Archive for March, 2010

All secondary schools in India to have an IT teacher, says Sibal

Following is a report by IANS published in

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) All secondary schools in India will have a computer teacher each and the central government will bear the related expenses, Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal said Thursday.
“We have now a policy. All schools will have an ICT (Information and Communications Technology) teacher. We will pay their salary, which is Rs.10,000 per month,” Sibal said to highlight the need for technology to better educational scenario in the country.

“We are open to any technology solution (provided by private sectors) but it should not be elitist. The real problem is in rural India and we must keep that in mind. I think, the private sector can collaborate with government and train these ICT teachers,” he said.

“Our focus is on giving every child an opportunity.”

Sibal also said that all states should chip in to improve education and make right to education a success.

“It is not about politics, it is about education… it’s about every single child. We need a system in place for quality education and quality teachers.”

The minister also said that India will be most educated country in the world by 2030 and it will be the key to provide intellectual capital to all countries.

“India in 2030 will be most educated in the world. The world must realize that future human capital will flow from India. They should make our population literate and take the benefit,” Sibal said in an event organized by computer giant HP and TV channel CNBC.

He also reiterated his point that his ministry is in touch with Nandan Nilekani, the chief of Unique Identity Authority for an UID for every single student.

“Nandan has told me that he will work with us.”

Sibal also stressed the need for an education finance corporation, which will help refinancing education with a long-term goal and provide education loans to all needy students.

March 18, 2010 at 4:50 pm Leave a comment

Members demand removal of the chairman and expert members of the Western Orissa Development Council (WODC); Orissa government says no way

Following is a report from

The Congress members on Wednesday stalled the proceedings of the Assembly demanding removal of chairman and expert members of the Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) over the `usurpation’ of powers.

The members rushed into the well demanding a ruling by Speaker Pradip Amat on special mentions leading to several adjournments.Describing the members as experts in taking percentage and cuts from projects and deciding on tenders, the legislators said they have emerged parallel power centres in their constituencies.

Raising the issue, Santosh Singh Saluja (Cong) alleged that violating all Acts, the expert members have submitted 257 project proposals. These members, who were defeated in the last Assembly and Lok Sabha elections as BJD candidates, are also reviewing the projects at block offices. He also mentioned about two defeated BJD MLA candidates from Atabira and Patnagarh constituencies and one from Bargarh Lok Sabha seat.Demanding immediate halt to the infringement of power of the MLAs, Saluja demanded that all proposals given by the expert members be cancelled and they be immediately removed.

His party colleague Naba Kishore Das alleged that it is a well thought out plan of the BJD to create trouble for the Opposition MLAs in their constituencies by promoting the expert members through WODC.Surendra Singh Bhoi announced that he will stage dharna in the House during the next session if the Government did not remove the chairman and the expert members immediately. Gobardhan Das wanted to know details about the expenditure incurred by the chairman and expert members.Nihar Ranjan Mahanand and Subal Sahu also raised the issue and wanted their dismissal.

Normalcy returned after the Speaker directed Planning and Coordination Minister A U Singhdeo to make a statement. The minister said that the Act does not give preferential treatment to any category of members.He clarified that 1,737 proposals worth Rs 63.42 cr from MLAs were accepted against 3.97 cr from expert members. While the proposals from MLAs constitute 63.42 percent of the funds, those from the expert members are only half a percent of the accepted proposals.He said that members can review work anywhere in WODC.

March 18, 2010 at 8:03 am Leave a comment

CM assures Western Odisha MLAs on relocation of ESIC Medical College and Hospital in Rourkela

Following is a report from The Pioneer:

A delegation of western Odisha MLAs met Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik to personally apprise him of the genuineness of their demand for the relocation of the proposed ESIC Medical College and Hospital in the western region of the State instead of Bhubaneswar on Friday in his chamber on the Assembly premises, reliable sources informed. The delegation also urged the CM to take into consideration the ground reality of the maximum presence of the Insured Persons (IPs), the bona fide beneficiaries, in the western region.

After hearing to the delegation patiently, the Chief Minister claimed to have assured them that if the Union Government makes its mind to set up the institute in Rourkela, the State Government has no problem. The Chief Minister also assured the delegation that before taking the final decision, he would definitely go through the memorandum submitted to him, sources further informed.

Under the leadership of Talsara MLA Dr Prafulla Majhi, the delegation comprised of Rajgangpur MLA Gregory Minz, Sundargarh MLA Yogesh Singh, Attabira MLA Nihar Mahananda, Brajarajnagar MLA Anup Sai and Bijepur MLA Subal Sahu. Besides, more than 20 MLAs from western Odisha have signed the memorandum submitted with the CM urging for the establishment of the ESIC unit in Rourkela.

March 16, 2010 at 6:53 pm Leave a comment

Balangir MP Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo urges CM to set up solar power park in Balangir

Following is a report from The Pioneer:

Balangir MP Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo has urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to set up a solar power park in Balangir district.

Arguing that solar radiation in Balangir is one of the best and can be compared to that of Rajasthan and Gujarat as Balangir district gets lots of sunshine throughout the year and being a non-industry district with low mineral base and when the encouragement of industry poses its own problem, MP Singh Deo suggests it is high time that the State contemplated setting up solar projects in future.

“The non-conventional source of energy like solar energy is pollution-free and thus Odisha should have a re-look on the renewable energy obligations,” Singh Deo points out adding further that the Centre, Governments of Rajasthan and Gujarat have now designated solar parks for facilitating solar power projects in their States.

With the advent of global climate change, the thrust on renewable energy has become the order of the day and with global thrust on innovation in solar energy, it is a matter of time that solar power would be competitive with that of the fossil fuels, Singh Deo presages quipping “even as Odisha has enormous coal reserve, with the years to come, the demand for coal energy and its price would shoot up.”

As the water level in the reservoirs producing hydro electricity is declining rapidly due to shortage of rainfall besides the problems in thermal power stations leaving the people of the State in the lurch pinched by power-cuts and resulting in dharnas and protests, the attentions of the planners need to be diverted to non-conventional sources of energy like solar energy, the visionary young MP views.

March 16, 2010 at 6:47 pm 2 comments

NRO bats for State University in Kalahandi

Following is a report from The Pioneer:

Appreciating the Higher Education Task Force’s (HETF) proposal to establish 13 new universities in Odisha, Lebanon-based non-resident Odia (NRO) Prof Digambara Patra     has however urged the HETF for recommending in favour of a State University instead of a Unitary one and christening it as Mahakantara University, Indravati University, South Western University.

“Balangir, Angul and Parlakhemundi have been suggested for State University whereas place like Bhawanipatna has been suggested for Unitary University which is surprising based on location, distance and regional requirement of affiliated colleges,” Patra rues.

Arguing that Kalahandi is the central location in the backward South Western Odisha, State University is more appropriate in Bhawanipatna for the benefit of local students in other affiliated colleges in Kalahandi, Nuapada, Kandhamal, Boudh, Rayagada and Nabarangpur region as Parlakhemundi is still very far to serve the affiliated colleges in Nabarangpur.

Earlier, HETF member Prof Chitta Baral had also pointed out justification for establishing new State University in Bhawanipatna in his personal blog, Patra claims adding demand for Unitary University for Government Autonomous College Bhawanipatna was based on merit when there was no proposal for 13 new universities as has been recommended recently by the HETF. Indeed, in the same merit line of GM Autonomous College and Khallikote Autonomous College, Government College Bhawanipatna deserves to be a Unitary University and at the same time a separate State University is required in Bhawanipatna to serve the affiliated college in the backward South Western Odisha, he argues.

“When State universities are made in Parlakhemundi (94 km from Berhampur) and Balangir (120 km from Sambalpur) instead of Unitary, I do not find any rationality why same think could not be made for Bhawanipatna (a central location in the backward South Western Odisha and far away from both Sambalpur University and Berhampur University compared to Balangir and Parliakhemundi respectively),” Prof Patra questions arguing distance between Balangir and Sambalpur is 120 km where as distance between Sambalpur and Bhawanipatna is 235 km, in fact Jaipatana region of Kalahandi will be more than 300 km from Sambalpur.

“When geographically or distance wise close locations are being given State universities instead of Unitary ones and far away locations are bestowed with Unitary University, it does not resolve the primary goal of the affiliated colleges in those remote localities and so also the aim of the task force,” the NRO remarks quipping if distance and regional requirements are not evaluated for affiliated colleges, I do not see why Khallikote Autonomous College or GM Autonomous College are not made State Universities compared to other locations.

March 16, 2010 at 6:43 pm Leave a comment

BJP brings privilege motion against Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) chief

Following is a report from The Pioneer:

BJP legislature leader KV Singh Deo on Tuesday brought a privilege motion against the chairman and expert members of the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) on the floor of the State Assembly.

Bringing the privilege motion during the Zero Hour, Singh Deo said the chairman and the expert members have violated all rules and procedures. “The expert members of council have submitted 257 proposals.

The budget of the council is pegged at Rs 80 crore. If around Rs 50 crore is being spent on the proposals of the experts, how the other proposals of the elected representatives would be executed only at Rs 30 crore,” he said, adding that those who had lost the elections have been accommodated as the experts. “All these things clearly violated the principles,” he said, adding that all expert members should be thrown out from the team.

March 16, 2010 at 6:36 pm Leave a comment

Farmer suicide on the rise in Orissa: NDTV’s report from Sambalpur

Following is a report from

Surendra Dhurua had tried to commit suicide five months ago. He lost all his paddy crop on four acres of land to poor monsoon and a pest attack. There was no way he could repay the Rs 13,000 farm loan.

The pesticide would have killed Surendra, except his family reached him to the hospital in time.
“First the rains ditched us. Then the pests finished everything. The loans drove me mad. I wondered what would happen if people demanded repayment? I thought it was better to die,” said Surendra Dhurua, a farmer from Kusumdiha Village, Sambalpur.

Surendra survived an unfortunate season of farm suicides. Forty-three farmers killed themselves towards the end of 2009. Nearly half of them were from Western Orissa, where Sambalpur is.

What’s common to the tragedies:

  • All of them were small farmers
  • Entirely dependent on monsoons for irrigation
  • Sudden Inflation had limited their access to expensive fertilisers and pesticides
  • Most crucial, all of them had borrowed from moneylenders between Rs 10,000 to 25,000 at exorbitant rates, some as high as 25 per cent.

Sambalpur became the epicenter of the crisis where 600 villages lost most of their crop and 5 farmers committed suicide.

”Now that the uncertainties of monsoon has increased, this kind of pest attack has increased and they have also increased their investment by 7 to 8 times. So their entire system has failed them,” said Ranjan Panda, a green activist from Sambalpur.

Orissa has never seen farm suicides at this scale. Forty-three suicides are unprecedented. It is a distressing trend for a state where 80% farmers are small and marginal. 

March 16, 2010 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Indian govt okays Foreign Educational Institutions Bill; foreign varsities in India soon

Following is a report from the

The cabinet on Monday okayed the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill, which once passed by Parliament will allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India.

Like private universities in the country, the foreign ones too — whether private or state-owned — won’t have to implement affirmative action-driven quotas for any category of students. There will also be no state-imposed restriction on the fees they charge.

But, foreign education providers will not be allowed to repatriate any of the profits they earn.

“The bill will create a new category of educational institutions not shackled by Indian education regulators,” said a Human Resource Development Ministry source. “But there will be independent audits to ensure these are not being run merely for profit.”

The bill was held up for more than four years due to opposition from the Left, on whose outside support UPA-I depended.

Institutions such as Duke University, US, and Imperial College, London, have shown interest in opening an India campus, sources said.

But Ivy League colleges in the US were not keen. “We have no specific plans in terms of opening a campus in India in the near future,” said George Joseph, assistant secretary for international affairs at Yale University. “My impression is the Ivy League institutions and others such as MIT and Stanford will not be keen either.” He did not say why.

By allowing foreign universities into India, the government hopes to stem the increasing number of Indian students going abroad for higher education.

According to government figures, $2.247 billion worth of foreign exchange went out of the country as remittance towards tuition fees and other expenses by Indian student in 2008-09.

March 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

Temperature at 40 degrees in Western Orissa

Following is a report by IANS published in

The Orissa government Friday issued an advisory in all 30 districts asking people to stay indoors after the temperature soared to a sweltering 40 degrees Celsius in some parts of the state.

‘In view of the heat wave conditions, we have asked collectors in all districts to remain alert,’ a senior official of the state revenue and disaster management department told IANS. 

‘We have asked people to stay indoors, particularly during the peak hours,’ he said, adding that an advisory has also been issued requesting minimal use of vehicles in the afternoon. 

For the past few days, several towns in the western part of the state have been recording 37-40 degrees Celsius, way above the average. 

‘District authorities have been asked to deploy sufficient health officials and keep adequate medicines at hospitals to treat patients for sunstroke,’ the official said. 

Schools and educational institutions have also been asked to reschedule their timings in view of the heat wave conditions. 

The temperature in Talcher, an industrial town in Angul district, has been hovering around 40 degrees Celsius for the past few days. It, however, come down to 37.2 degrees Celsius Thursday, an official of the meteorological centre told IANS. 

The maximum temperature at Bhabanipatna Thursday was 39 degrees Celsius, Malkangiri 38.7 degrees Celsius, Titilagarh 38.5 and Bolangir 38.3 degrees Celsius.

March 13, 2010 at 8:36 am Leave a comment

Scholarships for NRIs, Persons of Indian Origin for undergraduate studies in India

Following is a report by IANS published in

New Delhi has announced scholarships for the Indian diaspora for undergraduate studies in India during 2010-11.

The undergraduate courses include engineering, architecture, technology, humanities, liberal arts, commerce, management (business administration and business management), journalism, hotel management, agriculture/animal husbandry, science and law, The Star newspaper said Wednesday. 

The global Indian diaspora is 25 million strong and is spread over 130 countries. 

‘The scholarships will cover 75 percent of the institutional cost which includes tuition fee, hostel fee and other institutional charges or $3,600 (RM11,980), whichever is less,’ the media report said citing the Indian High Commi-ssion here. 

NRIs and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) candidates would only be eligible if their total family income does not exceed $2,250 (RM7,488).

‘Children of NRIs should have pursued at least three years of education inclusive of 11th and 12th grade or equivalent (not beyond) in a foreign country (in) the last six years and passed the qualifying examination abroad,’ it said.

 Malaysia is home to nearly two million Indian diaspora, a bulk of whom are Tamil-speaking.

March 12, 2010 at 3:52 pm Leave a comment

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