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58% of engineering students didn’t get jobs during campus placements this year

Hindustan Times | Neelam Pandey  |   New Delhi Jul 14, 2018 |

The increase in jobs for new graduates is good news, but also means that 58% of engineering students across the country still need to find employment.

Campus placements for engineering students crossed the 40% mark (and hit 42%) for the first time in five years in 2017-18 on the back of more hiring by companies coupled with the closure of engineering colleges and lower enrolments. While it is alarming that 58% of engineering students across the country were still unable to find a job on campus, the 42% proportion is much higher than what it has been in the past. According to data from the All India Council for Technical Education, the figure was 38.39% in 2016-17 and 31.95% in 2013-14. While more hiring was the driving force behind this, the closure of engineering colleges and lower enrolments helped too. The enrolment figure in 2017-18 declined to 750,000 from 944,000 in 2013-14. Currently, 3225 engineering institutes under the AICTE, India’s apex technical education regulator, offer undergraduate courses. The number of institutes have declined from 3400 in 2014-15. The poor enrolment rate prompted several states to ask the AICTE to ban the creation of more seats in engineering colleges. A number of states such as Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Rajasthan submitted petitions to the AICTE, which reports to the Union human resource development ministry, not to set up new technical institutions. According to people familiar with the developments, there has been an increase in the number of campus placements as the government had made internships mandatory to increase the so-called employability of students. Those who have successfully interned at companies find a job easier to land. “More than 3.8 lakh students in third year secured summer internships, which is a major achievement. The number will go up further this year and will reflect in more students getting placed,” said a senior AICTE official on condition of anonymity.

A similar trend is seen with students enrolled for diploma and post-graduate courses in engineering institutions under the AICTE. In post- graduate programs, enrolment dropped from 100000 in 2012-13 to 68000 in 2017-18. Placements increased from 18% to 21% in the same period. Among diploma students, the enrolment figure dropped marginally from 680,000 to 670,000, while placements increased from 18.6% to 24%. According to experts, the poor enrolment can be attributed to a near-stagnant job market for engineers or availability of more career options for students from non-engineering fields, which is making students turn to other fields of study. “First of all, there is not much difference statistically. There are always errors in such reporting and this could be within the margin of error. Second, there is a reduction in number of graduates, and hence the same number of jobs would result in higher fraction of graduates getting a job. Third, the average quality of graduates may have gone up slightly since it is the poor quality colleges that are shutting down and students today have better access to quality education through MOOCs and other online material. So lots of factors adding tiny bit each. The internships may have also added a tiny bit. I wouldn’t agree that internships are the major reason,” said Dheeraj Sanghi, professor at IIT Kanpur. – Courtesy


Engineering aspirant? Rs 2,500 fee, free laptops and bikes at BE, BTech colleges in Gujarat state

Financial Express | FE Online | New Delhi |  July 13, 2018 |

The rising number of vacant seats in engineering colleges across the country has now led authorities to devise a new marketing strategy in order to lure students into joining the course.

If you thought that engineering, once considered the most alluring career options for Indian students alongside medicine, has lost its charm, you may want to reconsider. Engineering colleges in the western state of Gujarat are giving away free laptops and two-wheelers to woo students. While the reason behind such large heartedness may not exactly paint a rosy picture of the popularity of the course, but these colleges do know how to keep things interesting. The rising number of vacant seats in engineering colleges across the country has now led authorities to devise a new marketing strategy in order to lure students into joining the course. Engineering colleges are now offering lucrative things like laptop and two-wheelers to woo students to join the courses with vacant seats.  As per a recent report, an engineering college in Gujarat is charging an annual tuition fee of Rs 2500 after a majority of their seats went vacant. Another college has hired commission agents to bring students. B.Tech/ B.E. colleges are also offering free laptops and two-wheelers to lure students to join the course. According to an Ahmedabad Mirror report, the management in some colleges has lowered fees to somehow fill up 30% of the seats as the AICTE has clearly stated that colleges with less than 30% admissions for five years will be shut down.

This year in Gujarat, 34,642 seats out of 55,422 in engineering colleges remained vacant after first round of admissions. Colleges have henceforth started providing free laptops and two-wheelers to students apart from offering several discounts including reduced fees in the name of scholarship, complete waiver of first-semester fee, half transportation and hostel fee at the end of four-year course to those who pay entire course fee by a single payment. In recent times, engineering that used to attract the creme da la creme students has lost its sheen. In a report that came in May this year, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) approved only 36 engineering colleges that can provide degrees to students with just 66 diploma institutes being approved. As per a report by Indian Express, the total number of B.Tech and M.Tech seats this year, across all AICTE-approved institutes, has dropped by 1.67 lakh, which is almost double the dip witnessed in 2017-18. The undergraduate and postgraduate engineering intake was 16.62 lakh seats last year and 17.5 lakh seats in 2016-17. It was also reported that All India Council for Technical Education is all set to shut down nearly 200 ‘substandard’ engineering colleges over the period of next 12 months. – Courtesy

Institutes of Eminence status given without field visits, rankings

Economic Times | Anubhuti Vishnoi | ET BureauJul 13, 2018 | Opinion |

NEW DELHI: The choice of six Institutes of Eminence—three each in the public and private domains—has sparked controversy, particularly over one of them, but how did the committee arrive at its picks—and so quickly? Did the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) that assessed all 113 eligible institutes follow selection guidelines to the letter? A close examination of the process followed suggests perhaps not. On the other hand, EEC chairman N Gopalaswami offered a strong defence of the committee’s method of functioning and said that strict adherence would have led to the compilation taking a year or so.  The EEC didn’t conduct any field visit or tabular rankings of the institutes, both of which are in the University Grants Commission (Declaration of Government Educational Institutions as Institutions of Eminence) Guidelines, 2017. To be sure, the field visits are only recommendatory in nature but a tabular appraisal of all institutes and their ranking is required.  The appraisal methodology detailed in the EEC report mentions various aspects taken into consideration but gives no information on specific parameters and weightage of each in overall assessment/score of an institute. There is no statistical or comparative assessment of applicants in the report.

The EEC processed the 113 applications in 45-50 days, mainly on the basis of their detailed applications and presentations which were seen and discussed over eight separate days with the institutes between April 2 and May 8. EEC was announced in February and as per its report started work on April 2 with a briefing by the human resource development secretary and the University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman.  The committee submitted its report before the end of May. Gopalaswami told ET that field visits were not mandatory and the committee was of the view that comparative rankings would not be fair. “No field visits were conducted as we did not feel they were necessary,” Gopalaswami told ET. “UGC guidelines do allow it but it was not mandatory. If we were to conduct field visits of all 113 institutes, it would probably take a year. We also did not do any ranking of institutes because we felt that it may not be fair to do so. In many cases, the difference between institutes was very narrow and so to rank them would not really be proper, it was felt.” The ex-chief election commissioner maintained that due process had been followed.

“Institutes applied with considerable information,” he said. “Then they were called for individual presentations that lasted 10-15 minutes, followed by about another 15 minutes of the EEC seeking clarifications and questions on the institute concerned. We felt satisfied with this process. It was conducted in a transparent manner, all relevant questions were asked of them. The key criterion was whether an institute can achieve a place in the top 500 of global rankings in next 10 years and this was assessed on a range of parameters like faculty-student ratio, vacancies, research output and so on.” EEC members Tarun Khanna of Harvard Business School and Renu Khator, president of the University of Houston, declined to comment, saying the chairman was best placed to do so. Pritam Singh, former director of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Lucknow, could not be contacted. While all members attended the first round of meetings in Delhi, some of the subsequent ones had Khanna and Khator participating via video conference.

While the scheme led to lengthy exchanges between the HRD ministry and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) over final contours, eyebrows were raised when the government decided to extend deadline for submission of applications to February from January, despite about 80 having already been received. The extension was given to allow more time to some institutes that had not readied the comprehensive application, according to people aware of the matter, including that of a leading private player whose institute did not eventually make it to the list of six.  Second, EEC abruptly scrapped a shortlist of 40 institutes in April and decided instead to assess all 113.  The decision was apparently guided by the PMO, which felt some key institutes had been left out of the shortlist and it would be worthwhile to give a chance to all in the fray.  Third, the EEC assessed all 113 eligible institutes in April and May and submitted a report to the government in mid-May. The findings sparked to confusion all the way from the PMO to the HRD ministry as they found no more than eight eligible for the status of eminence in the public category and three among the private ones, whereas the 2016 budget clearly allowed for 20 institutes. Through June, government attempts to find a ‘resolution’ to this situation failed and it was finally decided to pick an equal number of institutes from both categories to ensure fairness.- Courtesy

AICTE released Research Policy Framework Document (AICTE and Clarivate Analytics)

AICTE Circular | 11 July 2018 | New Delhi |
Aiming for Excellence: Pathways to Institutional Advancement through Research

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) yesterday announced the release of a research policy framework document developed in partnership with Clarivate Analytics, the company behind Web of Science, the world’s most trusted citation index. Web of Science is a publisher-independent platform which provides unrivaled coverage of papers, books, conference proceedings, datasets and patents to researchers in more than 100 countries and 7,000 academic institutions around the world. Released at the AICTE headquarters in New Delhi, the framework was developed to drive research excellence across AICTE approved academic institutions. In addition to offering best practices and guidelines, the research policy framework provides:

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament (Act 52 of 1987) under Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India. AICTE as per its mission to be a true facilitator and an objective regulator has initiated several initiatives with focus on planned and coordinated development of technical education in the country. AICTE has always encouraged academic excellence in academic institutions. AICTE has a vision to improve the standards of technical education and to provide competent technical manpower for the nation. In this endeavor AICTE signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Clarivate Analytics on 25thApril, 2017. Clarivate Analytics is one of the world’s largest providers of intellectual property and scientific information, decision support tools, and services. Clarivate Analytics is well-known for brands that include Web of Science, EndNote, Derwent Innovation, Derwent World Patents Index, Cortellis, and Converis among others.The AICTE-Clarivate Analytics collaboration aims to drive research as an integral component of academic excellence. Clarivate Analytics with AICTE has developed this research policy framework document ‘‘Aiming for Excellence: Pathways to Institutional Advancement through Research’ to help AICTE approved academic Institutions to increase awareness of research and develop a strong research program. AICTE encourages that this policy document may be adopted by the AICTE approved institutions as it would enable institutions to develop short term and long term research program plans, put in place infrastructure to enable research, and establish governance mechanisms to promote and strengthen research.
Research experiences enrich an institution in many ways. First, teachers who engage in research can integrate their experience in the classroom: instead of rote learning an instructor can challenge students to grapple with fundamental questions and problems as researchers do. In such an environment, students report more interest in their coursework and more confidence in their teachers. Second, instilling a research culture improves the institutional environment for all, not only students, and signals high aspirations and a seriousness of purpose of the institution. Third, research requires infrastructure,including modern facilities, equipment, and supplies, so establishing research activities means improving the physical condition of an institution. Doing this requires funding but once established a vibrant program of research can attract support from government, industry, and private sources, a fourth benefit. Fifth, research builds and burnishes the reputation of an institution, attracting superior students and faculty. Not only are faculty drawn to such an institution but they are more likely to remain, which is important because retention of talented instructors and researchers contributes to sustaining excellence. Sixth, a research program opens up possibilities for collaboration, locally, regionally, and globally. These connections raise the profile of an institution and create opportunities for advancement of many kinds, including associations with industrial firms that are nowadays an increasingly important partner in higher education initiatives.These are only a few of the benefits of establishing, maintaining, and extending a program of research at an institution of higher education.
This document describes steps along the road to a robust research program within an institution. It focuses on key considerations, including the necessity of careful, evidence-based planning, both short- and long-term; building human capital,resources and funding, and fashioning collaborations, institution to institution, people to people, and across sectors; ensuring governance mechanisms to track and promote the institution’s research program, including both qualitative and quantitative assessment; and, establishing an enduring system of continuous improvement, with feedback channels across all departments and dimensions of the institution. Click here to View /  download the Research Policy Framework Document document, 28 pages, pdf

Calling applications for AICTE-ECI-ISTE Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards 2018

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India, Engineering Council of India (ECI), and the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE), are jointly holding a competition “AICTE-ECI-ISTE Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards-2018” for the students of AICTE approved Degree & Diploma level Technical institutions. The Awards are aimed for motivating young individuals, inspiring leaders and institutions/ organizations to raise their performance in their specific domains leading to significant contribution towards the growth and development of the nation.

To recognize and honour innovative work of the students displaying exceptional skills by providing the innovative solution on the given theme.  Applications will be short listed based on their conformity to the guidelines and information furnished by nominees for specific categories. The recipients will be finalised based on the Recommendation and NOC forwarded by the institute and scrutiny of the applications by the jury & practical demonstrations by the contestants.  Awards will be given in following Categories for Degree and Diploma Students (including students from AICTE approved Community College):

Category-I:   Outstanding Innovative Team Award (Degree and Diploma)
Category-II:  Outstanding Teacher Award for mentoring Students Project

The Problem: The participants need to provide and innovative solution to following problem:

“Empowerment of Villages through Technologies”

For the holistic development of villages under the above theme, the following 8 sub-themes have been shortlisted: –

  1. Water & Irrigation
  2. Sanitation & Solid Liquid Waste Management
  3. Rural Infrastructure
  4. Tourism
  5. Agriculture & Food
  6. Education, Skill Initiative & Startups
  7. Rural Craft & Livelihood
  8. Any other Rural Appropriate Technologies

Who Can Apply?

The Awards cover the students of AICTE approved Degree and Diploma Technical Institutions and Polytechnics. It also includes students from AICTE approved Community Colleges.

Nominations/Applications from all girls teams are especially encouraged….!

  • Online application will start from: 10-07-2018
  • Last date to submit the application: 10-08-2018
  • Important:  *Do not use Internet Explore to Fill the Entry*

Guidelines, 6 pages, pdf

List of Winners for Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards 2017

Portal for Registration – AER Portal

Proposed Jio institute gets eminence status with IITs and IISc

The Indian Express | Express News Service | New Delhi | July 10, 2018 |

The Institutions of Eminence are proposed to have greater autonomy compared to other higher education institutions. For instance, they will be free to decide their fee for domestic and foreign students and have a flexible course duration and structure.

Reliance Foundation’s proposed Jio Institute has found a place among IIT-Delhi (in pic), IIT-Bombay, IISc among others. (File photo from IE)

The government Monday awarded Institution of Eminence (IoE) status to three public and three private institutions — IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), BITS-Pilani, Manipal Academy of High Education, and Reliance Foundation’s proposed Jio Institute near Navi Mumbai. The University Grants Commission (UGC) approved six names against the promised 20 slots. The government’s formal notification is expected soon. The Union Cabinet had approved UGC’s ‘Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities Regulations 2017’, in August, 2017. The regulations are aimed at creating an enabling architecture for 10 public and 10 private institutions to emerge as world-class institutions, since the country has little representation in the international ranking of educational institutions. Only higher education institutions currently placed in the top 500 of global rankings or top 50 of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) are eligible to apply for the eminence tag. The private IoEs can also come up as greenfield ventures, provided the sponsoring organisation submits a convincing perspective plan for 15 years.

The IoEs are proposed to have greater autonomy compared to other higher education institutions. For instance, they will be free to decide their fee for domestic and foreign students, and have a flexible course duration and structure. Their academic collaborations with foreign institutions will be exempt from approvals of government or UGC except institutions based on a list of negative countries prepared by the External Affairs and Home ministries. Once identified, the target for the IoEs would be to break into the top 500 in at least one internationally reputed ranking framework in 10 years and come up in the top 100 over time. The 10 government institutions, in addition to autonomy, will also get Rs 1,000 crore each from the HRD Ministry to achieve world-class status. The government will offer no financial assistance to the private institutions.

A total of 114 institutions and universities – 74 from public sector and 40 from private sector – had applied for IoE status. Out of these, 11 are central universities, 27 are state universities, 10 are state private universities and the remaining are institutes of national importance (INIs), deemed universities, stand-alone institutions and organisations that intend to establish universities. The Empowered Expert Committee (EEC), which was entrusted to find 20 institutions out of 114 applicants, could only identify 11, of which six have been awarded the eminence tag, for now. The four-member EEC is headed by former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami and has Renu Khator, president of University of Houston, R Pritam Singh from the Management Development Institute and Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School, as its other members. The committee had each of the 114 applicants submit their presentations in advance. The members then met each applicant for about half an hour, of which 15 minutes were earmarked for a presentation and the remaining time spent on questions regarding the proposal.  Asked why the committee couldn’t finalise names of 20 IoEs, Gopalaswami told The Indian Express, “That was maximum. Is there a rule that if the government prescribes a maximum, we should suggest the maximum even if the institution is not suitable? The basic criterion is not the number. The basic criterion is whether the institution has the capability (to break into the top 100 global rankings).”

The Indian Express has learnt that IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Madras, Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jadavpur University were among 11 names suggested by EEC, but were not awarded the status. “Out of the 11 names suggested by the EEC, only three were private. So, a decision was taken to announce equal number of institutes from public and private sector, which, consequently, limited the announcement of public institutions to three for now,” government sources said. Out of the three private IoEs announced Monday, Reliance Foundation’s Jio Institute which, at this moment, is just a proposal on paper, was selected under the greenfield category. According to sources, there were 10 other applicants under this category, namely Vedanta’s proposed university in Odisha, Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad, Satya Bharti Foundation, Indian Institute of Human Settlement in Benguluru, Indian Institute of Public Health in Gandhinagar, Maharashtra Institute of Technology in Pune, KREA University in Chennai, DICE Knowledge Foundation, Acharya Institutes in Bengaluru and Indus Tech University in Delhi.

According to the proposal submitted by the Reliance Foundation, the Jio Institute is proposed to have 10 schools offering over 50 disciplines, including humanities, engineering, medical sciences, sports, law, performing arts, sciences and urban planning.  The Foundation has promised to hire faculty from the top 500 global universities, a residential university city for its teachers, set up inter-disciplinary research centres to provide solutions for real-world challenges and commit Rs 9,500 crore towards the institute’s funding, among other things. Justifying Reliance Foundation’s selection over other 10 applicants, the HRD Ministry said in a statement issued on Monday that the Jio Institute proposal satisfied four parameters – availability of land, a core team with high qualifications and experience, funding and a strategic vision plan.

Gopalaswami said, “The applicant has to prove and demonstrate that it has a plan of action ready, that they are prepared in every which way and it is a doable plan. You cannot say that you have identified land, but don’t have possession of the said land or that it is under legal dispute. In each case, we questioned them about their plan and then we made our assessment, whether it is a feasible one or not. The committee then decided that the most feasible of all was only this (Reliance Foundation) proposal.” The Jio Institute doesn’t get the IoE status right away, but a Letter of Intent, instead, for three years. In this time, it has to achieve all the milestones that it has promised to the EEC and the latter, after a review, will finally award the status to the institute. As for the existing institutions that were named as IoEs on Monday, they will formally get the tag as soon as they sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the government. Asked why an applicant with a good track record — ISB-Hyderabad, for instance — lost out to a proposed institute, Gopalaswami said, “Firstly, what came before us was not ISB, but a new institution they were also proposing to set up. Secondly, we haven’t selected any management institution, not even IIM-Ahmedabad, because they don’t figure in the international rankings. You have to be a comprehensive university, not a sectoral one.” The EEC has recommended that the government should start a special programme for sectoral institutions like IIMs, TISS, TIFR and invest in them with a different set of defined goals.

Asked why the government decided to even consider greenfield projects, when there are already many good institutes existing in the private sector, higher education secretary R Subrahmanyam told The Indian Express, “Why not greenfield? The idea is to invite the best to set up world-class institutions. If a new player has the wherewithal to do it, then there is no reason that they should not be encouraged.” The UGC has requested the expert group to continue their selection process to suggest nine more institutions it deems fit for the eminence tag, so that announcements for the remaining IOEs (seven public and seven private) can be made at the earliest. “We have identified the shortcomings (of the applicants who have not been selected) and asked them to come back after making amends,” Gopalaswami said. “This decision is a landmark decision for following reasons – This was never thought of & tried; it is more than a graded autonomy, it is really a full autonomy to the institutes; the institutes can take their own decisions,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted. “While today’s decision gives virtually full autonomy, it will also ensure that no student will be denied opportunity of education with various measures like scholarships, interest waiver, fee waiver and ensure all equity principles,” he posted. – Courtesy

Jio Institute only has ‘Letter of Intent’ not ‘IOE’ status: Higher Education Secretary  –    Jul 10, 2018, Deccan Chronicle

New Delhi, Jul 10 (ANI): As the Jio Institute, an education venture by Reliance Foundations, is yet to be set …

New Delhi, Jul 10 (ANI): As the Jio Institute, an education venture by Reliance Foundations, is yet to be set up, it is already embroiled in rumors that it has got an institute of eminence tag. On the issue of its status as ‘eminent institute’ R Subrahmanyam, Secretary, Higher Education said, “Regulation of Institutes of Eminence has given 3 categories, 1st- public institutions in which IITs were considered, 2nd category- private institutions in which BITS Pilani and Manipal are there. The third category is Greenfield private institutions which are not there right now but where well meaning responsible private investment wants to bring global standards to the country, they should be welcomed. As Jio institute is starting on a greenfield mode, they will only get ‘Letter of Intent’ which states they must set-up in 3 years. If they setup, then they get ‘IOE’ status, right now they don’t have the tag, they only have letter of intent”. These institutions will also receive funding from the government to help make them world-class institutions..  Courtesy

UGC Circular : Published on 11-07-2018 :  Institutions of Eminence – Report of the Empowered Expert Committee and Resolution of the Commission (UGC)

NEET and JEE (Main) exams to be conducted twice a year

ND TV | Shihabudeen Kunju S (with inputs from PTI) |  July 08, 2018 |

National Testing Agency or NTA will be replacing the competitive exams related functions of CBSE and will conduct NEET and JEE Main exams twice in a year from next year.

New Delhi:  National Testing Agency (NTA) will be replacing the competitive exams related functions of CBSE and will conduct NEET and JEE Main exams twice in a year from next year. NTA will also conduct UGC NET, CMAT and GPAT, later two were used to be held by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). So far, The Central Board of Secondary Education or CBSE has been organising National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) on behalf of the Medical Council Of India and the Health Ministry and NET on behalf of the University Grants Commission (UGC). Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main has been held by CBSE on behalf of Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry. JEE Main is being held as an entrance examination for admission to engineering courses and as also a screening test for JEE Advanced, its scores have been used for admission in institutes like IITs and NITs. NEET is national level medical entrance examination and its scores have been used for admission in medical and allied courses across the country.

Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) is a national level entrance examination conducted by (AICTE) every year as per the directions of Ministry of HRD and this test facilitates Institutions to select suitable graduate candidates for admission in all Management programs. Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test (GPAT) is another national level entrance exam conducted by AICTE and this test facilitates institutions to select suitable Pharmacy graduates for admission into the Master’s (M.Pharm) program. With the introduction of NTA, CBSE, the national level secondary school and higher secondary school education regular which control 19316 affiliated schools in India and 211 schools in 25 foreign countries, will be relieved from its competitive examination duties. This has been a long standing demand of the central school body to relieve it from the examination duties other than its annual all India secondary and higher secondary examination duties. In 2016, the board had approached HRD Ministry and had expressed its inability to conduct the exams due to capacity crunch.

CBSE has been authorized to conduct NEET and JEE Main since the inception of both national level entrance examinations. In recent year, the board was also assigned to organise the UGC NET, a national level teacher eligibility test for recruitment in universities and colleges. CBSE also conducts the school level teacher eligibility test – CTET–, but, in today’s announcement by HRD ministry, there was no mention on who is going to conduct this examination in the future. UGC NET would be the first exam to be conducted by the newly formed body. The CBSE is all set to organise – probably the last UGC NET exam organised by it – CBSE UGC NET 2018 exam on July 8. The NTA would also conduct CMAT and GPAT. But, there have not been any updates on dates of these exams today.

Starting from next edition, the UGC NET exam will be computer based, said HRD minister.

How many times you can appear

According to HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, the students can appear both the times in NEET and the best of the two scores would be taken in account for admission. Two chances will give a choice option to the students especially if they fail to appear in a test due to unwarranted circumstances.

Standard of the exams

Under NTA, these exams will be more secure and at par with international norms, claimed the minister. “There will be no issues of leakage and it would be more student friendly, open, scientific and a leak-proof system,” Javadekar told the reporters here.  NTA is expected to bring in qualitative difference in the examination process by its focus on research and scientific test design using services of Experts, Researchers, Statisticians, Psychometricians, Test Item Writers and Education Specialists.  “The item writers would be trained to ensure that the quality of questions is as per the test design. The experts, statisticians and item writers/subject matter experts are already identified for being inducted into NTA,” said a statement from HRD.  “The new system will be student friendly, fair , transparent and flexible,” the Minister added.


The NTA would benefit the students and they would have the option of going to computer centres from August-end to practice for the exams. The tests would be computer-based. The exams would be held over a span of four-five days and students would have the option of choosing the dates, the minister said.


The syllabus, question formats, language and fees for the NEET, JEE Main and NET exams would not be changed. The time table of the exams to be conducted by NTA would be uploaded on the ministry’s website.

JEE Advanced

According to HRD Minister, the Indian Institutes of Technolog (IITs) would continue to conduct JEE Advanced exam.  – Courtesy

Need for patent search awareness stressed

TelanganaToday  |   5th Jul 2018 |

Visakhapatnam: Though India ranks fifth in the globe in terms of research publications, it is way behind with a poor 52nd position in Global Patent Index which shows there is dire need for creating awareness on patent search and filing methodologies among researchers and Start-up communities, according to Chairman and Managing Director of National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) H Purushotham. He was speaking at the inaugural function of a two-day advanced training and workshop on ‘Patent search’ which is being jointly organized by NRDC-Technology and Innovation Support Center in collaboration with Andhra Pradesh Innovation Society (APIS), Govt. Of AP., Visakhapatnam, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Cell for IPR Promotions & Management (CIPAM) under the Department of Industrial policy and Promotion (DIPP), Govt. of India.

The initiative taken by NRDC, WIPO, CIPAM and APIS would facilitate creating awareness about Patenting in the country, he stated. Mr. Andrew Czajkowski, Head, ITSS, WIPO, Mr. B. K. Sahu, Manager and In-charge, NRDC-TISC & IPFC, Visakhapatnam, Prof. V. Valli Kumari, CEO, APIS, Dr. V. Keasava Rao, Vice-Chancellor, Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University (DSNLU), Dr. Anitha Rao, Director, DSNLU, Dr. Muttyalu Naidu, Vice-Chancellor, Adikavi Nannaya University (AKNU), Dr. KVS N Raju, Vice-Principal, Sagi Ramakrishnam Raju Engineering College (SRKREC) and other dignitaries attended. NRDC-TISC has entered into Memorandums of Agreements for commercializing IP’s and technologies with three Universities–DSNLU located at Sabbavaram in Visakhapatnam, AKNU at Rajahmundry, and SRKREC at Bhimavaram and Kakinada. NRDC is engaged to broaden and strengthen the technology resource base by fostering long-term relationships with R&D organization, MSME’s, PSUs, academia, technical organizations, industries and also individual inventors. The MoA was signed and exchanged in between Dr. H. Purushotham on behalf of NRDC and Dr. V. Kesava Rao, Dr.Muttyalu Naidu and Dr. K. V. S. N. Raju.

This MoA will provide expert services in IPR management, Technology Transfer, training, Techno-commercial evaluation of technologies developed by faculties/students, linkages with research funding agencies, linking to Startup India Mission and other relevant services. The resource persons were represented from CIPAM & TISC and other Government of India organizations. This workshop was aimed to present in-depth knowledge on various IP search databases and enable navigation steps of searching for patent literature for finding out the state of the art of technologies. The programme highlighted the key concepts on patent search, providing visibility on various prominent Search Tools and Strategies. More than 130 participants have taken part from various MSMEs, Start-ups, Industries, Universities, Research institutes, Academia and other prospective entrepreneurs. – Courtesy

Interested and relevant stakeholders may view live video training workshop sessions ( Duration 2:46:30) on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIkJGwc0DdI

IITs to roll out more women civil and mechanical engineers

The New Indian Express | 01st July 2018 | Sumi Sukanya dutta |

NEW DELHI: The Indian Institutes of Technology are set to churn out more women civil and mechanical engineers as many of the 779 female-only seats, added this year, have been allocated to the two streams. With the Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA)—the seat allocation and managing authority for 23 IITs—coming up with the first round of seat allotments three days ago, about 250 female-only seats in all the institutes were offered in the civil and mechanical engineering streams. “It has been done because girl students often prefer computer, electric and electronic engineering over the two main engineering branches. But now we are giving them more options,” a senior JoSAA official said. “This happens because of the mindset that civil and mechanical engineering involves strenuous activities like handling machines and visiting construction sites. But it is far from the truth.” The most sought-after streams in the IITs are computer science and electrical engineering, followed by mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, engineering design, civil engineering, chemical engineering, metallurgy, biotechnology and naval architecture.

This year, at the behest of the Union Human Resources Development Ministry, the IITs were asked to create 779 supernumerary seats for women—in addition to the 11,279 seats on offer —to take their percentage at the undergraduate level to at least 14. Another JoSAA official said more seats were offered in these two streams to girl candidates to encourage them to become a part of the IIT system. “Very often girl candidates fill in few choices and fewer centres, and when they do not get courses of their choice they choose not to take admission. But this year we are offering them a plethora of options by creating seats in streams that were earlier not available at many IITs,” he said.  “We will also encourage them to go for the new courses during the counselling process.” Of the total number of students who took admission in IITs in 2017, the percentage of girls was a dismal 9.3. Following this, the government formed a committee of the Joint Admission Board of the IITs to suggest ways to improve the gender balance at the prestigious institutes. The panel, in its report submitted to the government, said about 3 lakh girls enrol in engineering programmes every year but only 8-9 per cent end up at the IITs. This prompted the ministry to set a target of enrolling about 20 per cent girls in the IITs by 2020. – Courtesy

Indian software engineering manager charged with insider trading in US

The Economic Times | PTI Jun 29, 2018 |

NEW YORK: An Indian software engineering manager in the US has been charged with trading on confidential information he received while creating a website for consumers impacted by a data breach. Sudhakar Reddy Bonthu, 44, is a citizen of India and a permanent resident of the US state of Georgia.  The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Bonthu committed securities fraud by engaging in illegal insider trading in the securities of information solutions and human resources company Equifax. Bonthu was an Equifax employee from September 2003 until March 2018. The SEC charged him with insider trading in advance of the company’s September 2017 announcement of a massive data breach that exposed Social Security numbers and other personal information of approximately 148 million US customers.

This is the second case the SEC has filed arising from the Equifax data breach. In March, SEC had charged former chief information officer of a US business unit of Equifax Jun Ying with insider trading. Beginning in September 2013, Bonthu was a Production Development Manager of Software Engineering in Equifax’s Global Consumer Solutions business unit. On March 12, 2018, his employment was terminated by Equifax and is currently unemployed. In a complaint filed in federal court in Atlanta yesterday, the SEC charged that Bonthu traded on confidential information he received while creating a website for consumers impacted by a data breach. According to the complaint, Bonthu was told the work was being done for an unnamed potential client, but based on information he received, he concluded that Equifax itself was the victim of the breach. The SEC alleges that Bonthu violated company policy when he traded on the non-public information by purchasing Equifax put options.

Less than a week later, after Equifax publicly announced the data breach and its stock declined nearly 14 per cent, Bonthu sold the put options and netted more than USD 75,000, a return of more than 3,500 per cent on his initial investment. Bonthu was terminated from Equifax in March after refusing to cooperate with an internal investigation into whether he had violated the company’s insider trading policy. “As we allege, Bonthu, who was entrusted with confidential information by his employer, misused that information to conclude that his company had suffered a massive data breach and then sought to illegally profit,” said Richard R Best, Director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office. “Corporate insiders simply cannot abuse their access to sensitive information and illegally enrich themselves,” Best said. In a parallel proceeding, the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia filed criminal charges against Bonthu. To settle the SEC’s civil charges, Bonthu has agreed to a permanent injunction and to return his allegedly ill-gotten gains plus interest. This settlement is subject to court approval. – Courtesy

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