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Total mismanagement and administrative collapse: P Chidambaram flays PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying since 50 days of the demonetization drive are over, all restrictions should be removed and normalcy should be restored.’It is fair to expect that there will be no queues outside bank branches and ATMs. It is fair to expect that all ATMs will be open round the clock and fully stocked with currency notes. It is fair to expect that the bank branch will pay out the money written on the cheque and not direct the drawer to write another cheque for a smaller amount,’ Chidambaram said while addressing media.Chidambaram sarcastically said that only the Prime Minister can provide an assurance on the removal of restrictions after 50 days of demonetization as the opposition has been dubbed as supporters of black money hoarders and tax evaders by him.’I wish I could hold out assurances on the matter (demonetization), but none of us in the opposition can, because the government has dubbed all of us in the opposition as supporters of black money hoarders and tax evaders,’ he said.Condemning the government for implementing a currency ban without prior planning, Chidambaram reiterated his opinion of demonetization being a case of total mismanagement.’I had also cautioned that the test of demonetization lies in the manner in which it will be implemented. It is now abundantly clear that the whole exercise was undertaken without forethought and planning; without consulting key officials; without understanding the crucial role of money in circulation’ Altogether, the whole exercise has been a case of total mismanagement, administrative collapse and widespread corruption,’ he said.Pointing towards government’s changing stand on the announcement, Chidambaram called it an absurd and undesirable goal. ‘The government has tried to change the narrative from black money and corruption to a cashless economy. No economy can become — or has become – totally cashless. We support encouraging high-value transactions to adopt the digital mode, but to insist that even low-value transactions should go cashless is an absurd and undesirable goal,’ he said.The minister also put forward his two demands and urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to make it public- 1. The Agenda note and the minutes of the meeting of the Board of Directors of RBI held on November 8, 2016; and2. The Note for Cabinet on demonetization placed before the Cabinet on November 8, 2016.Prime Minister Modi is all set to address the nation on New Year’s Eve regarding the same issue of demonetization, which marked its 50 days on Friday.

IITs may hold ‘Inter-IIT Tech Meet’ every year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) may hold an ‘Inter-IIT Tech Meet’ every year where the brightest minds from these prestigious institutions will compete and participate in a variety of events.While many of the IITs hold their tech fests, a proposal to hold a joint technology meet was discussed in a meeting of directors of these institutes held at Kanpur campus earlier this month, sources said. It is learnt that while the directors were enthusiastic about the idea, the funds and logistics involved were also factored in, they said. “The directors felt that at the moment holding a separate stand-alone meet may not be feasible but as a pilot project the idea should be taken up. The idea is that an inter-IIT meet can clubbed with the annual tech fest of one of these institutions,” a source said.It is learnt that initial phase the inter-IIT tech fest may be clubbed with the fests held by one of the older IITs.”The inter-IIT Tech fest may be held each year in rotation by expanding the tech-fest by one more day in which all IITs may participate and compete like the inter-IIT sports meet,” the source added.

Meet the brains behind Hult Prize India, a Clinton global initiative

The Hult Prize India last few years have been an interesting journey. The seed was sown with formation of Aravindam Foundation for education of slum children and rural women in 2008. Ewelina Janus, management consultant from Poland, visiting India, joined hands with Lokesh Abrol, Specialist Physician in Gurgaon to establish the Aravindam Foundation Gurukul for slum children in Kamdhenudham Gaushala, established by Dr. Abrol and awarded as a model in the country. Abhimanyu Abrol, then an Architecture student at IIT Kharagpur, created the design. They were soon joined by a regular stream of volunteers, both Indian and foreigners. Ewelina applied social enterprise techniques to minimise expenses and develop revenue generation plans. Within two years, the India faction we had two centres and several courses running.

Hult is the family name of Swedish born entrepreneur and billionaire, Bertil Hult, one of Europe’s leading entrepreneurs who founded EF Education First, the largest private education company in the world.

Excerpts from an email interaction with Lokesh Abrol

How did you get involved with the Hult Prize Foundation?

Abhimanyu and his team at IIT Kharagpur prepared for The Hult Prize in 2015. They turned to Aravindam for inspiration and mentoring. It was exciting to work with bright youngsters full of energy, confidence and ideas. The team represented India at the San Francisco Regional finals. Abhimanyu got a special invite to The Hult Prize Retreat at London, where he met Ahmad Ashkar, the Hult Prize founder CEO and proposed an India chapter. One year later, we got a call and Hult Prize India was born in August 2016 with Ewelina (Aravindam Managing Director) as the India National Director and Aravindam Directors, Abhimanyu and me as the Hult Prize India Directors.

What does your job entail?

The Hult Prize India was born when the 2016 action was already on. We had to play catch up, running literally round the clock, against time. There was the first task of reaching out to campuses to enhance participation. We managed a 400 percent growth. The campus director applications had to be screened, appointments made, webinars organised, questions answered, volunteers and mentors gathered and motivated, website and Facebook presence and content created, agreements prepared, discussed and signed. While this was still happening, the next round of guiding campus directors to create teams, run seminars and organise jury and campus level events, started. We sought out students with past experience, for assistance. There was the additional challenge of each one of us investing full time in addition to our existing full time occupations. It became double full time for each one of us.

How has it been working with the Hult Foundation?

Before we could catch our breath, the responsibility of organising the national event came up. We started shortlisting and approaching prospective sponsors, partners and judges while planning logistics and event format. Simultaneously, regular meetings, brainstorming and discussions had to be on with the central team across time zones, almost always squeezing in hours taken from our regular jobs, meal times or the ever scarce sleep hours, to ensure that Delhi, London, Boston, San Francisco and Mexico members could be on video call at the same time. There were situations when Cesar would be at a Mexican airport, Ewelina at Krakow city centre, Abhimanyu pacing outside his office in London, Amanda waking up in San Francisco and me trying to keep awake in Gurgaon! It has never been short of an exciting roller coaster with barely a minute to spare ever since the Hult Prize swept us like a tsunami. Do we love it? Of course, we love surfing the great waves. We love being at the heart of action, creating the next wave of social entrepreneurs.

How are the India directors and judges selected for this prize?

The Hult Prize Foundation has partnered with the Aravindam Foundation to establish the Hult Prize India. The India Directors are Ahmad Ashkar and Cesar Delvalle from the parent body in USA and Ewelina Janus, Abhimanyu Abrol and me from the Aravindam in India. There is provision for two directors from sponsors of Hult Prize India.

The campus directors in universities are students selected after a process of online applications, screening and finally interviews in person or tele and video conferencing. Judges are academia, entrepreneurs, Impact investors, financial experts, corporate leaders and social activists invited on the basis of credentials.

How many colleges are participating for Hult Prize 2017?

Around 50+ colleges are participating. The number of colleges was 4 in 2014 and 12 in 2015.

What has been the reaction of colleges and students?

The premier Indian colleges are the most enthusiastic about the Hult Prize. The Hult prize participations are led by students. As the word spreads, we are approached by students from other campuses asking about participation. We do not have to approach college administrations in most situations. The students take it upon themselves to involve their professors and directors. They, in turn, are more than willing to get their students the great international connect, outlook, network, learning and real life experience of Social and entrepreneurship that comes with the Hult Prize.

We have nearly all the IITs, IIMs, all campuses of ISB and BITS, XLRI, SRCC, MDI, IIFT, Jadhavpur University, Christ University, VIVA college, Manipal University, Welingkar, NMIMS, Somaiya institute, Symbiosis and more on our roll.

How many Indians have won the Hult Prize in the past?

Several Indians representing colleges in India and abroad. Manish Rajan, representing an Indian College – ISB Hyderabad won the nanohealth in 2014. Nanohealth from ISB Hyderabad in 2014 led by Manish Ranjan

Akanksha Hazari from M.Paani won it in 2011.
M.Paani 2011. Akanksha Hazari

Sonia Kabra from Earlham College, Team magic Bus, won it in 2016.

What does it take to be a Hult prize winner?
The ability to build as opposed to identify great social ventures is what differentiates the Hult Prize from any other platform in the world. The Hult Prize winners bring entrepreneurship skills to social objectives. They make ‘Purpose’ with ‘Profit’ their objective. It is not charity. It is doing good while enhancing dignity. The winners understand and believe that ‘doing good is good business’. Those motivated by bottom lines while being concerned about those at the bottom, have it in them, to be Hult Prize winners.

Hult Prize winners have gone onto create the largest alternative protein industry in micro-livestock, the world’s largest distributor of solar lights, health access to all and India’s fastest growing loyalty and rewards program targeting the world’s poorest.

What has surprised you about Indian students participation?
Participation is on a scale far beyond anywhere else. There is remarkable awareness of social issues, a great motivation to do good and innovative ideas to achieve the objectives. The ideas are close to ground reality and practicality.
The next step of packaging the ideas into salable and scalable models will happen effortlessly as the students open up to mentors and peers around the world. Indian students quickly adapt to the international environment of the Hult Prize and leverage their knowledge and experience of ground realities of deprivation.

Which innovation/s, even though it did not win the prize, stood out or resonated with you? Why?
A few them were interesting. Tembo (Elephant in Swahili) from University of Tampa, USA proposed using cellphone air time as currency to motivate parents in Africa to learn lessons sent by text messages and teach them to their kids. The parents get free air time if they pass a quiz each week.

The Kajoli model of self learning by Prof. Shamsul Bari coupled with mother’s skills and loyalty program proposed by Team Veditum of IIT Kharagpur where kids learn by the Kajoli at a centre while the mother’s learn, produce and sell traditional crafts through an e-commerce platform while they wait for their children.

The Hult Prize is about ‘empowering business minds to pursue purpose’ says Ahmad Ashkar, the Founder CEO. We empower brilliant minds to invest in doing good and to have healthy bottom lines so that the doing good is scalable and sustainable. That is the way to bring the benefits to many more people in under-served communities. There is greater dignity in empowerment than in charity. This is what the millennial generation understands. These are the generation of achievers who are in their finest when helping others while enhancing themselves. The ‘larger good’ and the ‘bottom lines’ become mutually complementary rather than ‘mutually excluding’.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 17:05 IST

CBI arrests bank official, 2 bizmen for fraudulent exchange of old notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI on Wednesday arrested a senior manager of Central Bank of India and two owners of a firm in Bengaluru for allegedly violating RBI guidelines on scraping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.The agency had registered an FIR against senior manager and branch head of Central Bank of India’s Basavanagudi branch S Lakshimnarayana and Directors of Omkar Parimal Mandir — S Gopal and Ashwin G Sunkur — on Tuesday and carried out searches at various places.The three were called for questioning at the CBI office in Bengaluru this morning and placed under arrest after they allegedly failed to answer many of the questions, the CBI said here.The agency has booked them under sections of IPC dealing with criminal conspiracy and cheating as well as abuse of official position under the Prevention of Corruption Act.During the searches carried out yesterday at Bengaluru which included the residence of bank officials and private persons, the agency claimed to have recovered incriminating documents, including bank vouchers, counterfoils, DDs, property documents, hard disks and Rs 5,91,500 cash in old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.In its FIR filed in the designated CBI court in Bengaluru, the CBI alleged that from November 15 to November 18, the bank manager had issued 149 demand drafts for amounts less than Rs 50,000 in favour of a Pune-based finance company in violation of RBI guidelines.The total value of the demand drafts was Rs 71 lakh which the branch manager accepted in demonetized notes from the owners of the company, the agency said.The amount was staggered and 149 DDs were issued for less than Rs 50,000 which was allegedly done by the accused fraudulently to convert the demonetized notes.The firm’s owners subsequently cancelled the drafts and encashed the amount thereby clandestinely converting old notes into valid bills, the CBI alleged.

Jayalalithaa’s illness brings forth issue of rudderless govts, order of succession

Editor’s note: The following article was originally published on 10 October, a few days after Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa was first hospitalised. It is being updated in light of the news that she suffered a cardiac attack on Sunday and at the time of writing, is said to be ‘very critical’.

The prolonged hospitalisation of the Tamil Nadu chief minster Jayalalithaa has brought to fore once again the question of rudderless states, the question that has neither been addressed by the Indian constitution nor by the Supreme Court even though the answer has never brooked any delay. She is reportedly under life support system in Chennai’s Apollo hospital which routinely gives a laconic bulletin about her fast recovery. And to make matters worse, there are credible reports of extra constitution persons like ex chief secretary issuing orders from the chief minister’s bedside. One wonders how the one under life support system can be consulted. Naturally, someone had to file public interest litigation (PIL) before the Madras High Court. File he did but the Court threw it out contemptuously whereas it deserved to be heard in all earnestness if only to bring the issue centrestage. In fact the Madras High Court ought to have commended the matter to the Supreme Court with a prayer that it be considered by a constitution bench.

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. AFPTamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. AFP

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. AFP

It is amazing that our constitution makers who took elaborate pains in framing it thought nothing of this seminal issue though in all fairness they cannot be accused of sweeping it under the carpet when the founding fathers of the US constitution squarely addressed the issue. Under the US Presidential Succession Act, 1947, Jayalalithaa-like situation has been envisaged and answers. Should the US President die in harness or take ill or is otherwise unfit to carry out the humungous responsibilities of his office, the Vice President takes over and in his absence, speaker of the House of Representative and so on. To be sure, the US has adopted a presidential form of democracy unlike India’s Parliamentary but that hardly is a handicap for us in not addressing the issue of temporary vacuum in the office of chief minister or prime minister.

The Indian company law is only a shade better than the Indian Constitution in this regard. It says the Board of Directors of a company can appoint an alternate director when a director of a company is absent from India for a period of 3 months or more. In other words it too fails miserably in addressing the issue of line of succession. To be sure, it contains provisions for disqualification and removal of directors. For example a person of unsound mind cannot be appointed a director and should he subsequent to his appointment become imbecile, he must vacate the office forthwith. But this is neither here nor there. Imbecility is not an issue as much as dereliction of duty willy-nilly on health and other grounds is. But then listed companies are constantly under the watch of vigilant shareholders and in any case Boardrooms abhor vacuum so much so that vacancies are bound to be filled up sooner than later.
Politics however is less tolerant and indulgent of those in power, with opposition relishing the prospect of sniping at the alleged delinquent as is happening in Tamil Nadu where the opposition DMK is darkly hinting at the CM already being brain dead.

The issue has graver ramifications for the central government. The former prime minister Deve Gowda acquired the reputation of sleeping prime minister with the appellation going beyond mere figurative speech. He actually used to doze off. In the US, judges do not retire but can go on. However they are removed at the first hint of senility. Levity apart, we do not have any concrete guidelines on the issue of who steps into the shoes of the prime minister though the incumbent prime ministers take care to make their own arrangements like the former prime minister handing over the reins to the senior most minister Pranab Mukherjee whenever he was admitted into hospital for treatment. But then this is not one is asking for. When the prime minister Shastri died in Tashkent, the void was temporarily filled in by the supposedly docile Guzarilal Nanda and when prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated, her son Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as the prime minister, unmindful of the raised eyebrows and hackles.

The political parties got together to pass the GST bill, a seminal piece of enabling constitution amendment. They must similarly get together to provide for a structured regime of succession and not leave it to chances and whims of politicians.

First Published On : Dec 5, 2016 15:15 IST

Mistry, Tatas lawyer up; boardroom tussle spills over to courtrooms

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The high-voltage boardroom tussle at Bombay House that saw the ouster of chairman Cyrus Mistry on Monday is now spilling over to the courtrooms.Fearing a legal challenge from Mistry, the Tatas have filed caveats in the Supreme Court (SC), Bombay High Court (HC) and National Company Law Tribunal to prevent him from getting an ex-parte order against his sacking.A caveat is filed in a court as a preventive measure to ensure that the court does not issue an ex-parte order, and hear the matter without allowing the other side to appear. Mistry’s office, however, denied speculation over counter-caveats.His family-owned Shapoorji Pallonji group, which also owns an 18.4 per cent stake in Tata Sons, said on Tuesday that reports about Mistry taking Tatas to court was baseless “at this stage”.”The Tatas have filed caveats, seeking notice from Mistry. He has not filed any caveats. He has already made a statement that such concerns are misplaced at this stage,” said the statement from Mistry’s office.However, legallyindia.com reported that Desai & Diwanji partner Apurva Diwanji is acting for Mistry, briefing Senior Counsel Iqbal Chagla and Janak Dwarkadas as well as Somasekhar Sundaresan, former J Sagar Associates (JSA) partner, and now an independent counsel.Speculation was rife that Mistry may move court in a day or two. It also reported that two law firms — Karanjawala & Co and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas Mumbai partner Shuva Mandal, who had joined the firm from AZB & Partners — had been instructed by Tata Sons to advise it on the matter, including filing of caveats.Meanwhile, Tata Group announced an expansion of the Tata Sons board with the appointment of Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of JLR, and N Chandrasekaran, CEO & MD of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), as Additional Directors.Commenting on their appointment, Ratan Tata said: “This is in recognition of their exemplary leadership in their companies.” Legal sources said Mistry could have asked the courts to stay further appointment of directors or changes in the management. However, now that the Tatas have filed caveats, the courts cannot take up any such demand without listening to Tata’s arguments.On Tuesday, key Tata group companies lost nearly Rs 10,700 crore in combined market capitalisation even as the interim Chairman tried to calm frayed nerves through a letter to employees. Shares of Tata Steel fell 2.51 per cent and Tata Power 1.5 per cent on the BSE. TCS shares slipped 1.2 per cent and Tata Motors went down 1.07 per cent.Ratan Tata, in the letter to employees, talked of his role about providing “stability and reassurance to the Tata Group” till a new leader is selected. He also met group CEOs at Bombay House and assured all of a stable environment. He said that group companies will see continuity in their strategies and assured them that Mistry’s exit is not a cause of concern for the group. Tata assured CEOs that the long-term interests of the group would get priority.”The companies must focus on their market position vis-à-vis competition, and not compare themselves to their own past,” Tata said.

Jayalalithaa’s illness brings to fore the issue of rudderless governments, order of succession

The prolonged hospitalisation of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minster Jayalalithaa has brought to fore once again the question of rudderless states, the question that has neither been addressed by the Indian constitution nor by the Supreme Court even though the answer has never brooked any delay. She is reportedly under life support system in Chennai’s Apollo hospital which routinely gives a laconic bulletin about her fast recovery. And to make matters worse, there are credible reports of extra constitution persons like ex chief secretary issuing orders from the chief minister’s bedside. One wonders how the one under life support system can be consulted. Naturally, someone had to file public interest litigation (PIL) before the Madras High Court. File he did but the Court threw it out contemptuously whereas it deserved to be heard in all earnestness if only to bring the issue centrestage. In fact the Madras High Court ought to have commended the matter to the Supreme Court with a prayer that it be considered by a constitution bench.

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. AFPTamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. AFP

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. AFP

It is amazing that our constitution makers who took elaborate pains in framing it thought nothing of this seminal issue though in all fairness they cannot be accused of sweeping it under the carpet when the founding fathers of the US constitution squarely addressed the issue. Under the US Presidential Succession Act, 1947, Jayalalithaa-like situation has been envisaged and answers. Should the US President die in harness or take ill or is otherwise unfit to carry out the humungous responsibilities of his office, the Vice President takes over and in his absence, speaker of the House of Representative and so on. To be sure, the US has adopted a presidential form of democracy unlike India’s Parliamentary but that hardly is a handicap for us in not addressing the issue of temporary vacuum in the office of chief minister or prime minister.

The Indian company law is only a shade better than the Indian Constitution in this regard. It says the Board of Directors of a company can appoint an alternate director when a director of a company is absent from India for a period of 3 months or more. In other words it too fails miserably in addressing the issue of line of succession. To be sure, it contains provisions for disqualification and removal of directors. For example a person of unsound mind cannot be appointed a director and should he subsequent to his appointment become imbecile, he must vacate the office forthwith. But this is neither here nor there. Imbecility is not an issue as much as dereliction of duty willy-nilly on health and other grounds is. But then listed companies are constantly under the watch of vigilant shareholders and in any case Boardrooms abhor vacuum so much so that vacancies are bound to be filled up sooner than later.
Politics however is less tolerant and indulgent of those in power, with opposition relishing the prospect of sniping at the alleged delinquent as is happening in Tamil Nadu where the opposition DMK is darkly hinting at the CM already being brain dead.

The issue has graver ramifications for the central government. The former prime minister Deve Gowda acquired the reputation of sleeping prime minister with the appellation going beyond mere figurative speech. He actually used to doze off. In the US, judges do not retire but can go on. However they are removed at the first hint of senility. Levity apart, we do not have any concrete guidelines on the issue of who steps into the shoes of the prime minister though the incumbent prime ministers take care to make their own arrangements like the former prime minister handing over the reins to the senior most minister Pranab Mukherjee whenever he was admitted into hospital for treatment. But then this is not one is asking for. When the prime minister Shastri died in Tashkent, the void was temporarily filled in by the supposedly docile Guzarilal Nanda and when prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated, her son Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as the prime minister, unmindful of the raised eyebrows and hackles.

The political parties got together to pass the GST bill, a seminal piece of enabling constitution amendment. They must similarly get together to provide for a structured regime of succession and not leave it to chances and whims of politicians.

Surrender privileges immediately or else face action: MHA warns retired cops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking strong exception to police officers retaining personnel and official vehicles even after retirement, the Centre has directed them to surrender such privileges immediately and warned of action if they fail to do so. In a letter to Chief Secretaries of all states and heads of central police organisations, the Home Ministry said that it noticed various reports which suggested that the retired police officers are retaining a large number of police personnel at their residences, including guards. Similarly, it is also observed that many retired officers are retaining official vehicles for months together.As such matters create a wrong impression in the public mind and are also against the basic decorum and discipline of government service, the government has felt the need to seriously address the issue and accordingly the instructions had been issued by the Home Ministry on September 21.”All the Chief Secretaries of state governments/union territories, heads of Central Armed Police Forces, Assam Rifles/Central Police Organisations and Directors General of Police in the state governments may ensure that various privileges such as personnel at residences, vehicles, personal security etc. should be withdrawn within a period of one month after retirement of any police official,” the Home Ministry instruction said.If security is to be provided to any retired police official, this should be based on a specific threat assessment particular to him and should not be based on a threat of general nature arising out of a post he had held before retirement.”In case a retired officer fails to follow the instructions, he should be made to pay for various privileges. Similarly, action should be taken against the serving officials who do not take timely action to withdraw various privileges mentioned above, from retired officials,” it said.The Home Ministry also said that the instructions are for strict compliance by all concerned and a compliance report in this regard should be sent to it by Chief Secretaries of all state governments and UT and heads of security agencies and Directors General of state police by October 31.

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar asks IIMs to submit plans to increase intake of students

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The number of seats in the coveted Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) is set to increase substantially as the HRD ministry has asked these business schools to ponder over ways in which their intake capacity can be increased. Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday held a meeting with heads of various IIMs in New Delhi on Tuesday where measures to cater to the increasing demand of quality education in the country was discussed during the meeting, according to an official statement.”Firstly, IIMs will submit plans for expansion of their intake capacity, so that more students get opportunity to enroll themselves in the best institutes. Directors of IIMs pondered upon the possibility of the extent of increasing the intake capacity in their respective institutes and assured of submitting the proposals at the earliest,” the statement said.Official sources said that presently around 20 IIMs take in nearly 10,000 students every year and HRD ministry is keen that this number be taken close to 20,000.According to the statement, Javadekar also told reporters after the meeting that possibility of expansion of Doctoral programmes was discussed. He expressed that creating more quality PhD programmes will address the issue of shortage of faculties in institutes, the statement said.And for creating more PhDs, the Minister said that, better avenues of fellowship will be offered to willing candidates. He added that in line with the IIT Council, where it has been decided to award PM’s scholarship for PhD programme, government approval will be sought for PM s scholarship for best of PhD scholars in IIMs. Final decision in this regard will be taken with Cabinet approval, the Minister said. Also, it was decided that IIMs will participate in a new initiative of government to make 20 world class institutes.The HRD minister also learnt to have emphasised ensuring that the institutes are socially equitable with regard to admissions and recruitments, a source said.While replying to one of the query of the reporters regarding reservation in education policy, the Minister reiterated that as far as reservations are concerned, it is the constitution which provides for it and the government has no plans to make changes in reservations. He also said that IIMs will actively participate in creating contents for SWAYAM which is an Information Technology platform hosting Open Online Courses and will provide high quality education on various subjects from 9 to Under Graduate and Post Graduate students — covering all disciplines. The Minister also interacted with the students of IIMs.Remembering the great teacher and former President, Late A P J Abdul Kalam, the minister said that there is a need to inculcate the willingness for adopting teaching profession among students as the country requires 10 million good teachers to improve the quality of education from primary to higher education and from higher education to research and innovation. In his interaction, he also appealed to students to ponder upon the need for research and innovation for developing good quality education, the statement said.

Prakash Javadekar to meet with institute directors to deliberate on IIM autonomy bill today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Directors of various Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) will be meeting with the Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar at IIM Shillong on Tuesday to deliberate upon the proposed IIM Autonomy Bill. The draft bill proposes to give autonomy to nineteen IIMs, empowering them to award degrees instead of diplomas for their IIMs for their two-year programmes. The draft law is modelled on the IIT Act and has been under deliberation for more than one year now. The September 20 meeting, however is being perceived to be an important step forward in terms of deciding the outcome as all the Directors will be presenting their stand on the draft bill. Atanu Rakshit, Director of IIM Rohtak, says: “Various Directors will be presenting their stand on the bill and along with it some data related to the institute. We are hoping for a positive outcome from the meeting.”The bill also gives autonomy to institutes to “lower the cost of education and to enhance the reach of the education by use of information and communication technology.” However, it has laid down the condition of taking prior approval of the government before making changes in the fee structure. The fee part was one where officials at IIM Ahmedabad, the oldest IIM, had an opposition. In order to take suggestions from IIM-A faculty members and Director, Javadekar had held a closed door meeting with them on Saturday. “The responses have been encouraging”, Javadekar had said after the meeting. He also told journalists that a special panel will review the suggestion on September 30 and then form a draft which will further be circulated for improvement. The thirteen old IIMs, including Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode, Shillong, Ranchi, Rohtak, Raipur, Tiruchirappalli, Kashipur, Udaipur, and the six new ones, including Visakhapatnam, Bodh Gaya, Rohtak, Sirmaur, Rau and Nagpur, will be able to award degrees to its students once the new IIM Bill is passed in the Cabinet.

Coal scam: Rungtas move HC against conviction, CBI reply sought

Delhi High Court on Friday sought the response of CBI on the appeals filed by Directors of Jharkhand Ispat Pvt Ltd (JIPL), RS Rungta and R C Rungta, challenging their conviction and the four-year sentence awarded to them in a coal scam case.Justice Siddharth Mridul issued notice to CBI and asked the agency to file its reply on the petitions by May 6, the next date of hearing.”Issue notice. Advocate Tarannum Cheema (for CBI) accepts notice and seeks time to file reply,” the court said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During the brief hearing, Cheema told the bench that coal scam matters have been monitored by the Supreme Court and the CBI will inform the apex court about these appeals on May 5.Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Rungtas, told the court that both R C Rungta and R S Rungta have been awarded four-year jail term by the special court.A special court had on April 4 sentenced both the Rungtas to jail in the coal scam case, lamenting that India was lagging behind in development due to such “unscrupulous businessmen”.It was the first case in the coal scam which was decided by the special court, constituted exclusively to deal with all such cases.The court had also imposed a fine of Rs five lakh each on R S Rungta, 79, and R C Rungta, 60, who were convicted on March 28 for offences of cheating and criminal conspiracy under the IPC.It had also slapped a fine of Rs 25 lakh on the company JIPL which was also held guilty along with the Rungtas.Rungtas and JIPL were convicted by the court which had noted that they had “fraudulently” and with a dishonest intention “deceived” government in allocating the North Dhadu coal block in Jharkhand to the firm.Besides this case, 19 other cases investigated by the CBI in the coal scam are pending before the special court. Two other cases probed by ED are also pending before the court.

Committee to find out border vulnerability to prevent Pathankot like attacks

In the aftermath of Pathankot terror attack, the government has constituted a high level committee of six members under the chairmanship of former union home secretary Madhukar Gupta to review the vulnerabilities and gaps along India’s western borders along Pakistan.The other members of the high powered committee are Deputy NSA Arvind Gupta, Advisor security in the home ministry K Vijay Kumar, former secretary (internal security) Ashok Prasad and Directors of IIT – Delhi and IIT Roorkee.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said the directors of the IITs have been included to spell out the technical flaws in border guarding that allows terrorists to infiltrate and suggest mechanism to plug all perceivable loopholes. It will submit a comprehensive report in three months and the union home ministry will try to implement all the recommendations in letter and spirit.The committee will be extended all logistic support by the union home ministry and will be taken to the entire western border across Jammu sector to entire Punjab and Gujarat touching Rann of Kutch by the Border Security Force (BSF). The committee will also have a look at Indo-Bangladesh border.The committee will specifically focus on vulnerable riverine areas along Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Ferozepur and Kathua sectors that Pakistan based terrorist outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) frequently use to infiltrate inside India. It will also look at the routes that are used by drug cartels to smuggle drugs across the border, sources said.An inquiry done after the Pathankot incident had found that the thermal imaging cameras were of little use along the riverine border because of dense fog and undergrowth of tall Sarkanda grass and bad lighting conditions and gaps in generator assisted lighting.

CBI searches 82 places in chit fund scam by former Andhra Pradesh MLA

CBI on Wednesday carried out searches at 82 places in connection with two cases registered on the directions of the Jharkhand High Court to probe the role of 33 chit fund companies owned by a former MLA of Andhra Pradesh.During the searches, the CBI claimed to have recovered Rs 44.90 lakh from the ex-MLA of Visakhapatnam-West who was also the Managing Director of a chit fund company, a CBI spokesperson said in a statement.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the spokesperson, the agency conducted searches at the MLA’s residence and premises of his 33 companies.The searches were conducted at 82 locations in Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, she said.The CBI had registered two cases against group of companies owned by the former legislator, their Managing Directors, Directors and other officials on the directions of Jharkhand High Court.It was alleged that the companies and their officials were involved in receiving huge public deposits “illegally and fraudulently” by cheating and alluring common people with false promises such as high rate of interest, issuing shares or debenture, private placement, purchase of land, product purchase etc.The accused allegedly siphoned off or diverted the funds received “illegally and dishonestly” to their individual accounts, the CBI claimed in its FIR.During the searches, Rs 44.90 lakh (approximately) cash was seized from the residence of the ex-MLA, who was the Managing Director of one of the companies, and Rs 16.80 lakh (approximately) from the house of then Director of another company.

DDCA row: Court reserves order for 9 March on Arun Jaitley’s defamation plea

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday reserved its order for 9 March on a criminal complaint filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for allegedly defaming him in the DDCA controversy.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. AFP

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. AFP

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass, who had earlier reserved the order for pronouncement on Tuesday, fixed it for the next date on the complaint in which Jaitley has alleged that Kejriwal and other AAP leaders had made defamatory statements that he and his family had made pecuniary gains by associating with M/s 21st Century Media Pvt Ltd, a sports management firm.

The court had on 15 February reserved its verdict after hearing the arguments on the complaint, perusing the annexures filed with it and the statements of complainant witnesses recorded in the matter.

The court had earlier recorded statements of Jaitley and other complainant witnesses in the case.

On 5 January, Jaitley had appeared in the court and said that Kejriwal and five AAP leaders had made “false and defamatory” statements. He had rejected the charge that he had syphoned off money from DDCA for his own benefit.

During recording of his statement, Jaitley had claimed that Kejriwal and AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai, had given statements even after the complaint was filed against them which had damaged his reputation.

The Finance Minister had said that their statements against him and his family members lowered his dignity in the eyes of the public at large.

He had also referred to the Twitter and Facebook posts of these six leaders.

Jaitley had said Kejriwal’s statement that he received money when the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium was constructed during his tenure as the DDCA Chief, was false as Board of Directors had constituted a committee to supervise the work and he was not a member of this supervisory committee.

Jaitley had on 21 December, 2015 filed the criminal defamation case against them and sought their prosecution for offences that entail a punishment of upto two years in jail.

PTI

Delhi HC seeks Centre’s reply on appointment of directors at IIMs

Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the Centre’s response on a petition seeking setting aside of advertisements issued for appointing directors at various IIMs across the country and asked whether there was a change in the appointment policy.A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to Ministry of Human Resource & Development asking them to “get instruction on or before February 24 as to whether there is any change in policy on the appointments of Directors at Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).” The court notice was issued on a plea which alleged that the advertisement dated January 12, 2016, issued in respect of appointment of directors of various IIMs, for the first time demands first class at graduation and post-graduation level to qualify as a candidate for the said post.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pritam Singh, who claims to be an academic administrator and Subrat Kumar, a researcher and trainer in the higher education sector, stated in their plea that the government wants to “oust certain candidates and at the same time ensure eligibility for a few”. “The central government in order to enforce its own agenda/or in order to oust certain candidates from being considered for the post of Director in particular IIM and at the same time to ensure the eligibility of its chosen candidates in certain IIMs,” senior advocate Parag Tripathi and advocate Rajesh Ranjan submitted.They said the government has laid down “unconstitutional, arbitrary and contradictory” criteria and qualifications for these posts. The PIL states that the “advertisements were contrary to the established practice and procedure and not based on any conscious policy decision”. The plea states that IIM Review Committee report in 2008 stipulated the need for the best available talent so as to avoid involvement of future possibility of political factors. It said the objective of the report, also known as Bhargava Committee Report, has always been to get visionary leaders and institution builders, which was not necessarily correlated with having a first class at graduation/post graduation levels.Petitioners further submitted that introduction of such arbitrary criterion will prejudice the interest of the SC/ST and OBC Candidates who did not get an advantageous start but become accomplished academicians and excellent leaders later.”It is evident that there are 19 IIMs, in all the 19 IIMs there is a post of director, such directors are appointed for a tenure of five years. In last 3-4 years advertisements have been published seeking applications for the post of directors for 13 IIMs. Out of the above 13 advertisements, in advertisements with respect to 8 IIMs there is a requirement of a first-class degree at graduate and postgraduate level.”In the advertisement published with regard to one of the IIMs i.e. Ranchi initially in the year 2013, there was no such requirement. However the same advertisement has been published again in the year 2015 and a requirement of first-class degree has been imposed,” the plea said. It further said the advertisements published with respect to IIMs in Bangalore, Indore and Kolkata, there was no such requirement. “Most interestingly the advertisement which has been published with respect to Tiruchirappalli there is a different requirement i.e a first class degree at either graduation or post graduation level,” the petition added

AAP vs Jaitley: Delhi Court reserves order for February 23 on defamation plea

A Delhi court on Monday reserved its order for February 23 on a criminal defamation complaint filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for allegedly defaming him in the DDCA controversy.Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen reserved the order after hearing arguments on the complaint filed by Jaitley in which he has alleged that Kejriwal and other AAP leaders had made defamatory statements that he and his family members had made pecuniary gains by associating with M/s 21st Century Media Pvt Ltd, a sports management company. Jaitley was also present in the court during the hearing.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Advocate Manoj Taneja, one of the lawyers representing Jaitley, said the court heard the arguments on the complaint, perused the annexures filed with it and the statements of complainant witnesses recorded in the matter.The court had earlier recorded statements of Jaitley and other complainant witnesses in the matter. On January 5, Jaitley had appeared in the court and said that Kejriwal and five AAP leaders had made “false and defamatory” statements. He had rejected the charge that he had syphoned out money from DDCA for his own benefit.During recording of his statement, Jaitley had claimed that Kejriwal and AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai, had given statements even after the complaint was filed against them which had damaged his reputation. The Finance Minister had said that their statements against him and his family members lowered his dignity in the eyes of the public at large. He had also referred to the Twitter and Facebook posts of these six leaders.Jaitley had said Kejriwal’s statement that he received money when the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium was constructed during his tenure as the DDCA Chief, was false as the Board of Directors had constituted a committee to supervise the work and he was not a member of this supervisory committee. Jaitley had on December 21, 2015 filed the criminal defamation case against them for allegedly defaming him and sought their prosecution for offences that entail a punishment of upto two years in jail.

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