Maharashtra Education News

Parents protest as school plans to shut Cambridge section
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

KALYAN: The parents of students in Podar International School, Kalyan were left in a tizzy when the school suddenly announced on Monday that it was shutting down its Cambridge International Board section. More than 200 parents gathered in front of the school and protested against the decision. The school administration called a meeting of the management of Podar School on Thursday. According to the parents, the school is asking them to discontinue this board, citing losses.Pradeep Mutha, whose two children are studying in the school, said, "The school is saying they are suffering losses while the reality is that they are using the same infrastructure for three sections - CIE, CBSE and ICSE - and also charging a good amount of fees."Another parent Dipesh Hasija said, "The main problem is that both the boards have Hindi and Marathi languages which were not in ICE. In such a situation, how will kids learn these languages when their basics are not clear." Girish Kamath, General Manager, Podar Education Network said, "The school has proposed a gradual closure of the IGCSE classes at the end of the Academic Year 2023-24 in April 2024 (after a period of about 15 months). The school has given multiple options for the reallocation of the students to other Podar Education Network schools of various boards over the coming year and a half as per the convenience of the parents."Kamath said the school has initiated discussions with the parents to plan for the eventual shifting of the students by April 2024.

Parents protest as school plans to shut Cambridge section
New NCERT manual on transgender students silent on caste, patriarchy
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

OVER TWO years after it removed a document on inclusion of transgender children in schools, following an objection by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to suggestions on gender-neutral toilets and puberty blockers, the NCERT has released a fresh manual, which avoids the usage of not just those terms but also references to caste system and patriarchy that were highlighted in the previous one.The draft manual titled “Integrating Transgender Concerns in Schooling Processes”, prepared by a new 16-member committee convened by NCERT’s Department of Gender Studies head Jyotsna Tiwari, recommends the introduction of gender-neutral uniforms.“Some of the students, specially from Grade VI onward, have preference for clothes, particularly school uniform. They do not feel comfortable in a particular dress. Schools can introduce gender neutral uniforms which are comfortable, climate appropriate, fit and do not conform to a particular gender,” states the manual.The previous project was coordinated by former head of NCERT Department of Gender Studies, Poonam Agrawal, who was transferred, along with Prof Mona Yadav of the same department, after the NCPCR raised concerns in November 2020. Tiwari was heading NCERT’s Department of Education in Arts and Aesthetics then.The two manuals, prepared by two different committees, are starkly different in nature despite dealing with the same subject. For instance, the previous manual, which was titled “Inclusion of Transgender Children in School Education: Concerns and Roadmap”, categorically stated that while there is evidence of diverse genders and gender expression being socially accepted in the subcontinent since the Vedic age, “the dominant social system of caste patriarchy in India had relegated transgender persons to occupations that are stigmatised”.“Disparities like socio-economic status, religion, caste, gender, and colour, many of which are typical to the Indian context, have a distinct role in breeding an imbalance of power. This imbalance of power has been suggested to aid bullying,” it said. Textbooks, it added, should enable transgender learners to relate knowledge to their own lived experiences and also equip all students “with a critical lens to explore a variety of issues that continue to confront us, namely caste, class and gender, gender and power relations, patriarchy and dominance, diverse sexual identities and marginalisation, etc”.The new report underlines that diverse gender expressions have a long history of visibility and acceptance in India, where it was documented in various art forms and multiple texts of ancient period, including epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, but it steers clear of any engagement with the role of caste system or patriarchy in perpetuating stigmas.While the previous report dealt extensively with the needs of all categories of gender non-conforming children, the latest one states that though there is a recognition of people with diverse sexualities and sexual orientations, including LGBTQIA+communities, “the present module is specifically focusing upon transgender persons by birth”.As a result, it contains no information for teachers on dealing with children who may not be transgender but show signs of “Gender Dysphoria”, which indicates psychological distress resulting from a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender at birth and the gender with which they identify, or the “agender” category, which the previous report used to describe as those “identifying themselves as neither man nor woman”.On the issue of toilets, it suggests that a toilet may be assigned exclusively to transgender students. “In case there is a toilet for Children With Special Needs (CWSN) that can also be shared by transgender students,” it adds. The previous report had recommended that toilets for CWSN “may be earmarked ‘gender neutral’ toilets which both can use”.

New NCERT manual on transgender students silent on caste, patriarchy
In US, nearly half of Indian students based in six states
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

NEARLY HALF of the Indian students pursuing higher education in the US are spread over six American states — New York, California, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts and Arizona, which host 12 higher educational institutions in the top 100 in the latest round of QS rankings, show data obtained from Open Doors reports.In 2021, the largest cohort of Indian students was in New York (22,279), followed by California (20,106), Texas (19,382) Massachusetts (16,407), Illinois (12,209) and Arizona (8,345). This forms 49.56 per cent of the 199,182 Indian students pursuing higher education in the US.A comparative analysis shows that these states are a huge draw for students from China as well, registering the presence of 55 per cent of the country’s students enrolled in higher education courses in the US in 2022. India and China collectively account for 52 per cent of all international students in the US.While the Open Doors reports do not explain the pull factors that draw students to these states, the global QS rankings provide some clues. They are home to some of the best universities in the world, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which has been the top-ranked higher educational institution in the rankings over the past 11 years.New York has three universities placed in the top 100: New York University (39), Columbia University (22) and Cornell University (20). California has three, as well: University of California, San Diego (55), University of California, Los Angeles (44), University of California, Berkeley (27).While the University of Texas, Austin, is ranked 72 by QS, the University of Texas, Dallas, and Texas A&M University host the majority of overseas students, the reports show.Over the past two days, The Indian Express reported other key findings from a comparative analysis of Open Doors data. Students from India are more likely to stay back in the US after their degree, than those from China, and sign up for the Optional Practical Training programme that allows foreign graduates with student visas to join paid or voluntary work for up to three years. And, programmes in mathematics and computer sciences have overtaken engineering as the most popular draw for Indian students headed to the US for higher education.The relatively smaller Kentucky also stands out among the states preferred. Although the data currently shows 4,570 Indian students there, Indians account for 51.4 per cent of all the foreign-origin students in the state. In contrast, students from China account for only 8.3 per cent of all international students in this state.Arizona and New Jersey rank second in terms of share of Indians in the total number of foreign-origin students. In both the states, Indians account for 32.5 per cent each of the total foreign student population.More than half of Arizona’s 8,891 foreign students were enrolled at Campbellsville University (not ranked in QS), University of Kentucky-Lexington (ranked 701-750), and University of Louisville (ranked 801-1000). And, the data show, around 32 per cent of students in New Jersey attended Rutgers University-New Brunswick, which is known for its Computer and Information Science program.The proportion of Chinese students in these states stand at 27.9 per cent and 34.1 per cent, respectively.Open Doors reports are prepared based on surveys of international exchange activity in the US by the US Department of State and the non-profit Institute of International Education (IIE).

In US, nearly half of Indian students based in six states
  • Guess what’s pulling more Indian students to the US (it’s not engineering)Premium Story
  • The Indian Express

    Engineering is no longer the most popular draw for Indian students headed to the United States for higher education. Programmes in mathematics and computer sciences have gained the top spot in order of preference over the past decade, shows an analysis by The Indian Express of Open Doors data compiled by the US State Department and the non-profit Institute of International Education (IEE).The numbers are telling: In 2009-10, 38.8 per cent or 40,700 Indian students enrolled in the US pursued engineering programmes. In 2021-22, the proportion of students in engineering fell to 29.6 per cent or 58,957 — the rise in absolute numbers is in sync with the overall increase in the number of Indian students in the US.During the same period, the number of Indian students in the US pursuing maths and computer science degrees nearly doubled — from 19.8 per cent to 36.8 per cent (see chart). In absolute terms, there were 20,769 Indian students in the US studying maths and computer science at the higher education level, as compared to 73,298 in 2021-22.This trend is likely to hold, according to the US mission in India. During the launch of the latest round of the Open Doors report in November last year, an official said that even in 2022, the majority of Indians who obtained student visas chose programmes in math and computer science, engineering and business/ management.A similar trend can be noticed even in the case of Chinese students in the US with fewer of them picking engineering compared to a decade ago, while in contrast, there are far more takers for courses in maths and computer sciences.On Sunday, The Indian Express reported another key finding from a comparative analysis of Open Doors data: Even as students from India and China form a majority of international students in the US, those from India are more likely to stay back after their degree and sign up for the Optional Practical Training programme that allows foreign graduates with F-1 (student visa) to join paid or voluntary work up to three years in the US.Additionally, there has been a steady decline in the enrollment of Indians in courses categorised as “health professions”. In 2010, about five per cent of students chose to study medicine in the US, and it dropped to 2.6 per cent by 2020. The number of Indian students studying life sciences also decreased from 10 per cent in 2013-14 to 6.5 per cent in 2021-22.In most other subjects such as social sciences, management, education, the enrollment figures did not register any substantial change. For instance in 2009-10, around 15 per cent of Indian students in the US for higher education were found studying management, and 13.3 per cent in 2021-22.Open Doors reports are based on surveys of international exchange activity in the United States by the US Department of State and the non-profit Institute of International Education (IIE).Data from the reports show that 199,182 Indian students pursued higher education in the US in 2021-22, a rise of 89.8 per cent from 2009-2010. Students of Chinese origin jumped 127 per cent during this period, from 127,628 to 290,086.The two countries collectively account for 52 per cent of all international students in the US.

Implementing NEP: Govt forms panel to restructure school education
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Maharashtra government has formed an inter-departmental committee for implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP), which will draw up the roadmap for converting the existing structure of school education from 10+2 to 5+3+3+4 under which for the first time, three years of pre-primary will be brought under the formal education system.Representatives from different departments such as school education, women and child development, social welfare, tribal development and skill development, among others, will work together in the inter-departmental committee. The school education department issued a Government Resolution (GR) in this regard on Monday.In the new structure, as per the GR, the first five years will include three years of pre-primary, Class I and II. While the focus will be to enable children of these classes to read and write, an innovative ‘Happiness Curriculum’ will be developed for these classes with the help of local games and languages. Thereafter, for Class III to V, activity-based interactive curriculum will be developed for students’ intellectual growth. The three years after that, Class VI to VIII, will focus on application-based practical knowledge, including skill-oriented courses.In Class IX to XII, the final four years of school education, students will get a chance to learn subjects of their choice from a pool of 40 subjects. While the importance of board exams will be diluted, the practice of asking students to choose a stream for Class XI and XII will be removed by offering a multidisciplinary approach.As the curriculum will be designed to focus more on holistic development than on marks, the evaluation practice too will evolve with a multidimensional approach, which will include self as well as peer assessment. An overall assessment will include cognitive, functional, emotional and social development of a student along with academic evaluation.Talking about the need for an inter-department committee, an official from the school education department said, “The women and child development department is currently looking after ‘Anganwadi’ and ‘Balwadi’, which are pre-school classes for government schools, currently starting from Class I. The social justice and special assistance department and tribal development department run ‘Ashramshalas’ as well as government hostels for students. In order to implement the NEP effectively, integration is required in all these departments, which calls for the inter-departmental committee…”The committee, which will be headed by the principal secretary of the school education department, will comprise commissioners from all other departments along with a few directors from the school education department.

Implementing NEP: Govt forms panel to restructure school education
NCC holds 1300-km motorcycle rally
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

The 1300 km motorcycle rally undertaken by the National Cadet Corps (NCC) Directorate Gujarat as a part of its 75-year celebrations was flagged off by the state Finance Minister Kanubhai Desai from NSSM Dandi on January 14 and flagged in by Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education, Higher and Technical Education Minister Rushikesh Patel on Monday.Ahmedabad News1One killed, 3 others injured in fight over kite flying; 5 booked2Temperature drops below 10 degrees in 14 Gujarat cities3Gujarat CM approves 3 town planning schemes for Alang, surrounding villagesMore from AhmedabadSymbolising India’s journey from the “extractors of salt” to the “makers of software”, a team of 25 cadets will carry a pot of salt at National Salt Satyagrah Museum (NSSM) in Dandi and a CD containing a software programme developed by ‘Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics’ (BISAG). The cadets will hand these over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Prime Minister’s NCC Day Rally at Delhi on January 28. Symbolising India’s journey from the “extractors of salt” to the “makers of software”, a team of 25 cadets will carry a pot of salt at National Salt Satyagrah Museum (NSSM) in Dandi and a CD containing a software programme developed by ‘Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics’ (BISAG). The cadets will hand these over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Prime Minister’s NCC Day Rally at Delhi on January 28.

NCC holds 1300-km motorcycle rally
'L-G not our headmaster to check our homework': Delhi CM Kejriwal
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday led a march to Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena’s house to protest against the latter’s alleged interference in the functioning of the state government. The latest flashpoint between the L-G and Kejriwal is the Delhi government’s proposal to send school teachers to Finland which Saxena has rejected.Hitting out at the L-G, Kejriwal said, “Delhi does not want dictatorship but wants constitution and democracy. Our struggle for the rights of the people will continue.”The chief minister further added, “Even though the Supreme Court clearly said that the L-G does not have the power to take decisions in the transferred subject matters, he is not listening. He says he is the administrator, he has supreme power, and he can do anything. L-G returned the file proposal to send Delhi government school teachers to Finland, asking to get cost benefit analysis done. He says yahi kahin idhar desh k andar hi karvado training (Get them trained somewhere in the country). L-G and  BJP are trying to ruin the education of our children.”The Delhi government’s works are being deliberately impeded for political reasons, Kejriwal alleged and added that “the LG is not our headmaster to check our homework. He has to say yes or no to our proposals”.The marchers carried placards saying, “LG Sahab Shikshakon ko Finland Jaane do” (L-G sir let teachers go to Finland).Responding to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s national convener allegations, the L-G in a statement said, “It is reiterated that the L-G has not rejected the proposal of the training program for primary-in-charges in Finland. Any statement, on the contrary, is deliberately misleading and mischievously motivated.”“The government has been advised to evaluate the proposal in totality and record the cost-benefit analysis in terms of impact on quality of education being provided to students, so as to assess the effectiveness of various foreign training programmes for teachers undertaken in the past,” the L-G said.Kejriwal on Monday also stated, “It is very sad that a CM, deputy CM, and all the MLAs have to march to L-G house for this little matter. I again appeal to L-G to respect the Constitution. Supreme Court orders are not just an opinion, it is a binding orders, and everyone has to respect and follow them.”Meanwhile, the Delhi Assembly Session, which was to begin today, was adjourned till January 17.

'L-G not our headmaster to check our homework': Delhi CM Kejriwal
Yet more central teams in Bengal, TMC cries foul, calls them BJP proxy
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

For the past several months, the West Bengal government is facing a “central teams” problem. Investigative teams from the Centre have regularly been making forays into the state, following allegations of corruption made by the Centre against various departments of the state administration, often in tandem with the BJPs own “fact finding” teams, keeping the Mamata Banerjee-helmed TMC government on its toes.The TMC alleges the BJP has been using central investigators as political tools since 2019, when it won big in the Lok Sabha polls, and especially after the 2021 Assembly polls, in which it received a drubbing.In their latest foray, central teams have been inspecting allegations of “misappropriation of mid-day meal funds” in the run-up to the panchayat polls, a week after the BJP’s Leader of Opposition in the state, Suvendu Adhikari, wrote to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, urging him to audit the state’s utilisation of funds for the Centre’s PM Poshan scheme.In a communication to the state government last Friday, the Union Education Ministry conveyed that a team of nutrition specialists and central government officers would be visiting the state to take stock of the implementation of the PM Poshan scheme, across 16 parameters.Earlier, on January 6-7, two central teams arrived in the state to look into allegations of irregularities in allotment of houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). Discontent over PMAY allotment has been growing across West Bengal for close to a year now. The Centre has initiated action by withholding its share of funds in the scheme. The Centre and the state bear the cost of the scheme at a 60:40 ratio. As the first two central teams surveyed in East Midnapore and Malda districts, more central teams arrived in West Bengal to survey the details of PMAY lists in other districts of the state.Before that in 2021, just a week after the Assembly elections, the Centre sent teams of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and National Commission for Women (NCW) to probe post-poll violence, including alleged atrocities on women.Even during the Covid outbreak in 2020-2021, central teams visited Bengal over the TMC government’s perceived mishandling of the pandemic. And last November, the state BJP had demanded that a team of medical experts visit Bengal over a dengue outbreak.According to TMC leaders, it is a common tactic to remain relevant by the BJP as it doesn’t have a grassroots organisation in West Bengal. A senior leader of the BJP said, “It is obvious that we will try to gain political mileage from this. But you can’t deny the corruption of the TMC government at all levels of administration.”This is not the first time the Centre has been alleged to be using government investigators as proxy to influence West Bengal politics. During the Left regime, Mamata Banerjee, then the Rail Minister in the UPA 2 government, had forced the Centre to send a team to probe the violence in Nandigram and elsewhere.Expectedly, the TMC is now sharply criticising this “sending central team culture” of the BJP-led central government. TMC MP Sougata Roy said, “The idea is to irritate and vex the government and disturb its activities as much as possible. They won’t succeed in their attempt.”Another TMC leader, Kunal Ghosh, said, “The Centre can send as many teams as they want and try and spread as much disinformation they wish, but the people of Bengal would see through their motives. Their leaders, who have no connection with people and are trying to stay politically relevant by resorting to letter politics, will also be rejected.”BJP leader Rahul Sinha said, “If there was no corruption the central teams would not have come here.”Echoing his sentiments, state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said, “TMC leaders at the helm of panchayats actually run the show on the ground. They are responsible for this corruption. What has TMC leadership done to stop it?”Senior CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “It is unfortunate that the Chief Minister is trying to hide the fact that there has been a huge corruption in the implementation of the scheme.”

Yet more central teams in Bengal, TMC cries foul, calls them BJP proxy
Govt wanted Kumar Birla for 1 more year but IIM-A board voted to get new chairmanPremium Story
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

In a series of dramatic events, the board members of the country’s topmost business school, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, met online on November 11, 2022, and after two rounds of ‘anonymous voting’ edged out its incumbent chairman, Kumar Mangalam Birla, who not only was willing to continue, but even the Union government wanted him to stay on for one more year at the helm. Birla’s term was set to expire four days later on November 15, 2022.The IIM-A’s governing council appointed Pankaj Patel, Chairman, Zydus Lifesciences Ltd, as its chairperson, by making a point that the Centre’s proposal to give a one-year extension to incumbent Birla “may not be legal for us”, The Indian Express has learnt.Birla, Patel and the Union Ministry of Education declined to comment on the matter.During mid-2022, the Union Ministry of Education had written to 18 IIMs (whose chairpersons’ terms were to end during the year) requesting them to extend the tenure of their existing chairpersons by one more year. Another letter to the IIMs sought suggestions on fresh ways to form a search-cum-selection committee to pick a chairperson.Records seen by The Indian Express show that on September 24, 2022, the IIM-A board met and its members were of the view that “if we extend the tenure of the current chairperson without formation of search-cum-selection committee then it will not be legal for us”.“It is suggested that we should form a committee today and then we will decide whether the appointment should be for one year or four years. If we form a committee, then we are not in violation of the process and meanwhile the chairman can interact with the Ministry,” said the minutes of the meeting.The representative of the state (Gujarat) government said the committee would be formed as per the IIM Act. “…whether we should appoint the Chairman for one year or four years is the board’s prerogative. But as a letter comes from MoE, we should take that also into consideration,” the state government representative noted.In the IIM-A board, Gujarat is represented by its Principal Secretary (Higher & Technical Education), and the Union government is represented by the Joint Secretary (IIMs).Accordingly, under IIM Rules 2018 section 3, sub-section III, a five-member committee was formed which included Zydus Lifesciences’ Patel. But the composition of the committee was later changed, with Patel recusing himself. The committee recommended the names of Patel, Kotak Mahindra Bank CEO Uday Kotak and Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra as possible candidates for the chairperson’s position.Sub-section VII of the rules state that apart from the names submitted by the search-cum-selection committee, the board may consider the “name of the current incumbent provided the current incumbent has not completed two terms”.In this case, sources said Birla was eligible not just because he had completed one term, but also because “he was willing to have another term”. “On top of that, the government communique also said that IIMs may consider giving the incumbents a year-long extension. But the IIM-A board decided to follow the IIM Rules, 2018, and give Birla a chance along with others,” said a board member, who did not wish to be named.The rules also state that the selection of the chairperson shall be made with the consent of at least two-thirds of the members present and voting, and more than 50 per cent of the members in a special session to be convened at least 30 days prior to the completion of the tenure of the current incumbent.However, Patel’s selection took place only four days prior to the completion of the tenure of the current incumbent. On the day of the appointment, out of 15 members, including Birla, 13 attended the meeting.Sources said Patel’s name was finalised following anonymous voting among the board members who met virtually on November 11 during which Birla, Kotak and Mahindra were edged out of the race.“There was anonymous voting on four names including that of Birla’s. Birla himself recused from voting and so did Patel. To become chairperson, a person needed at least eight of 11 votes. In the first round, no one got the requisite number of votes. Those with less votes were eliminated. In the second round, Patel came out on top,” the source said.The development comes at a time there is a brewing tension among the government and the IIMs with the Ministry of Education also writing to IIMs seeking suggestions on drawing up a new procedure for setting up the search-cum-selection committees involved in the appointments of chairpersons.“As you are aware Section 3 of the IIM Rules, 2018, deals with the appointment procedure of Chairperson of the Board of Governors of IIM. Formation of a Search-cum-Selection Committee (SCSC) is an essential prerequisite for that. The present tenure of Chairperson of many IIMs shall be over by the end of this year. The Ministry is getting suggestions regarding the way such SCSCs can be formed. Keeping in view the importance of the position of Chairperson of the IIM in the Higher Education ecosystem of the country, it may be beneficial to have suggestions of all IIMs. Accordingly, it is advised that we undertake the above consultation before finalising the SCSC for Chairperson,” Higher Education Secretary K Sanjay Murthy had written in a letter to the chairperson of all the IIMs on June 27, 2022.

Govt wanted Kumar Birla for 1 more year but IIM-A board voted to get new chairmanPremium Story
'Reservation is a runway... If you won’t take off, how will another flight take off?'Premium Story
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Milind Kamble, Founder Chairman of Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on affirmative action for reserved categories, and changing aspirations of the SC youth. This session was moderated by Assistant Editor Aanchal Magazine.Aanchal Magazine: As the economy recovers from the pandemic, there are apprehensions about the cleavages in the recovery story, especially the widening gap between how small enterprises are doing versus the bigger companies. What is your sense about the struggles of smaller entrepreneurs?In India, due to the pandemic, around 20 per cent of small businesses permanently shut down. The government has come up with stimulus, and one major relief is the emergency credit line, which will help the rest of small businesses to sustain and grow. These small businesses create more employment than the organised sector, so that is also affected. We had come out with a report about close to 10 service sectors which were badly hit — tourism, hospitality and event management — and needed support. In India, nearly 55 per cent of the revenue share (to the GDP) comes from the service sector but there is no support system (for it). After we discussed this issue with the Finance Minister and RBI Governor, they came up with a package for the service sector. The PM SVANidhi Scheme, under which the government provides Rs 10,000 as support to street vendors, is a first. Though some sectors still face problems, the economic cycle is getting back on track.Aanchal Magazine: We also saw a lot of urban-to-rural migration during the pandemic and a complete reversal has still not happened, leading to a higher share of employment in agriculture. How is that trend panning out?The construction industry and hospitality industry have seen major migration from the service sector. I was speaking to the President of Lemon Tree, which has a chain of hotels. He said that bookings are full but I’m operating on 50 per cent labour capacity. We are also seeing revenge tourism. Migration has affected other areas as well and there is shortage of labour. The dependency on rural agriculture should go down but I don’t know when the migrants will return to cities.There is a problem with the implementation of affirmative action policies… for employment diversity, HR managers should be sensitised and for supplier diversity, procurement officersAanchal Magazine: You have often spoken about how SCs and STs face difficulties in access to capital. On this recovery path, bigger corporates are seeing a cleaning up of balance sheets. How is it for smaller entrepreneurs?Bigger corporates have different reserves, which help them sustain. SC and ST entrepreneurs and SMEs don’t have such reserves. One of the problems they face is the recovery of outstanding dues. The RBI had decided on lending rules, according to which lending should happen on 20 per cent of the turnover. We suggested that the 20 per cent credit line should be increased. Thereafter, under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme, they gave support of 30 per cent. We intervened with a few banks that were refusing to provide credit to SC/ST businesses and ensured they got emergency credit line support. Entrepreneurs who have shifted to other professions will return to their (primary) business but it will take some time.P Vaidyanathan Iyer: It seems affirmative action has taken a backseat. For instance, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) had appointed an ombudsman for affirmative action but it did not continue. The CII had also done a survey on employment of SCs and STs in the private sector, but it’s been 15 years. Have you revisited that?The affirmative action agenda voluntarily came from the industry and they said it did not require government legislation. Initially there was some push but over time affirmative action has derailed off the industry’s agenda. We are a partner with CII on affirmative action. It’s our constant effort to keep it on track. We are going to start giving affirmative action awards to acknowledge those doing good work in the industry. In the survey, we found that in places like Tata Steel or Bajaj, 40 per cent of the on-floor workers are SCs and STs but there are none, or maybe just a handful, in the managerial and board-level positions. In the Central government, class-4 and class-3 reservations are full but you will not find many SC/ ST in senior positions.At the PMO level, meetings on affirmative action happen in one-two years but the government has delegated this work to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), which conducts quarterly meetings with the additional secretary. CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, PHD Chamber and DICCI are also asked what we are doing for affirmative action. According to me, there is a problem with implementation. The top management might be convinced but for employment diversity, HR managers should be sensitised, and for supplier diversity, procurement officers need sensitisation. To set the agenda, we have introduced the four Es of affirmative action — employment, employability, entrepreneurship and education.The curriculum should be inclusive, affordable and accessible. The way we are progressing with technology, slowly the mindset will change and equal education might happen… We will also make a curriculum for teachersThe law which came in for 2 per cent CSR spending, they say we are renovating schools, distributing kits in schools… So, CSR has derailed (affirmative action), everyone feels they are doing it… I often say CSR is different, it is philanthropy, but affirmative action is a commitment to the government.To help SC/ST entrepreneurs make their businesses scalable or sustainable, they need managerial inputs and technology support. Under affirmative action, CII and DICCI have spoken to B-schools and close to 10 agreed to work on affirmative action. This is a three-month hybrid online course. Every year, we will connect 500 SC/ST entrepreneurs to the country’s different IIMs through diversity cells. CII will also provide them with an industry mentor, who will not only guide them but also support them by buying products or services.P Vaidyanathan Iyer: Under affirmative action in employment, have any of the 30 Sensex companies or 50 Nifty companies said that they will not look at merit only but affirmative action as an employability criteria?There have been no special efforts from the industry. For example, there’s a circular from the GoI’s Ministry of Education for IITs and IIMs to fill up vacancies for SCs and STs. They find reasons — they aren’t getting suitable candidates. This is a standard answer. In IIM Jammu, there are 10 faculty members from Scheduled Castes and two from Scheduled Tribes. You cannot differentiate if someone is from the general category or SC or ST. Students’ feedback has been very positive. If there is a will, there is a way. Ratan Tata asked me and B Muthuraman (President of CII) to draft an affirmative action policy. We identified people to become vendors for Tata. Tata got around 400 SC/ST entrepreneurs as suppliers. There is a lack of will from the industry’s side.Founder Chairman of Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI) and Chairman, Board of Governors, IIM-Jammu, Milind Kamble has been pushing the idea of ‘Dalit capitalism’ within the Dalit community — that they should embrace capitalism, strive to become entrepreneurs, build enterprises and generate jobs. He has worked closely with the government and corporate India to create an ecosystem that encourages and supports Dalits to turn into businesspersons. A Padma Shri awardee, a businessman himself, Kamble is a member in several committees set up by the government.Shyamlal Yadav: Vacancies from joint secretary to deputy secretary level are being filled through lateral entry. Why is there not a single Dalit or OBC in these positions?It is true that everyone should get an opportunity through lateral entry. I will definitely bring up this issue at a proper forum.Shyamlal Yadav: Under the Stand-Up India scheme, the government aimed to provide bank loans to at least one SC and ST borrower and at least one woman per branch. Close to 60 per cent bank branches haven’t given loans to even one SC/ST borrower. What do you have to say regarding this?The scheme was my brainchild. Under it, each bank branch should support one SC or ST youth. The scheme was announced on August 15, 2015, and was officially launched in May 2016 from Noida. So far, 40,000 SC/ST youths have received loans totalling Rs 8,000 crore. It did not achieve its target in three years, and now the target has been pushed to 2025. The Department of Financial Services (DFS) is monitoring and there is pressure on the banks. We have achieved the target of giving loans to 1.25 lakh women entrepreneurs.Shyamlal Yadav: You are a member of the Steering Committee for education planning. If you could talk about the plan for teaching engineering and medical in regional languages.The new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is being drafted after 30-35 years. The curriculum is being made. Many in the education sector feel children grasp concepts better in regional languages. States themselves are demanding that studies should be done in regional languages.Sourav Roy Barman: The caste census is going to happen in Bihar. Last year, the Centre stated in the Supreme Court that it is not feasible to carry out a caste census. The country is divided into two opinions. What’s yours?The census will happen according to the guidelines of India’s Census Commissioner. Within the state’s purview, they can do it. In Maharashtra, too, there is a caste census. In the Central government census, they cover all religions, seven-eight religions, even those who don’t write a religion… their census happens, SC, ST. What the Bihar government is doing, for their assessment, the census can happen.Shyamlal Yadav: The Centre has made a sub-categorisation commission for OBCs and there’s a creamy layer in OBCs too. Shouldn’t there be a creamy layer in SCs as well?This is a larger issue. In the Constitution, the spirit of affirmative action is an opportunity. My father got a job through reservation and he was a primary-school teacher. I got admission, not a scholarship. I gave up reservation for my daughter because I am capable of educating her. For 11th grade, I got her admitted under the general category and someone said I snatched a seat in the category. When she finished class 12th, her percentage was good and she did management in Pune, where I got her admitted in the management category, and didn’t snatch anyone’s seat.My point is, Ambedkar’s reservation is a runway. You come on that runway, gather speed and take off. Don’t keep roaming on the runway. If you won’t take off, how will another flight take off? Whether we should have a creamy layer is a political discourse.Sourav Roy Barman: When it comes to reservation in the private sector, there are many constitutional implications. As jobs in the government sector are decreasing, will there be more demand for such quotas?The Dalit community has been demanding reservation in the private sector for a long time. It began in 2002-03, when Meira Kumar was the social justice minister and Manmohan Singh was the PM. He interacted with the industry and they said they have the constitutional freedom to set up industry anywhere, choose employment etc. As a responsibility, he made a committee for the industry where JJ Irani was the chair and the major chambers included CII and ASSOCHAM. After a lot of discussion, the industry said we’ll shoulder the responsibility of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes but the initiative has derailed.Shyamlal Yadav: Do you think there is anything that this government has done for OBCs/STs/SCs that earlier governments couldn’t do?As an industry body we work with the government. In Modiji’s regime, many schemes and benefits have happened. In a scheme like MUDRA, average lending is Rs 45,000. On the MUDRA website, it lists beneficiaries from 2015-16 till today. A total of Rs 18 crore lending has happened and most is to SC/ST/OBC. In Jan Dhan, for most accounts, they are the beneficiaries.I work for the SC/ST youth and it’s the best time for them to go for start-ups or businesses. In 2012, there was an amendment in the MSME Act and the 4 per cent procurement law was made. It was voluntary for three years. From 2015, 4 per cent procurement from SC/ST became mandatory. Despite the pandemic, in the last financial year, more than 1,200 crore procurement happened from SC/ST. In MUDRA, which offers support of Rs 50,000 to one lakh, approximately four lakh beneficiaries are SC/ST. Stand-Up India, there are 40,000, and has to be 1.5 lakh. A venture capital fund was made for SC. National SC/ST hub was made in the ministry of MSME for hand-holding and capacity building. So in Modiji’s time, an institutional support system has come up to promote SC/ST entrepreneurship. In the diversity cell initiative, the government will give Rs 1 lakh to the entrepreneur. All IITs are onboard for technology support. Under the Ambedkar Social Innovation and Incubation Mission, Rs 30 lakh seed funding is given to an SC youth above 18 years who has a technology-based business idea that can be commercialised. Last year, an innovation competition, Dr Ambedkar Young Entrepreneur League, was held and 1,100 ideas were registered.Aanchal Magazine: You mentioned 4 per cent procurement is mandatory, is it actually 4 per cent?It’s only .75 per cent. We are working towards 4 per cent. It is again about the mindset. It doesn’t matter if it’s a PSU.Anil Sasi: The target has been 4 per cent for six-seven years. Which are the PSUs or government departments where it is 1 per cent or above?In the petroleum sector, there are 10-12 PSUs that are doing fine, but no PSU has completed the 4 per cent target. This year has been the highest. Everything can be tracked on the MSME Sambandh portal, where all PSUs have been told to share their annual procurement plan. Many vendor development programmes, matchmaking and exhibitions have been organised by us, we have created support for people who are not used to e-tendering. We aren’t happy that it’s 4 per cent but at least we haveexceeded Rs 1,000 crore. In the next financial year, I hope it reaches Rs 2,000 crore.Aakash Joshi: During the UPA government, public sector education, especially central universities, underwent an expansion, so reservation in higher education also expanded. After NEP, there are more private universities. How will this affect the SC/ST/OBC labour force coming in?Government schools and colleges should also become competent. If someone wants to open a private university they can, but our appeal will be that the admissions, faculty should be inclusive in the private sector too… IITs, NITs and IIMs are competent, there is student recruitment for SC/ST.Sourav Roy Barman: You’re part of the National Steering Committee on NCF (National Curriculum Framework). What are the steps you are taking to make children more caste sensitive?We are working on the pre-primary level, and in three years up to 10th grade will be done. The curriculum should be inclusive, affordable and accessible. The way we are progressing with technology, slowly the mindset will change and equal education might happen. We will also make a curriculum for teachers. At the school level, it is equal footing. In the curriculum we won’t teach about the caste system, it’s not even correct. A group is working on the promotion of inclusive education, and equality should be encouraged among children.P Vaidyanathan Iyer: What do you hope to achieve through DICCI NextGen, the new forum for young Dalit entrepreneurs?In 2005, we established DICCI and we have conducted several activities and worked with the government on policies to support SC/ST. The Dalit discourse had a Left influence, and their well-being was considered state responsibility. We decided that we also want to do something. So in the Dalit discourse, the establishment of DICCI was a disruptive idea, and with DICCI NextGen we are trying to disrupt our own status quo. The thinking of the SC/ST youth now is very different. DICCI has the cream of society and we are addressing their aspirations. One of our initiatives aspires to transform small businesses into an organised sector. Entrepreneurs below the age of 35 will come under NextGen. A middle class is emerging very fast among SCs.Why Milind KambleFounder Chairman of Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI) and Chairman, Board of Governors, IIM-Jammu, Milind Kamble has been pushing the idea of ‘Dalit capitalism’ within the Dalit community — that they should embrace capitalism, strive to become entrepreneurs, build enterprises and generate jobs. He has worked closely with the government and corporate India to create an ecosystem that encourages and supports Dalits to turn into businesspersons. A Padma Shri awardee, a businessman himself, Kamble is a member in several committees set up by the government.

'Reservation is a runway... If you won’t take off, how will another flight take off?'Premium Story
57,000 Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation school students set to undergo assessment
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

PIMPRI CHINCHWAD: The education department of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has collaborated with Quality Council of India to improve the academic performance of students in its schools.There are around 128 civic schools in the PCMC limits with an enrolment of around 57,000 students.PCMC chief Shekhar Singh said that every student will be a priority for the civic body and the assessment is an effort to improve their academics in the upcoming academic year."We will make sure students performing well can take their performances to the next level. Others who may be struggling will get the best of the education through personalised attention," he said.Singh said that the teachers will always be a priority when it comes to education and hence the administrative work burden on the teachers will be eased by hiring contractual staff."We are aware that most of the time due to administrative work and other duties, teachers cannot focus on teaching. We have decided to hire contractual staff for basic work like data entry and other clerical work. Teachers will also be more accountable for their students and teaching," he said.The civic body has also decided to work on the capacity building of its teaching staff by conducting several programmes in collaboration with private education academies. Under this capacity-building initiative, science, mathematics, English, social sciences, and the environment will be given special attention.A TOI report on December 22, last year said subject- assessment of students from Std II to V in schools will be done between December 22 and January 7 under Nipun Bharat Yojana to check their understanding levels.The evaluation will look into the competency of students in their first language, mathematics, English, and environmental studies.MSCERT is implementing the project in Marathi, Urdu, English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Sindhi.

57,000 Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation school students set to undergo assessment
Probe funding of illegal madrasas along Nepal border: UP govt
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered the district magistrates in the districts bordering Nepal to conduct a probe into the source of funding of those unrecognised madrasas that have declared zakat (money from charity) and donations as their primary source of funds to run their institutions.The government’s order comes in the wake of a two-month survey conducted last year to identify unrecognised madrasas in the state. The survey report was submitted to the government on November 15.“There are several madrasas in the areas on the Nepal border that have reported zakat (charity money) and donations as their source of funds. But survey teams found that people living in these areas are poor and not able to give zakat and donations. Such madrasas have been identified and directions have been issued for rechecking their source of funding. These madrasas are not revealing the names of those who give them zakat and donations,” Cabinet Minister for Minority Welfare, Muslim Waqf and Haj Dharmpal Singh said.“Such madrasas are in a big number. It appears these madrasas are getting funds from outside. Why someone from outside will fund them? We do not want our children to get misused. There are possibilities for it. Hence, information is being recollected and the source of their funding is being rechecked,” the minister told The Indian Express. The districts bordering Nepal where such madrasas are located include Siddharth Nagar, Bahraich, Shrawasti, Balrampur, Maharajganj among others, said sources.On August 30, the Yogi Adityanath-led government in the state directed district magistrates to conduct a survey of unrecognised madrasas. The survey started on September 10 and the district magistrates submitted their reports to the government on November 15. During the two-month survey, a total of 8,449 madrasas not recognised by the state madrasa education board were found to be functioning. The maximum number of unrecognised madrasas – 550 – were found in Moradabad district, followed by Siddharth Nagar (525) and Bahraich (500).There are over 25,000 madrasas across the state and of them over 16,513 are recognised by the UP Board of Madrasa Education. Over 19 lakh students are enrolled in these recognised madrasas.The government has divided the unrecognised madrasas into three categories:

Probe funding of illegal madrasas along Nepal border: UP govt
  • Probe funding of illegal madrasas along Nepal border: UP govt to DM
  • The Indian Express

    The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered the district magistrates in the districts bordering Nepal to conduct a probe into the source of funding of those unrecognised madrasas that have declared zakat (money from charity) and donations as their primary source of funds to run their institutions.The government’s order comes in the wake of a two-month survey conducted last year to identify unrecognised madrasas in the state. The survey report was submitted to the government on November 15.“There are several madrasas in the areas on the Nepal border that have reported zakat (charity money) and donations as their source of funds. But survey teams found that people living in these areas are poor and not able to give zakat and donations. Such madrasas have been identified and directions have been issued for rechecking their source of funding. These madrasas are not revealing the names of those who give them zakat and donations,” Cabinet Minister for Minority Welfare, Muslim Waqf and Haj Dharmpal Singh said.“Such madrasas are in a big number. It appears these madrasas are getting funds from outside. Why someone from outside will fund them? We do not want our children to get misused. There are possibilities for it. Hence, information is being recollected and the source of their funding is being rechecked,” the minister told The Indian Express. The districts bordering Nepal where such madrasas are located include Siddharth Nagar, Bahraich, Shrawasti, Balrampur, Maharajganj among others, said sources.On August 30, the Yogi Adityanath-led government in the state directed district magistrates to conduct a survey of unrecognised madrasas. The survey started on September 10 and the district magistrates submitted their reports to the government on November 15. During the two-month survey, a total of 8,449 madrasas not recognised by the state madrasa education board were found to be functioning. The maximum number of unrecognised madrasas – 550 – were found in Moradabad district, followed by Siddharth Nagar (525) and Bahraich (500).There are over 25,000 madrasas across the state and of them over 16,513 are recognised by the UP Board of Madrasa Education. Over 19 lakh students are enrolled in these recognised madrasas.The government has divided the unrecognised madrasas into three categories:

RSS outfit among 5 groups to adopt 50 anganwadis in Maharashtra
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

MUMBAI: The state government signed MoUs with five organisations including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Jankalyan Samiti to adopt 50 anganwadis in the state on Wednesday. The move has been criticised by anganwadi unions who say that organisations affiliated with religion or politics should not be allowed to adopt anganwadis. They have also criticised the adoption policy, saying the state is outsourcing its responsibility.Since October 2022, the state has allowed corporates, NGOs, individuals or groups to adopt anganwadis in order to provide infrastructure and help with medical facilities and teaching material. Since then, 234 of the state's 1.1 lakh anganwadis have been adopted.Of these, 50 anganwadis were adopted by bodies including United Way, Bhavyata Foundation, Suraksha charitable trust, Lions Club and the Rotary Club on Wednesday. Earlier, Adani Power, Parle and Hindustan Unilever were among corporates that adopted the state's anganwadis.The RSS Jankalyan Samiti is adopting 12 anganwadis in the city. The MoU allows it to help provide infrastructure and undertake social and cultural programmes."Organisations with political and religious links should not be permitted to adopt anganwadis. It will raise questions about whether they are going to influence the children ideologically," said M A Patil of the Maharashtra Rajya Anganwadi Karmachari Sangh. Anganwadis are attended by children upto the age of 6."We are against the privatisation of anganwadis. It is the state's responsibility to provide this facility to young children," said Shubha Shamim of the Anganwadi Karmachari Sangh.State women and child development minister Mangalprabhat Lodha said the state was not shirking its responsibility. "The NGOs are just providing support and infrastructure. The main work remains with the government. The state can upgrade just 5,000 anganwadis in a year so we need support from NGOs and the corporate sector," he said.He also said that the RSS Jankalyan Samiti had been working in the field of education and in any case, the government had permitted most of the applicants to adopt anganwadis. "Most of those who applied to adopt anganwadis have been accepted," said Lodha.The RSS Jankalyan Samiti is a charitable trust established 50 years ago and is present in most districts in the state. The trust has set up a residential school in Latur and holds value education classes in schools in the city. "We applied to adopt anganwadis in the city since we are already providing classes for schools in Mumbai," said Ajit Marathe of the RSS Jankalyan Samiti.

RSS outfit among 5 groups to adopt 50 anganwadis in Maharashtra
Draft budget proposes recital of Bhagavad Gita shlokas in AMC schools
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

The draft budget for the municipal schools in Ahmedabad has a proposal to provision Rs 10 lakh for writing and recital of Bhagavad Gita shlokas in schools to equip students with understanding of the “Indian philosophy”.The draft budget was presented by the school committee before the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation school board on Wednesday.The draft budget proposed Rs 1,071 crore for primary education in municipal schools in Ahmedabad city, increasing by Rs 4 crore the Rs 1,067 crore outlay that was presented by the primary school committee last week.Another Rs 10 lakh for “mother tongue readiness programme” has been provisioned which, the proposal states, is in line with the objectives of the National Education Policy 2020.Noting that the Bhagavad Gita is the “mainstay of all ideological perspectives” in India, the draft budget states that the provision of Rs 10 lakh for writing and recital of Bhagavad Gita shlokas in schools for 2023-24 has been made to equip students with understanding of the “Indian philosophy”.The draft budget also provisions for Rs 15 lakh for an annual festival for differently abled children at the school board-level, and Rs 1 crore for installation of solar panels in schools with high power consumption.Another Rs 10 lakh has been provisioned for the draft budget for providing vocational training to parents of children studying at Signal Schools.The primary education committee last week had already proposed to provide skill development training to Signal School students before they pass Class 8, in collaboration with Anant National University. The Signal School scheme was announced in the AMC School Board draft budget last year with a sanctioned budget of Rs 3 crore, for out-of-school children across the city.The draft budget has also proposed the formation of a core group of subject-wise expert teachers for training and literature development for teachers and students respectively.The draft budget notes that it plans to develop a sports complex in School number 17 at Ellisbridge “to realise the dream of children of Ahmedabad to represent the city in Olympics 2036”.

Draft budget proposes recital of Bhagavad Gita shlokas in AMC schools
Know About Le Corbusier, Section 6A of citizenship Act; and more Premium Story
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Important topics and their relevance in UPSC CSE exam for January 11, 2023. If you missed the January 10, 2023 UPSC key from the Indian Express, read it hereFRONT PAGESC bars division of living units to save ‘Corbusian’ ChandigarhSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the JudiciaryKey Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- Stating “it is high time” that the legislature, executive and policy makers at the Centre and states “take note of the damage to the environment on account of haphazard development,” the Supreme Court Tuesday prohibited “fragmentation/ division/ bifurcation/ apartmentalization” of residential units in Phase I of Chandigarh.• Who was Le Corbusier?• What was Le Corbusier contribution to Chandigarh?• What you understand by “Corbusian Chandigarh”?• Why was “fragmentation, division, bifurcation, or apartmentalization” of residential units in Chandigarh Phase I prohibited by the Supreme Court?• “Exercising its powers under Article 142, the Court directed the Heritage Committee to consider the issue of redensification in Phase I, subsequent to which the Chandigarh Administration should consider amending the CMP2031 and the 2017 Rules applicable to Phase I”-What is Article 142?• But, why Supreme Court invoked Article 142 in this issue?• The Supreme Court of India invoked the extraordinary power conferred on the court under Article 142 of the Constitution in this case-What is that “Extraordinary Power” granted to Supreme Court under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution?• Article 142 of the Constitution and ‘complete justice’-How Article 142 ensures ‘Complete Justice’?• Can High court use Article 142?• “The warning flagged by the city of Bengaluru needs to be given due attention by the legislature, executive and the policy makers”-Analyse• Why it is necessary that a proper balance is struck between sustainable development and environmental protection?• The Court mentioned measures being taken for the protection of cities including Le Havre, the White City of Tel Aviv, and Brasilia during debates. What protective measures are these cities taking?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:    📍Ban on conversion of residential units to apartments in Chandigarh: major excerpts from SC judgment📍Article-142 Constitution of India – Is it Sword of “complete justice”?GOVT & POLITICSDAC approves DRDO missile systems worth Rs 4,276 croreSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- Amid the ongoing military standoff with China at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, India is planning to procure the Very Short Range Air Defence System or VSHORAD (IR Homing) missile system, which is being designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).• Defence Acquisition Council-About, Role and Functions• Why Defence Acquisitions Council was created?• What is VSHORAD (IR Homing) missile system?• Why India is planning to procure the Very Short Range Air Defence System or VSHORAD (IR Homing) missile system?• How VSHORAD (IR Homing) missile system will enhance India’s security parameters?• For Your Information-Along with VSHORAD (IR Homing) missile system, the DAC also approved procurement of the HELINA Anti-Tank Guided Missiles, launchers and associated support equipment for the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) with the Army and the Brahmos Launcher and Fire Control System (FCS) for the Shivalik class of ships and Next Generation Missile Vessels (NGMVs) for the Navy.• What do you understand by the term ‘Acceptance of Necessity (AoN)’?• Do You Know-Meant to kill low altitude aerial threats at short ranges, VSHORADS is a man portable Air Defence System (MANPAD) designed and developed indigenously by DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad, in collaboration with other DRDO laboratories and Indian Industry Partners.• When are they expected to be inducted?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:    📍How the VSHORAD missile system will boost Army’s mountain warfare prowessSC: Will first decide on constitutional validity of Sec 6ASyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.Main Examination: General Studies II: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- The Supreme Court Constitution Bench while hearing petitions challenging Section 6A of the Citizenship Act said Tuesday it will first decide whether the provision is constitutionally valid before proceeding to other issues raised in the pleas. “Presently, the following issue as framed for primary determination for the Constitution Bench, whether section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955, suffers from any constitutional infirmity,”, Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, who was presiding over the five-judge Constitution Bench, said.• What is the plea before the constitutional bench?• Who are ‘Citizens’?• Who is a citizen in India’s constitutional scheme? What are various principles/kinds of citizenship?• How did Partition and the large-scale migration from territories that became part of Pakistan impact citizenship?• Citizens and Aliens-compare and contrast in terms of civil and political rights• What are those rights and privileges that the Constitution of India confers on the citizens of India and denies the same to aliens?• Do You Know-Questions around citizenship, “illegal immigrants” and rights of “indigenous Assamese” citizens in Assam largely revolve around the Assam Accord, which was signed in 1985 between the Rajiv Gandhi government and the All Assam Students’ Union at the end of a six-year-long agitation against the influx of migrants from Bangladesh into the state.• The Citizenship Act of 1955 prescribes five ways of acquiring citizenship-Know them in detail• The Citizenship Act, 1955, prescribes three ways of losing citizenship-What are they?• What is Section 6A of citizenship Act?• What are the questions surrounding Section 6A?• For Your Information-Section 6A deals with “special provisions as to the citizenship of persons covered by the Assam Accord”. It says that all those who came to Assam on or after January 1, 1966, but before March 25, 1971, from the specified territory (it includes all territories of Bangladesh at the time of commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1985), and since then are residents of Assam, must register themselves under Section 18 for citizenship.• How did the situation in Assam impact the nature of citizenship?• What are some of the cases linked to citizenship in Assam that have gone to the Supreme Court?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:    📍SC to decide on constitutional validity of Citizenship Act’s Section 6A: What this section is📍Who is a citizen — in Assam, India?EXPRESS NETWORKMigrant fruit-seller near RBI headquarters in Mumbai is now part of key pilot project — launched by RBISyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- He came to Mumbai 25 years ago, leaving his home in Bihar’s Vaishali district, and now sells fruit near the Reserve Bank of India’s headquarters on Mint Road. But what makes the story of Bachhe Lal Sahani unique is something else. The 45-year-old is part of the nationwide pilot project on using Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or e-rupee — an initiative of the RBI itself.• What is CBDC or the digital rupee?• Do You Know –CBDC is a legal tender issued by the RBI in digital form. It is the same as the fiat currency, and is exchangeable one-to-one with the fiat currency. Only its form is different — it is not paper (or polymer) like physical cash. It is a fungible legal tender, for which holders need not have a bank account. CBDC will appear as ‘liability’ (currency in circulation) on the RBI’s balance sheet.• What banks are involved in the pilot programme?• What is the need for digital rupee?• What was the need to introduce the e-rupee?• Digital rupee and Cryptocurrency-how they are different?• How digital rupee will help Indian Economy?• How digital currency will impact citizens?• Central bank digital currency (CBDC)-Meaning, Issues and Challenges• How is RBI introducing the CBDC?• How can an individual use the e-rupee?• How is this different from other wallets?• What are the types of e-rupee?• Will CBDC work in offline mode?• Is it vulnerable to cyber-attacks?• For Your Information-The pilot covers Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar and will later be extended to Ahmedabad, Gangtok, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kochi, Lucknow, Patna and Shimla. So far, four banks — State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and IDFC First Bank – are part of the first phase of the pilot. Four more — Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank — are slated to join subsequently.Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:    📍How the e-rupee will workTHE EDITORIAL PAGEThe game in perspectiveSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importanceMains Examination: General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-Arvind P Datar Writes: History teaches us that higher the taxes, lower is the collection; a lesson that must not be ignored• Quick Recall-An inter-ministerial task force, set up by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to propose contours of a national-level legislation to regulate online gaming, has proposed the creation of a central regulatory body for the sector, clearly defining what games of skill and chance are, and bringing online gaming under the purview of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, among other things.• Why a central-level law?• Online gaming so far has been a state subject-true or false?• How big is the online gaming market in India?• What are the recommendations of the task force?• Which ministry will be in charge of the regulation?• What did the task force say about offshore betting apps?• Games of chance and Games of skill-compare and contrast• “The distinction between a game of chance and a game of skill has been maintained for over 150 years”-Analyse the statement• ‘In May 2022, Group of Ministers (GoM) were formed to look into the tax rate on casinos, online gaming and race courses, has arrived at a broad consensus to levy a flat rate of 28 per cent on these services under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime’-But, why 28 percent?• The author writes that ‘it would be extremely unwise to levy GST at 28 per cent on the gross amount for the online gaming’-do you agree with the author?• Why the author of this article feels that It is economically unwise to look at online games from a purely GST perspective?• GST on online gaming-brainstorm the pros and cons• What is your opinion on this entire issue?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:    📍Explained: Why online gaming could now attract a higher GST of 28%THE IDEAS PAGEThe future is internationalSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar Writes-The cumulative effects of the enabling provisions in the new UGC proposal must be seen as a catalyst for transforming higher education in India• Quick Recall-Foreign universities can set up their campuses in India, decide their admission process, fee structure, and will also be able to repatriate funds to their parent campuses according to draft norms announced by the University Grants Commission (UGC).• UGC (Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Regulations 2023-Know the highlights• What New Education Policy 2020 says about Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India?• ‘With the launch of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the world is looking at India as an ideal destination to establish campuses and invest in the higher education sector’-What are the salient features of New Education Policy 2020?• How does the UGC (Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Regulations 2023 will empower the positioning of India as an affordable value player in the global education sector?• What legal and regulatory structures are required for the implementation of UGC (Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Regulations 2023?• What is the FDI in the education sector in India?• Why there is the need for Foreign higher education institutions (FHEI) campuses in India?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:    📍Don’t outsource excellence📍The Gimmicks Commission📍New UGC norms: Foreign universities can set up campus, decide fee, repatriate fundsEXPLAINEDWhat is a cold wave, why northwest India is shiveringSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.Mains Examination: General Studies I: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-Delhi and other parts of northwest India have been reeling under a cold wave spell that set in last week. In Delhi, the Safdarjung weather station, which provides representative figures for the city, has recorded cold wave conditions for five consecutive days so far this month, making it the longest such spell in a decade. The lowest minimum temperature recorded this month was 1.9 degrees Celsius on January 8, the second-lowest minimum temperature in January in 15 years.• What is a cold wave?• What is the forecast for the week ahead?• What are some major factors that are contributing to colder than normal temperatures over north India this month?• What do you understand by westerly and north-westerly winds?• How westerly and north-westerly winds affects climate and weather of a region?• How western disturbances impacts India’s climate?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:    📍Delhi gripped by longest cold wave in a decade, with lowest minimum temperature at 1.9 degreeOzone hole, filling up nowSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-The ozone ‘hole’, once considered to be the gravest danger to planetary life, is now expected to be completely repaired by 2066, a scientific assessment has suggested. In fact, it is only the ozone layer over Antarctica — where the hole is the most prominent — which will take a long time to heal completely. Over the rest of the world, the ozone layer is expected to be back to where it was in 1980 by 2040 itself, a UN-backed scientific panel has reported.• What is ozone ‘hole’?• ‘The recovery of the ozone layer has been made possible by the successful elimination of some harmful industrial chemicals, together referred to as Ozone Depleting Substances or ODSs, through the implementation of the 1989 Montreal Protocol’-Elaborate• Why is the Ozone layer important?• What steps are being taken to repair the ozone layer?• 1989 Montreal Protocol-Know the key highlights• Do You Know-The depletion of the ozone layer, first noticed in the early 1980s, used to be the biggest environmental threat before climate change came along. Ozone (chemically, a molecule having three Oxygen atoms, or O3) is found mainly in the upper atmosphere, an area called stratosphere, between 10 and 50 km from the Earth’s surface. It is critical for planetary life, since it absorbs ultraviolet rays coming from the Sun. UV rays are known to cause skin cancer and many other diseases and deformities in plants and animals.• The elimination of ozone-depleting substances has an important climate change co-benefit as well-What are they?• The success of the Montreal Protocol in repairing the ozone hole is often offered as a model for climate action. It is argued that emissions of greenhouse gases can also similarly be curtailed to arrest rapidly rising global temperatures-DiscussOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:    📍Explained: What to read in ozone hole size📍Earth’s ozone layer is on track to recover completely in four decadesDelegated LegislationSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: • General Studies II: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.• General Studies III: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- In upholding the Centre’s 2016 decision on demonetisation, one of the key questions to decide for the Supreme Court was whether Parliament gave excessive powers to the Centre under the law to demonetise currency. While the majority ruling upheld the validity of the delegated legislation, the dissenting verdict noted that excessive delegation of power is arbitrary.• What is delegated legislation?• What was the delegation of power in the demonetisation case?• Why was this challenged?• Why is excessive delegation power an issue?• What did the Court decide?• The apex court upheld the decision taken by the Central Government six years ago to demonetise these currency notes in a 4:1 majority judgement- The apex court, in its verdict, held what?• Justice Nagarathna, who differed from Justice Gavai, held the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes had to be done through legislation, and not through a gazette notification-What exactly she said?• Who is Justice B V Nagarathna, who penned the sole dissent in the 4:1 judgment on demonetisation delivered by the Supreme Court?• ‘One of the reason given for demonetisation was that Government of India has shared its concern with regard to infusion of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) and generation of black money’-Critically Analyse the statement• The court said “the power available to the Central Government under section 26(2) of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, cannot be restricted to mean that it can be exercised only for ‘one’ or ‘some’ series of bank notes and not for ‘all’ series of bank notes. The power can be exercised for all series of bank notes”- What section 26(2) of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 says?• “Demonetisation was a shockingly cruel policy enacted under false pretences. It did not achieve any of its stated objectives: A cashless economy, a revenue bonanza for the government, cleaning the system of illicit money, or stopping terror finance”-How far you agree with this statement?• “The demonetisation decision pushed the boundaries of constitutionalism to the edge”-Discuss• What was the role of RBI in the entire demonetisation process?• Demonetisation in 1946 and 1978 and Demonetisation in 2016-compare and contrast• Demonetisation in 2016 was the decision taken in haste and not gone into the nitty-gritties of this step-Do you agree?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:    📍Demonetisation decision gets Supreme Court seal of approval For any queries and feedback, contact priya.shukla@indianexpress.comThe UPSC KEY Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Updates.

Know About Le Corbusier, Section 6A of citizenship Act; and more Premium Story
CBSE bags Digital India Award 2022
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

President Droupadi Murmu, recently conferred the Digital India Award 2022 – Gold to CBSE in the Data Sharing and Use for Socio Economic Development category. CBSE’s pioneering IT initiative “Digital Academic Repository – Parinam Manjusha was selected for Gold category.Dr Antriksh Johri, Director (IT & Projects) along with Kamal Kumar Khandelwal, JS(IT) received the award in the presence of the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw. Parinam Manjusha, is first of its kind online repository as a single source of result data developed and implemented by IT Department, CBSE and integrated with National eGovernance Division’s (NeGD) Digi Locker. Result data of board examinees of the last twenty-two years (2001-2022) and CTET examinees of five years (2018-2022) is available for download of academic documents by students and just-in-time verification by admissions and counselling bodies, higher education institutions, and employers. The Board further plans to upload legacy results from 1975 onwards in this repository.This will help students in fetching their old degrees and documents faster, rather than following the old process  which takes longer in physical access mode. Apart from the result declaration, digital academic documents like marks sheets / passing certificates, migration certificate and skill certificates are immediately made available for download. Additionally, CTET exam mark sheet and passing certificates, scholarship and registration cards of class 9 and 11 are also available for real time generation and download through this repository. All the documents are digitally signed and have PKI based QR code for authentication. API based bulk verification is also available for easy and quick facilitation of Admissions and Counselling bodies, Higher Education Institutions and Employers.Digital India Awards have been instituted under the ambit of National Portal of India, a mission mode project of MeitY. The award acknowledges exemplary and innovative digital solutions by government entities across India.

CBSE bags Digital India Award 2022
Indian campuses of foreign universities are a win-win for students and institutesPremium Story
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

With the launch of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the world is looking at India as an ideal destination to establish campuses and invest in the higher education sector. The NEP also envisions that India will be promoted as a global study destination that provides affordable, excellent education. Establishing foreign campuses will provide wider educational choices, exposure to innovative pedagogical approaches and the potential for collaboration with world-class institutions.By fixing a benchmark of allowing only the top 500 foreign universities in India, the draft UGC regulations have an in-built mechanism to ensure the entry of only the highest-quality institutions. Foreign higher education institutions (FHEIs) intending to come to India will be experienced in imparting education and with robust financial resources, integrity, long-term commitment, and a better understanding of the venture’s feasibility. The FHEIs that intend to open campuses in India are expected to have adequate financial and other resources. They should also arrange for appropriate physical infrastructure in terms of built-up spaces for their academic programmes.The draft regulations empower the positioning of India as an affordable value player in the global education sector. Campuses of foreign HEIs will attract students from the Global South as students worldwide will find the high-quality education in India appealing. Given India’s cultural ambience, international students can get a world-class learning experience near their home country. It is precisely to provide an environment for interaction that the regulations say that academic programmes in the FHEI campuses need to be in physical mode.The draft regulations are also a breath of fresh air, giving more viable options to the four lakh or so Indian students who head overseas each year for transnational education. Many students who plan to go abroad will continue to do so to study and work in a different environment. However, many may not be able to due to family or financial situations. While some may think studying in a foreign country is about much more than just earning an international degree, FHEIs will provide opportunities for students who do not wish to immigrate to stay in India and study at a foreign university. This can be a win-win situation because Indian students will be able to access high-quality education living in India while foreign universities can cater to huge numbers.However, all this will only happen with enabling legal and regulatory structures. The establishment of foreign campuses will be facilitated through the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 and its rules. A few representative ways in which FHEIs can establish campuses are: As a company under the Companies Act, 2013 and operate the campus through this company; via the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008; as a joint venture with an existing Indian entity such as a university or setting up a branch office in India for conducting its operations in education. The biggest incentive for FHEIs is that there is no need to keep a corpus fund and they can repatriate their funds to the parent university.The Union budget announced on February 1, 2022, emphasised foreign direct investment (FDI) in education. If we factor in potential FDI in the education sector, the cascading effects on employment, technology transfer, and investment in academic infrastructure are promising.The National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration recently conducted a study to gather reliable information on foreign universities’ current and future priorities regarding establishing their campuses in India, identifying major concerns and expectations of foreign universities, and to identify areas that need policy interventions. In the report, several universities ranking in the top 200 have expressed their interest in considering India as a destination.Therefore, there is evidence for the need for FHEI campuses in India at least in two aspects. First, such campuses will foster healthy competition among Indian institutions to better their standards and establish world-class institutions. Second, the Institutions of Eminence (IoE) have made considerable progress in multidisciplinary teaching and research, leveraging technology for effective teaching-learning, developing state-of-the-art facilities, and promoting the internationalisation of higher education. They and other institutes in India can be potential partners in research collaborations with FHEIs in cutting-edge areas.Trust in regulations and regulatory bodies is not an event but a series of continuous efforts and improvements. Following NEP 2020, the UGC has been proactively working to meet the aspirations of Indian higher education institutes by providing them with more autonomy and bringing out progressive regulation. The draft regulations on FHEIs consider the current and desired stages of internationalising Indian higher education. Opening windows for cross-border growth for top institutions from other countries and opening ourselves to other countries is a progressive regulatory step.Suppose, we see regulations regarding campuses of FHEIs along with the other recent initiatives like the joint, and dual degrees with foreign universities, and the regulations for enabling the Indian universities to open campuses in other countries, which are in the making. Then, one can see how the regulatory architecture addresses the desired stages of internationalisation. The UGC’s reforms should not be read in silos. Rather, the cumulative effects of the enabling provisions must be seen as a catalyst for transforming higher education in India.The writer is chairman, University Grants Commission. Views are personal

Indian campuses of foreign universities are a win-win for students and institutesPremium Story
Know about Climate Migration, Make in-India Programme; and morePremium Story
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

Important topics and their relevance in UPSC CSE exam for January 10, 2023. If you missed the January 9, 2023 UPSC key from the Indian Express, read it hereFRONT PAGEFrom 46 yrs ago to July 2021, report after report rang alarm bells in JoshimathSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.Mains Examination:  • General Studies I: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.• General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.• General Studies III: Disaster and disaster management.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- THE WRITING was on the wall — as early as almost half a century ago, when an 18-member committee warned that the town of Joshimath is “geologically unstable”, and suggested several restrictions and remedial measures. The committee, under the chairmanship of then Commissioner, Garhwal Mandal, Mahesh Chandra Mishra, was set up to probe the cause of landslides and sinking of Joshimath town.• Mahesh Chandra Mishra Committee report-know the highlights• Know the key terms- geologically unstable and significant biotic disturbance• What are ‘geologically unstable’ zones?• What is Land subsidence or subsidence of the land?• Why Joshimath is sinking?• What is meant by climate migration?• Can you say that ‘Joshimath sinking’ is classic example of climate migration?• What are the types of subsidence?• What is the most common cause of subsidence?• Map Work-Joshimath• Map Work-Locate seismic zones of India• The appearance of cracks on many roads and houses across Joshimath, due to land subsidence, is neither a new phenomenon in this region-Why this region is more prone to land subsidence?• “The crisis unfolding in Joshimath speaks of the failure to respect the special and specific characteristics and idiosyncrasies of the fragile Himalayan mountain system while planning and executing developmental projects”-How far you agree with this statement• What experts says about Joshimath town-planning and construction work?• “Several experts have blamed tunnel construction by the National Thermal Power Corporation’s Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project”-critically analyse the effects of hydropower project in Uttarakhand’s fragile mountainous regions.• Do You Know-The committee, under the chairmanship of then Commissioner, Garhwal Mandal, Mahesh Chandra Mishra, was set up to probe the cause of landslides and sinking of Joshimath town. In its report dated May 7, 1976, it suggested restrictions on heavy construction work, agriculture on slopes, felling of trees; construction of pucca drainage to stop seepage of rainwater, proper sewage system, and cement blocks on river banks to prevent erosion.• ‘Relief and rescue efforts were intensified in Joshimath after it was declared a landslide and subsidence-hit zone’-What happens when a place is declared a landslide and subsidence-hit zone?• How disaster management is done in the landslide and subsidence-hit zone?• How do the Centre and state government ensure the safety and rehabilitation of residents?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:    📍Village near Joshimath saw cracks in 2021, panel said evacuate; no action📍THE SINKING LAND📍LAND SUBSIDENCE📍The warning from JoshimathPlaces of Worship Act: Centre again seeks more time, SC says Feb-endSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance and History of IndiaMains Examination: General Studies II: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the JudiciaryKey Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- NEARLY 22 months after the Supreme Court issued notice to it in the matter, the Centre Monday sought more time to present its stand on petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the Places of Worship Act, 1991, saying it is “consulting” on the issue and “the process” is on. The court gave the Centre time “till February end”.• Once again, the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991 is in news-Why?• What is the Places of Worship Act, and what are its provisions?• Under what circumstances was the Places of Worship Act, 1991 law enacted, and how did the government justify it?• For Your Information-The 1991 Places of Worship Act, enacted when the Ram temple movement was at its peak, mandates that the nature of all places of worship, barring the one at Ayodhya, be maintained as it was on August 15, 1947. The long title describes it as “An Act to prohibit conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August, 1947, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”• What Section 3 of the Places of Worship Act, 1991 is all about?• Section 4(1) and Section 4(2) of the Places of worship act, 1991-Know the provisions• Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi Verdict and Section 5 of the Places of Worship Act, 1991-Connect the Dot• What did the Supreme Court say about the Places of Worship Act, 1991 in its Ayodhya judgment?• Do You Know-In its Ayodhya judgment of 2019, the Supreme Court had hailed the Places of Worship Act, 1991. It described the law as “a legislative instrument designed to protect the secular features of the Indian polity, which is one of the basic features of the Constitution”.Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:     📍The Places of Worship ActGOVT & POLITICSMake-in-India not isolationist or meant only for country: RajnathSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: • General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.• General Studies III: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-India’s efforts towards ‘Make in India’ are neither “isolationist” nor are they meant for India alone, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Monday. India does not believe in a hierarchical conception of world order, where a few countries are considered superior to others, he said, adding that India’s international relations are guided by the very essence of “ sovereign equality and dignity.” He was addressing the ‘Ambassadors’ Round Table’ here ahead of Aero India-2023 —India’s premier global aviation trade fair — scheduled to be held in Bengaluru from February 13 to 17.• What is Aero India 2023?• Who is organizing the Aero India 2023?• “Partnerships” and “joint efforts” are the two keywords that differentiate India’s defence partnership with other nations-When it comes to defence exports then why exports of defence products from India are limited to few countries like Vietnam?• What is the Indigenisation of Defence?• Why Indigenisation of Defence?• Indigenisation of Defence and Make in India-connect the dots• What is Make in-India Programme?• Can you name some prominent schemes by the Government of India in Make in India programme category?• What is Make in India policy of defence and how it can boost exports• Do You Know-Some of India’s major defence export deals last year include the $375-million contract with the Philippines for the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, an advanced version of the advanced light helicopter (ALH Mark III) to Mauritius, and a $155 million deal for artillery guns between Kalyani Strategic Systems and an unspecified country.• What are the India’s defence industry components?• What is Defence acquisition?• Why Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)?• Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-know its key features• How much India spends in defence as compared to other sectors?• What is budget for defence imports?• What Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) says about India’s defence and defence expenditure?• For Your Information-A report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) states that India ranks 23 in a list of the 25 largest exporters of major arms and has had a 0.2 per cent share of the global arms exports between 2017 and 2021 – up from 0.1 per cent in the years before that.• India can recalibrate not reduce the defence expenditure-do you agree?• Atmanirbhar Bharat or Self-Reliant India in defence sector-know the Important Components• Significance of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan• Self-Reliant and Self Sufficient-Know the Difference• Self-Reliant India Campaign is inspired by Swadeshi Movement 1905-Do you agree?• Self-Reliant India Campaign-Issues and Challenges aheadOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:    📍Indigenising defence production is a good idea whose time has comeEXPRESS NETWORKBrahmins protest Karnataka bid to reallot 6% EWS quota to Vokkaligas, LingayatsSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: History of India and Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- The BJP-led Karnataka government’s recent proposal to redistribute six per cent of the 10 percent Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota among the state’s two dominant castes, Vokkaligas and Lingayats, has upset the upper caste Brahmin community, with the Akhila Karnataka Brahmin Mahasabha president and former state advocate general, Ashok Haranahalli, calling the government’s move “anti-Brahmin”.• Who are the Lingayats and Vokkaligas?• Vokkaligas and Lingayats-Know in detail• Quick Recall-The Karnataka Cabinet decided to categorise the two dominant communities in the state, Vokkaligas and Lingayats, as “moderately backward” from the “backward” category in a move that could increase their share in reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC).• Why the Karnataka Cabinet decided to categorise the two dominant communities in the state, Vokkaligas and Lingayats, as “moderately backward” from the “backward” category in a move that could increase their share in reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC)?• For Your Information-The Lingayats are a dominant community who make up nearly 17% of Karnataka’s six crore population . The community can determine the outcome of polls in as many as 90-100 of the state’s 224 Assembly constituencies. The Lingayat’s, classified as a Hindu sub-caste called Veerashaiva Lingayats, are essentially followers of the 12th-century philosopher Saint Basavanna, who started a movement to help sections of society break away from the chains of caste.• How are they politically aligned?• What is the current controversy?• What are the political ramifications?• Personality in News-BasaveshwaraOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:   📍Vokkaligas, politics and symbolism: Why Kempegowda’s statue matters📍A Lingayat sub-sect’s quota demand: context, implicationsTHE EDITORIAL PAGEDon’t outsource excellenceSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- C Raj Kumar Writes: India has an extraordinary opportunity to be an aspiring nation for students worldwide. Instead of enabling the creation of international campuses of universities from developed countries, it must focus on becoming a global higher education destination in its own right.• Quick Recall-Foreign universities can set up their campuses in India, decide their admission process, fee structure, and will also be able to repatriate funds to their parent campuses according to draft norms announced by the University Grants Commission (UGC) chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar recently.• UGC (Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Regulations 2023-Know the highlights• What New Education Policy 2020 says about Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India?• What are the salient features of New Education Policy 2020?• According to the author, “The 2020 National Education Policy (NEP) was a pathbreaking moment in the annals of Indian higher education”-How?• What do you understand by this phrase ‘Internationalisation of Indian higher education’?• Over the last three decades, what are those three major factors that have influenced the internationalisation of higher education?• “We need to do five things to become a global leader in international education”-What are those as per the author?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:     📍The Gimmicks CommissionEXPLAINEDThe Indian diasporaSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Main Examination: General Studies II: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-Inaugurating the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Indians living overseas are “brand ambassadors” of the country on foreign soil. Over the years, the convention, which began under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2003, has grown in size and scope, particularly since 2015, when the Ministry of External Affairs turned the event into a biennial affair.• Pravasi Bharatiya Divas-Know in detail• Why Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, also known as Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Day is celebrated?• But why 9th January is selected as the day to celebrate Pravasi Bharatiya Divas?• The ongoing Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in Indore is the 17th edition of the event, which commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India on January 9, 1915 from South Africa. But the story of the Indian expat goes back further-How much further?• Do You Know-The term diaspora traces its roots to the Greek diaspeiro, which means dispersion. The Indian diaspora has grown manifold since the first batch of Indians were taken to counties in the east pacific and the Caribbean islands under the ‘Girmitiya’ arrangement as indentured labourers.• So, what exactly was Indian indentured labour?• Non-resident Indian, Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCIs)-Compare and contrast• For Your Information- Numbers shared by the government in Parliament in 2022 show that the geographical spread of the Indian diaspora is vast. The countries with over 10 lakh overseas Indians include United States of America (44 lakh), United Kingdom (17.6 lakh), United Arab Emirates (34 lakh), Sri Lanka (16 lakh), South Africa (15.6 lakh), Saudi Arabia (26 lakh), Myanmar (20 lakh), Malaysia (29.8 lakh), Kuwait (10.2 lakh) and Canada (16.8 lakh). According to the World Migration Report, prepared by the International Organisation for Migration under the United Nations, India has the largest emigrant population in the world, making it the top origin country globally, followed by Mexico, Russian and China.• The World Migration Report notes that India, China, Mexico, the Philippines and Egypt are (in descending order) among the top five remittance recipient countries. What is remittance?• Why is Indian Diaspora important?• What is India’s diaspora policy?• How does Indian diaspora affect India’s foreign policy making?• What are the issues and challenges faced by Indian Diaspora?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:    📍Pravasi Bharatiyas are India’s brand ambassadors, says PMTHE WORLDPro-Bolsonaro rioters storm Brazil’s top govt officesSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story– Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro who refuse to accept his election defeat stormed Congress, the Supreme Court and presidential palace in the capital on Sunday, a week after the inauguration of his leftist rival, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Thousands of demonstrators bypassed security barricades, climbed on roofs, smashed windows and invaded all three buildings, which were believed to be largely vacant and sit on Brasilia’s vast Three Powers Square.• Map Work-Brazil• Who are the people who rioted in Brasilia?• What did the protesters do in the square?• What has the government said?• Where is Bolsonaro now?• Why are comparisons being made with the events of January 6, 2021, in the United States?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:    📍PM concerned over Brazil violence: Respect democratic traditionsFor any queries and feedback, contact priya.shukla@indianexpress.comThe UPSC KEY Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Updates.

Know about Climate Migration, Make in-India Programme; and morePremium Story
Ashok Gulati writes: How Adani can help increase farmers' incomePremium Story
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

If there is one wish I would like to make for 2023, it is for shared peace and prosperity for all.All efforts to propel economic growth are for the prosperity of people. But GDP growth rates, the absolute size of GDP, and even per capita income, do not fully capture the prosperity of the masses. Increasing inequalities are a reality in India and most developing nations. Simon Kuznets told us decades back that it is going to happen as economies open up and growth accelerates, before it stabilises and even declines as those left behind start catching up. But how do they catch up with the front runners? It can happen only when one invests heavily in their skills, education, access to finance (capital/technology) and innovative models of development that dovetail inclusiveness with faster growth plans.In 2022, India has registered the highest growth rate amongst all G20 countries and it is likely to do so even in 2023. That’s a matter of pride. And within India, when we talk about growth and wealth creation, one name stands out — Gautam Adani. In a recent interview with India Today, he revealed that his rise started with the liberalisation of economic policies during Rajiv Gandhi’s time, and got momentum with the 1991 reforms. But the year 2022 has seen the most explosive growth with his net worth rising to about $125.8 billion (as per the Forbes list on December 28, 2022) making him the richest man in Asia and third-richest in the world.Many critics say this is all due to his proximity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But then, why is the Chief Minister of Rajasthan hosting him as he announced plans to invest about Rs 65,000 crore in setting up a mega solar power plant of 10,000 MW, expanding a cement plant, and upgrading the Jaipur airport? Similarly, why did the Tamil Nadu government support him in setting up one of the largest solar power plants at Kamuthi? Even the West Bengal government has been wooing him for investment and the upgradation of its ports. The reality is that most of the top business houses work with all governments so long as it makes economic sense to them. Be it Adani, Reliance, Tatas, Wipro, and others — they all create wealth and millions of well-paid jobs. That’s their contribution to society. But they also give back to society through their CSR activities as well as through family foundations and trusts.A few years back, Azim Premji pledged to give away about half of his wealth to the society through Azim Premji Foundation. He topped the EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List in 2020. How many people are aware that Gautam Adani’s foundation is committing Rs 60,000 crore to give back to society through promoting better health, education, and skill development? This, said Adani, was the best gift on his 60th birthday.While all this is commendable, I feel there could also be an alternative model for shared prosperity. And that is making the less privileged partners in the journey of wealth creation. Let me elaborate. Since Gautam Adani is committing Rs 60,000 crore through the Adani Foundation to give back to society, here is a small idea that can make millions prosperous, if he takes it up as a priority.The largest share of India’s working population is engaged in agriculture (about 46 per cent). Their education levels are low and the average holding size is small (1.08 ha). The average household income hovers below Rs 20,000 per month at current prices. Of course, many marginal farmers earn even less than this. This is not enough to provide a sustainable demand base for a manufacturing revolution in India. Educating these people at a large scale or even creating new skills may be a long-drawn process. So, here is an idea that can augment their incomes substantially and quickly.Adani aims to be the largest player in green energy, especially solar. Solar farms today need a lot of land that is degraded. But land is scarce in India and I am not sure how far this model can be scaled up. The alternative is to have solar as a third crop on farmers’ fields. The designing of solar panels and structures has to be done in a manner that allows enough sunlight to come through for photosynthesis of crops below. Farmers can keep growing two crops below these solar trees that are about four meters high. The investment in solar panels will be done largely by entrepreneurs (say Adani Green Energy) with some equity participation by the farmers (say 10 to 15 per cent). Farmers will maintain these solar trees regularly. Power will be generated throughout the year and it can be fed to the grid at an agreed price. The farmer will get rent for his land and a share in the profits of power generation.This idea is being tried in a number of countries, including India. Our research in this area led to the setting up of a pilot in Ujwa KVK in the Najafgarh area in Delhi with the help of former Lt Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal. Just two kilometres from the site of the pilot project, an entrepreneur, Surinder Ahuja (CEO, SUNMASTER), has tried out this idea on four acres and he is offering Rs 1.25 lakh per acre/year to farmers for using their land for solar and agriculture activities. This doubles farmers’ income within six months.The question is whether Adani can scale it a million times and create a revolution with farmers generating solar power along with food crops. Only then can the farmer become not only anna daata but also urja daata (giver of food as well as solar energy). This will be a true shared prosperity model.Gulati is Distinguished Professor at ICRIER. Views are personal

Ashok Gulati writes: How Adani can help increase farmers' incomePremium Story
Opinion | Why India should not outsource higher education to foreign universitiesPremium Story
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

The 2020 National Education Policy (NEP) was a pathbreaking moment in the annals of Indian higher education. The policy envisions “a complete overhaul and re-energising of the higher education system…” and says “India will be promoted as a global study destination providing premium education at affordable costs, thereby helping to restore its role as a Vishwa Guru”. Regulatory bodies have been advancing new policy initiatives to realise this vision. The just announced University Grants Commission (Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Regulations, 2023, have re-ignited debates on the internationalisation of Indian higher education.Over the last three decades, three major factors have influenced the internationalisation of higher education. First, the prohibitive costs of higher education, especially in developed countries. Indian students must pay approximately Rs 70 lakh per annum to study at Harvard, Yale or Stanford and over Rs 55 lakh per annum to study at Oxford or Cambridge. Tuition fees alone would be about 15 times more expensive than Indian private universities and over a hundred times more costly than most Indian public universities. Prohibitive costs will preclude education in any foreign university campus for most aspirants. The new proposal vitiates the NEP’s vision of equity and inclusion as it envisages higher education only for the super-rich.Second, the establishment costs of top university campuses make the project unviable. The vision of uniform academic standards in both the parent university and its international campus is a noble aspiration. However, the reality is international campuses have become a second-rate option, primarily accessible to those unable to get admission to the main campus. The quality and excellence in teaching and research on overseas campuses cannot match those in their primary location.Third, the landscape of global higher education has dramatically changed post-Covid. The idea of brick-and-mortar international campuses has given way to building solid partnerships, student and faculty mobility, exchange and immersion programmes, joint teaching and research opportunities, collaborative conferences and publications and the development of online and blended degree programmes. The global thinking around international collaborations has changed.India has an extraordinary opportunity to be an aspiring nation for students worldwide. Instead of enabling the creation of international campuses of universities from developed countries, we need to focus on becoming a global higher education destination in our own right. We will not realise the Vishwaguru aspiration by inviting prestigious foreign universities to locate campuses. We must assume the leadership role we had over 2,000 years ago when Nalanda, Takshashila, Vallabhi and Vikramshila attracted faculty and students from around the world. We can be truly global leaders in providing high-quality education at an affordable cost. Likewise, we can produce high-quality research at a relatively lower cost. Indian scientists made a successful mission to Mars with a modest budget of $74 million, less than the production cost of $108 million for Gravity, a Hollywood film.We need to do five things to become a global leader in international education:One, provide greater autonomy to Indian universities, including the Institutions of Eminence (IoE). Indian universities, both public and private, are generally highly regulated and poorly governed. The ingrained institutional habit of regulatory bodies instructing universities on what they should be doing must stop. One of the more liberal, progressive, and even radical public policy initiatives has been the creation of IoE. But this policy has not been adequately implemented to achieve its objectives. The government must pay greater attention to the IoEs and expand their scope and scale so that they become natural destinations for international students.Two, establish global universities in India led by the public and the private sector to cater to the needs and aspirations of international students. India’s Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) is lopsided. The national GER is approximately 22 per cent but there are states, such as Tamil Nadu, with a GER of 52 per cent. We must build more public and private universities across the country, with greater autonomy, resources and better governance structures, minimising the role of the regulatory bodies. All states must create Special Education Zones (SEZs) and host universities that are global in their orientation and outlook.Three, provide more resources to Indian universities and not focus only on select centrally established institutions. Indian universities face acute resource scarcity. The NEP has envisaged a six per cent annual investment in higher education and a National Research Foundation to allocate additional resources. Government must encourage CSR and philanthropic initiatives with more tax incentives to enable private sector contributions to public and private universities.Four, the NEP envisages breaking the long-standing barriers between public and private institutions. But many biases and prejudices persist, and regulatory obstacles have not allowed private higher education institutions to function autonomously and independently on equal terms with public institutions. An institutionalised hierarchy in the Indian higher education system replicates the caste system. First, the IITs and the IIMs are placed high in the pecking order, followed by the central universities. Next come the IISERs, NITs, and other such institutions, and much lower down are the state public universities. It is only after exhausting every other type of publicly-funded institution that private universities come into the reckoning. These deep-rooted biases and prejudice have fostered discrimination against private universities.Five, establish a liberal and progressive regulatory ecosystem for Indian universities to attract international students. Much more than reforms in the education sector will be needed if India is to become a sought-after international destination for students from developing countries. Government must reform its visa processes and the FRRO registration procedures. There must be a significant improvement in the quality of infrastructure and hostels on university campuses. The safety, security and well-being of the students, especially women, must be ensured. Other forms of university towns and education cities can create a comprehensive ecosystem that will enable students and faculty to study, work and live in these communities.The vision of India becoming a Vishwaguru cannot be achieved by outsourcing Indian higher education to international universities. In any case, I do not think any top-ranked universities would set up campuses in India, and for good reasons.The writer is the Founding Vice Chancellor of O P Jindal Global University

Opinion | Why India should not outsource higher education to foreign universitiesPremium Story
  • Why India should not outsource higher education to foreign universitiesPremium Story
  • The Indian Express

    The 2020 National Education Policy (NEP) was a pathbreaking moment in the annals of Indian higher education. The policy envisions “a complete overhaul and re-energising of the higher education system…” and says “India will be promoted as a global study destination providing premium education at affordable costs, thereby helping to restore its role as a Vishwa Guru”. Regulatory bodies have been advancing new policy initiatives to realise this vision. The just announced University Grants Commission (Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Regulations, 2023, have re-ignited debates on the internationalisation of Indian higher education.Over the last three decades, three major factors have influenced the internationalisation of higher education. First, the prohibitive costs of higher education, especially in developed countries. Indian students must pay approximately Rs 70 lakh per annum to study at Harvard, Yale or Stanford and over Rs 55 lakh per annum to study at Oxford or Cambridge. Tuition fees alone would be about 15 times more expensive than Indian private universities and over a hundred times more costly than most Indian public universities. Prohibitive costs will preclude education in any foreign university campus for most aspirants. The new proposal vitiates the NEP’s vision of equity and inclusion as it envisages higher education only for the super-rich.Second, the establishment costs of top university campuses make the project unviable. The vision of uniform academic standards in both the parent university and its international campus is a noble aspiration. However, the reality is international campuses have become a second-rate option, primarily accessible to those unable to get admission to the main campus. The quality and excellence in teaching and research on overseas campuses cannot match those in their primary location.Third, the landscape of global higher education has dramatically changed post-Covid. The idea of brick-and-mortar international campuses has given way to building solid partnerships, student and faculty mobility, exchange and immersion programmes, joint teaching and research opportunities, collaborative conferences and publications and the development of online and blended degree programmes. The global thinking around international collaborations has changed.India has an extraordinary opportunity to be an aspiring nation for students worldwide. Instead of enabling the creation of international campuses of universities from developed countries, we need to focus on becoming a global higher education destination in our own right. We will not realise the Vishwaguru aspiration by inviting prestigious foreign universities to locate campuses. We must assume the leadership role we had over 2,000 years ago when Nalanda, Takshashila, Vallabhi and Vikramshila attracted faculty and students from around the world. We can be truly global leaders in providing high-quality education at an affordable cost. Likewise, we can produce high-quality research at a relatively lower cost. Indian scientists made a successful mission to Mars with a modest budget of $74 million, less than the production cost of $108 million for Gravity, a Hollywood film.We need to do five things to become a global leader in international education:One, provide greater autonomy to Indian universities, including the Institutions of Eminence (IoE). Indian universities, both public and private, are generally highly regulated and poorly governed. The ingrained institutional habit of regulatory bodies instructing universities on what they should be doing must stop. One of the more liberal, progressive, and even radical public policy initiatives has been the creation of IoE. But this policy has not been adequately implemented to achieve its objectives. The government must pay greater attention to the IoEs and expand their scope and scale so that they become natural destinations for international students.Two, establish global universities in India led by the public and the private sector to cater to the needs and aspirations of international students. India’s Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) is lopsided. The national GER is approximately 22 per cent but there are states, such as Tamil Nadu, with a GER of 52 per cent. We must build more public and private universities across the country, with greater autonomy, resources and better governance structures, minimising the role of the regulatory bodies. All states must create Special Education Zones (SEZs) and host universities that are global in their orientation and outlook.Three, provide more resources to Indian universities and not focus only on select centrally established institutions. Indian universities face acute resource scarcity. The NEP has envisaged a six per cent annual investment in higher education and a National Research Foundation to allocate additional resources. Government must encourage CSR and philanthropic initiatives with more tax incentives to enable private sector contributions to public and private universities.Four, the NEP envisages breaking the long-standing barriers between public and private institutions. But many biases and prejudices persist, and regulatory obstacles have not allowed private higher education institutions to function autonomously and independently on equal terms with public institutions. An institutionalised hierarchy in the Indian higher education system replicates the caste system. First, the IITs and the IIMs are placed high in the pecking order, followed by the central universities. Next come the IISERs, NITs, and other such institutions, and much lower down are the state public universities. It is only after exhausting every other type of publicly-funded institution that private universities come into the reckoning. These deep-rooted biases and prejudice have fostered discrimination against private universities.Five, establish a liberal and progressive regulatory ecosystem for Indian universities to attract international students. Much more than reforms in the education sector will be needed if India is to become a sought-after international destination for students from developing countries. Government must reform its visa processes and the FRRO registration procedures. There must be a significant improvement in the quality of infrastructure and hostels on university campuses. The safety, security and well-being of the students, especially women, must be ensured. Other forms of university towns and education cities can create a comprehensive ecosystem that will enable students and faculty to study, work and live in these communities.The vision of India becoming a Vishwaguru cannot be achieved by outsourcing Indian higher education to international universities. In any case, I do not think any top-ranked universities would set up campuses in India, and for good reasons.The writer is the Founding Vice Chancellor of O P Jindal Global University

  • UGC guidelines on foreign universities: The University Gimmicks CommissionPremium Story
  • The Indian Express

    The University Grants Commission is proposing new guidelines to allow the entry of foreign universities in India. Any good-faith effort to reform higher education ought to be welcomed. But before you applaud this latest pantomime on higher education and mistake it for a genuine revolution, ask a few probing questions. These so-called reforms, like so much that emanates from the UGC, are being carried out under false premises.Let us begin with the grandest of aspirations: To get top universities like Princeton, Stanford, Yale and Oxford to set up campuses in India. Ask yourself this. Why do these universities not have any branch campuses anywhere in the world, including countries with liberal regulatory environments? Why would they set up in India? What is it about the economics and the structural form of a top research university that makes it difficult to reproduce them? There are about four hundred foreign campuses operating in the world. But just consult the comprehensive database of American universities operating abroad compiled by C-BERT. Just go through the list yourself to see what proportion of those institutions are top-tier institutions. Barely a handful, if one is being generous. Very few are like NYU Abu Dhabi, but almost all of them received massive subsidies from the home government. Several high-profile ones like Yale–NUS have been “reabsorbed.” More than 30 per cent of foreign campuses receive some form of subsidy, and the better the institution, the more subsidy it requires. Can India justify subsidising top-tier foreign institutions with public money?Let us go further. This reform will apparently allow for the repatriation of money to the home institution. Now here is the blunt truth about universities. If you want to build a top-class university in India, it will have to integrate teaching and research. This is a financial black hole requiring continual support not derived from fees alone. Any private institution that is for profit that seeks to skim money off education can never build a world-class university since a top-class university requires continual reinvestment. Now, what kind of an institution looks to repatriate “surpluses?” The same kind that in India seeks profit.The UGC boldly declares that it will ensure that the qualifications of the faculty assigned to India will be the same as those of the faculty in the parent institution. A lot turns on how you interpret the term “qualification”. If it simply means formal equivalence of qualifications (PhD from a good institution, etc.) then most institutions are on par. But if it means faculty who are exceptional (which is what the top institutions claim they have), then there is no cost advantage to moving to India. Land and capital costs are not cheap. But if you are going to define equivalence as something close to those who have been through the tenure processes of the top-ranked universities, they have no economic or lifestyle incentives to spend a lot of time in India unless either their salaries are matched or exceeded. This makes running campuses in India with the same “standard” prohibitively expensive.Let us think about regulatory trust. Would you invest millions of dollars in a regulatory system that is unreliable, to say the least? There are at least 30 to 40 entrepreneurs in India who could (financially, at least), single-handedly create slightly lower-cost, world-class alternatives to Western institutions. But there has been only a trickle of institutions in India so far that are ambitious in this respect. The question to ask is why? If we are not investing enough, why would anyone else? Does anyone now remember the Institutions of Eminence revolution that was heralded a few years ago? How many of those high-profile greenfield projects have got off to a flying start, within two years, as was promised? How much net investment in higher-end research universities did that botched reform generate?The mendacity of this reform will also be obvious to anyone who has looked at Indian higher education. The same UGC that wants to standardise the admissions process for all public universities gravely assaults their autonomy day in and day out and is now supposed to protect the autonomy and distinct identity of foreign universities. You would be foolish to take the UGC at face value. In any case, the UGC is engaging in a nauseating form of reverse discrimination against Indian, and especially public, institutions. You ought to be wary of such a regulator. Just imagine the oddity of saying in higher education: Freedom for foreign, chains for the Indian.What is this reform supposed to achieve? The ostensible rationale is to make high-quality foreign education available in India at a somewhat lower cost so that students don’t have to leave, and some of the billions we are using to consume foreign higher education can be spent in the country. If you look at the C-BERT list, what strikes you is that not only are there very few top-tier universities, most foreign campuses are very small, with an average size of 300-400 students. How much supply are you augmenting, especially in a context where you are diminishing the net supply of higher education by destroying established public universities? Perhaps Indian capital might be willing to subsidise a foreign brand. Perhaps some professional schools will show up since mostly they can generate a surplus.The only thing good about this announcement is the UGC’s perverse honesty. It thinks of universities and teaching like a McDonald’s franchise that can easily be replicated without regard to agglomeration effects, or the effects of the larger ecosystem in which they are embedded. It seems to have little conception of what combination of capital, vision, and human resources it takes to get a high-end research university going. More depressing is its utter defeatism. The UGC has admitted that its cumulative failures, across governments and political parties, have brought us to this pass. India could have been a top-class, lower-cost higher education hub for the world. Indian universities, both public and private, can reach glorious heights of excellence; that both the top and the average quality can be improved. We gave up on that project with public institutions a while ago, then pinned hopes on a private revolution, which in quality terms is still a trickle, and now want to hang onto the coattails of foreign brands who will either be elusive or for the most part second rate. University Gimmicks Commission, indeed.The writer is contributing editor, The Indian Express

IISER Thiruvananthapuram introduces BS-MS i2Sc flagship programmes; check details
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Thiruvananthapuram (IISER TVM) has introduced a five-year BS-MS flagship programme called Integrated and Interdisciplinary Sciences (i2Sc). Information about this programme is available at the official website — iisertvm.ac.in.The aim of this programme, as per IISER, is to impart unique education and training to the younger generation of students. Experts are aiming to equip candidates with skills that meet the evolving needs, demands and challenges of the modern world. The i2Sc programme includes five different streams, each based on a core discipline and associated thematic areas. At the end of the common foundation courses taught over the first two years, students may opt for any one of these five streams to study advanced courses in the core discipline and specialise in the associated thematic areas, culminating in a year-long research project in the year five.Each of the five streams offers a unique, yet integrated paradigm to gain analytic and cognitive skills based on an interdisciplinary curriculum and training in research.  The curriculum includes courses in allied topics such as Scientific Communication, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Entrepreneurship and Ethics to contextualise the learning experience. The programme will also provide opportunities to inculcate soft skills that are essential for the future success of the highly skilled graduates of the programme.Apart from the existing BS-MS programmes and newly launched BS – MS i2Sc programmes, the institute also offers:— Master of Science (MSc)— Integrated and direct PhD programmesThese programmes aim to provide a modern research-integrated education to the bachelor’s degree holders with a resolute commitment to pursue careers in science.

IISER Thiruvananthapuram introduces BS-MS i2Sc flagship programmes; check details
Pune police launch probe into fake NOCs issued to schools for CBSE affiliation
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

The Pune police have launched a probe into an alleged racket of providing fake no objection certificates (NOCs) to multiple schools in Pune for Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) affiliation. The probe has been initiated following an inquiry ordered by the state school education department, officials said.Sunanda Wakhare, education officer with the Department of Secondary Education of the Pune Zilla Parishad, registered a First Information Report (FIR) in the case against unidentified suspects at Samarth police station in Pune late on Monday night.To get themselves affiliated with boards other than the Maharashtra state board, school authorities are required to secure an NOC from the state government, police officials said. After the school education department became aware that multiple schools in Pune were functioning with CBSE curriculum when no NOCs were issued to them, it ordered an inquiry.The Department of Secondary Education of the Pune Zilla Parishad conducted the inquiry. Based on the findings, an FIR was registered at Samarth Police station late on Monday night.“The complaint filed by education officer Wakhare pertains to fake NOCs for CBSE affiliations issued to three schools in Pune before July 14, 2022. The complaint names the three schools. We have launched a probe into how these schools managed to get these fake NOCs. We are investigating the possibility of an organised racket behind this and the money trail behind obtaining such NOCs. We will also investigate whether there are any more schools in Pune who have secured NOCs in this manner,” a senior police officer said.

Pune police launch probe into fake NOCs issued to schools for CBSE affiliation
How to tackle online child sexual abuse, exploitation
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

Multiple lockdowns during Covid-19 forced children to turn to the internet for education, entertainment and everything in between. It led to an increase in their average screen time. This prolonged online exposure has increased threats to online safety for children. With the increasing popularity of social media platforms, utilisation of education apps and shift to online classes, children these days have a much higher chance of being exposed to harmful content. Hence, the need to secure children’s welfare and safety online is more urgent than ever.Online child sexual abuse and exploitation refers to activities such as the production and distribution of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), live streaming sexual assault of minors, obtaining sexually explicit material, exhibitionism and meeting the abuser in-person. This poses serious harm to children who experience psychological stress such as anxiety, trauma, and depression. It can also lead to behavioural changes like drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm, and lower motivation for academics. It doesn’t end there, as the consequences of online sexual abuse in childhood are far-reaching and may well extend into adulthood — bringing forth issues with intimacy and affecting interpersonal relationships. Moreover, the danger to the child persists after the initial production and distribution of the recorded material, with each repeated viewing or sharing being a violation of the victim.The rapidly evolving digital landscape and advances in information technology have given rise to better encryption services and the dark net, which provide a safe cover of anonymity to offenders, allowing them to engage in child sexual abuse. Needless to say, the danger and complexity of online abuse has escalated at an alarming rate and needs to be dealt with swiftly. Moreover, the ubiquitous nature of the internet and online interaction has made it so that almost all cases of child sexual abuse feature a virtual aspect. Therefore, a broad perspective and a systems-level approach should be considered when deciding on strategies to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse (OCSEA).Broadly speaking, the main administrative challenges when dealing with OCSEA are limited law enforcement capacities, gaps in legislative framework,and a lack of awareness and urgency around the issue. Furthermore, the workforce in relevant social welfare organisations is understaffed. The need of the hour is close collaboration between non-traditional partners from the industry, government ministries dealing in technological communication, and law enforcement. Provisions should be in place to prevent future cases and safeguard the victims or survivors.India has made a significant effort to tackle the wave of rising OCSEA cases in recent years. Not only has it improved the mechanism for reporting online offences against children, but it has also developed new tools and software to control and remove the presence of CSAM on social media and other platforms. Efforts have also been made to sensitise schools and boost the technological capacity of law enforcement agencies to further deal with the issue. Although this four-pronged model has shown some promising results, it is surpassed by the exponential rise in cases across the country.According to the Model National Response, a joint review launched by UNICEF and WeProtect Global Alliance, there are six key domains for a country to focus on to effectively address this issue — policy and governance, criminal justice, industry, society and culture, research and victim support. Keeping these in mind, there are a number of ways India can better its response to child sexual abuse material. For starters, it is imperative to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of cross-sectoral governance mechanisms that are set up to systematise the national response to child sexual abuse material. The huge backlog for cases of OCSEA in India must also be fast-tracked. As for prevention, institutionalising the collection of national-level data on CSAM can also assist in strengthening children’s online security. The recent Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology can provide an opportunity to meet this exigency.In addition, there should be further development of clear mandates and creation of a logical framework of roles and duties of all relevant stakeholders within standard operating procedures for investigation. Continuous dialogue between the industry, government and other collaborators, with a distinct agenda and division of responsibilities is necessary. Industry partners, in particular the IT industry, must be provided with suitable training and awareness of the magnitude of OCSEA, along with proper toolkits and guidance. Promoting a systematic and constant approach to training the judiciary and prosecution on CSAM can prove beneficial, if centred around child-sensitive protocols. In the same vein, comprehensive remedies or reparations for victims are just as important and need to be handled by a specialised workforce.Furthermore, basic online safety measures, parental support initiatives and community awareness training can be integrated into existing education programmes for violence prevention, and sensitising the most vulnerable audience. Existing systems must be evaluated by monitoring and documenting their overall effectiveness and accessibility, including assessment of relevant hotlines and portals (checking to see if they are linked to relevant referral systems), and analysing context-specific reasons for limitations. Dedicated effort must be made to aid ethical and informed media reporting on relevant cases.A collaborative effort of various institutions across the nation is required to build a safer cyberspace. The highest priority is assessment of current OCSEA response systems and reporting mechanisms, stricter implementation of prevention laws, and adequate resources to sustain these efforts. The end goal must be to ensure long-term safeguards for online platforms that allow secure navigation for minors and a disruption of the actions of offenders.Singh, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh, is CEO of India Child Protection Fund and Yadav is a Delhi-based Research Officer at India Child Protection Fund

How to tackle online child sexual abuse, exploitation
How hijab row made Muslim women students move to pvt colleges they can ill afford
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

A recent report published in The Indian Express revealed that there has been a significant shift of Muslim students from government colleges to private pre-university colleges (PUCs) in Udupi district, which was the hotbed of the hijab protests in 2022. In 2022-23, the enrolment of Muslim students in government PUCs has dropped by half, including that of Muslim boys (from 210 to 95), while Muslim girls’ enrollment has dropped from 178 to 91 in PUCs in 2022-23. There has been a simultaneous offsetting of this drop by the increase in enrolment in private PUCs. These are worrying numbers but perhaps unsurprising. They also reveal a great deal about the educational choices that marginalised Muslim students and their parents were forced to make in the light of a binary they never wanted to deal with – education or faith — and the binary the state should never have put before them: The right to education or the right to religious freedom.A brief look at the history of Karnataka’s education sector will tell you that it was one of the first states to embrace privatisation, right from the 1970s. This extended to all sectors, not just education, as the state gradually withdrew from investing in public-sector enterprises. This has been a fragment of the larger story of the Indian education system, which witnessed unprecedented massification in the last few decades, especially from the 1990s, post-liberalisation. Unfortunately, this speedy massification has had two major flaws: It was led more or less by private players, and the massification did not necessarily mean an expansion of equity or access. In short, it has left behind many marginalised communities who suffer the cumulative deprivation of poverty, social identity and location. Seen in this context, it is unsurprising that one of the (perhaps, unintended) side effects of the hijab ban has been to push students out of government institutions, towards private institutions they can often barely afford.About 44.81 million — 16.6 per cent male and 9.5 per cent female — Indian undergraduate students aged between 18 and 24 cannot afford to pursue higher education, according to the National Sample Survey (NSS), 2014. According to the AISHE (2019-20), 78.6 per cent of colleges are run by the private sector, aided and unaided, but cater to only 66.3 per cent of the total enrolment. Poverty is one of the major deciding factors in educational choice, with even eager and willing parents finding it impossible to send their children to the schools of their choice. India also has high out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) in both healthcare and education, with parents often making uncomfortable choices between what is perceived as lower-quality government services or unaffordable private services.Education is a public good, a human right and has positive public benefits, not just for the individual or the community but the nation as a whole. But who did the hijab ban benefit, really? The claims that were made intermittently – in favour of discipline, ensuring public order, maintaining the decorum of the schools, etc – now seem ludicrous in the face of the reality that the students were effectively pushed out of the school altogether.Saniya Kawazi, a student from Gokak, Karnataka pleaded with her teachers, saying that it had taken her 15 years to get “here” and to not deny her taking the exam in the aftermath of the hijab ban. The “here” is a precarious, often impossible dream that is cobbled together by marginalised Muslim parents, through crippling debts, loans, and requests and by powering through the fears and anxieties of perceived discrimination that is a very real part of educational choice-making. For a long time, it was mistakenly assumed that Muslim families are not interested in secular education — the stereotypes still persist. But various studies, including the Sachar Committee Report, have busted this myth, and show that Muslim students and their parents express an earnest desire to send their children to the best of institutions, but are hindered by the many social, economic and political compulsions. Many of the students were in limbo all across 2022, finding it too late to transfer to a private PUC in the middle of the year, even if they could somehow afford it.A great deal of ink has been spent on the religious connotations of hijab, secularism debates, its “essentiality”, the constitutional positions on religion in the public sphere, and so on. But less has been investigated in terms of who the hijab ban really benefited. Eventually, by design or by fluke, the ban has fit exceedingly well into the broader collapse of public education and the idea of education as a public good. The rampant commercialisation that haunts Indian education is an oft-told story. But its intricate relationship with the politics of hate and exclusion is less understood. The premise of the constitutional vision of education as well as of the welfare state that came into existence over 75 years ago was deliberately focused on the most marginalised, the idea that no one ought to be excluded, actively or implicitly from the path of progress and self-realization. Instead of communalising spaces of exchange and democratisation — what public education is meant to be — the government should be concerned that students are being actively forced to drop out to pursue education they cannot afford.The writer is a PhD researcher at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, JNU

How hijab row made Muslim women students move to pvt colleges they can ill afford
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The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

Important topics and their relevance in UPSC CSE exam for January 9, 2023. If you missed the January 6, 2023 UPSC key from the Indian Express, read it hereFRONT PAGESafety of people in areas affected by subsidence is top priority: PMOSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.Mains Examination: • General Studies I: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.• General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.• General Studies III: Disaster and disaster management.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- A high-level meeting called by the Prime Minister’s Office Sunday afternoon decided that the immediate priority in Joshimath – hit by land subsidence – should be safety of people living in the affected area. Further, the state government should establish a clear and continuous communication channel with the residents, the PMO is learnt to have told senior state government officials.• What is Land subsidence or subsidence of the land?• Why Joshimath is sinking?• What are the types of subsidence?• What is the most common cause of subsidence?• Map Work-Joshimath• The appearance of cracks on many roads and houses across Joshimath, due to land subsidence, is neither a new phenomenon in this region-Why this region is more prone to land subsidence?• “Today’s situation is a result of a variety of reasons, both natural and man-made,”-Can you tell what are the man-made reasons?• What M C Mishra committee report said regarding the same?• What experts says about Joshimath’s town-planning and construction work?• ‘Relief and rescue efforts were intensified in Joshimath after it was declared a landslide and subsidence-hit zone’-What happens when a place is declared a landslide and subsidence-hit zone?• How disaster management is done in the landslide and subsidence-hit zone?• How do the Centre and state government ensure the safety and rehabilitation of residents?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:   📍Loose soil, tremors, choked drainage: How Joshimath alarm bells rang for years📍NTPC denies project link to subsidence, records show a long history of breachesAs share of renewables increases in grid, Govt explores storage optionsSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- TO OPERATIONALLY sustain a huge monthly addition of an average 1,000 megawatt — almost five times the amount of power a 250 MWe nuclear plant produces — from non-fossil fuels or renewables to the electricity grid, policy makers are of the view that India needs to urgently work on developing viable energy storage options.• Why policy makers are of the view that India needs to urgently work on developing viable energy storage options?• What viable energy storage options are there?• Do You Know-In India, which is the world’s third largest producer of renewable energy, nearly 40 per cent of installed electricity capacity comes from non-fossil fuel sources. This green push has resulted in a sharp 24 per cent reduction in emission intensity of GDP between 2005 and 2016, but it has also thrown up challenges of a grid being increasingly powered by renewables.• What are the issues and challenges associated with energy storage in India?• Why Energy storage is needed?• There are two alternatives being considered by the government now-What are they?• What are the Key constraints?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:   📍Researchers develop solar energy storage and transport technology without need for solar panelsGOVT & POLITICS‘Identity of diaspora is derived from how closely it’s connected to roots’Syllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Main Examination: General Studies II: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- The three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention went underway in Indore on Sunday, returning to a physical format after four years, with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar underlining the Indian diaspora’s “strong bonds” to the country.• Pravasi Bharatiya Divas-Know in detail• Why Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, also known as Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Day is celebrated?• But why 9th January is selected as the day to celebrate Pravasi Bharatiya Divas?• Non-resident Indian and Overseas Citizen of India-Compare and contrast• Pravasi Bharatiya Samman-Know in Detail• In which year was the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award instituted?• What is planned for the 2023 Pravasi Bharatiya Day?• What is meant by Indian diaspora?• Why is Indian Diaspora important?• What is India’s diaspora policy?• How does Indian diaspora affect India’s foreign policy making?• Do you Know-The Indian diaspora comprising over 18 million PIOs (persons of Indian origin) and 13 million NRIs is one of the largest overseas communities globally and the government must engage with it effectively.• What are the issues and challenges faced by Indian Diaspora?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:   📍Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas 2023 begins: Why is it celebrated?Previous year UPSC Mains Question Covering Indian Diaspora Theme📍‘Indian diaspora has a decisive role to play in the politics and economy of America and European Countries’. Comment with examples. (GS-2, 2020)📍Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in South-East Asian countries’ economy and society. Appraise the role of Indian Diaspora in South- East Asia in this context (GS-2, 2017)Tamizhagam or TN? Behind Governor-DMK tussle, a misreading of history, a complexity of translationSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led Tamil Nadu government and state Governor RN Ravi have been at loggerheads over several issues. Most recently, the DMK has taken strong exception to Ravi’s recent remarks allegedly terming Dravidian politics as ‘regressive politics’. The Governor also suggested changing the name of the state to ‘Tamilagam’.• What exactly Governor RN Ravi said?• What was the DMK’s response?• Governor R N Ravi and Tamil Nadu State Government have major differences over multiple issues-why• What is the most recent controversy regarding the governor’s role?• What are the Constitutional Roles of a Governor?• What Articles 153-161 of the Constitution says?• The Governor is appointed by whom?• Office of Governor-know the historical background• Why has the Governor’s role and powers recently become a matter of contention?• Various attempts were made to understand the role of the governor to strengthening center-state relations-Can you name those committees and their recommendations?• Administrative Reforms Commission of 1968, the Rajamanar Committee of 1969, the Sarkaria commission of 1988 and Punchhi Commission-What were their recommendations in the context of role of Governor?• The Sarkaria Commission, set up in 1983 to look into Centre-state relations, proposed certain points for the selection of Governors-Know them in detail• What Punchhi Committee, constituted in 2007 on Centre-state relations said on selection the Governor?• The Punchhi Committee recommended deleting the “Doctrine of Pleasure” from the Constitution-What is “Doctrine of Pleasure”?• What Supreme Court of India said about the Governor’s role?• How things changed after the S.R. Bommai case ,1994?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:   📍DMK wants Tamil Nadu Governor gone: What does the law say on how a Governor can be sacked?📍Tamizhagam or Tamil Nadu? Lost in translation in Governor-DMK tussleTHE EDITORIAL PAGEThe Gimmicks CommissionSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- Pratap Bhanu Mehta Writes: The University Grants Commission is proposing new guidelines to allow the entry of foreign universities in India. Any good-faith effort to reform higher education ought to be welcomed. But before you applaud this latest pantomime on higher education and mistake it for a genuine revolution, ask a few probing questions. These so-called reforms, like so much that emanates from the UGC, are being carried out under false premises.• UGC (Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Regulations 2023-Know the highlights• Why does the author of this viewpoint assert that “these so-called reforms,” like so much else emanating from the UGC, are carried out on false premises”?• What New Education Policy 2020 says about Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India?• What are the salient features of New Education Policy 2020?• How National Policy on Education (NEP) 2020 and Sustainable development goals are linked?• “The operation of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions shall not be contrary to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency, or morality”-Discuss• Growth of Education in India: Historical Background from Vedic Period to British Period• Growth of Education in the Post-Independence Period-Reforms taken so far• Education was initially a state subject but following an amendment (42nd) to the Constitution in 1976, it became a concurrent subject-True or False?• Constitutional Provisions Regarding Education- What Article 28, Article 29, Article 30, Article 21A, Article 45 and Article 46 says about Education?• Education System in India-Know the Present Structure from Pre-primary level to Primary or elementary Level (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan) to Secondary level (Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan) to Higher education (Rastriya Uchhattar Shiksha Abhiyan)• So premium institutes like Oxford and Cambridge can come to India under the UGC (Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Regulations 2023?• The repatriation of funds and other cross-border movement of funds shall be governed by which act?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Foreign universities in India: Earlier bids stalled, why this one most ambitious📍UGC’s draft regulations-2023: Opening the campus doorEXPLAINEDSOVEREIGN GREEN BONDSSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- On Friday (January 6), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that it will, for the first-time, issue Sovereign Green Bonds (SgrBs) worth Rs 16,000 crore, in two tranches of Rs 8,000 crore each in the current financial year. The RBI said it will issue 5-year and 10-year green bonds of Rs 4,000 crore each on January 25 and February 9.• What are sovereign green bonds?• Why are these bonds important?• How beneficial is it for investors?• When did Govt plan these bonds?• How sovereign green bond will work?• What does carbon neutral mean?• What is Carbon Credit?• How does carbon credit work?• Carbon Trading and Carbon Credit-compare and contrast• Difference between ‘Net Zero’ and ‘Carbon Neutral’?• What is India’s New Renewables Energy Target?• How can net zero be achieved?• Public-Private partnership frameworks to achieve ‘net zero’-issues and challenges• India’s emission Status-Present Scenario• How green bonds help India to achieve carbon neutrality?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:   📍RBI to issue green bonds in two tranches of Rs 8,000 cr eachVillage defence: The return of J&K’s system of armed civiliansSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- After militants killed six people in two days in the Upper Dangri village of Jammu and Kashmir this Sunday and Monday, locals have demanded that they be provided weapons to take on attackers. Responding to the demands, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on January 2 assured the people that they would get a Village Defence Committee (VDC) on the lines of those in Doda district. The same was echoed by Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh, who visited the village, on the outskirts of Rajouri town, after the twin attacks.• What is a Village Defence Committees (VDC)?• What is a Village Defence Guards (VDG)• How are Village Defence Guards (VDGs) different from Village Defence Committees (VDCs)?• Who will have control over the Village Defence Guards (VDGs)?• What was the composition of VDCs?• Why was the need to set up VDCs felt?• How did the idea to arm civilians come up?• VDCs’ contribution in the fight against militants• What controversies did the VDCs get into?• Why the fresh demand for arming civilians• What do the police say about the current situation in the UT?• What do you know about Salwa Judum?• Can you compare and contrast Village Defence Committees with Salwa Judum?• Village Defence Committees can become Salwa Judum in the future?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:   📍Rajouri attack: Shop owner who took on militants used rifle after 24 yearsImbalance in fertiliser useSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social DevelopmentMains Examination: General Studies III: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidiesKey Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- 2022 saw global prices of fertilisers go through the roof, in the run-up to and post Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Those have since eased considerably. Landed prices of urea imported into India (cost plus freight) are ruling at around $550 per tonne, as against $900-1,000 average in November-January 2021-22, when global demand for food and plant nutrients surged with the lifting of Covid lockdowns by most countries.• What led to the easing of global fertiliser prices?• The easing of global fertiliser prices has enabled two things-What are those two things?• ‘Asymmetry in the pricing structure has led to a worsening nutrient imbalance due to over-application of urea and DAP’- What kind of Asymmetry in the pricing structure?• Why excessive use of urea and now di-ammonium phosphate or DAP?• What harm can excessive use of urea and now di-ammonium phosphate, or DAP, do to a farmer?• Quick Recall-Since 2017-18, urea consumption has risen from below 300 lakh tonnes (lt) to 350 lt. Consumption of NPKS complexes and SSP in 2019-20 was lower than in 2011-12. There was an increase in 2020-21 and 2021-22. But it was largely due to DAP and MOP shortages/non-availability, forcing farmers to consume P and K more in the form of low-analysis fertilisers. Some even replaced one bag of DAP with one bag each of SSP and 20:20:0:13, together giving nearly the same N and P plus 24% S.• For Your Information-High government subsidies are behind the low pricing, and high sales, of these two fertilisers. And the resulting nutrient imbalance owing to their use — disproportionate to other, more expensive fertilisers — could have implications for soil health, ultimately affecting crop yields. The use of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) in the country has over the last few years sharply deviated from the ideal NPK use ratio of 4:2:1.• Do You Know-The ideal NPK use ratio for the country is 4:2:1, whereas it was 6.5:2.8:1 in 2020-21 and 7.7:3.1:1 in 2021-22. In the recent 2022 kharif season, the ratio got further distorted to 12.8:5.1:1.• Fertilizer Consumption in India-Know in detail• What is Fertilizer?• Primary (Macro) Nutrients and Secondary (Micro) Nutrients in Fertiliser-Know the difference• Know more about Fertiliser Sector in India and Related Policies• Fertilizer comes under Union List, State List or Concurrent List?• know the basics of Fertiliser Subsidy• Subsidy Mechanism in the form of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)-know more in detail• What is the fertiliser requirement of a typical farmer?• How much subsidy does a farmer really get per acre?• What is Di-ammonium phosphate (DAP)?• NPK in Fertilisers-Have you heard of ‘NPK’? What is NPK and Its Ideal Ratio in Fertilizers?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:   📍Explained: How fertiliser subsidy works📍Explained: Why has the Modi government increased subsidy on DAP?For any queries and feedback, contact priya.shukla@indianexpress.comThe UPSC KEY Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Updates.

Know about Land subsidence, Sovereign green bonds; and more Premium Story