Archive for March, 2009

Revision of faculty Salary in India – links to various reports

March 30th, 2009

Inidan Institute of Welding plans a center in Orissa

Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard:

Faced with a huge shortage of skilled manpower in the growing space of welding technology, the Indian Institute of Welding (IIW) is planning to train and certify at least 1,000 students per annum across 33 centres in India beginning July this year.

It is planning to set up two training centres each one in Orissa and Kolkata which, along with the existing two at Kochin and Bangalore, and will conduct nationwide examinations for both short term and long term courses. The certificate will be equivalent to the Bachelor of Engineering (BE) affiliated to the International Institute of Welding (InIW), France.

The move assumes significance mainly because of growing investment on infrastructure. The government has allocated a sum of Rs 320,000 crore for infrastructure development during the current fiscal year which, if implemented, will use 7 million tonnes of steel and about 28,000 tonnes of welding materials. By 2020, India’s demand for welding materials is estimated to range between 4- and 4.5 million tonnes on a projected steel consumption of 100 million tonnes from the current use of 2 million tonnes and 55 million tonnes respectively. This will require at least about 1.5 million trained manpower for welding.

“IIW-trained technocrats may find jobs not only in India but also abroad as welding engineers are required everywhere,” said C C Girotra, president of IIW.

The institute has trained so far 145 engineers under the auspices of InIW who are placed in the country’s largest engineering including Larsen & Toubro. A number of them have started their own business in steel welding while other graduates opted their career abroad. …

The course fee varies between Rs 27,000 and Rs 60,000 per student for the period between 4-6 weeks.

March 30th, 2009

Educational video sites

The following links are mentioned in http://savageminds.org/2009/03/26/youtube-edu/. (Thanks to Abi for pointing to it.)

1 comment March 29th, 2009

Central University of Orissa classes to start in June from a temporary location; VC Prof. Banerjee will be tested on her ability get one of the 5 medical and engineering colleges to her university

Update: The news item in Samaja.

Tathya writes about this. Following are some excerpts.

Central University of Orissa (CUO) will begin classes from June. … While CUO will have its campus in Koraput, to begin with a temporary campus near Bhubaneswar is being looked out to start classes from next Educational Year.

That is why Professor Banerjee has requested the Government of Orissa in Higher Education department to provide a rented accommodation.

Mr.Padhi has agreed to provide all out support for the institution.

Professor Banerjee is interested to make it a different institution and is inclined to start at least 30-35 departments in the newly carved out Centre of Learning.

However to start with the CUO will have 5 subjects and later it will go on including further, said sources.

… Those CUs, which has not identified land for the institution in the designated place, those can start it from the Capital City of the state, said sources.

So Professor Banerjee is busy in organizing things for facilitating classes from next June. Faculty hiring is the foremost in her mind and as she is eager to make it a top class university, the VC wants to rope in best of the talents from the country.

She is also interested to open Medical College in the University, but it will take time. 

… Professor Baral of Arizona State University said only five of the 15 new central universities will have a medical college in the first phase (i.e.,during the 11th plan).

So the ability of the VC Professor Banerjee will be tested in whether she is able to get a medical and engineering college to the Central University of Orissa, feel the educationist.

Considering that the CUO is to be located in Koraput, in the most backward area, KBK, of India, Prof. Banerjee must do her best to make the right arguments at the earliest and get a medical and engineering college to this university, argued Professor Baral.

Page 522 of the document at http://planningcommission.nic.in/plans/planrel/fiveyr/11th/11_v3/11th_vol3.pdf given below shows that only 5 of the new central universities will have medical and engineering colleges in the first phase, I.e., during the 11th plan.

March 25th, 2009

The tragedy at IIT Kharagpur – lack of proper healthcare facilities; a simple proposed solution

Rohit Kumar, a student at IIT Khargpur died today because of lack of facilities at BC Roy Hospital (should not really be called an hospital). Having spent a night at that hospital after an insect flew inside my ear, I have first hand experience involving BC Roy as well as the lack of proper medical facilities at Kharagpur.

The bigger tragedy is that when the lack of healthcare facilities in BC Roy hospital was pointed out by the students three years ago in the student newspaper, the authorities decided to punish the student paper and shut it down for some time.

I hope this time the authorities will take it seriously and find a long term solution. The current director of IIT Kharagpur has in the past implemented many innovative and bold ideas and here is a bold idea (bold in the context of West Bengal and its unions) that may solve the problem.

IIT needs to close down BC Roy operations and contract its health care operations to a reputed private company such as Apollo. (The company Vedanta is doing something like that.)  A student and employee committee can come up with a specification of what medical services should be available on campus and invite bids from reputed health care companies and then pick the best. I don’t think money would be a problem. This is the way to go as health care is not a core competency of IIT Kharagpur and someone very good in that field should be the one taking care of the health care facilities at IIT Kharagpur.


This should be the model used in other universities and institutes that are in places without good health care facilities; or perhaps in all universities and institutes. Note that a lot of the proposed new central universities are being located in small towns without proper health care facilities. This is the time to take this issue into account and plan properly.

 

3 comments March 23rd, 2009

Language Education in School: an op-ed in Samaja by school teacher Manoj K. Panda

Mr. Panda has suggested many nice ideas that a school headmaster can easily incorporate. I hope many of them read this article and try to implement at least some of the ideas mentioned in it.

1 comment March 23rd, 2009

SCB BDS seats increased to 50 (from 20) but lacks enough hostels: Samaja

March 23rd, 2009

Southern Railway plans a medical college attached to its hospital in Perambur

Following is  from a report in Hindu.

Southern Railway is to start a medical college with private participation by making use of the existing medical facilities available at its hospital in Perambur here.

The Chief Medical Director of Southern Railway on Friday called for expression of interest from resourceful medical institutions in the country for establishing and running the college at the cost of institutions as per the Medical Council of India regulations. The institutions should have at least 10 years’ experience in running a medical college and attached hospital as per the MCI norms. Foreign institutions can also participate in the bid, provided they comply with respective foreign medical regulatory authority norms.

Southern Railway is now running a 500-bed hospital on a 15-acre site in Perambur and the same is to be shifted soon to new premises. The existing hospital premises and the proposed new hospital complex will be available for establishing the medical college.

According to the Medical Director, the Perambur railway hospital has basic specialities in 15 disciplines and super-specialities in three disciplines.

The hospital has been recognised by the National Board of Examinations for recognition in postgraduate training. International institutions such as Royal College of Surgeons had also accredited the hospital for imparting training in PG courses.

ECOR has a central hospital in Mancheswar.  It was inaugurated in Nov 27, 2007. Following is an excerpt from the press release.

Sri K. C. Jena, Chairman, Railway Board and Ex-officio Principal Secretary, Govt. of India inaugurated the Central Hospital of East Coast Railway at Mancheswar today. The hospital which started as a Health Unit in 1982 under Mancheswar Workshop was declared to be converted to 100 bedded Central Hospital for ECoR on 09.10.2005. In the first phase, construction has been completed with 60 beds, 4 bedded ICU and OT complex with a sanctioned cost of Rs. 1.88 crores.

The second phase expansion of the Central Hospital with 40 beds with maternity and pediatric wards and 8 Nos. of Special Cabins at a cost of Rs. 1.98 crores will be taken up shortly.

This hospital which has tied up with Kalinga Hospital Ltd., Bhubaneswar, Yoshada Hospital, Secunderabad and Seven Hills Hospital, Visakhapatnam is presently catering to the medical and health care needs of almost 36000 employees of Mancheswar Workshop, East Coast Railway Headquarters, Construction Organisation, Railway Recruitment Board (RRB), Railway Electrification (RE), Railway Claims Tribunal (RCT) and retired railway employees residing at Bhubaneswar and their family members.

We should watch out how this hospital grows and may be in 5 years, ECOR could be pushed to follow the path of Southern railway and have a medical college attached to this hospital.

15 comments March 21st, 2009

IGNTU branch in Manipur gets formal approval

Following is excerpted from a report in Telegraph.

The Centre has approved a request by the Manipur government to set up a campus of the new Indira Gandhi National Tribal University in the state and asked the chief minister to allocate land for it.

The human resource development ministry has authorised the IGNTU, India’s first university dedicated to tribal studies, to open a campus in the hills of Manipur, The Telegraph has learnt.

… Manipur, sources said, was told of the approval just before the announcement of elections. But the formal sanction from the IGNTU governing body — critical for setting up a new campus — came only earlier this week.

The IGNTU was started last year at Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh but its planned campus there is tangled in controversy with forest officials and some religious leaders opposed to chopping of trees to build the university.

Manipur is the first state whose request for an IGNTU campus has been accepted. Several other states with a significant tribal population had also asked for a campus.

The Congress rules both at the Centre and in Manipur.

With the Centre’s approval, the state may now actually develop the first fully operational campus of the IGNTU unless the dispute over Amarkantak is resolved, sources said. The headquarters of the IGNTU will however remain in MP, the sources said.

The government, through the IGNTU vice-chancellor, has written to chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh asking him to allocate 300 acres of land in the state for the campus, officials said. The state government is likely to offer land for the campus in Senapati, it is learnt.

…The tribal university is expected to offer, in the coming years, the country’s best academic opportunities in tribal literature, culture, language, music, arts and scriptures.

The idea behind the university is to provide students from a tribal background an education that they can identify with and which can train them in helping safeguard and develop their culture.

Classes in select subjects started last year from a temporary campus at Amarkantak.

March 20th, 2009

NISER Construction expected to start in two months

Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard.

“Construction work on NISER-Bhubaneswar is expected to take off within two months and the entire campus is scheduled to be functional within four years. Once the NISER-Bhubaneswar campus is fully operational, it would have an intake of about 2,000 students which may later scale up to 4,000”, Abhaya Kumar Nayak, registrar, NISER-Bhubaneswar told Business Standard. NISER-Bhubaneswar which is currently operating out of the campus of the Institute of Physics has an intake of around 100 students. The institute is presently offering a five-year integrated MSc programme , an MSc cum Phd programme and individual Phd programmes in four basic sciences- physics chemistry, biology and mathematics.

New courses on computer sciences, earth and planetary sciences as well as engineering sciences are proposed to be introduced after the full-fledged campus of NISER-Bhubaneswar becomes operational.

NISER-Bhubaneswar would be a Centre of Excellence for teaching and research in four basic areas of science. Apart from separate academic blocks for different areas of science education and research, the NISER-Bhubaneswar campus will have planned academic and residential townships with all modern amenities and recreational facilities.

March 19th, 2009

Second NSD Chapter debuts in Bangalore; Four more to come in Kolkata, J & K, Maharashtra and N.East

Following is an excerpt from a report in Deccan Herald.

It is the first NSD chapter to be started outside Delhi. Union Minister of Culture Ambika Soni, after inaugurating the institute at Gurunanak Bhavan, said that the Centre would set up four more chapters of NSD at Kolkata, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra and North Eastern states in the coming days.

Because of interest shown by theatre artistes and officers of Karnataka the first chapter of the NSD had been set up in Karnataka at the earliest. The State government had allocated two acres of land to establish the institute. “I request the Government to allow the school to function in Gurunanak Bhavan till the new establishment is ready completely,” she said.

She said that the Ministry of Culture had submitted a proposal on introduction of theatre activities in higher education through National School of Drama. The ministry felt that involvement of students in theatre activities would help increasing richness of culture.

Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao said the Government had allocated two acres of land in Bangalore University campus for NSD. In the next three years the institute would come up in the new locality.

March 15th, 2009

Dr. Abhaya K. Nayak joins as NISER Registrar

Following is from a report in Pioneer.

Dr Abhaya Kumar Nayak, the former Registrar of the IIT Kanpur, joined as the Registrar of the National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Bhubaneswar. He is the second permanent staff of the institute after the join of the director. The students, faculty members and staff of the institute are very happy with the new administrative head.

The first institution of its kind in the country set up by the Department of Atomic Energy, NISER, is striving to be recognised as a centre of excellence in science education and research in basic sciences.

Dr Nayak was the District Employment Officer at Rourkela, Jharsuguda and Sambalpur from 1991 to 2000. He also worked as a lecturer in economics at the Sudarsan Mahavidyalaya in Cuttack and in the Accounts Department of the Khurda Division of the SE Railway.

1 comment March 15th, 2009

IISc will admit students to its Ph.D programs with just B.Tech and without GATE/NET

(Thanks to Abi for the pointer.)

In the document here just above Section 1.7 it says:

NOTE: Candidates with BE/ B Tech/ M Sc or equivalent degree who may not have qualified in any of the above mentioned National Entrance Tests will also be considered for the Ph D program in Engineering. Short listing for interview of such candidates is based on their academic performance in the qualifying degree (upto 3rd year in BE / B Tech, or 1st year in M Sc), and their performance in 10th and 12th /PUC examinations. 

I have heard from a friend in IIT Kharagpur that this is also possible in the IITs but could not find it in the Ph.D program page of IIT Kharagpur. If one is interested they may directly contact a faculty in the apropriate IIT regarding this.

1 comment March 10th, 2009

Vedanta University Project gets Conditional CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) clearance: Sambada

Following is an excerpt from a report in expressbuzz.com.

State Coastal Zone Management Authority has cleared the application of Vedanta University project in its meeting held under the chairmanship of UN Behera, Secretary of State Forest and Environment Department.

… It was resolved to accord CRZ clearance while the authority imposed a number of terms and conditions before recommending it to the Centre for granting permission to take up the construction work.

The conditions include not to encroach and obstruct the natural course of the river Nuanai which is flowing through the project area. The authorities have also asked Anil Agarwal Foundation, the promoter of the project, not to undertake any construction activities in the prohibited CRZ area, discharge waste water to the nearby water bodies and it should abide by the proper solid waste management and disposal norms.

The Foundation had applied to the Ministry of Environment and Forests for necessary permission to start the work. Since the project site includes CRZ areas the Union Ministry had sent the application to the State Coastal Zone Management Authority for examination of the application.

1 comment March 6th, 2009

IISER Kolkata to start five year Earth Science program; other happennings there

Following is an excerpt from a report in the Telegraph.

The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in West Bengal is set to become the first such institute in the country to offer an integrated masters degree in earth science.

There are five IISERs in the country, set up on the lines of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

The earth science course will be introduced in the next session and will cover subjects such as palaeontology, geo-chemistry, seismology, climatology and space science.

“Geo-chemistry will be a topical subject in Bengal. It will cover arsenic contamination, which is a major problem in the state. Space science, too, is neglected in Bengal,” said Dibyendu Nandi, an assistant professor at the IISER in Nadia.

… The institute will also offer an integrated PhD programme from August 2009 that will be open to graduates. The course duration will be five-seven years.

“The first two years will be for a masters course. A doctorate usually takes three to four years but may take longer in the field of science. Students will have up to five years to complete their PhD,” said Nandi.

In 2009, the PhD aspirants will be selected on the basis of their applications and interviews but from the next year there will be an all-India entrance test.

Both courses will be offered on the IISER’s new campus in Mohanpur in Nadia. “The 200-acre campus should be ready by the end of 2010,” said Nandi.

In keeping with its objective of making education and careers in basic sciences more attractive, the institute is also reaching out to students in schools and colleges.

…  The institute is also planning to visit colleges across Bengal to spread awareness about science and research.

4 comments March 6th, 2009

Forbes writes about Vedanta University in its recent issue

(Update 15th March 2009: Rediff reproduces the main Forbes article here and there are a lot of comments to that article.)

The article is at http://www.forbes.com/global/2009/0316/044_campus_politics.html. There is also a sidebar article at http://www.forbes.com/global/2009/0316/044_higher_education.html . The same issue also lists Anil Agarwal among the top 48 philanthropists and says the following:

Anil Agarwal

Country: India
Age: 55
Chairman of mining outfit Vedanta Resources.

Pledged $1 billion to build a new university in the eastern state of Orissa. Apart from arts and sciences, medicine and engineering, it plans research centers for bio- and nanotechnology, crop genetics and alternative energy. The timetable calls for the first students to arrive on campus in 2011.

Following are excerpts from the main article:

Indian mining magnate Anil Agarwal is having a tough time giving away a billion dollars. He’s pledged $1 billion to start a university along the shores of the Bay of Bengal in eastern India’s Orissa state. The grand plan for a 6,000-acre campus looks to Stanford University in California for inspiration. Leading academics would be poached from every corner of the globe. Research centers in bio- and nanotechnology, crop genetics and alternative energy would produce important work. His ultimate dream: When every building is completed and every classroom filled, 100,000 students will be enrolled, making it one of the largest universities in the world on a single campus. A more realistic goal is 10,000 students in the first eight years and double that in the next four. Ground-breaking is expected this month.

No one doubts that India needs more universities. And this would be the country’s most comprehensive, with medical, engineering and business schools all on one campus. But Agarwal’s plan is under attack on all sides. Critics say there is too much secrecy surrounding the land purchases, and they don’t understand why he needs so much land. They point to 18 villages that are in the way–7 will be displaced completely–and water supplies that will be depleted. In November a mob armed with sticks broke up a prayer service to start construction on a highway to the campus, attacked the attendees and damaged some of the construction equipment. The protests have set back the project by two and a half years. What’s more, government approvals have either already expired or been held up.

At the same time Agarwal’s company, Vedanta Resources, is under fire for its mining operation 250 miles away on the other side of Orissa. Its attempt to mine bauxite will destroy the ecology there and force out a tribal community, environmentalists claim. In January tribal members formed a 10-mile human chain in protest. Given all this, even the four academics planning the university are wary of becoming too deeply involved in the project until a clear line is drawn between the university and the company. Agarwal is in complete agreement, but the legislation to formalize that is being held up.

Agarwal, 55, built his fortune through London-listed Vedanta, which operates in India, Australia and Zambia, and mines copper, aluminum, zinc and iron ore. He owns 55% of the company and with the crash in commodity prices, he has seen his net worth plunge from $7.4 billion in November 2007 to $2.4 billion last November. He hasn’t wavered in his philanthropic commitment, though. He still says he will donate 75% of his wealth to the Anil Agarwal Foundation, and the money for the university will come from this. He’s already transferred $250 million to the foundation for the project, but won’t say how much he’s spent on the land and the other costs so far.

Agarwal’s pet cause has always been education, though he didn’t make it to college himself. He credits his father, Dwarka Prasad Agarwal, with the idea of building a university. "My father [who didn’t go to college either] reads a lot," he says. "He told me that great higher education was fundamental to where the U.S. is today. It had the vision, and it created a mass [higher] education system. Because of that it’s produced the best politicians, huge liberal arts programs, best medical research. I always felt that India should have that."

… For the brainstorming session on an engineering school, for instance, he pulled in participants from the National Science Foundation, ucla, Stanford, Princeton, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and other places. For the session on a business school, participants came from Oxford, Wharton, the Indian Institute of Management, Insead and Nanyang in Singapore. Most of them were of Indian origin.

Agarwal hired Ayers Saint Gross, a Baltimore, Maryland specialist in campus architecture, to design the university, and he wants to move ahead at full speed. But the Indian bureaucracy and the mass protests, sometimes violent, that appear whenever a big project is proposed–such as recent plans to build a Tata car plant in West Bengal and a Posco steel plant in Orissa–have slowed him down. He wanted 10,000 acres, but he had to scale that down to 6,000 and has been able to purchase only 3,900 so far. The acquisition of so much land is a lightning rod for criticism in the region. Some 18 villages will be affected and at least 450 people must be relocated, says the foundation. Agarwal, on the other hand, cites Stanford, which is spread over 8,180 acres.

Mehta and his academic colleagues are well aware of the controversies surrounding their benefactor. "It’s crucial for the success of the university that there’s a clear separation from the company," he says. "It’s a project in its own right and not a commercial project, and it shouldn’t be used to compensate for other activities of Vedanta. That’s what makes this genuinely philanthropic: if he just hands over this grant and is not expecting any return on this."

Shah agrees. "You’ve got someone who’s genuinely putting down his own resources," he says. "To not support that because I have ideological issues that are unrelated, to me seems to be hypocritical. The history of universities is such. Duke [in the U.S.] was built with tobacco money; this university is as genuine a philanthropic project."

March 5th, 2009

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