Archive for February, 2011

South Asian University: The highest paying governments funded University in India?

The web page of the university is http://www.southasianuniversity.org/. Following is an excerpt from a report in Times of India that talks about faculty salary at this university.

Faculty positions in SAU are the highest paid (tax-free) academic jobs in the government sector in South Asia. The to-be-appointed president of the university would get $80,000 salary per year, while a professor gets between $30,000 and $45,000 a year.

Their application period for faculty positions just ended in Feb 21, 2011. However, this ad gives an idea of the salary ranges. We give some excerpts. 

For the second academic session commencing in July 2011, the University has the following openings for faculty positions at the level of Professor, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor:

  • Faculty of Economics (5 positions)
  • Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science (5 positions)
  • Faculty of Life Sciences and Biotechnology (6 positions)
  • Faculty of Legal Studies (6 positions)
  • Department of Sociology,  Faculty of Social Sciences (6 positions)
  • Department of International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences (6 positions)

Salary, Benefits and Incentives:

  • Professor: – US$ 30,000 to 45,000 PA
  • Associate Professor: – US$ 20,000 to 35,000 PA
  • Assistant Professor: – US$ 15,000 to 25,000 PA

In terms of Indian Rupees, at today’s rate of $1 = 45.47 rupees, the amounts are: 

  • Professor: 13.64 lakhs p.a. to 20.46 lakhs p.a.
  • Associate Professor: 9.09 lakhs p.a. to 15.91 laks p.a.
  • Assistant Professor: 6.82 lakhs p.a. to 11.37 lakhs p.a.

February 25th, 2011

Odisha Power Technology and management Institute (OPTMI)

We earlier wrote about this proposal in http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/4781. There is a new article about it in tathya.in. Nothing much new in this article except it gives the name of the institute. Nevertheless, the new article suggests that that authorities are thinking about its implementation. Following is from this tathya article.

With 40 000 Mega Watt (MW) power production being lined up, the Government of Odisha is mulling to set up a Power Technology Management Institute in the state. 

So the Government of Odisha has decided to set up the Odisha Power Technology and management Institute(OPTMI), which will be of international standard, said official sources. 

More than 30 Independent Power Producers (IPP)s are setting up their plants in the state, major share of such capacity addition is expected within Twelfth Plan Period(2012-17), foresee officials in Department of Energy(DOE).

In fact increase in power generation capacities also requires commensurate development of transmission capabilities as well as enhanced techno-commercial and  management skills as well as modern Grid management and Energy metering, said Pradip Kumar Jena, Secretary DOE.

Mr.Jena said that it would increasingly become necessary to adopt highly efficient technologies, commercial and management practices to handle such high volume of power generation, transmission and distribution. 

Needless to say that this would also require a vast pool of human resources having skillsets and competency of a nature not widely available today, said an expert in Power Sector. 

So the Power Administrators have felt the necessity to simultenously plan an accelerated growth of human resources having right competence . 

Moreover, in order to utilize newly emerging frontier technology and management concepts it would be necessary to develop an advanced facility to undertake research in such high technology and management sectors with continuous focus on Power Sector of Odisha.

Keeping this in view OPTMI is being planned to be set up on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, said an official. 

This institute will be set up with active participation of the upcoming power projects in the state and the Public Sector Undertakings (PSU)s of the Power Sector, said the official.

1 comment February 23rd, 2011

A positive article on SOA University in Frontline; Sounds too much like an ad

Following are excerpts from an article in Frontline.

THE Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan University in Bhubaneswar, a deemed university under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, is fast developing as one of Orissa’s foremost educational hub. It started as a small venture in 1996 when the visionary educationist Dr Manojranjan Nayak set up the Institute of Technical Education and Research (ITER) with 118 students. Gradually, institutes offering courses such as management, medicine, dental sciences, nursing, pharmaceutical science, biotechnology, hotel management and law were set up.

With over 7,000 students, the ITER is today one of the highly-ranked engineering colleges in the eastern region. The university has been awarded ‘A’ grade by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) for five years from September 2009. All its institutes are housed on four campuses spread across 120-odd acres.

… The Institute of Medical Sciences has a 750-bed state-of-the-art hospital attached to it, which does not charge any consultation fee and has been endeavouring to provide quality health care facilities.

The latest addition to the university is the SOA National Institute of Law. The institute will start functioning from the academic year 2011-12 and offer a five-year integrated course in law in three different streams: BA LLB; BSc LLB; and BBA LLB. There will also be LLM and PhD programmes….

I am appreciative of SOA University’s contribution to education in Odisha, but the above article sounds too much like an ad and for that reason may not impress its readers.

February 22nd, 2011

Odisha responds to central govt on the PPP based IIIT

See http://www.tathya.in/news/story.asp?sno=5021 for the details. I hope it is established in Berhampur. That would bring the first centrally funded institute to Berhampur. Following is from Samaja.

We take this opportunity to review the existing IIIT type institutes that are centrally funded. They are:

The "M" in IIITM Gwalior stands for "management", but the "M" in IIITDM Jabalpur and Kancheepuram stands for "manufacturing". The "D" stands for "design". I hope the above mentioned IIIT in Odisha has programs in management, design and manufacturing.

Besides the above there are several IIITs that are part state government funded. Those are: IIIT Hyderabad, IIIT Bangalore, IIIT Bhubaneswar and IIIT Delhi. There are several other IIITs that are privately funded.

18 comments February 22nd, 2011

Odisha must push for an ISMU branch

Following up on our earlier article, Odisha must push for an ISMU branch. The logic behind Assam getting an RGIPT branch is that Assam has a lot of petroleum related oil wells and refineries. By the same logic, Odisha tops the states in India with respect to its mineral output. Following is from a report in Business Standard.

With minerals produced in the state in 2009-10 valued at Rs 15,317 crore, Orissa has 13.10 percent share of the total value of minerals produced by major states in the country, followed by Madhya Pradesh (7.70 percent), Andhra Pradesh (7.21 percent), Maharashtra (4.92 percent), Gujarat (4.65 percent), Karnataka (3.96 percent), Tamil Nadu (3.21 percent), Rajasthan (2.99 percent), Assam (2.96 percent), West Bengal (2.78 percent).

According to the Economic Survey report (2010-11), the value of minerals extracted in Orissa has gone up by more than four times from Rs 3694 crore to Rs 15,317 crore between 2002-03 and 2009-10 coinciding with the boom in the mineral market during this period.

Orissa boasts of 95 percent of country’s chromite deposit, 92 percent of nickel ore, 55 percent of bauxite and 33 percent of iron ore. Besides, the state has substantial quantity of other minerals and ores like coal, manganese, dolomite, graphite and limestone.

With the iron ore prices spiraling, this commodity naturally leads the pack of minerals in terms of production and value. The state produced 79.7 million tonnes of iron ore in 2009-10 valued at Rs 7976 crore. This is followed by coal (105.5 million tonnes valued at Rs 5548 crore and chromite (3.4 million tonne valued at Rs 1167 crore).

Similarly, iron ore constituted 95.4 percent of the total exports of minerals from the state. About 15 million tonnes of iron ore was exported in 2009-10 valued at Rs 4224 core compared to exports of 0.46 million tonnes of chrome ore valued at Rs 464 crore and 0.25 million tonnes of mineral sand valued at Rs 72.32 crore.

One of the disturbing factors highlighted by the report is that with mining and quarrying sector gradually shifting to labour saving and capital-intensive technology, the total employment in the sector has been decreasing over the years. As a result, the number of direct employment in the mineral sector in Orissa has come down from 55764 in 2005-06 to 43705 in 2009-10.

It may be noted, with mineral deposits mostly occurring in the tribal belt of the state, this sector employs substantial number of tribals.

When ISM was made in Dhanbad, that region was perhaps the leader in mineral output (mainly coal) in the country. Odisha with a variety of minerals needs an ISM branch and we must push for it hard.

Related to that recently the Chief Minister has been concerned about the coal block allocation in Odisha. Following is an excerpt from a report in Economic Times on that.

Orissa government has taken strong exception to the coal ministry’s unilateral decision to allot coal blocks without consulting the state.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has shot off a letter to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh urging him to review the allocation of coal blocks in Orissa. The coal ministry has allotted 32 coal blocks with an estimated reserve of about 15,000 million tons to 56 private and government agencies.

Mr Patnaik made it clear that a comprehensive regional master plan should have been prepared prior to allotment of huge number of coal mines in inhabited and environmentally sensitive areas in the state. Focus has to be given for infrastructure development, logistic planning, land requirements, rehabilitation and resettlement, environment impact studies and mitigation measures, the letter said.

Expressing serious concerns over the adverse environmental impact in post operationalisation of such a large number of coal blocks, Mr Patnaik pointed out that coal mining would cause deforestation and air pollution. Sources close to CM’s officer said, the letter also had pointed out that it might not be possible for the state to accommodate new coal mines by jeopardizing its environmental stability. The coal ministry needs to be advised to take a pragmatic and planned approach, keeping the interests and concerns of all stake holders including the state government in mind, the letter said.

For making the 32 coal blocks functional, 325 sq km shall have to be acquired within few years and another equivalent amount of land would be needed for allied activities like coal handling plants, siding, workshop, and residential colonies for project affected people, compensatory afforestation and other infrastructural facilities including roads.

This would lead to massive displacement and consequent socio-economic and environmental crisis, the chief minister is understood to have stated in his missive to the PM. However, such large-scale land acquisition and displacement could be avoided if coal blocks are allotted and developed in a planned and phased manner, Naveen added.

Incidentally, Orissa is already on the throes of severe climate change due to setting up of huge number of coal fired power plants threatening the livelihood of farmers and fishermen who form 70 % of the state’s population shall be severely hit due to irregular monsoons and erratic rainfall patterns.

Most of the power produced shall be transmitted to other states while the people of the state shall be the unwilling victims of the effects on climate change and pollution caused by the huge quantities of green house gases (GHGs) and fly ash generated.

“Coal mining is done either underground or open cast. In Orissa mostly open cast mining is done. When coal surfaces are exposed, pyrite (iron sulfide), comes in contact with water and air forming sulfuric acid. As water drains from the mine, the acid moves into the waterways, and as long as rain falls on the mine tailings the sulfuric acid production continues, whether the mine is still operating or not. Proper and holistic environmental protection measures are not taken by the owners of coal mines”, former director general of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research [CSIR] and currently, chairman, Institute of Advance Technology and Environmental Studies (IATES), P. K. Jena on Thursday told “The ET”.

This reinforces our thought that the civil society andthe government of Odisha must together push for  an ISMU campus in Odisha that will specialize in all the issues mentioned above.

Please add aditional pointers in the comment section. As soon as the Malkangiri sutiation gets resolved we will start a movement to get an ISMU campus to Odisha.

1 comment February 21st, 2011

PM inaugurates RGIPT second campus in Sibsagar Assam; Odisha must use the same logic and push for an ISMU campus in Odisha (PM also inugurated second campus of NID in Jorhat)

(Thanks to Kalahandia for the pointer.)

Apparently the second campus of RGIPT in Assam was announced by the PM in August 2008. Somehow we missed it. Following is an excerpt from a report in Times of India.

Prime minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday laid the foundations of the National Institute of Design (NID) and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology (Assam centre) in Jorhat and Sivasagar districts respectively.

Addressing a gathering in Sivasagar, Singh said, "It is befitting that the institute has been named after the late Rajiv Gandhi, our beloved leader and former Prime Minister of India. His contribution to modernization and development of our country was immense. He believed that the application of science and technology was critical to our development process."

He added that the institute, which will be a world class establishment in the petro-chemical sector, will be constructed at a cost of Rs 148 crore from central funds. "The place will offer degree, diploma and certificate courses to unemployed youths of the state. It will also provide special research on a particular subject," he said.

The Prime Minister added that the institute’s academic year will start from August this year. He said it was a centre of the main institute at Rae Barelly and its main objective was to promote capacity building in competency related to the domain of hydro carbon sector.

Using the same logic Odisha should push for a second campus of the Indian School of Mines University in one of the mining hubs of Odisha.

As far as NID is concerned the previous Commerce minister Kamal Nath had many times mentioned Odisha as a possibility; however because of our mistakes (see herehere and here) we lost it. I hope we learn from our mistakes.

In general there are several institutions we should target for the 12th plan. See http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/5859 for an initial list. However, if one were to prioritize, a campus of ISMU will have the highest monetary value; as these days ISMU is almost as good as an IIT and has most of the disciplines that an IIT has. ISMU Dhanbad currently has a faculty size of 170. Its budget for 2009-2010 was 128 crores (= 85 plan + 43 non-plan) and for 2010-2011 was 122.47 (=89 plan + 33.47 non-plan) crores. In comparison, the 2010-11 budget for the 7 old IITs were a total of 1600  (= 774 plan+ 826 non-plan ) crores and the 2010-11 budget for the 20 old NITs were a total of 1317.51 (= 810 plan + 507.51 non-plan) crores. So ISM’s budget (122.47 crores) lies between the average NIT budget (65 crores appx) and average IIT budget (228.5 crores).

1 comment February 20th, 2011

Bits and pieces of news on the new IIITs; but no recent news on IIIT proposed for Berhampur Odisha

Update:


Following is from a report in sify.com.

Kolkata, Feb 17 (IANS) The central government has approved the plan to set up an Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in West Bengal, the state’s Information Technology Minister Debesh Das said here Thursday.

Following is from a report in dnaindia.com.

The Himachal Pradesh government today said an Indian Institute of Information Technology will soon be set up in the state.

"We have been demanding an IIIT for last one year and are satisfied with the Centre’s response. The union government had asked whether the state could provide the land and funding for the project, and we gave an affirmative reply."

"I will meet HRD minister Kapil Sibal on February 17 in Delhi and put forth our claim for the allotment," state technical education minister Narendra Bragta said.

Following is from a report in prlog.com.

The Indian government has decided to set up an advanced institute to combat cybercrime. The proposed Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) will groom IT professionals. The proposed institute will also develop advanced technologies to tackle cybercrime. The institute will be set up at a cost of INR100 crore on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. The cost will be jointly borne by the Central government,  concerned state government depending upon the location of the institute and the industry The Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (IIIT-A) will finalize the concept and details of the proposed institute.

So far there is no recent news on the proposed IIIT in Berhampur, Odisha.

1 comment February 18th, 2011

Are there any UNESCO associated schools in Odisha?

I came across an article by three students from a UNESCO associated school in Chennai. Following is an excerpt:

Lila approached the village council several times with little luck until one day, Mr. Mohan, a civil servant from Tamil Nadu state, was deputed to Lila’s district. Previously, Mr. Mohan had undertaken several successful poverty reduction projects, including the creation of women’s self-help groups, provisions for micro credit, and implementation of the free midday meal scheme for students in government primary schools. Mr. Mohan transferred these experiences to Charampa. Additionally, he enlisted various non-governmental organizations to train the villagers in watershed management to ensure a sufficient water supply during the dry season and, under his supervision, the fair-price shops improved the villagers’ access to grain storage and food distribution services. Today, Lila does not suffer from a lack of rain; the stored water is sufficient for dry spells. Her family does not go to bed hungry, and all of her children go to school.

From the article it seems students in UNESCO associated schools are getting a good well-rounded education that includes social concern.

I tried to find if there are such schools in Odisha. I could locate a 2004 list. There are no schools from Odisha in it. It does list RIE Bhubaneswar and Radhanath Training College, Cutack. I hope some of the schools in Odisha will try to get into this list. The web page of the UNESCO associated school project network, referred to as ASPNet, is http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/networks/global-networks/aspnet/.

1 comment February 16th, 2011

NIFT Bhubaneswar offers Bachelor of Design (Textile Design) and Master of Fashion Management

NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) currently has 15 campuses across the country in Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Jodhpur, Kangra, Kannur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Patna, Raebareli and Shillong. It opened its Bhubaneswar campus in 2010. Its Bhubaneswar campus home page is at http://www.nift.ac.in/bhubaneswar/index.html. Following is from that page.

The Bhubaneswar center is one of the latest additions to the existing countrywide gamut of NIFT. IT started functioning from June 2010 from its transit campus situated in Centurion Institute of Technology, near HP Gas Plant, Bhubaneswar.

The present campus is located within 1.5 KM from Khurdha railway station, 20 KM from Bhubaneswar railway station and 18 KM from Bhubaneswar airport. It is well connected to every part of the city through city bus and autorikshaws. Security is of prime importance in the institute, which is also a strictly non smoking zone.

The course being offered at the institute at present, include specialization in two disciplines, Bachelor of Design in Textile Design and Master of Fashion Management Studies. The institute boasts of eminent and experienced faculty to facilitate quality education from the very commencement of the center.

 

1 comment February 15th, 2011

The faculty situation at various IITs in August 2010

The following is obtained from pages 15 and 16 of http://prsindia.org/uploads/media/Institutes%20of%20technology/SCR%20Institue%20of%20Technology%20Bill%202010.pdf.

IIT Sanctioned Faculty Strength In Position Vacancies
Bombay 637 491 146
Delhi 578 416 162
Kanpur 484 349 135
Kharagpur 870 530 340
Madras 566 449 117
Guwahati 340 260 80
Roorkee 577 378 199
Bhubaneswar 90 42 48
Gandhinagar 90 44 46
Hyderabad 90 46 44
Indore 60 30 30
Jodhpur 90 20 70
Mandi 60 16 44
Patna 90 44 46
Ropar 90 33 57

Note: The vacancy numbers for the new IITs should be discounted by 30 each as between the time the last 30 faculty lines were sanctioned and August there was not enough time to recruit against those sanctioned numbers.

February 14th, 2011

Prof. Bala Balachandran meets the Odisha CM regarding the proposed University of Corporate Excellence

Update: Following is an excerpt from a Business Standard article dated Dec 13 2010.

Bala V Balachandran, founder & dean of Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai, is in talks with Tata Foundation and Pirojsha Godrej Foundation to sell nearly 51 per cent stake in his institute.

“I have 90 per cent stake in my institute. I have decided to give the ownership to somebody who can give me some money to expand. I may offload as much as 51 per cent. The valuation of the institute would be around Rs 220 crore,” Balachandran told Business Standard on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai.

… Great Lakes also plans to open campuses in Gurgaon and Bhubaneswar. While it has bought some land in Gurgaon, the Orissa government has leased it 100 acres of land for 99 years.

The Gurgaon campus will require around 50 crore to set up and the Orissa campus would be set up at a cost of Rs 100 crore.


Following is from a report in http://www.tathya.in/news/story.asp?sno=4966.

… Mr.Patnaik met Padmashree Prof. Balachandran , Professor of the Kellogg Institute of Management, USA here on 7 February.

After setting up the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, along with some like-minded people, he started his Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai.

Now Prof. Balachandran has expressed his interest to set up UoCE near the Capital City.

… Hara Prasad Das, State President of the Infinity Education Foundation (IEF), Prasanta Kumar Mishra and Priyadarshi Mishra were present in the meeting.

IEF has given the proposal and has requested the Collector Khurda to provide land measuring an area of 88 acres for the university, which needs at least 100 acres.

Prof. Balachandran said that the UoCE would endeavour to create a well- rounded corporate manager, who will have solid foundation in basic disciplines such as Economics, Mathematics, Social Science and Business Communications.

The University will have School of Technology, School of Business, School of Law and School of Advanced Studies.

Chief Minister asked Mr.Mishra, Minister Higher Education to study the proposal and he promised to extend all out support for the same, said an official.

UoCE will have top collaborative universities including Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, IIT, Harvard Business School, Kellogg School of Management, Harvard Law School, Yale Law School and several others.

IEF has also planned for setting up of a Knowledge City to optimise high quality world class infrastructure and facilities for multiple universities located in a cluster within one campus.

They require 1000 acres of land for the purpose and investment will go up to Rs.10,000 crore, said Mr.Mishra, Minister Higher Education.

Some behind the scenes story and lesson: Dr. Prasanta Mishra mentioned above has played a significant role in partnering with Prof. Balachandran. Dr. Prasanta Mishra himself is one of the cofounders of KIIT and one of the founders of Temple City Institute of Technology and Engineering. The lesson for others, especially from other areas of Odisha who would like similar institutions/universities in their area, is to start with an institute near your preferred area, and use that experience to bring in well reputed and experienced people to your team and then make proposals to the Odisha government for bigger things. Alternatively one may invite reputed trusts with deep pockets to set up institutions/universities in one’s preferred area. If these reputed trusts with deep pockets go to Odisha government and say that they would like to open an institute in XYZ area, then, I am sure, the government would be happy to support them. Moreover, if the XYZ area lacks opportunities then the government may even chip in a few crores as they are doing with the proposed Xavier campus in Balangir and with various private medical college proposals in several backward districts and western Odisha districts.

February 8th, 2011

Xavier University Bill ready: tathya.in

Following is from the tathya.in report at http://www.tathya.in/news/story.asp?sno=4965.

It seems that the long awaited proposal for the Xavier University will take a concrete shape, thanks to the initiative of B K Patnaik, Chief Secretary. 

Mr.Patnaik is pursuing the proposed private university initiated by the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIMB), said sources. 

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik cleared the proposal of the XIMB for an university after A U Singh Deo, Minister Planning & Coordination brought to his notice about the long pending case 

Once the Chief Minister cleared it, Debi Prasad Mishra, Minister Higher Education asked the authorities in DOHE to frame the bill. 

In the meantime XIMB authorities have identified the place near Pipili in Puri district to set up the University Campus.

However the Xavier varsity bill got delayed because of the proposed Umbrella Act for all universities.

With the Supreme Court of India rejecting the idea, the State Government in the Department of Law (DOL) has favoured the proposal for that each private University shall be established by a separate State Act and shall conform to the relevant provisions of the UGC Act, 1956. 

So Chandra Sekhar Kumar, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, DOHE has sent the draft Xavier University bill to the Department of Law for vetting the same. 

Debabrata Dash, Principal Secretary DOL has discussed the issue with his officers and they are busy in finalizing the provision of the bill, said sources. 

Once cleared by the DOL, the proposed bill will be presented to the State Cabinet. 

With the approval of the Cabinet, bill will be placed in the Odisha Legislative Assembly (OLA) to be cleared. 

Sources said that Xavier University bill will be placed in the OLA in the coming Budget Session.

I hope this really happens. A lot of expansion plan is dependent on this. In particular there have been reports about plan for a Rural Management school in Balangir, a campus in Sambalpur that will offer Business program as well as general courses (arts, commerce, etc.), a campus in Bhubaneswar that will offer general courses (arts, commerce, etc.), a new institute run together with XLRI that will offer courses on HR, etc. There was earlier plans to offer B.Ed courses. All these will become easy to implement once the university happens.

1 comment February 8th, 2011

Even generous scholarships are not able to entice good students to pursue science; Only 15% of the available 10,000 INSPIRE fellowships are availed

Following is an excerpt from a report in Times of India.

Three years ago when the Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) scholarships were instituted, the ministry of science and technology had hoped that this would encourage an estimated 10,000 of the top 1% students across all boards in the country every year to take up science at the undergraduate level (not professional courses) and eventually move to research.

Since then, some 8,500 scholarships have gone abegging each year, causing serious concern among ministry officials, who are now thinking of commissioning a study to find out where the "missing" students went….

INSPIRE was designed to attract youth to study science and take up a career in research in the country instead of moving abroad or entering the burgeoning pool of professionals — of both management and science — in the country.

Explaining the calculations used to arrive at the 10,000 figure, a senior ministry official said: "We had done some research and found that the top 1% students of all boards comes to about 30,000-40,000 students. We had hoped that at least a third of these young people would enter science education in streams. But the response has been so poor that we are flummoxed. Either the programme has not received adequate publicity or there is an acute dearth of good students taking up science in the country."

It is the second possibility that the ministry is increasingly veering around to believe in given the overwhelming tendency of good students to take up commerce or economics and simply enter the management stream that is very highly paying and in which there is more "instant gratification" than a career in science where a person may take years to achieve anything substantial.

… The ministry, however, is not ready to compromise on the cut-off marks which is in the 90-91% range for a CBSE student. The second route of entry is for a student who may not have done too well in the boards but secured a high rank in the competitive examinations like JEE and AIEEE yet chooses to take up basic sciences.

As we wrote before efforts need to be made to encourage students at the high school level or even earlier to attract them to science. We had proposed science magnet schools for that. There were reports that the planning commission approved establishment of a few science magnet schools, but we have not heard much about it after that. India needs to establish 100 such science magnet schools across the country at the earliest.

1 comment February 6th, 2011

National Knowledge Network to be launched tomorrow

Update: As reported the NKN was launched. Its web page http://www.nkn.in/ was unveiled. As per the web page currently 104 institutions are connected to it, two of which are from Odisha. They are:

  • IIT Bhubaneswar
  • Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar

Following is from http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=69608.

Backgrounder on the eve of launch of NKN

National Knowledge Network (NKN) is a revolutionary step towards creating a knowledge society without boundaries. Launch of the website and logo of NKN tomorrow will open the NKN to the community at large. It will provide unprecedented benefits to the knowledge community and mankind at large. The purpose of such a knowledge network goes to the very core of the country’s quest for building quality institutions with requisite research facilities and creates a pool of highly trained professionals. The NKN is a state-of-the-art Pan-India network. It will facilitate the development of India’s information infrastructure, stimulate research, and create next generation applications and services. NKN is designed to provide high availability, Quality of Service, security and reliability

National Knowledge Network (NKN) project is aimed at establishing a strong and robust internal Indian network which will be capable of providing secure and reliable connectivity. bring together all the stakeholders from science, technology, higher education, healthcare, agriculture and governance to a common platform.

Using NKN, all vibrant institutions with vision and passion will be able to transcend space and time limitations in accessing information and knowledge and derive the associated benefits for themselves and for the society. Establishing NKN is a significant step towards ushering in a knowledge revolution in the country with connectivity to 1500+ institutions. NKN is intended to connect all the knowledge and research institutions in the country using high bandwidth / low latency network.

Globally, frontier research and innovation are shifting towards multidisciplinary and collaborative paradigm and require substantial communication and computational power. In India, NKN with its multi-gigabit capability aims to connect all universities, research institutions, libraries, laboratories, healthcare and agricultural institutions across the country to address such paradigm shift. The leading mission oriented agencies in the fields of nuclear, space and defence research are also part of NKN. By facilitating the flow of information and knowledge, the network addresses the critical issue of access and create a new paradigm of collaboration to enrich the research efforts in the country. The network design is based on a proactive approach that takes into account the future requirements and new possibilities that this infrastructure may unfold, both in terms of usage and perceived benefits. This will bring about a knowledge revolution that will be instrumental in transforming society and promoting inclusive growth.

Background

The idea of setting up the NKN was deliberated & finalised at the office of Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India (GoI) and the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) after a collaborative engagement with the key stakeholders including experts, potential users, telecom service providers, educational and research institutions. The discussions resulted in a consensus for an optimal approach to be adopted for setting up such a network, to provide a unified backbone for all the sectors.

Government of India has constituted a High Level Committee (HLC) for establishment of NKN, under the Chairmanship of the PSA to GoI. National Informatics Centre has been designated as implementing agency for NKN. The vision of NKN has been translated into an action plan by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) set up by the HLC.

NKN was approved in March 2010 by the Cabinet with an outlay of Rs 5990 Crores. As a forerunner of NKN Initial phase has been successfully executed by National Informatics Centre (NIC).

Highlights

The architecture of NKN has been designed for reliability, availability & scalability. The network consists of an ultra-high speed core, starting with multiple 2.5/10 G and progressively moving towards 40/100 Gigabits per Second (Gbps). The core is complimented with a distribution layer covering all districts at appropriate speeds.

The participating institutions at the edge would seamlessly connect to NKN at gigabit speed. The NKN shall be a critical information infrastructure for India to evolve as a knowledge society. NKN is a significant step which will enable scientists, researchers and students from across the country to work together for advancing human development in critical and emerging areas.

– Establishing a high-speed backbone connectivity which will enable knowledge and information sharing.

– Enabling collaborative research, development and Innovation

– Facilitating advanced distance education in specialized fields such as engineering, science, medicine etc.

– Facilitating an ultra high speed backbone for e-Governance

– Facilitating integration of different sectoral networks in the field of research, education, health, commerce and governance.

Connectivity

The backbone of the network starts from 2.5 Gbps and progressively moves onto 10 Gbps connectivity between 7 Supercore (fully meshed) locations pan India. The network is further spread out through 26 Core locations with multiple of 2.5/10 Gbps partially meshed connectivity with Supercore locations. The distribution layer connects entire country to the core of the network using multiple links at speeds of 2.5/10 Gbps. The end users are being connected upto a speed of 1 Gbps.

The network architecture and governance structure allows users with options to connect to the distribution layer as well.NKN enables creation of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) as well for special interest groups.

NKN provides international connectivity to its users for global collaborative research. Presently, NKN is connected to Trans Eurasia Information Network (TEIN3). Similar connectivity to GLORIAD network is in the pipeline.

Applications

Countrywide Virtual Classroom

The NKN is a platform for delivering effective distance education where teachers and students can interact in real time. This is especially significant in a country like India where access to education is limited by factors such as geography, lack of infrastructure facilities etc. The network enables co-sharing of information such as classroom lectures, presentations and handouts among different institutions.

Collaborative Research

The NKN enables collaboration among researchers from different entities like GLORIAD, TEIN3, GARUDA, CERN etc. NKN also enables sharing of scientific databases and remote access to advanced research facilities.

Virtual Library

The Virtual Library involving sharing of journals, books and research papers across different institutions, is a natural application for NKN.

Sharing of Computing Resources

High-performance computing is critical for national security, industrial productivity, and advances in science and engineering. The network enables a large number of institutions to access high-performance computing to conduct advanced research in areas such as weather monitoring, earthquake engineering and other computationally intensive fields.

Grid Computing

The NKN has the capability to handle high bandwidth with low latency and provision to overlay grid computing. Some of the grid based applications are climate change/global warming, science projects like Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and ITER. The NKN can be the platform to realize many such innovative applications. The Garuda Grid has enhanced its power and stability by migrating to NKN.

Network Technology Test-bed

NKN provides test-bed for testing and validation of services before they are made available to the production network. NKN also provides an opportunity to test new hardware & software, vendor interoperability etc.

click here to see details

AT

February 4th, 2011

Official 2010 open close ranks of EE and Mech of IITs, IT-BHU and ISM

The following table is extracted from http://www.iitg.ac.in/jee/oldinfo.php.

Institute Open EE (11) Close EE (11) Open ME (24) Close ME (24) Last rank
IIT Bombay (B) 1 98 56 471 4728 (B43-Chemistry)
IIT Delhi (D) 76 252 249 603 2922 (D62-Biochem & Biotech)
IIT Madras (M) 109 338 310 777 3898 (M64-Biotechnology)
IIT Kanpur (K) 148 467 531 772 5233 (K43-Chemistry)
IIT Kharagpur (G) 783 991 787 1156 8721 (G38-Architecture)
IIT Roorkee (R) 612 1716 1028 1765 9490 (R38-Architecture)
IIT Guwahati (W) W16-1901 W-16 2338 1570 2422 6582 (W37-Design)
IIT Hyderabad (H) 1715 2626 1920 2915 2915 (H24-Mech)
IIT Gandhinagar (N) 2082 3007 2432 3389 4227 (N07-Chemical Engg)
IT BHU (V) 1720 3285 2519 3573 7172 (V39-Pharma)
IIT Rajasthan (J) 2765 3870 2649 4095 4095 (J24-Mech)
IIT Bhubaneswar (A) 2700 3926 2683 4185 4611 (A09-Civil)
IIT Punjab (E) 2976 3722 3036 4012 4012 (E24-Mech)
IIT Indore (U) 2970 3691 3162 3925 3925 (U24-Mech)
IIT Mandi (C) 4018 4496 3967 4609 4609 (C24-Mech)
IIT Patna (P) 3343 4753 1589 4811 4811 (P24-Mech)
ISMU Dhanbad (S) 4429 5689 3101 5624

7154 (S43-Chemistry)

 

1 comment February 4th, 2011

New tribal university in Andhra Pradesh; not clear if it is a centrally funded one or a state funded one

Going back to April 2010, there are several news regarding establishment of a tribal university in Andhra Pradesh. The early news reports talked about it being a state initiative. However, the recent news reports mention experts from outside being involved in evaluating locations and in reporting to the center, which suggests that the center may also be involved in the making of this university. We now give several excerpts.

From Hindu (April 26, 2010)

Dogged by the question of a dismal State of higher learning among tribals in the State, the government is ‘seriously’ contemplating establishment of a Tribal University. “A strong demand from tribal groups and other concerned sections of society in the recent past has made the government to sit up and think on the ways and means to establish a university,” divulges a top-level source in the Tribal Welfare Department.

“The government had initially explored the possibility of converting Srikakulam’s MG University into a Tribal University. This idea was dropped due to certain practical difficulties,” recalls the officer about the efforts made by the government so far.

The government has also rejected an offer from the Tribal University at Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh for affiliating some of the colleges here with it.

From Hindu (Jan 23, 2011):

Andhra Pradesh Tribal University is all set to come up on a 300-acre site in Chintapalle.

A study team of senior professors led by Samaresh Bandopadhyay (Kolkata) with Sudarshan Nadu (Bhubaneswar), Joseph Bara (JNU) and Registrar of Indira Gandhi National Tribal University from Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh, Ashok Singh, which inspected the site on Friday, will be submitting feasibility report to the Centre.

“We are absolutely happy that a lot of land is available with facilities like power, water and connectivity. In fact, this place is more accessible than Amarkantak where there is already a university,” Prof. Bandopadhyay told The Hindu at the Visakhapatnam airport after returning from Chintapalle on Saturday noon. The tribal university would provide avenues of education, particularly higher education and research facilities primarily for the tribal population of the country, he said. If everything went on well, the new university at Chintapalle could be started by June, he added.

From TOI (Feb 3, 2011)

While the Centre is mulling to set up the campus at Chintapalle in Visakhapatnam Agency, …

IGNTU, located in the small pilgrim town of Amarkantak in Anuppur district in Madhya Pradesh, became functional some time ago and has already established its regional campus in Manipur after the state government handed over 370 acres of land for establishment of a permanent campus. Sources said IGNTU was also approached by Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Kerala and Gujarat to open its regional campuses in the respective states.

The government had initially explored the possibility of converting Srikakulam’s Mahatma Gandhi University into a tribal university.

"But the idea was dropped due to practical difficulties and logistical problems. Visakhapatnam became a potential site for the campus as it has basic amenities like power, water and better connectivity," a senior official said.

… After visiting some sites here, the team of senior professors led by registrar of IGNTU Ashok Singh said they would be submitting a report to the Centre soon.

Note that the idea  for a central tribal university was suggested by Orissa CM, on 24th October 2005, which the HRD minister had appreciated. See our earlier posting at http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/1087 for more details. 

2 comments February 3rd, 2011

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