 
The Cabinet had already approved financial implications including salaries, for setting up of these new NIDs in its meeting held in February, 2014. 
The National Design Policy was approved by the Cabinet in February, 2007. One of the components of the Action Plan for implementation of the policy is setting up of four more NIDs on the pattern of NID, Ahmedabad. This would help in spreading quality education in design to all regions of India, an official press release said.

DBT, IITs set up virtual research centre on bioenergy

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, has launched the "DBT-Pan IIT Centre for Bioenergy”, a virtual centre spread across five Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) -- Bombay, Kharagpur, Guwahati, Jodhpur, and Roorkee -- and coordinated by IIT Bombay.
The memorandum of agreement (MoA) in this regard was signed here yesterday, an official press release said.
The first virtual centre for collaborative research will focus on the thematic areas of research in advance bio-fuel technologies, it said.
The collaboration was initiated in January 2015 and involves a research team from the five participating institutes, consisting of 32 investigators who have been working on bio-energy and will jointly undertake research activities in the following thematic areas: Cyanobacterial Biofuels, Biofuels from micro-algae, Ligno-cellulosic biomass to Biofuels and Techno-economic and Life Cycle Analysis.
This is the fourth centre in bio-energy research set up by DBT after the DBT-IOC Centre for Advanced Bioenergy, Faridabad; DBT-ICT Centre for Energy Biosciences, Mumbai; and DBT-ICGEB Centre for Advanced Bioenergy, New Delhi.  
This is also the largest among the four Bioenergy Centres in terms of investigator participation, the release said.
The centre also aims to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with the bio-energy industry in India, it said.
The MoA was signed in the presence of Prof. K Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, DBT. Others present were Dr.Renu Swarup (Senior Advisor, DBT), Prof. Devang Khakhar (Director, IIT Bombay), Prof. Pradipta Banerji (Director, IITRoorkee), Prof.Gautam Biswas (Director, IIT Guwahati), Dr.Sangita Kasture (Joint Director, DBT), Prof.Pramod Wangikar (Coordinator of the Centre, IIT Bombay), Prof.V.Narayanan (IIT Jodhpur) and Prof. Saikat Chakraborty (IIT Kharagpur).
"The main objective of this centre is to develop advanced technologies in the area of biofuels, paving the way for a sustainable solution to the energy crisis," the release added.

Carnegie Mellon receives $35 million gift from Tata Consultancy Services

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) of the United States and Indian IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) today announced a $35 million gift from TCS to the university.
The gift marks a new era of partnerships between leaders in industry and academia, a press release from the company said.
Representing the largest corporate gift to CMU and the largest gift from outside the US, this donation will fund a new facility, the Tata Consultancy Services Building, which will support education and cutting-edge research by CMU faculty and students. 
At approximately 40,000 square-feet, the stand-alone structure will house state-of-the-art facilities, providing collaborative spaces for CMU faculty and staff. The building will provide space for TCS staff to interact with CMU faculty, staff and students, it said.
"The gift also will endow presidential fellowships and scholarships, increasing the availability of a CMU education to outstanding students. In doing so TCS, which has been at the forefront of national and grassroots campaigns to encourage science, technology, engineering and math education, will help equip Carnegie Mellon undergraduate and graduate students with the knowledge they need for future careers," the release said.
“With our shared commitment to education and research in areas that help address many challenges of our time the partnership with TCS is both natural and extraordinarily promising,” said Subra Suresh, president of Carnegie Mellon. “Together, our two organizations have the capabilities and capacity to make breakthrough discoveries and the scale to make societal impact on a global scale.”
“TCS is proud to invest in this landmark partnership with CMU to promote market-driven innovation and accelerate advancements in technology,” said Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chief executive officer and managing director of TCS. “As global leaders, Carnegie Mellon and TCS have the intellectual power, creativity, institutional nimbleness and global reach to capitalize on new opportunities and have a lasting impact on society and industry through cutting-edge digital research and a long-term commitment to education.”
TCS joins a growing group of major technology companies moving to the Pittsburgh region in recent years. More than 250 companies now have partnerships with CMU. 
"This groundbreaking collaboration with a multinational company headquartered outside the US, marks a new chapter in the region, joining a rich ecosystem of entrepreneurship supported and catalyzed by the university," the release said.
“I’m very pleased to welcome TCS to Pennsylvania,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. “This is an exciting time as we see more and more companies establish and expand their presence in the state. Carnegie Mellon has been especially adept in attracting cutting-edge businesses to and near its campus, which helps to drive economic growth."
Among the nation’s major research universities, Carnegie Mellon ranks first in startups per research dollar, according to the Association of University Technology Managers. Since 2008, CMU faculty, students and alumni have created 215 new companies.
These startup activities also will benefit from CMU’s largest campus expansion since Andrew Carnegie founded the university in 1900. Work has begun on the David A Tepper Quadrangle, the university’s major new academic hub, which will be located just east of the new TCS facility, the release added.

NIDM signs MoU with JNU to set up Centre for Excellence in Disaster Research

The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) signed here yesterday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for establishing a Centre for Excellence in Disaster Research and Resilience Building at JNU. 
Prof. Santosh Kumar, Executive Director, NIDM and Prof. S.K. Sopory, Vice Chancellor of the University signed the MoU in the presence of Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju. 
The Minister said that the collaboration of both these prestigious institutions would provide openings for students in a new emerging research area and positions in administration from district to higher levels. He said that this would have the potential of generating a new breed of disaster management professionals. 
By this MoU, NIDM will be providing financial assistance amounting to Rs 4.14 crores, at the rate of Rs. 1.38 crore per annum, to JNU over a three-year period from 2015-16 to 2017-18 to start M.Phil and Ph.D. programmes in Disaster Management for the first time in India. 
"The objective of this MoU is to initiate research, teaching, capacity and manpower development within a trans-disciplinary framework which brings science to communities in a manner that it is made usable and understandable to communities in fragile ecosystems. 
"The activities under this MoU would be to build community resilience through better preparedness, legal and governance reforms, enhanced capacity for early detection and warning systems, absorption of indigenous wisdom in administrative systems, resonating vulnerabilities of various kinds, remote sensing and GIS based mitigation efforts and environmental capacity enhancement of local governance. 
"Academically the collaborative nature of this programme would bring focus down to local communities and resource conservation at the grassroot levels. NIDM will move a step forward towards its goal of becoming a Deemed University with this collaboration," an official press release added.

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Rahul Gandhi meets FTII students, says RSS, BJP promoting mediocrity, stifling dissent

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Friday came out strongly in support of the agitating students of FTII in Pune and accused the ruling BJP and its ideological mentor RSS of promoting "mediocrity" and stifling dissent.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today came out strongly in support of the agitating students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTTI) in Pune and accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of promoting "mediocrity" and stifling dissent.
Meeting the students at the FTII campus here as their protests against the appointment of television actor Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of the institute entered the 50th day, Mr Gandhi spent considerable time with them to understand their concerns as well as their work.
He was accompanied by film actors and Congress leaders Raj Babbar, Chiranjeevi and Khushbu Sundar.
He first encouraged the students to speak about why they objected to Mr Chauhan's appointment and many of them told him that they wanted the chairman of the institute to be somone with a considerable body of quality work and who was respected in the industry.
They said Mr Chauhan, who is best known for his portrayal of "Yudhishthira" in the television serial Mahabharat and is a member of the BJP, did not inspire them in the way former chairmen such as filmmakers Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Shyam Benegal did.
They also said they regretted that the government did not wish to discuss the issue with them or explain how the decision to appoint Mr Chauhan was taken. They urged Mr Gandhi to take up their issue in Parliament.
At one point, Mr Gandhi asked if any one among the 250 students on the institute, supported Mr Chauhan's appointment. Nobody appeared to do so.
Mr Gandhi said the issue was, at one level, about mediocrity and the students clearly felt insulted by the appointment of Mr Chauhan.
"We believe in our talent, we believe in our work...They are putting this example in front of us, somebody we don't respect. That is what it is," he said.
Secondly, he said that if all 250 of the 250 students did not want Mr Chauhan, "he shouldn't be there".
"Why I am here is because I personally, fundamentally, believe that you form a large part of this institute and your voice is not being heard," he said.
Mr Gandhi said it was not just FTII alone which was facing such problems. "This is not happening only here. You are feeling it here, but this is happening across the board in education, in bureaucracy, in the judiciary," he said.
"Just look at the nature of discussion that is taking place. You just told me that you have been warned," he said, turning to one of the students. "That is the nature of discussion. You agree with us, fine. You don't agree, crash," he said.
"Or they will shout you down. Or say that you are anti-national. Or they will you are anti-Hindu. These are all techniques to shut you up," he said.
Mr Gandhi said the problem they faced in FTII should help them face the much bigger challenges the country as a whole faced.
"Changing this gentleman is not a big deal. This is a minor fight you are facing here. The real fight is fighting for the idea of the country outside here. You should gear up for those challenges," he said.
He said the BJP was promoting a single idea of the country and all who disagreed with it were being silenced. He also said that, in the BJP, only the views of Prime Minister Narendra Modi prevailed and nobody else's opinion mattered.
Asked if he believed an institution like FTII should be privatised, as some people in the ruling party had suggested, Mr Gandhi said, "There is a place for government in education and there is a place for private players but I wouldn't be for privatisation of an institution like this."
Reminded that there was similar talk of privatising the institute when the Congress was in power, he said, "If they want to privatize it now, I will be sitting here agitating with you."
He said the best educational institutions in the country in various fields, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, were mostly set up by the Government and FTII was one of them.
"We have been pretty successful in building solid institutions in this country in the past. The idea of IIT was an idea created many years ago," he said.
Later, talking to journalists, Mr Gandhi said, "The students are only asking for their voice to be heard. It will not make the government any smaller if they have a discussion with the students," he said.
"We are very proud of the FTII students and the work that they do. Youth are the future of our country. Their voices should be heard. It does not do any good to the government of India if student voices are suppressed," he said.
"We will raise their voice on all platforms, we will raise their voice in Parliament," he said.
One of the students' leaders announced that they would organise a rally in Delhi on Monday to highlight the problems faced by FTII and other educational institutions.


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IIMs to conduct Common Admission Test 2015 on November 29

IIM Ahmedabad
IIM Ahmedabad
The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) will conduct their Common Admission Test (CAT) 2015 on November 29 as a pre-requisite for the various management programmes of the 19 IIMs in the country.
The programmes include their flagship Post-Graduate Programmes in Management (PGDM) as well as the Fellow Programmes in Management (FPM) offered by some of the institutes.
A press release from the IIMs said CAT 2015 would be conducted in two sessions on November 29 at 650 test sites in 136 cities.
Online registration for the examination will be open from August 6 to September 20.
Candidates will be given the option to select four test cities in order of preference. However, candidates will not be able to select the session because it will be assigned randomly.
Candidates must pay the registration fee through online mode only, including credit card, debit card, and net banking. 
After submission of application, candidates will be permitted to download their Admit Card from October 15 onwards, till the date of examination.
The duration of the examination has been increased to 180 minutes instead of 170 minutes. There will be three sections, ‘Quantitative Aptitude (QA)’, ‘Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)’ and ‘Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC)’. 
QA and VRC will have 34 questions each, and DILR will have 32 questions. Some questions in each section may not be of multiple choice type. Instead, direct answers are to be typed on the screen. 
"The tutorials will clearly explain this change. Also, we will allow use of basic on-screen calculator for computation," the release said.
Candidates will be allotted exactly 60 minutes for answering questions in each section and they cannot switch from one section to another while answering questions in a section. Tutorial to understand the format of the examination will be available on the CAT website from 15th October.
"Candidates are advised to work on the tutorials, available on the
website, well in advance," it said.
The results of the test are expected to be declared in the second week of January 2016.
Candidates must hold Bachelor’s Degree, with at least 50% marks or equivalent CGPA (45% in case of the candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons with Disability (PWD)/Differently Abled (DA) category) awarded by any of the Universities incorporated by an act of the central or state legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification recognized by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
As per the Government of India requirements, 15% of the seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and 7.5% for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates. 
The release said 27% of seats are reserved for Other Backward Classes candidates belonging to the “non - creamy” layer (NC - OBC).

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Govt. sets up panel to suggest steps to attract talented candidates to teaching profession

The Central Government has constituted a committee to suggest measures aimed at attracting and retaining talented and quality manpower and selecting the most meritorious candidates for the teaching profession.
The committee, chaired by Prof. Arun Nigavekar, former Chairman of the University Grants Commission, will, among other things, evaluate the Academic Performance Indicator (API) Scheme as regards the entry point and career advancement of teachers by taking into account its criticism and suggest suitable improvements/alternatives. 
An official press release from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) said the committee would also evaluate Ph.D-NET qualifications for entry of teachers and to accordingly suggest a policy for selections. 
It will also consider the problems and issues related to ad hoc and contractual appointments in Central Universities and make recommendations to resolve them. 
Other members of the committee are: Mr. Sumit Bose, former Secretary, Government of India; Prof. Sunil Gupta, former Vice-Chancellor, Himachal Pradesh University; Prof. B. Thimme Gowda, former Vice-Chancellor, Bangalore University; Prof. Ashwini Kumar Mohapatra, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Mr. S.S. Sandhu, Joint Secretary, MHRD, who will be the Member-Convener). 
The release said the Central Government and the UGC had laid down various provisions for regulating recruitment of teachers and academic staff in universities and colleges and their career advancement in UGC-funded institutions. 
"However, the continuing vacancy position in central government funded institutions is a matter of concern as these universities and colleges have to discharge their role as pace setting institutions in their areas of operation. The Government has also received several petitions regarding the policy for selections to the post of Assistant Professors in Universities and Colleges, including such State higher educational institutions. The UGC has further, in the past, made certain recommendations in the matter," it said.
The committee has been asked to submit its report within a period of two months, the release added.

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TCS to set up FC Kohli Center on intelligent systems at IIIT Hyderabad

IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) today announced that it would establish a research effort on intelligent systems at the International Institute of International Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad named after F C Kohli, often referred to as the father of the Indian software industry.
Mr Kohli was the founder and first CEO of TCS, which has grown into one of India's largest IT and consultancy services companies.
The FC Kohli Center on Intelligent Systems (KCIS) will be based in the IIIT Hyderabad campus and will act as an umbrella organisation at the institute to both strengthen the existing groups and facilitate new activities in related areas.
A press release from TCS said the new centre would also act as a force multiplier in attracting projects and funding from other entities in the government and industry sectors, coordinate research in related domains across different centres of IIIT Hyderabad, as well as in the institute’s research collaboration with other academic institutions in the country.
“The Kohli Center on Intelligent Systems will play an important role to coordinate and energise education and research in this critical area at the institute. This will be by intensifying the research done at the institute in these areas and through joint activities involving other academic institutions as well as research labs in the government and industry,” said P J Narayanan, director, IIIT Hyderabad.
“KCIS will help in imparting high-quality training to bachelors, masters, and doctoral students. The vigorous research at KCIS will have the potential to impact the society deeply through forefront research, innovative products, and start-ups," he said.
"Mr Kohli's pioneering role in the Indian IT industry is very well documented and TCS is delighted to partner with a world-class institute like IIIT Hyderabad to establish a new research facility in his honour. The new KCIS will carry out high impact research in intelligent systems, which is a critical area for carrying out sustainable innovation in topics like natural language processing, robotics and cognitive sciences," said N Chandrasekaran, CEO and MD of TCS.
Apart from high quality research, the KCIS will focus on entrepreneurship promotion in the intelligent systems area as start-up companies are the best means to transform the research in the academic labs for the benefit of the society at large.
KCIS will have a distinct identity within IIIT Hyderabad. It will be based in Himalaya Block B with 60,000 sq ft of built up area for research related activities, the release added.

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AIH&TM offers B.Sc. in Hospitality & Hotel Admin. in affiliation with NCHMCT

The Ashok Institute of Hospitality and Tourism Management (AIH&TM), a hospitality training institute under the HRD Division of the public sector India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (ITDC), has formalized collaboration with the National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT), under the Ministry of Tourism.
As part of the collaboration, AIH&TM is offering a three year Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) course in Hospitality and Hotel Administration. 
The first intake of students for the programme was hosted yesterday in an induction session organized by the institute at The Ashok Hotel here.
Present on the occasion were Mr. Umang Narula, Chairman and Managing Director, ITDC, Mr. Piyush Tiwari, Director (Commercial & Marketing), ITDC, and Mr. Anup K Chatterji, General Manager, HRD & Principal (AIH&TM).
A press release from AIH&TM said the new initiative brings together its expertise as a leader in providing professional training in hospitality and tourism, and NCHMCT’s significant excellence and on the ground experience in hospitality and tourism sector. 
Under the new program, students will learn from expert faculty and a wide pool of industry professionals, while getting hands-on experience in an international setting, and gain valuable insight about the cultural and business perspectives of the sector, it said.
Mr Narula said: "AIH&TM, as the premier institute in hospitality & tourism sector has excellent record of producing world class talent in servicing industry, examples of which can be seen leading some of the top hotel and restaurant chains in the country and abroad.”
“The program will offer a well-rounded hospitality management education. Industry projects will be an important component of the program, and students will complete an internship in hospitality and related service industry," Mr Chatterji said.
Other courses provided by AIH&TM include the Bachelors in International Hospitality Business Management, Training in Travel agency & Hospitality Management, Hotel Reception & Reservation, Housekeeping & Interior Decoration, Restaurant Service, Cookery, Bakery & Confectionary. Also provided are one- year Diploma Courses in Food Production and Management, Food & Beverage Operations, Housekeeping and Maintenance, Front Office Operations, Bakery & Confectionary.

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Exim Bank invites entries for its International Economic Research Award

The Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) has invited entries for the Exim Bank International Economic Research Annual Award (IERA).
The IERA Award was introduced in commemoration of India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s Birth Centenary (1889-1989) to reward research work by Indian nationals. 
Research work by Indian nationals in international economics, trade, development and related financing (either awarded a doctorate or accepted for award of doctorate) from a university or equivalent academic institution in India or abroad is a pre-requisite for eligibility of the award.
Issues of relevance to India and Exim Bank such as those pertaining to foreign trade, foreign direct investments, joint ventures, international competitiveness, policies impacting trade and investment, monetary and fiscal interventions would be of particular interest. Thesis for which doctorate has been obtained/ accepted for award of doctorate anytime in the last five years will be accepted as entries for the award.
The award consists of prize money of Rs 3.5 lakh and a citation, a press release from EXIM Bank said.
The last date for submission of applications is September 30, 2015. Abstract of the winning thesis will also be published as an Occasional Paper by Exim Bank.
“The IERA Award by Exim Bank is an exceptional platform recognizing the research work done on international economics, trade, development and related topics by Indian nationals across the globe," Mr. Yaduvendra Mathur, Chairman & Managing Director, Exim Bank of India, said.
“Being the twenty seventh year of the award it symbolises the Bank’s continuing efforts at promoting research and analysis," he added.
Exim Bank received 42 entries last year from Indian nationals across the globe. 
The winner for the IERA Award 2013 was Dr. Anwesha Aditya for her research work on the topic “Trade Liberalisation, Product Variety and Growth”.

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Four Indian institutes win research grants from Accenture

Four institutions in India -- the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Bombay, IIT Madras, Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore -- are among 11 top universities around the world which have been awarded research grants by top consultancy firm Accenture.
The grants are aimed at significantly broadening and deepening the relationships between Accenture’s technology research and development (R&D) groups and leading university researchers.
The recipients of the grants in India include Prof. Pushpak Bhattacharyya, IIT Bombay, whose project is focused on developing a text to universal language converter. This project aims to create more robust and accurate natural language processing capabilities, a press release from Accenture said.
Prof. Sutanu Chakraborti, IIT Madras has been given the grant for his project which will focus on the development of decision-making algorithms to conceptualize and develop cognitive learning systems. It will leverage a principled combination of bottom-up, data-driven techniques, such as machine learning, and top-down knowledge-based approaches classically used in planning and reasoning, the release said.
The awardees include Prof. Santonu Sarkar of BITS. The goal of his project is to ensure dependability of software systems, making them reliable and available based on a recovery-oriented approach. The proposed approach is based on a near-real time assessment and remediation of dependability bottlenecks of operational systems and design strategies to build dependable software.                            
Prof. Partha Pratim Talukdar, IISc, has been chosen for his project which aims to harvest knowledge from large text datasets, using them to improve accuracy and coverage of cognitive computing systems. 
The other recipients of the grants include Prof. Abhijit Deshmukh, Purdue University, United States of America, whose project is focused on  developing new approaches to understanding complex systems. The project will look at building more efficient systems by using next generation manufacturing and supply chains in a circular economy as a use case.
The other recipients are Prof. David Bader, Georgia Institute of Technology; Prof. Zhejing Bao, Zhejiang University, China; Prof. Michael Bernstein and Prof. Melissa Valentine, Stanford University, Prof. F. Javier Heredia and Prof. Joaquim Minguella, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, BarcelonaTech, Prof. Michal Kosinski, Stanford University, and Dean Richard Lyons, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business.
"The grant program helps to support the ground-breaking efforts of leading university research teams, which will be invited to work in collaboration with researchers from the Accenture Technology Labs on R&D projects that are of strategic importance to the technology industry and Accenture’s enterprise clients," the release said.
“Universities are a critical source of technical and scientific research that can deliver long-term business benefits for organizations around the world,” said Prith Banerjee, managing director of Global Technology R&D, Accenture. “We are thrilled that this grant program, in conjunction with the Accenture Open Innovation initiative, will enable Accenture Technology Labs researchers to translate a university’s conceptual research – which spans topics from cyber security to 3D printing and cognitive computing – into ideas that can ultimately help solve real business challenges for our enterprise clients.”
The grant program is part of the Accenture Open Innovation initiative, in which Accenture functions as a bridgemaker between Accenture’s Global 2000 clients and the technology innovation ecosystem, which includes universities, top tier accelerators, start-ups, venture capitalists and corporate R&D labs from around the world. New technology research from Accenture Strategy found that four out of five enterprise respondents reported innovation was within their top three priorities and about one quarter placed innovation as the number one priority for their organization.
In addition to the monetary grant, the university researchers will benefit from the perspectives that Accenture Technology Labs researchers have to offer given their direct exposure to the enterprise business contexts in which the research would ultimately be applied. The program provides the opportunity for Accenture and university researchers to combine their expertise, learn from each other and achieve more than either could alone. 
“With cyber security threats rapidly evolving and becoming increasingly complex, we are pleased to have received this grant from Accenture to help us advance the research we’re doing in the critical area,” said Professor David Bader, Georgia Institute of Technology. “Collaboration with Accenture will provide access to data and expertise that will help us to build proper algorithms, allowing our research to push further and faster than previously possible.”
"I am delighted that we were amongst a select group of universities around the world to be awarded with a research grant from Accenture,” said Prof. Bhattacharyya. “The combination of IIT Bombay's world renowned Natural Language Processing group with Accenture’s global consulting and technology services expertise will result in a mutually enriching experience, enabling us to work together on cutting edge cognitive computing problems."
“We’re pleased to be a recipient of an Accenture grant to help further our research in the area of cognitive computing,” said Prof.Talukdar. “The opportunity to collaborate with Accenture researchers will provide us with valuable inputs into how our research can help address the real-world challenges of enterprise organizations.” 

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Thapar University partners with Trinity College, Dublin for UG programmes, research

Thapar University, Patiala and Trinity College, University of Dublin announced here today a partnership to promote academic collaboration in the key areas of undergraduate programmes and research. 
The President and Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr. Patrick Prendergast and President of Thapar University, Mr. Gautam Thapar signed the agreement at the ceremony.
A press release from Thapar University said the collaboration was a central component of a major contemporisation programme that it is undertaking. It will also significantly contribute to Trinity College Dublin’s global engagement in attracting high-calibre students, it said.
In the delivery of this contemporisation programme, Thapar University will align its Engineering curriculum with that of Trinity College Dublin. Eligible students who have completed two years of undergraduate Engineering programs at Thapar University may progress into Year 3 of undergraduate degree programmes in Civil, Mechanical, Biomedical, Electronic, and Computer, and Electronics & Computer Engineering at Trinity College. On successful completion of Years 3 and 4 of the Trinity programme and its assessment, students will receive a Trinity College Dublin award. On completion of the degree, qualified students can apply to pursue a Masters qualification at Trinity by completing one additional year at Trinity.
Thapar University and Trinity College Dublin are also looking at collaboration in other areas of academia and research. The contemporisation will also involve the funding of two senior academics working on joint research developments between the two institutions, the release said.
Mr. Thapar said:“We are pleased to have Trinity College Dublin’s support as we fulfil our mission of offering global standards in our deliverables at Thapar University and uphold the internationalisation of higher education in the country. This partnership will help address and bolster Thapar University’s position as a leading centre for higher education in India and in the region."
Dr. Patrick Prendergast, President and Provost of Trinity College Dublin said:“Trinity College Dublin’s global engagement attracts students and staff of the highest calibre and promotes mobility among our staff. This is enabled by the development of strategic partnerships and joint partnership degree programmes with institutions globally. Thapar University's reputation in India, together with the outstanding academic ability of its undergraduate students and good quality undergraduate programmes, provides a very strong platform for this collaboration."
Mr. R.R. Vederah, Chairman of the Board of Governors, Thapar University, remarked:“We value Trinity College Dublin as a partner and look forward to a rewarding collaboration. Trinity College Dublin is one of the world’s oldest universities- over 400 years old. Its cutting-edge research, technology and innovation place the university at the forefront of higher education globally. This significant contemporisation promises to transform the education landscape in India and is in keeping with the trend of educational institutions coming together to forge global linkages and benefit their students, the leaders of tomorrow.”

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Modi to lay foundation stone of IARI campus in Jharkhand on June 28

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for a 1000-acre Jharkhand campus of the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) at Barhi at Hazaribaug in Jharkhand on June 28.
Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh will also grace the occasion, an official press release said.
"IARI-Jharkhand would achieve inclusive agricultural growth through Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) in the region. It will achieved through multi-disciplinary research centered around three major schools viz. School of Natural Resource Management, School of Crop Improvement & Protection, and School of Horticulture and Forestry with integrated Animal Sciences, Basic Sciences and Social Sciences components for catering to the local farming system needs of the region," the release said.
"The institute will attract the cream of post graduate and doctoral students from all over India and abroad to conduct region specific research," it said.
According to the release, IARI Jharkhand will address regional challenges through prioritized thrust areas of research, integrated with post-graduate education and extension programs.
These are expected to lead to improved soil health, water use efficiency (WUE) and management of both surface and ground water resources in the high rainfall (1200-1600 mm) regions through multidisciplinary research. 
The institute is also expected to help achieve increase in productin in rice-fallow seasons through research on crop diversification, improvement of nutritional security and profitability of the farm families in the tribal belts thorough appropriate horticultural technologies, development of region-specific integrated farming systems and fast adoption of technologies through location-specific need-based extension strategies and mechanisms. 

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Cabinet okays setting up of six new IIMs in country

The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for setting up of six new Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in the country. 
These new IIMs will be located at Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Bodh Gaya (Bihar), Sirmaur (Himachal Pradesh), Nagpur (Maharashtra), Sambalpur (Odisha) and Amritsar (Punjab). 
An official press release said these IIMs would begin functioning from assigned temporary campuses and shift to their permanent sites after construction of their campuses. 
"It is intended that these six new IIMs will commence their first academic session from 2015-16. Each Institute will start with an intake of 140 students in the Post Graduate Programme (PGP) courses. It is expected that the annual intake will increase to reach a level of 560 students each year by the end of seven years," it said.
The PGP in Management would be the flagship programme of these institutions. Admission to the PGP will be through the open and competitive Common Admission Test (CAT) being conducted by the IIMs. 
"The Institutes would train young graduates to undertake management responsibilities and carry out research and consultancy in the field of management and allied areas. Their programmes will provide the country potential leaders in diverse fields of endeavour and enterprise," the release said.
A commitment was made by the Government in the Budget speech of the Finance Minister in July 2014 to establish five new IIMs in Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Punjab. In addition, the reorganization of Andhra Pradesh into the two States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has necessitated the setting up of an IIM in Andhra Pradesh, consequent to and in pursuance of the Andhra Pradesh Re-organization Act, 2014. 

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Indo-U.S. 21st Century Knowledge Initiative announces fourth round of awards

The United States Department of State has announced eight institutional partnership projects for the fourth round of Indo-U.S. 21st Century Knowledge Initiative awards, formerly known as the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative.  
The initiative aims to strengthen collaboration and build partnerships between American and Indian institutions of higher education, a press release from the Department said.
Each project will receive an award of up to $190,000 that can be utilized over a three-year period, with the aim of encouraging mutual understanding, educational reform, and economic growth, as well as the development of junior faculty at Indian and American institutions of higher learning.
The following are the awards:
U.S.-led Partnerships:
Miami University, OH
Project Title: A training model for culturally competent and evidence-based mental health care for diverse societies
Partner Institution: Christ University, Karnataka
Iowa State University, IA
Project Title: A multi-dimensional approach to meet 21st century retailing education and industry challenges for India and the U.S.
Partner Institution: National Institute for Fashion Technology, Delhi
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, IL
Project Title: Cooperative-competitive, data-driven, operational strategies for extremely resource-constrained settings in emerging economies
Partner Institution: Indian School of Business, Hyderabad
Colorado State University, CO         
Project Title: Partnering to sustain India’s biological diversity in the context of rapid environmental change: research, education and community outreach
Partner Institution: National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore and Center for Ecological Research, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore
Indian-led Partnerships:
Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Project Title: Semiconductore Chip/chiplet based novel approaches for efficient Solar-Water Splitting:  a) Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Generation; b) Photo catalytic Hydrogen Generation
Partner Institution:  Arizona State University, AZ
Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi, Kerala
Project Title:  Indo-US initiatives on innovative reforms in marine biotechnology education and research, and development of sustainable aquaculture production systems for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development
Partner Institution:  Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
Project Title: Indo-US Collaboration for Training in Environmental Health Sciences
Partner Institution:  University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Gandhigram Rural Institute, Dindigul, Tamil Nadu
Project Title:  Augmenting the curriculum of higher educational institutions with an on-line integrated cognitive-based employability skills assessment system using signal and video analytics
Partner Institution:  University of North Florida, FL
In November, 2009, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama had announced this initiative as an affirmation of their commitment to building an enhanced India-U.S. partnership in education.  Each government pledged $5 million for this endeavour, for a total of $10 million.
To implement this initiative, the Governments of India and the United States established a bi-national joint working group (JWG).  The JWG provides the final approval for all grants awarded through the 21st Century Knowledge Initiative. 
The next request for proposals for the 21st Century Knowledge Initiative grants will be announced in July 2015.  Details will be available here and here.

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IIMA alumni contribute Rs 8 crore to infrastructure development on campus

Two alumni of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) -- Mr. P P Gupta (PGP 74) and Mr. Nirmal Jain (PGP 89) -- have contributed Rs 8 crore towards infrastructure upgrade and new facilities at the prestigious institution.
Mr. Jain, Chairman, IIFL, is contributing towards setting up a swimming pool. IIMA has got excellent sports facilities inside the campus. The swimming pool will add towards making the sports complex at par with the best campuses internationally, a press release from the institute said.
Mr. Gupta, Managing Director, Techno Electric & Engineering Co. Ltd. is contributing to upgradation of the IMDC auditorium to international standards and its maintenance for the next 25 years. 
“Our alumni are our strength. Their desire to contribute to their alma mater helps us maintain IIMA’s high standards. Mr. Gupta’s contribution will help meet an imminent need: upgradation of the IMDC Auditorium into a state-of-the-art facility,” said Prof. Ashish Nanda, Director, IIMA. “The need for a swimming pool was long felt by the IIMA community. I am thankful to Mr. Jain for coming forward and making this a reality. We are all delighted that we will soon have a swimming pool of international standards on our campus,” he added.

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IIT Madras reinstates recognition of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle

The prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM) here has reinstated the recognition of the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) , a students' organisation on its campus, more than two weeks after it got embroiled in a major controversy by temporarily derecognizing it.
The derecognition had come after an anonymous complaint to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development that members of the APSC were critical of the policies of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and that they sought to spread "hatred" amongst the students.
The Ministry had referred the complaint to the institute and sought the comments of its authorities on the issue, after which the institute imposed the ban on the group.
The withdrawal of the ban came after a meeting between APSC representatives and IITM officials in Chennai yesterday.
"The APSC representatives conveyed their views to the Director; in particular, that the guidelines for independent student bodies was publicised on the website on April 18, 2015, while their meeting took place on April 14th, 2015. After discussions with the Director, he requested them to meet the Dean of Students.
"In view of the above, the Dean of Students reinstated the 
recognition of APSC as an independent student body, and after 
consultation with the APSC representatives, recommended Prof. 
Milind Brahme as the Faculty Advisor. Prof. Brahme has consented to advise APSC as required in the guidelines for 
independent student bodies," a statement issued by IITM said yesterday.
The statement said the Board of Students, a body of student representatives, met and discussed the issues raised by APSC regarding modifications to, and suggestions for ensuring uniform application of the guidelines for independent student bodies. 
"Some of these will be implemented by the Office of Dean (Students), while the Student Affairs Council, Board of Students, and Senate will take up the modifications in due course for consideration as per established procedure. 
"APSC and the Dean of Students expressed satisfaction that the 
matter has been closed," the statement added.
According to the anonymous complaint against the APSC, the group had distributed "controversial" posters and pamphlets on the campus and tried to create an "atmosphere of hatred" among the students at the institute. The complainant had also enclosed a pamphlet of the study circle which had highlighted a speech by an academician, R. Vivekananda Gopal, criticising the Modi government.
"I am directed to forward herewith a copy of anonymous letter alleging serious complaints received from students, IIT-Madras, along with pamphlet issued by Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle on the above mentioned subject and to request that comments of the institute may please be sent to this ministry at an early date," the letter from MHRD to the Director of the Institute, dated May 15, said.
According to reports, IIT Madras Dean of Students had on May 22 sent an email to the APSC coordinators informing them that the group had been "derecognized".
IITM Dean (Academic Research) K Ramamurthy told journalists at that time that the institute did not curtail freedom of expression of the students but student groups had to adhere to guidelines while conducting their activities.
“As per the guidelines in force, students bodies can’t use the name of IIT-Madras or its official entities in any capacity, to publicise their activities or garner support, without official permission. This group has violated the guidelines while conducting their meeting. Normally violation of these guidelines leads to temporary de-recognition pending their presenting their stand to the Board of Students. In the present case also, the same procedure is being followed,” he had said.
Members of the group, however, denied they had violated any guidelines or misued any privileges given by the institute. "We resent the fact that the Dean has derecognized our study circle unilaterally without giving us a fair hearing and an opportunity to represent ourselves," the group wrote to the institute.
"So far our activities are engaged with the healthy discussion on socio-economic issues on scientific basis to promote the scientific temper among the student which is allowed by the Indian constitution. We have not been given a satisfactory definition of what entails 'controversial'. Further, we were asked to give assurances that we shall desist from such activities in the future before the Dean (Students) can allow us to restart our activities," it said.
The group said it got the impression that only certain kinds of views would be allowed to be expressed and their opinions and voices would be curbed.
The group said it did not understand how dissent and criticism of the government's policy amounted to "spreading hatred".
"If any person professing an anti-establishment view is accused of engaging in 'controversial' activities and all dissent is stifled, wouldn’t that be a violation of our constitutionally guaranteed rights to freely express ourselves? We feel that a vibrant and proactive civil society is an integral part of a healthy democracy. IITM itself have had many meetings that discussed the policies and legislation’s of the current and previous elected governments," the group said in its letter.

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Mukherjee says India must prepare a large of skilled manpower

Stressing that knowledge will spur growth in the future, President Pranab Mukherjee today said it was essential that India prepare a large pool of skilled and capable manpower who can drive rapid economic growth of the country and enable it to deal with poverty, deprivation and backwardness.
"Most prosperous nations and societies have built their economic success on the foundation of a sound education system and rich culture of research," he said in his address at the fourth annual convocation of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Raipur at Raipur in Chhattisgarh today.
"Success in the 21st century will be increasingly dependent on innovation and the competitive use of knowledge," he said.
Mr Mukherjee welcomed the government's decision to set up more institutions of higher learning, but stressed that it was equally essential that with the physical expansion of educational infrastructure, the education imparted to students should also be of a high quality. 
He also noted that the government was taking proactive steps to ensure that students receive the required knowledge and skills that are essential to meet new needs. 
"An important decision taken recently in this regard is the setting up of a National Ranking Framework for higher educational institutions. I hope this will generate healthy competition amongst our institutions for excellence, including IIMs," he said.
He said the government also planned to start SWAYAM or (Smart Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) Courses in OPEN, that is Online Platform for Education, mode from 2015-16  for all learners interested in acquiring additional skills.  
"This will enable our students and teachers obtain quality education at a fraction of the cost while solving the issue of access to higher education in remotest areas of our country. It will also help overcome the faculty shortage which is constantly a constraint in almost all our institutions," he said.
He said the government along with the Indian Banks Association was also revising guidelines for ensuring financial support to each potential student so that no one is denied of higher education.  This will empower meritorious students from low income groups benefit from quality education available at premier institutes, he said.
"Management solutions are applicable to all domains. IIMs can partner with IITs and identify research goalposts that may have larger social relevance. While IITs could provide technical solutions for the same, IIMs can make available their managerial expertise. I am happy to know that IIM Raipur has partnered All India Institute of Medical Sciences in a novel initiative to develop programs in healthcare management. I am also glad that the centers for excellence planned at IIM Raipur are meant to address socially relevant problems, such as Resource Management, Energy Management, Disaster Management, Accreditation and Education, Healthcare Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Management," he said.
Mr Mukherjee said academic institutes had to be dynamic and hands-on in facing emerging challenges. 
"Students today, far from being passive recipients of education imparted by the teachers, are active demand centres gradually seeking to re-define knowledge requirement.  Institutions of higher education have to promote a culture of excellence and develop core competencies.  They have to expand capacity to cater to more students and at the same time uphold the quality of instruction. They have to resort to technology tools like e-classrooms and knowledge to enable sharing of ideas and intellectual resources like lectures and tutorials. We must also be pro-active in developing a management research culture in the country for which IIMs need to collaborate with best of institutions in the world," he said.
"The students of today would be engaged in their lifetime in jobs that perhaps do not exist today. They have to be taught critical skills and transferable competencies. They have to be infused with qualities of creative-thinking and problem-solving. They have to be encouraged in their quest to unearth the hidden and to experience joy in discovering the unknown. They have to be trained to possess a universal mindset to enable them interact in the melting pot of the globalized world," he said.
Mr Mukherjee noted that, as per a 2014 international survey, there are only five Indian firms amongst the world’s hundred most innovative companies.  
"We have to strive harder.  Our academic institutions and industry have to engage with one another and benefit mutually from partnerships in joint research, curriculum development and setting up of chairs, incubation centres and research parks," he said.
The President said IIMs must assume greater responsibility for overall development and mitigation of problems concerning our society, community and nation at large.  The faculty in IIMs should provide consultancy for policy and project implementation challenges that both Union and State Governments face, he said.
He said graduates from IIMs should take up projects of relevance to the people of the state and try start companies and corporation which would contribute to the economic development of the area.
"The Government has launched many important initiatives like Swachh Bharat Mission, Beti Bachao - Beti Padhao, Jan-Dhan Yojana, Make-in-India, Ease of Doing Business, Clean Ganga campaign etc.  A concerted and determined effort to renew India, bolstered by ideas and imagination of a premier institution like IIM Raipur can help our nation realize Gandhiji’s dream of a Swachh and Samarth Bharat," he said.
"I am confident that the students who have earned their degrees today will take part in nation-building of this great country in a meaningful way.
"The youth of our country are the future stewards of this nation and inheritors of a glorious civilization.  As we march towards becoming a developed nation, each one of you can play an important role in our progress. If the targets of eradication of poverty, health for all, education for all, power for all and higher living standards for all are to be achieved in the near future, it is our youth who must rise to the challenge. Strive hard not only to achieve your goals but also to make this country a better place for everyone who lives here," he added.

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Railways to set up design centre at NID, Ahmedabad

The Indian Railways will set up its own Railway Design Centre on the campus of the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in this regard here today between the Ministry of Railways and NID in the presence of Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and Commerce and Industries Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The signatories to the MoU were Mr Alok Kumar, Executive Director (Civil Engineering), Railway Board and Mr P. Vyas, Director, NID, Ahmedabad.
The agreement is in pursuance of an announcement made by Mr Prabhu while presenting the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in the Lok Sabha in February.
The design centre will be operated with the interest accruded on the endowment fund of Rs 10 crore created by the Railways for the purpose.
Mr Prabhu siad the partnership would lead to better designed coaches and cost-effective solutions to various problems faced by passengers during train travel.
Mr V. K. Gupta, Member Engineering, Railway Board, said that the centre would help develop new concepts in design and innovations in various fields of Railway functioning, like passenger amenities at stations and in trains, improvement to coach layouts, environmental issues, various maintenance tools, IT & communication issues, and so on.

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17 scholars from NITs selected for In-Residence programme of Rashtrapati Bhavan

As many as 17 scholars, including three Ph. D. students, have been selected from National Institutes of Technology (NITs) across the country to stay at Rashtrapati Bhavan for a week from April 11-17 as part of an In Residence programme. 
A second batch of 18 NIT scholars will take part in the In Residence programme in May, a press release from Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
The In-Residence programme for NITs was announced by the President Pranab Mukherjee at the annual Conference of Directors of NITs held in October 2014. Similar programmes already exist for writers, artists and grass root innovators. The same will be extended to Inspired Teachers from Central Universities soon, the release said.
The NIT scholars, during their stay, will interact with officials of the Ministry of Human Resource Development and visit local industries, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi and NIT, Delhi as well as have an interactive workshop at Rashtrapati Bhavan on a chosen theme.
The following is the list of scholars:
Ph.D. Students
1 NIT, Silchar -- Mr. Prasanta Gogoi -- Chemistry 
2 NIT, Kurukshetra --  Mr. Nikhil Raj -- Electronics & Communication Engineering (ECE)
3 VNIT, Nagpur -- Mr. Vincent Shantha Kumar S. -- 
Metallurgical and Material Science & Engineering
Undergraduate Students
4 NIT, Silchar -- Mr. Vivek Jain Surana -- Mechanical Engineering,  2011-15
5 NIT, Manipur -- Ms. Sokina Sorokhaibam -- ECE, 2012-16
6 NIT, Kurukshetra -- Ms. Shagun Kush -- Computer Science & Engineering (CSE), 2011-15
7 NIT, Durgapur -- Ms. Priya Prasad -- ECE, 2013-17 
8 NIT, Sikkim -- Ms. Puja Gupta -- EEE, 2011-15 
9 NIT, Surat -- Mr. Arpit Nawal -- Chemical Engineering, 2011-15 
10 VNIT, Nagpur -- Mr. Shaikh Mohammed Danish -- Computer Science & Engineering, 2012-16
11 NIT, Calicut -- Mr. Kevin Jerome -- ECE, 2011-15 
12 NIT, Agartala -- Ms. Arkita Chakrabarti -- Chemical Engineering, 2011-15 
13 NIT, Raipur --Ms.  Pooja Agrawal -- Civil Engineering, 2011-15 
14 NIT, Meghalaya -- Mr. C Lalengmawia -- CSE, 2014-15 
15 NIT, Warangal -- Mr. Evani Sai Kalyan -- Civil Engineering 2011-15 
16 NIT, Allahabad --  Mr. Priyanshu Srivastava -- CSE, 2012-16
17 NIT, Delhi -- Mr. Devansh Agrawal -- ECE

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