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Ramdev likely to skip JNU visit amidst students protest, university stands by invitation

The three-day convention– organised by the university’s Special Center for Sanskrit Studies in collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Sciences, Dartmouth, USA and the Center for Indic Studies, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth — began here on December 27. Ramdev has been invited to deliver the key-note address on December 30.

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Also ReadIndiaOdd-even formula: CNG cars to be given exemption stickers starting tomorrowIndiaAAP leader murdered in New Delhi, body dumped near swampIndiaAfter Congress mouthpiece says Sonia’s father had fascist link, party calls magazine ‘defunct’IndiaTreat citizens as your ‘boss’, Fadnavis tells policeIndiaDDCA row: No clean chit to Arun Jaitley, BJP begging for apology, says Arvind KejriwalIndiaCountry passing through crisis under NDA rule: Sachin Pilot <!– /.block –>

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Girl abducted outside her college in Gurgaon finally rescued after manhunt

The incident happened at around 9.45 am and eyewitnesses said that the girl was screaming for help.
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Also ReadIndiaGirl abducted outside her college in Gurgaon finally rescued after manhuntIndiaSexist comments against Smriti Irani: BJP demands Nilamoni Sendeka’s arrest, protest at Congress HQIndiaChristmas nightmare: When ‘Santa’ threw acid on a mother and child in KeralaIndiaCentre to allow bull taming sport ‘Jallikattu’IndiaJourno’s jottings 2015: When politics over beef claimed a life in DadriIndiaSheena Bora murder case: Peter Mukerjea’s judicial custody extended till January 11 <!– /.block –>

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Farmer suicides not political but socio-economic issue: Nitin Gadkari

Gadkari called for encouraging experiments in agriculture and use of technology to boost production. He also called for production of good quality seeds. Saying he did not trust government-controlled agricultural universities, he urged the SSES to work for the development of agricultural technology.

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Also ReadIndiaTrinamool Congress claims CPI(M)’s rally was a flop showIndiaHurriyat cautions against possible attempts to vitiate Indo-Pak peace processIndiaFormer Assam Congress minister makes comments against Smriti Irani; BJP to sueIndiaGujarat: 50 booked for rioting during funeral procession of Patel youthIndiaOdd-even formula: Delhi govt conducts trial run with 750 private busesIndiaHyerabad Police questions youths who allegedly wanted to join jihadi groups <!– /.block –>

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Hurriyat cautions against possible attempts to vitiate Indo-Pak peace process

“Any party or group that stands in the way of attempts to achieve peace are enemies of the people of South Asia. The leadership in India and Pakistan should invite and involve all the stakeholders – especially the people of Kashmir – to contribute and be a part of this process. The rabble-rousers should be reined in so that issues can be addressed and peace becomes the order of the day in the South Asian region,” he said.

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<!– /.block –>Former Assam Congress minister makes comments against Smriti Irani; BJP to sue <!– /.block –>
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Former Assam Congress minister makes comments against Smriti Irani; BJP to sue

Strongly condemning the remarks, Union Sports Minister and Assam unit BJP Chief Sarbananda Sonowal told reporters here that the party’s state unit will soon file a defamation case against him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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<!– /.block –>Gujarat: 50 booked for rioting during funeral procession of Patel youth <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaTrinamool Congress claims CPI(M)’s rally was a flop showIndiaHurriyat cautions against possible attempts to vitiate Indo-Pak peace processIndiaFormer Assam Congress minister makes comments against Smriti Irani; BJP to sueIndiaGujarat: 50 booked for rioting during funeral procession of Patel youthIndiaOdd-even formula: Delhi govt conducts trial run with 750 private busesIndiaHyerabad Police questions youths who allegedly wanted to join jihadi groups <!– /.block –>

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63 students failed in IITs in last session: Smriti Irani

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Out of the failed students 8 were from General category, 9 from OBC, 16 and 30 from Scheduled Caste (SC) and 16 from Scheduled Tribe (ST) category respectively.

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani
File Photo
PTI
Sixty-three students failed to secure the prescribed minimum grade in six Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) during 2014-15 session, Lok Sabha was informed on Monday. Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani provided this information in response to a written question in Lok Sabha about whether students have been expelled from various IITs on the ground of poor performance.”The IITs have a rigorous academic system that prescribes minimum grades to be obtained by the students for continuation in the IIT system. During the year 2014-15, a total of 63 students in undergraduate courses have failed to secure the prescribed minimum grade in 6 IITs,” Irani said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Out of the failed students 8 were from General category, 9 from OBC, 16 and 30 from Scheduled Caste (SC) and 16 from Scheduled Tribe (ST) category respectively.”The IIT Council has discussed the matter and implemented a system called Peer group Assisted Learning (PAL) to handhold students who are socially and educationally backward,” she added.In an unprecedented action by any IIT, the institute at Roorkee had in July this year expelled 73 students whose performance was not up to the mark after their first-year of the BTech programme. A group of 64 students had moved Uttarkhand High Court against the decision, but the court had upheld the institute’s decision.However, the institute reinstated the students in August this year as a “one-time measure” and said they will be on an academic probation throughout the year and have been re-admitted on strict conditions.The students were taken back on the condition that they will also have to repeat the year and will be bound to clear again all the courses of both autumn and spring semesters of the first year, besides maintaining a minimum attendance of 75 per cent in every subject.

All CBSE books to be available online for free: Smriti Irani

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The Minister said, NCERT books have already been made available online for free, through e-books and mobile applications a month-and-a-half ago.

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani

File Photo
Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani announced that all CBSE books and learning material will be made available online for free.Irani, who was inaugurating a new Kendriya Vidyalaya building in East Delhi, said the Centre will launch initiatives to help parents analyse performance of their child in Kendriya Vidyalayas from the next academic year.The Minister said, NCERT books have already been made available online for free, through e-books and mobile applications a month-and-a-half ago.Irani also asked officials in her ministry to organise Child Conventions, which would include interactions between children and professionals from various fields including defence. This will help students grow into good human beings, the minister said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Irani reiterated that the Centre will launch ‘Shaala Darpan’ and ‘Saransh’ services in Kendriya Vidyalayas in the next academic year. The ‘Shaala Darpan’ service is aimed at using SMS to keep parents informed about their wards’ attendance, time table and marks in exams.While ‘Saransh’ will help parents compare the subject-wise learning outcomes of their children, with others at the district, state and national levels.

CBSE books to be made available online for free: Smriti Irani

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At a function organised at a Kendriya Vidyalaya in east Delhi, Smriti Irani also said that initiatives would be undertaken to ensure holistic nurturing and improve learning outcomes at these schools.

PTI
All CBSE books and learning material will be made available online for free as part of the Centre’s good governance efforts, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said in New Delhi on Saturday. At a function organised at a Kendriya Vidyalaya in east Delhi, she also said that initiatives would be undertaken to ensure holistic nurturing and improve learning outcomes at these schools.”We made NCERT books available online for free through e-books and mobile applications a month-and-a-half ago. We are similarly going to make CBSE books available online along with additional learning material and videos as part of our good governance efforts,” Irani said at the inauguration of a new building of the school in Khichripur.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to the call by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia at the function that endeavours be made to ensure that children not only excel professionally but also become good human beings, Irani asked her ministry’s officials to organise ‘Baal Sabha’ (Child Conventions). These conventions will feature interactions between children and professionals from fields including defence to help the former grow into “good human beings”. Irani also reiterated that the Centre will launch ‘Shaala Darpan’ and ‘Saransh’ services (for Class I to Class XII students) in Kendriya Vidyalayas in the next academic year.The ‘Shaala Darpan’ service is aimed at using SMSes to keep parents informed about their wards’ attendance, time table and marks in exams while ‘Saransh’ will help parents compare the subject-wise learning outcomes of their children, with others at the district, state and national levels. Earlier, addressing the function, Sisodia stressed on the role of education in the lives of children.”You need to check whether you are doing better than yesterday. Are we behaving better than yesterday. The focus should be that if a child gets out of educational institutes 20 years later, he/she should pass out as a sensible person,” he said.The AAP leader urged schools to take the responsibility of turning children into good human beings.”When we read in newspapers about communal violence, rapes somewhere, then we feel we fell short somewhere. Hence, we will have to take responsibility. A person is giving us 20 years of his/her life. So, we will have to ensure we impress on him/her that it is equally important to be a good human being as to be a good engineer or other professional,” he said.East Delhi MP Maheish Girri also addressed the event, which was attended by senior HRD officials and local public representatives.

AAP v/s Jaitley: When Smriti Irani clashed with Sagarika Ghose over ‘blasphemy comments’

When Smriti Irani claimed that the accusations against Arun Jaitley were blasphemous, Sagarika Ghose felt that the word was too strong.

Staunchly defending Arun Jaitley, whose resignation has been sought by AAP and Congress for alleged financial bunglings in DDCA, BJP today asserted that it “resolutely stands behind” the finance minister who has an “impeccable” political record. After AAP launched a sharp attack on Jaitley, BJP fielded Smriti Irani to mount a counter attack in which she described the charges as a “blasphemous and preposterous campaign bordering on political hysteria” being created to deflect the public attention from a “corrupt officer” working with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She also quoted from Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) probe into DDCA affairs done during the UPA tenure to claim that it had given Jaitley a clean chit. “It is observed during the period under inspection that Arun Jaitley is the DDCA president presiding over (its) meetings like a non-executive chairman without involvement in the day to day affair of the company. “No incidents of fraud has been noticed during the course of investigation,” she said quoting from the report. ( AAP v/s Jaitley: Smriti Irani calls AAP’s comments blasphemous)”Today, BJP resolutely stands behind Arun Jaitley and publicly condemns the malicious intent of the Aam Aadmi Party to deflect public attention from a corrupt officer working with Arvind Kejriwal,” the Union Minister told a press conference. A probe done during the Congress tenure gave him a “clean chit” even though the party had used instruments of power to “corner” its leaders, she stressed. The demand of Congress now that Jaitley should resign exposes its political hypocrisy, she said, wondering if it was doing so to deflect attention from the Gandhi family. An unseemly slugfest has erupted between AAP and BJP after CBI raided Kejriwal’s principal secretary’s office on Tuesday with Kejriwal calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “coward and psychopath” and BJP hitting back. Showering praise on Jaitley, she said he had written his name in “golden letters in history” with his dedication and work and Kejriwal’s attempts to protect a corrupt officer amounted to abdicating the anti-corruption movement from which he had shot to limelight.Here’s the exchange that followed: With inputs from agencies

AAP v/s Jaitley: Smriti Irani slams AAP, says party running ‘blasphemous, preposterous’ campaign

HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday lashed out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for its allegations against Arun Jaitley, stating that the party was running a ‘blasphemous and preposterous campaign bordering on political hysteria’.

Smriti Irani

HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday lashed out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for its allegations against Arun Jaitley, stating that the party was running a ‘blasphemous and preposterous campaign bordering on political hysteria’.Slamming AAP, Irani said the report that AAP spokespersons had been citing on Thursday was not the result of an investigation by the party, but a report by the DDCA itself.”The BJP resolutely stands behind FM Arun Jaitley and condemns malicious attempt of AAP to deflect public attention from a corrupt officer,” she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had earlier hit out at the Central government for not allowing a probe into the alleged Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) scam, and demanded Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s resignation. Related Read: AAP alleges corruption in Delhi cricket, demands Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s resignationAddressing a press conference at the Constitution Club, AAP leader Kumar Vishwas alleged that the main objective of CBI raid at Delhi Secretariat and taking control of ACB was to prevent alleged graft in DDCA during Arun Jaitley’s tenure coming to light.Meanwhile, Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Aam Aadmi Party Government has been exposed by the Transparency International, and is hence trying to slam Jaitley on the issue of an alleged scam in the Delhi District and Cricket Association (DDCA).The Centre has backed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, saying he won’t be resigning from his post, and added that there won’t be any Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe against him, after the Congress Party alleged financial irregularities in the DDCA during his tenure as president of that sports body.

National Herald case: Smriti Irani calls Rahul Gandhi’s views an ‘insult’ to democracy

Irani, who had unsuccessfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls against Gandhi from Amethi constituency, said, courts in the country are “independent and there is no individual, who is bigger than the law.”

Smriti Irani
File Photo

Smriti Irani hit back at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his remark that the National Herald case is a “hundred per cent vendetta coming out of PMO”, saying there cannot be a bigger “insult” to country’s democracy than his views on it.Speaking during a media conference here, Irani also targeted Congress leaders over disruption in functioning of Parliament. “There cannot be a bigger insult to country’s democracy and judiciary. If he thinks country’s judiciary functions at someone’s instructions, then there can’t be a bigger insult of country’s court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The kind of comments Rahulji is making, the only message nation is getting is that if country’s law and judiciary don’t kneel before Gandhi family the Parliament will not be allowed to work,” she alleged. Irani, who had unsuccessfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls against Gandhi from Amethi constituency, said, courts in the country are “independent and there is no individual, who is bigger than the law.” On the issue of “intolerance”, Irani claimed, no one returned award if something went wrong during Congress’ regime.She added the foundation of the country’s democracy was in allowing one to express him/herself. “When someone asks me about tolerance, I say I am a Hindu woman, married to a Parsi. My children will not be Hindu, but Parsi. There can’t be bigger example I can give to the nation,” she said citing her own example. On another question, the minister maintained education will play an important role in curbing terrorism and said the government is taking efforts to see students from class IX to XII were exposed to socio-political happenings in the world.She also stressed the Centre is making efforts to increase standards of education imparted by government schools and also added that government is taking measures to strengthen base of country’s education system.Congress leaders, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul have been summoned by a Delhi court on December 19 on a complaint by BJP’s Subramanian Swamy against them, for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the now-defunct newspaper.Rahul Gandhi had on December 9 said that the National Herald case is “hundred per cent political vendetta coming out of PMO” but declared that he had full faith in the judiciary. “One hundred per cent political vendetta. Pure political vendetta coming out of PMO. It is their way of doing politics. Pure 100 per cent vendetta,” Gandhi had said.

AICTE has proceeded against 132 engineering institutions for violating norms: Government

This information was shared in the Lok Sabha by HRD minister Smriti Irani in a written reply to a member’s question

Smriti Irani

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in 2015-16 has proceeded against 132 private engineering institutions which failed to act on norms laid down by it, the government said on Monday. This information was shared in the Lok Sabha by HRD minister Smriti Irani in a written reply to a member’s question. 132 private engineering institutions, including 5 in the state of Rajasthan, which failed to fulfil the norms laid down by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have been proceeded against by AICTE in 2015-16 after issuing a show cause notice and considering their explanation, Irani said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The penal action ranged from reduction in seats in some and even closure of 87 colleges,” she added. Responding to another question, Irani said that as per information received from Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), there is no proposal to draft in some new persons to rewrite certain aspects of Indian history.

World’s largest practical science lesson attempted at IIT Delhi

The participating students, with excitement writ large on their faces, got a pep talk from Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan and Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani ahead of the lesson.

Vying for an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, 2000 students from schools across the national capital on assembled at the sprawling lawns of Indian Institute of Technology here to conduct ‘world’s largest practical science lesson’. Dressed in white lab-coats, the students streamed into a giant tent pitched by the administrative block in IIT-Delhi to take a shot at the world record for the highest number of students to conduct an experiment simultaneously at the same venue. Northern Ireland is the current record-holder with 1,339 students.The participating students, with excitement writ large on their faces, got a pep talk from Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan and Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani ahead of the lesson.Irani said that there are plans to have an even bigger ‘practical lesson’ in Delhi in the coming months, in which school students from across the country will participate. “We can have it in conjunction with the same team that did this programme today and have over 20,000 students participating. I am hoping that today’s programme has a catalytic effect on how we engage with the sciences and school and higher education,” she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the inauguration, the students collected numbered wristbands, displayed them for the camera when entering and took their seats at tables kitted out with graduated cylinders, tissue paper, gloves, droppers and other equipment. During the experiment they managed to together turn methylene blue “reddish-brown” and rapidly decompose hydrogen peroxide to produce foamy ropes as a part of the Elephant’s toothpaste reaction.The video recording and a report on the experiment will now be sent to the Guinness Book which will further evaluate the same and come up with results. The event was organized by Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA), an NGO, as part of the five-day India International Science Festival (IISF) at IIT being jointly organized by the Ministries of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.

Indian rules: Women educate ‘ignorant’ Smriti Irani

The unique protest against minister Smriti Irani’s declaration that women in India have complete freedom to decide what to wear or whom to meet.

Smriti Irani’s toothless Twitter salvo on journalist backfires

The HRD Minister, Smriti Irani seems to have hired a fixer who’s motto is that there is no bad publicity. She is in the news again as she raged on in a twitter war with a journalist.

Anubhuti Vishnoi from the The Economic Times bureau published a story on how the HRD minister has recommended over 5000 requests for admission to the Kendriya Vidyalaya chain of schools in the current academic year. The schools which look after the requirements of the children of transferable Central government employees, admit close to 1.5 lakh new students every year. The board of governors, according to the paper, decided to increase the admission quota for MPs to 10 per year from six, enabling 7900 seats to be filled through MP quotas.

The paper also reported more than a ‘four-fold jump from quota levels of her predecessors’. The writer tweeted this story, but little did she imagine that Smriti Irani would lock horns with her when she responded via twitter and said, “it is bcoz of journalists like u dat a reader like me has stopped subscribing to ET,”

She continued by tweeting, “All admissions r recorded as per requests frm MPs across parties+Bpl families. Ur source based lie as usual ignores facts,” and “I recognise ur source based agenda n have made public my contempt for it.” The minister finally generalised and said that “Two lines are ours and the rest of the story is yours”. While the reporter kept her cool and respectfully said that repeated calls were made to the ministry and there was no response, Irani continued tweeting that the story would have been biased anyway. The Internet is a cruel place and Irani got the worst of it as people tweeted in support of the writer and joined her in blaming the ministry for not being forthcoming with answers. While some Twitteratis took to making fun of her poor language use: “bcoz”, “ur”, “dat”.

Perhaps, Smriti Irani will think twice before launching an assault through Twitter.

Smriti Irani booed at summit after saying women in India not dictated over dressing

New Delhi: Women in India are not told what to wear and how to wear what, union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani said in New Delhi on Friday.

In a packed hall at the Women in the World Summit, India, the minister was booed by the audience after she made the statement saying: “Women in India are not told what to wear. They are not dictated how to wear any thing.”

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTIUnion HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTI

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTI

In the audience which included veteran journalists, filmmakers, civil society members, international figures like US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Irani was left spell-bounded to her statement.

While in conversation with media personality Tina Brown, she was asked about the growing intolerance issue in the country and the returning of awards, Irani resorted to the “freedom” of Indian women.

“I think that these challenges and push and pulls are part and parcel of each and every country in the world,” she said.

On being asked why she chose Bharatiya Janata Party as her career stream in politics, she said: “I am from a swayamsevak ideological family background, so I chose this party to begin my career with.”

Irani also mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi as being her biggest mentor.

“Modiji has trusted me a lot. He has helped me to look into my audacity in politics.”

IANS

Smriti Irani’s degree row: Court asks Election Commission, Delhi University to bring records

The court on June 24 had taken cognizance of the complaint which accused Irani of furnishing false information about her academic qualifications in the affidavits filed before the EC in 2004, 2011 and 2014.

Smriti Irani

The Election Commission and Delhi University (DU) were on Friday directed by a city court to bring the records of educational qualification of Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani against whom a complaint was filed for allegedly giving false information in affidavits to the poll panel.Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain allowed the plea of the complainant seeking a direction to the officials of EC and DU to bring records of Irani’s educational qualification after he said he was unable to place them before the court. “Keeping in view the grounds mentioned in the application, the plea to direct officials of the Election Commission and Delhi University to bring records is allowed,” the court said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It, however, declined the contention of complainant Ahmer Khan, a freelance writer, seeking direction to the CBSE to bring Irani’s class 10th and 12th records. “The plea to direct CBSE to bring records of class X and XII is declined as it is not under challenge. Put up the matter for pre-summoning evidence on March 16, 2016,” it said. The complainant had earlier claimed in court that Irani had deliberately given discrepant information about her educational qualification in affidavits filed before the poll panel and not given any clarification despite concerns being raised on the issue.Khan had alleged that Irani had knowingly furnished misleading information about her educational qualification in affidavits filed before EC and, a candidate deliberately giving incorrect details, can be punished under the provisions of IPC and under section 125A of Representation of the People Act (RPA). Section 125A of RPA deals with penalty for filing false affidavit and entails a jail term of upto six months or fine or both. The court on June 24 had taken cognizance of the complaint which accused Irani of furnishing false information about her academic qualifications in the affidavits filed before the EC in 2004, 2011 and 2014.The complainant had earlier claimed in court that in her affidavit for April 2004 Lok Sabha polls, Irani had said she completed her BA in 1996 from DU(School of Correspondence), whereas in another affidavit of July 11, 2011 to contest Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat, she had said her highest educational qualification was B.Com Part I from the School of Correspondence, DU.The complaint also alleged that in the affidavit filed for nomination of April 16, 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Irani said she had completed Bachelor of Commerce Part-I from School of Open Learning,

HRD minister Smriti Irani conveys Indian solidarity with France

Irani also placed a wreath at the Bataclan Theatre in honour of those who lost their lives in Friday’s deadly attacks which killed 129 people in Paris

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani paying tributes to the victims of terror attacks in Paris

PTI
India on Tuesday expressed solidarity with the people and government of France as Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani attended a major UNESCO forum here, days after the recent terror attacks in Paris.Irani also placed a wreath at the Bataclan Theatre in honour of those who lost their lives in Friday’s deadly attacks which killed 129 people in Paris. She is the first senior India leader to have visited France after the Paris terror attacks.Irani conveyed India’s solidarity with the French people and government in the wake of the attacks in Paris, in her address to the Leaders’ Forum at the UNESCO headquarters here. An official statement by the ministry said that Irani also reaffirmed India’s commitment to the ideals of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and recalled the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who in 1947 had expressed deep Indian interest in the organisation’s efforts to secure peace through educational and cultural activities.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Irani is on an official visit to the UNESCO headquarters. Her visit is coinciding with the ongoing 38th session of the UNESCO General Conference as well as the 70th anniversary celebrations of UNESCO. She also highlighted recent pioneering initiatives on education undertaken by the Indian government. She said India’s efforts are aimed at opening the windows of opportunity of education to all its citizens.To this end, India offered to partner with UNESCO towards collaborative knowledge sharing, which would assist all countries in their efforts towards achieving Agenda 2030 in a timely manner, the statement said. The minister also held a meeting with UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and discussed the full range of India’s cooperation with the organisation.She also paid homage at the statue of Shri Aurobindo located in the Japanese garden at UNESCO headquarters. Several heads of state and government are attending the forum which will also see an intervention by President Francois Hollande of host country France, the statement said.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani stresses on use of technology to strengthen school education system

The minister also felicitated all state education ministers for their efforts in fulfilling the Prime Minister’s vision of having toilets in each government school under the Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya campaign.

Union Minister for Human Resource Development , Smriti Irani launch smart apps e-pathshala, during the the National Conference on ICT in School Education, in New Delhi Saturday.

PTI
Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Saturday said that use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) would strengthen school education system.Speaking at ‘edNEXT – National Conference on ICT’ in School Education in New Delhi, she said education ministers of some of the states are working to reduce burden of exams on students.Earlier, she appreciated the efforts put in by education ministers of all states in achieving hundred percent result in constructing separate toilet for boys and girls in schools during a period of one year. She said it was an outcome of the announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India on August 15 last year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister also felicitated all state education ministers for their efforts in fulfilling the Prime Minister’s vision of having toilets in each government school under the Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya campaign. She also elaborated on paradigm shift where the stake holders were also asked to participate in the use of mobile apps tools and to find out the utility of these apps.Keeping in view the need to recognise the ICT initiatives being taken in the education sector, she made a clarion call to every citizen to come forward and contribute towards technology innovation for the benefit of school education. She also called upon the states to look into the issue of nutritional value of mid-day meal and prepare their own menu for mid-day meal keeping in mind the local climate and conditions.Prof. Ram Shankar Katheria, Minister of State for HRD, said the Prime Minister’s new initiative of Digital India would go a long way in ameliorating the prevailing poor conditions of our villages. He said concerted efforts of people across the country could find solution to varied problems, and stressed upon the need of digitalisation in school education.E-Pathshala, a web portal, which hosts educational resources for students, teachers, parents, researchers and educators, is available through especially-developed mobile app interface on Android, IOS and windows platforms for wider access and contains textbooks and other e-books as E-Pub 3.0 and Flipbooks in English, Hindi and Urdu.

HRD ministry decides to expand scope of non-NET fellowships

HRD ministry decided to expand the existing awards under the non-NET fellowships and guidelines will be developed for selection, coverage, award and administration to enable an enhancement of these grants.

HRD minister Smriti Irani had said that the Centre had directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to not discontinue the scheme.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has decided that it will expand the scope of the non-NET fellowships and bring the benefits of the scheme to a larger number of institutions including State Universities. Emphasising that the fellowships will not be discontinued, ministry officials said that a decision has been taken to expand the existing awards under the non-NET fellowships and guidelines will be developed for selection, coverage, award and administration to enable an enhancement of these grants.Officials said that in her interaction with students yesterday, HRD minister Smriti Irani had said that the Centre had directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to not discontinue the scheme. HRD Minister Smriti Irani had yesterday come out for a brief interaction with protesting students, who had marched up to Shastri Bhawan here, and reiterated the government’s stand that the fellowships will not be discontinued.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>UGC had resolved to discontinue the scheme of non-National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowship, which is provided to those undertaking research in Central universities across India, in a meeting held on October 7, citing shortage of resources.Students began protests against the move to scrap the non-NET fellowships, after which the government had last week appointed a five-member panel to review the research grants offered by UGC, which, meanwhile, has been asked to continue all existing grants.

Now, Smriti Irani-led HRD Ministry wants ICSE board to justify its existence

The ministry’s reminder to the council was apparently prompted by a notice from Delhi High Court on a petition filed by Jose Aikara, who was removed as chairman of the council in November last year.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani
Arijit Sen
dna
The HRD Ministry under Smriti Irani has asked the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), which conducts the ICSE and the ISC examinations to furnish reasons to justify its existence.According to a report in the Telegraph, the ministry last week asked the CISCE to immediately reply to a letter sent in December 2014 in which the council was asked to submit documents showing the government’s approval of the memorandum of association and rules and regulations of the council.Deputy education adviser to the HRD ministry DK Bhawsar had sent the letter last year, said the Telegraph. The ministry last week sent a reminder, asking the council to “expedite the matter and furnish the reply immediately”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The HRD Ministry has cited a court notice to justify the letter and the reminder. However, there seems to be some dissension within the ministry itself. A source told the Telegraph that the HRD Ministry was using the notice to nettle the CISCE, given that many of its schools are run by Christian managements.The ministry’s reminder to the council was apparently prompted by a notice from Delhi High Court on a petition filed by Jose Aikara, who was removed as chairman of the council in November last year. Aikara was removed following charges of financial irregularities and violation of rules. The matter is pending before the Delhi HC, says the Telegraph report.1.5 lakh students from 1900 schools in the country appeared for the ICSE examinations this year. 71,000 Class XII students from more than 900 schools took the Indian School Certificate (ISC) test earlier this year.The Ministry feels that immediately after getting the notice from the high court, officials hunted for records on the CISCE, but could not find any document that suggested it had been set up by an executive order of the government or Act of Parliament.

IUST convocation, to be attended by Smriti Irani, postponed following trucker’s death

On Saturday, a young MBA pass out, in his Facebook profile, had said he would not accept his degree at IUST from Irani as a protest against “diminishing freedoms” in the country.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who is also the Chancellor of the Islamic University of Science and Technology on Sunday ordered the postponement of the first its convocation in view of the tragic death of a truck conductor in an attack in Udhampur.Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani was scheduled to hand out degrees to passouts of the IUST at a function at the varsity campus at Awantipora in Pulwama district on Monday.The convocation was postponed by the Chief Minister in view of the death of truck conductor Zahid Rasool Bhat, who succumbed to his injuries today at Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, where he was undergoing treatment after being attacked by hooligans at Udhampur on October 9, an official spokesperson said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Saturday, a young MBA pass out, in his Facebook profile, had said he would not accept his degree at IUST from Irani as a protest against “diminishing freedoms” in the country. Read the story here: After Sahitya Akademi row, student refuses to accept MBA degree from Smriti Irani

dna Must Read at 11pm: Top 5 stories that are making news right now

Here are 5 top stories on dnaindia.com at 11pm.

The following quick read will take you through stories that are making news right now. ​1) Student from Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) refuses to accept his MBA degree from Union Minister Smriti Irani. Sameer Gojwari, who completed his MBA from the IUST in 2008, wrote on his Facebook page, “a protest against ‘diminishing freedoms’ in the country.” Read the full report here: After Sahitya Akademi row, student refuses to accept MBA degree from Smriti Irani<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>​2) Former Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn quits as head of holding company​Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is stepping down as head of a holding company that technically controls a majority in the German automaker, weeks after his resignation in the wake of the emissions-rigging scandal.​ Read more here. 3) PV Sindhu defeats Carolina Marin, reaches her maiden Super Series finalAce Indian shuttler P V Sindhu today made it to her maiden Super Series final with a stunning upset victory over reigning world champion Carolina Marin of Spain in the Denmark Open in Odense. Read our full report here. ​4) German mayoral candidate Henriette Reker stabbed in ‘racist, political’ attackHenriette Reker, an independent close to the ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) of Chancellor Angela Merkel, suffered serious wounds to the neck in the attack in the western city of Cologne, which is to elect its mayor on Sunday.​ To read the full report, click here. 5) Popular Tinkle characters Suppandi and Shambu are now online!Tinkle has launched a cartoon channel on YouTube with stories from Suppandi and Shambu.​ Read more here.

After Sahitya Akademi row, student refuses to accept MBA degree from Smriti Irani

The student belongs to Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) in Kashmir.
File Photo
AFP photo
A young MBA pass out has decided not to accept his degree at the first convocation of Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) in Kashmir from Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani as a protest against “diminishing freedoms” in the country.”Though, for a student, receiving a master’s degree is no less than any prestigious award. But on October 19, (the Convocation Day) I Sameer Gojwari won’t accept it,” Gojwari, who completed his MBA from the IUST in 2008, wrote on his Facebook page.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gojwari’s post came in response to unconfirmed reports that Irani will be giving out degrees to the pass outs of the IUST at the varsity’s first ever convocation on Monday.”When India’s writers are returning literary awards to protest diminishing freedoms and 41 writers across the country have given back most prestigious awards; unofficial reports say that Islamic University of Science & Technology on its 1st Convocation have chaired a Minister from Central Ministry #BJP, most likely Mrs Smriti Irani,” he said.The Union HRD minister is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of Central University Kashmir complex at Ganderbal on Tuesday.When India’s writers are returning literary awards to protest diminishing freedoms and 41 writers across the country…
Posted by Sameer Gojwari on Friday, October 16, 2015

Policy draft calls for 20% MP funds for education, social upliftment by institutions

Social services and spirituality will also be key components of the eduction policy. Apart from this, education institutions could be asked to adopt villages and participate in social upliftment, and the National Council for Teacher Education could be asked to make BEd a five-year programme.

HRD minister Smriti Irani

The draft of the National Education Policy (NEP) envisages a separate and permanent cadre for education on the lines of administrative, revenue, foreign and police services. As per the draft, being drawn up by the HRD ministry, MPs will be asked to contribute 20% of their funds to education.Social services and spirituality will also be key components of the eduction policy. Apart from this, education institutions could be asked to adopt villages and participate in social upliftment, and the National Council for Teacher Education could be asked to make BEd a five-year programme.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the consultation process now reaching the final stage, the government has initiated the drafting process.Setting up a separate cadre for teaching, ie taking education out from the hands of the bureaucracy, has been a long pending demand of academicians. The DS Kothari report on education commission of 1964-65 had also recommended setting up of a separate cadre for education on the lines of the IAS and IRS.”Suggestion for a separate academic cadre has come from several stakeholders,” said a ministry source.The ministry is also looking at the option of setting up a separate commission for education on the lines of the Election Commission of India. The HRD ministry is vetting the Hari Gautam Committee report that has recommended replacing the University Grant Commission with the National Higher Education Authority.”As the Authority will only be catering to higher education, the ministry has received suggestions to set up an autonomous commission, which would ensure autonomy to education institutions and facilitate appointments,” explained an officer.HRD minister Smriti Irani has hinted on removing the Right to Education clause of not holding back or expelling students till the completion of elementary education. The new education policy will give it a legal sanctity.RSS-affiliated education bodies have been lobbying with the government to make Std X board exams mandatory. HRD minister Smriti Irani, in a meeting of Central Advisory Board of Education this August, had also managed to bring states on board on the issue of re-introducing the Std X board exams. “We have started receiving letters from states extending their support for bringing back Std X board exams. The ministry is hopeful that this exam will be reintroduced and the ‘not holding back student’ clause will be removed next year,” added the official.Education activist and RSS idealogue Dinanath Batra said, “The current teachers training curriculum is absolutely hollow. No thought process has gone into it. Government should make teaching models more holistic.Students can’t be taught just from books, teachers should be made institutions in themselves.” He confirmed that he has made this suggestion to the ministry and hopes it will be considered.The ministry is likely to come up with its first draft by the end of this year. It is hoping to bring the Bill into the Parliament in the budget session.

Double foundation for Bihar varsity – first Meira Kumar, then Smriti Irani

“I had reminded her (Irani) at the IIM Bodh Gaya function that the foundation stone you are going to lay has already been laid by Meira Kumar,” said Bihar Education Minister PK Shahi. But she went ahead anyway, the Janata Dal leader said.

Some projects never get off the ground and some get twice lucky. Like the Central University of South Bihar (CUSB) in poll-bound Bihar’s Gaya town that has seen two foundation ceremonies in 17 months – first by then Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar in February 2014 and again by Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani who insisted on a second round during a recent visit.Irani was at Bodh Gaya on August 31 to inaugurate the academic session of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Gaya after which she laid the foundation stone of the university. Apparently intended to send a political message ahead of the state elections, this was just days before the model code of conduct came into force – and despite being told that Meira Kumar had already done so the previous year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I had reminded her (Irani) at the IIM Bodh Gaya function that the foundation stone you are going to lay has already been laid by Meira Kumar,” said Bihar Education Minister PK Shahi. But she went ahead anyway, the Janata Dal leader said.”She told me that the foundation stone had been laid by the previous government but no work has been done so far. I hope that now things will move at a faster pace,” Shahi told dna. Interestingly, both Meira Kumar, who was and continues to be the chancellor of the university, and Shahi were not invited for the function.”I attended the function when Meira Kumar laid the foundation stone. Probably that is why I was not invited to attend the ‘re-laying’ ceremony,” Shahi said.”I got to know about it only on the day it was happening,” the former speaker told dna. According to Vice Chancellor Harish Chand Rathore, Irani and Meira Kumar laid the foundation stones of two different parts of the building. “Meira Kumar had laid the foundation for the main campus. But a university campus has several buildings. Irani laid the foundation stone for seven buildings as part of phase two,” he said.But this explanation failed to impress many. Shahi said Irani’s move was a desperate attempt of the BJP to gain some poll mileage. “All this is just pre- poll gimmick. The BJP has nothing to offer to the people of Bihar,” he said. Whatever the explanation now, the university will now have two plaques – one by Meira Kumar and another by Smriti Irani – he said, taking a jibe at the HRD minister.

IITs to waive fees for physically-challenged students; hold off taking decision on fee hike

JAB had proposed a hike in fees from Rs 90,000 per annum to Rs 2.5 lakh.

A council headed by Smriti Irani decided to waive fees for physically-challenged students at IITs, a leading daily reports. In a meeting held on Tuesday, the council also held off on taking a decision on hiking fees at the 16 IITs.The council is a top government body comprising of the 16 IITs. A committee had been set up by the council to suggest a solution towards the proposal to hike the fees from Rs 90,000 per annum to Rs 2.5 lakh, report said. According to the report, the proposal of the fee hike had been made by the IIT’s joint admission board’s (JAB).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, the council approved JAB’s proposal to increase the number of students writing the JEE (Advanced) from 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh beginning 2016. There were 200 vacant seats in IITs in 2015.The report says a plan to mentor weaker students has also been approved by the council.

Smriti Irani calls for simplifying Sanskrit, making it a language of the masses

HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday made a strong pitch for promotion of Sanskrit and making it a language of the masses by simplifying it in schools and holding more research in the discipline.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani

HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday made a strong pitch for promotion of Sanskrit and making it a language of the masses by simplifying it in schools and holding more research in the discipline.The Union minister also said that as the Sanskrit is language of yoga, students from the discipline should exploit the growing interest for yoga world-wide.”All the Sanskrit universities should also generate yoga teachers,” she said. “If we want to make Sanskrit a language of the masses, it should be promoted in simple standard Sanskrit,” Irani said at the fifth convocation of the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan in Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The teaching of Sanskrit should be evolved with the contemporary requirements and modern technology be used in its promotion, she underlined, adding the course curriculum should also be “refined”.Utilising the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform and with the adoption of modern technology, the language can be promoted in the country and Sanskrit prose and dramas can be made available to students at minimal rates, she said.Talking about her vision for Sanskrit for the next ten years, Irani said each state should create at least two to three scholars in the discipline. “Teachers, who can impart the language in a simple way from the secondary to the higher education level, should be trained,” she said. The language should be re-established in Sanskrit schools, Sanskrit universities and Sanskrit departments, she said.Irani called on the Sanskrit scholars and students enrolled in Sanskrit institutes to think beyond teaching and explore career opportunities in other sectors as well. The minister also appealed to the Sanskrit scholars to engage and develop literature that reflects today’s society.More and more research should be conducted in the discipline so that it benefits the common man and is useful for the future of the country, she said. Laying stress on greater promotion of Sanskrit, the HRD Minister said if Sanskrit has to become a popular language there is a need to develop standard Sanskrit, otherwise it will remain only a language of a few scholars.Observing that the standard of Sanskrit teaching should also be improved, she said it should be taken to non-Sanskrit area of studies and standard of textbooks should be enhanced. Noting that BR Ambedkar had desired to make Sanskrit the national language, Irani said though the proposal did not go through in the Constituent Assembly, it was accepted in the Chapter 4 of the Constitution that for the usage of Hindi as the national language, the vocabulary should be drawn mainly from Sanskrit.She also laid stress on using the Internet to spread Sanskrit to every village and the furthest corners of the country. “Being the language of Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedanta, Sanskrit now spans across the world. Sanskrit belongs to all. This is a language that unites the country,” she said.Also Read: Sanskrit is the most useful language for science, technology, claims Rajnath SinghFor Sanskrit Diwas, DD News launches Facebook, Twitter accounts in Sanskrit

New draft education policy will be out by December: Smriti Irani

Efforts are underway to prepare the draft of a new education policy by December with involvement of people at the district level, Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani said on Saturday.

Smriti Irani

dna Research & Archives
Efforts are underway to prepare the draft of a new education policy by December with involvement of people at the district level, Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani said on Saturday.”Till now, education policies were prepared by some persons at the national level, but people at ground level were never asked,” she said. Irani said that on how new education policy should take shape, she was holding meetings with education minister of every state and district magistrates. The HRD Minister was speaking at a conclave organised by Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Till now plans were framed at national or state level. From education point of view if we prepare district-wise plan then the systemic change we want can be achieved,” she said.She said that there was a need to understand what people at the district level need.”I am going to request our institutions to revamp their curriculum and include technology learned in foreign countries in Indian institutions,” the Minister said. She said if students do not have much choice then it was natural they would think to study abroad.Irani said how education increases employability was a subject of discussion, but it should also be seen that what it means in the life of a man.”How our education increases employability has been a subject of discussion,” she said when asked about 23 lakh applicants, including PhD holders, applying for 368 posts of peon in Uttar Pradesh. She said what was the real meaning of education in life was also a matter which should be thought about.”So, for me while employability is a corner stone, it has been equally important for me as to what type of citizens we prepare,” she said.

Smriti Irani says not afraid of Congress’ notice, challenges Rahul Gandhi to put her behind bars

Union Human Resource and Development Minister (HRD) Smriti Irani on Sunday hit back at the Congress Party over the legal notice issued to her, saying she is not afraid and is ready to face 100 such notices for raising the voice of the people.

Union Human Resource and Development Minister (HRD) Smriti Irani on Sunday hit back at the Congress Party over the legal notice issued to her, saying she is not afraid and is ready to face 100 such notices for raising the voice of the people. “The Congress had issued a notice against me saying if I speak against the party and Gandhi family then they will take action against me,”said Irani while addressing a rally in Amethi.Also Read: UP Congress sends legal notice to Smriti Irani for ‘false’ allegations against Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “I want to tell the Congress Party that they should not consider the women of this country ‘weak’……. I welcome the Congress Party’s move to send me the notice because the truth will now be revealed here in Amethi. If I have been given a notice because I have raised the voice of people of Amethi then I am ready to accept 100 such notices,” she added.
The Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee had earlier issued a legal notice to Irani for her ‘false and malicious’ allegation that Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust has grabbed the land of farmers in Amethi. All India Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza on Sunday said that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi doesn’t need to send Union Human Resource and Development Minister (HRD) Smriti Irani behind the bars and added that the latter’s accusations were as fake as her degrees.”Rahul Gandhi needs not to send her to jail. It is her fake degrees and the law will ensure that she is behind bars and her accusation as far as land in Amethi is concerned of Rajiv Gandhi Trust, those accusations are as fake as her degree,” Oza told ANI.”She is trying to mislead the people of the country by making false accusations and for that she has received a notice,” she added.

Draft education policy may be announced by December: Smriti Irani

Smriti Irani presided over the North East Zonal Consultative Meeting in Agartala with the Education ministers and Education secretaries and other officials of the region.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti on Friday said the draft national education policy will be announced ‘hopefully’ by December.”For the first time, a collaborative effort has been taken from the grass root level to formulate the national education policy. We are talking to teachers, students, district magistrates and other sections of the society to formulate the policy. Hopefully, the first draft would be published in December,” Irani said. She presided over the North East Zonal Consultative Meeting here with the Education ministers and Education secretaries and other officials of the region.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, Education ministers of only Tripura, Manipur and Sikkim were present in the meeting, though representatives of all the states were at the meeting.During her visit to National Institute of Technology (NIT), Agartala, on Friday, she said a special meeting of the NITs of the North East would be convened soon to discuss their problems and opportunities for improvements. She also directed authorities of NIT Agartala to invite at least one foreign academician in the institute for delivering lectures at least for 15 daysAsking the institute to furnish a list of foreign academicians, who may be invited, to the ministry, Irani said, “The cost of travels of the academicians would be borne by the ministry and the lectures would be video recorded for future use by the students,” she added. She also stressed on the need for student exchange with other NITs of the country for benefit of the students.The HRD minister also met the Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.

Smriti Irani holds e-consultation with District Collectors of Northeast

Irani had earlier announced that the drafting of the new education policy would be completed by December this year.

Ahead of her visit to the North East tomorrow, HRD Minister Smriti Irani held consultation with the district collectors of the region on the new national education policy. “(Held) E-consultations with District Collectors of North Eastern States for the New Education Policy,” she tweeted tonight.The Minister would be travelling to Agartala tomorrow during which she is scheduled to hold deliberations with the state officials on the new policy. Irani had earlier announced that the drafting of the new education policy would be completed by December this year. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Irani’s tweet about e-consultations with DCs from NE statesAs part of her exhaustive consultation process with the states, Irani visited Kolkata on September 11, where she interacted with officials from the eastern state. She is scheduled to visit regions across the country during

NITs’ 2016 admissions may be based only JEE-Main scores

CBSE had failed to publish the JEE-Main ranking list on time for the counselling and blamed it on the delay by the state boards in submitting class XII marks. The ranks are decided after giving weightage to the class XII results.

Representational image.

Admissions to the NITs from next year could be based entirely on JEE-Main scores, with a government-appointed panel likely to recommend scrapping of weightage given to marks obtained in board examinations.”We would be recommending scrapping of weightages given to board marks,” Director of IIT Bombay and a member of the panel, Devang Khakhar, has said.A final decision on the issue could come early next month when HRD Minister Smriti Irani chairs a meeting of the NIT council, which would take a call on the committee’s recommendations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the existing policy, 40% weightage is given to board marks and 60 per cent to the JEE-Main score for admission to a National Institute of Technolgy (NITs).Official sources said the committee took into account several factors while deciding on its recommendations that included delays witnessed this year in the common counselling for admissions to the IITs and NITs.CBSE had failed to publish the JEE-Main ranking list on time for the counselling and blamed it on the delay by the state boards in submitting class XII marks. The ranks are decided after giving weightage to the class XII results.The delay had a cascading effect that led to the postponement of admissions to the IITs, causing anxiety among students and parents.A committee member said the reform in the JEE exams introduced by the erstwhile UPA government by giving weightage to the board results had failed to achieve the desired goals. “It was felt that the reform would put an end to the menace of coaching, but on the contrary, more students went for coaching to better their scores in board exams. Besides, attracting increased number of rural students into the premier technical institutes met with little success as the admission (rural:urban) ratio during the last three years remained practically unchanged at 30:70,” he said.While recommending scrapping of the weightage system, the panel is likely to suggest securing 60% marks or 70 percentile in class XII, whichever is lower, as a criteria for eligibility of a candidate to appear for the examination conducted for admissions to the premier technical institutes.

Gandhi family has done a lot for nation, says Hanumantha Rao

“Indira Gandhi sacrificed her life for country, even Rajiv ji,” he added.

Three generations of Gandhi family couldn’t fulfil aspirations of Amethi.

Congress leader V Hanumantha Rao on Sunday lashed out at Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani for her remarks on ‘Gandhi family’, saying that the family has done a lot for nation. “Every time she goes to Amethi, she wants to criticise Rahul Gandhi and Indira Gandhi family. I cannot understand why she is criticising….If it is Amit Shah or Narendra Modi, then we can reply… Earlier Sushma Swaraj used to criticise Gandhi family, now Amit Shah has given this work to Smriti Irani, it is not a new thing, we are ready to counter,” Rao said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This family has done a lot for this country, Indira Gandhi sacrificed her life for country, even Rajiv ji,” he added. Irani had earlier in the day lashed out at the Gandhi family for not fulfilling the aspirations of the people of Amethi. “The people were expecting railway line to Amethi, three generations of Gandhi family couldn’t fulfil it,” said Irani while addressing a rally in Amethi.

Smriti Irani takes jibe at Rahul Gandhi, says he can’t speak for even two minutes sans note

Taking a jibe at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his suit boot ki sarkar remark, Union Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani on Sunday said that the former couldn’t speak for even two minutes in the Parliament sans a note.

Taking a jibe at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his suit boot ki sarkar remark, Union Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani on Sunday said that the former couldn’t speak for even two minutes in the Parliament sans a note.Suit boot ki sarkar, 1:30 minute’s byte is easier than 1:30 hrs speech in the Parliament, Irani recalled her earlier statement, saying that she was right about it.Even for the two minutes address, which he (Rahul) made in the Parliament, he brought a note, she added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While addressing a rally in Amethi, she said, “The people were expecting railway line to Amethi, three generations of Gandhi family couldn’t fulfil it. On February 24, 2015, Rajiv Gandhi charitable trust bought 65 acres of farmer’s land. Who got the jobs,” she asked.Irani, who is presently on a visit to Amethi, will distribute insurance coverage money to 25,000 women.Irani had unsuccessfully contested against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi from the Amethi parliamentary constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.During a Parliament session in April, Gandhi launched an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying, “Your government is not listening to farmers. It is a government of industrialists. Aapki suit boot ki sarkar hai.”The snide remark was a reference to the fancy suit the Prime Minister wore, with his name on it, during US President Barack Obama’s India visit.

Smriti Irani seeks explanation from CBSE over spelling mistakes in congratulatory letter

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Friday sought an explanation from CBSE over the spelling mistakes in a congratulatory letter send on her behalf to a school teacher for the good results in the board exams.

Smriti Irani

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Friday sought an explanation from CBSE over the spelling mistakes in a congratulatory letter send on her behalf to a school teacher for the good results in the board exams.The letter sent by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) went viral soon after the teacher — Richa Kumar of DPS Bhilai — posted it in social media, prompting instant reactions from cross sections of the society. The Minister’s name is spelt incorrectly in Hindi as well as the words “minister” and “sansadhan (in Hindi)”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have sought an explanation from CBSE as there was spelling mistakes in some of the letters,” she told reporters. CBSE has apologised for the mistake.Stung by the errors, she also tweeted “would not mis spell my own name in Hindi. Have asked concerned organisation to give an explanation”.Congratulatory letters are sent by the HRD Minister every year to the top performers of CBSE board examinations as well as to teachers.”Thank you for congratulating me on the excellence I exemplify. However, having been a teacher for the last twenty years, your official letter head is an affront to my sensibilities as a Language teacher. The attached photographs are self explanatory. Please ensure that at least the people who work for you, in your ministry, are well educated,” Kumar said in her Facebook posting.

Youth Congress workers show black flags to Smriti Irani, arrested

Police said six Youth Congress workers were arrested and cases registered against them for waving black flags and attempting to block the Minister’s way when she arrived here for attending a function.

Smriti Irani

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A day after Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani hit out at Congress using the dynastic stick over Sushma Swaraj issue, a group of Youth Congress workers on Saturday waved black flag at her at the airport here. Police said six Youth Congress workers were arrested and cases registered against them for waving black flags and attempting to block the Minister’s way when she arrived here for attending a function. The workers, who raised slogans “go back”, were protesting her remarks against Congress President Sonia Gandhi, police said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Joining issue with Sonia Gandhi for her “theatrics” jibe against Swaraj, Irani had yesterday shot back asking if the Congress president wanted to say that Parliament had become a “theatre”.

Over 4,400 students dropped out of IITs, NITs in three years: HRD Minister Smriti Irani

New Delhi: Over 4,400 students dropped out of IITs and NITs in the last three years due to various reasons including “academic stress”, the government said on Thursday and assured that corrective actions have been initiated.

As many as 2,060 students dropped out from various Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) from 2012-13 to 2014-15, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani informed the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

During this three-year period, 2,352 students dropped out from the National Institutes of Technology (NITs).

“The reasons for dropouts may be attributed to shifting to other colleges/institutions, personal reasons, medical reasons, getting jobs during PG courses, inability to cope with academic stress etc,” Irani said in a written reply.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTIHRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTI

HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTI

In 2014-15, IITs witnessed 757 dropouts which was higher than 697 dropouts (2013-14) and 606 (2012-13). During this period, IIT Roorkee saw the highest number of dropouts at 228, followed by IIT Kharagpur (209) and IIT Delhi (169). Interestingly, there were no dropouts at IITs in Mandi, Jodhpur, Kanpur, Madras and Ropar during 2014-15 period.

There are 16 IITs and 30 NITs in the country.

Of the NITs, there were 717 dropouts in 2014-15, lower than 785 seen in the year-ago period. In 2012-13, the dropout numbers stood at 850.

Irani said there is a mechanism for helping students who are under stress. The government is committed to address issues related to academic stress, she added.

Listing out various initiatives that are in place to minimise dropouts at IITs, Irani said there is a guidance and counselling unit, headed by a faculty member. It works closely along with a number of faculty counsellors and advisors to “identify students facing emotional difficulties and guide them to professional counsellors for help”. Interestingly, while responding to a supplementary query on whether academic pressure is causing suicide by IIT students, Irani asserted this was “incorrect”.

Referring to the member, the Minister said his indication that “children in the IIT ecosystem and IIT family are committing suicides because they are unable to keep up with the pressure that the academic environment in the IIT has, is incorrect”.

Irani also assured that any challenge that IIT students present to the faculty within the IIT ecosystem would be met in a supportive fashion.

To another query, she said, “I had said that I contest the fact that there is no mechanism available within the IITs to address issues with regard to either academic stress” or that more problems are faced by children from weaker segments of society.

“I would like to firmly state here with all humility that to say that students do not take stress is not a statement that I made. I said that we have provided a mechanism that a student under stress within this eco system can approach and seek help and guidance from,” Irani noted.

She was responding to AIADMK member M Thambidurai, also the Deputy Speaker, who asked the Minister about the anomaly in the written and oral responses.

To a query about IIT Roorkee expelling 73 students last month for less academic scores, Irani said the IIT’s action was challenged in court. The court had upheld IITs’ right to ensure that academic performance, that the students themselves gave an undertaking to uphold, was met.

“IIT, Roorkee undertook an initiative to take these students back only if they yet again fulfill those academic standards that they gave an undertaking when they entered into the system,” she noted.

AIADMK member P Sundaram asked her about the issue at IIT, Chennai where students were apparently prevented from enriching their knowledge through forums like Periyar-Ambedkar Study Circle.

In response, Irani said in the case of IIT Chennai, it is the institution, the Academic Executive Council and the Students Council which has elected representatives of student bodies within the institution, that set benchmarks for activities undertaken by any individual within that campus.

PTI

DCW chief Swati Maliwal hits out at AAP’s Somnath Bharti, BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri and Congress’ Gurudas Kamar for sexist comments

The Chief of the Delhi Commission of Women spoke out against sexist comments made by various politicians.

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Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal has hit out at leaders from AAP, BJP and Congress for disrespecting women. She tweeted: “Somnath, Cong’s Kamat or BJP’s Bidhuri, my strong advice to all leaders from whichever party- Respect women! Disrespect won’t b tolerated!” Congress leader Gurudas Kamat had taken a shot at Smriti Irani when he mocked her background. He had said: “Her family’s financial condition was not good, therefore, she worked in a hotel in Versova. Since Smriti was only 10th pass, she used to mop floors.”Meanwhile, BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri also faced criticism for his sexist remarks against women in Parliament. Congress MP Ranjeet Ranjan officially lodged a complaint and was quoted saying: “He has been abusive with me at least three to four times earlier as well. There was this instance during the Budget speech discussion when I talked of the need to give benefits to single women and he turned around saying I should divorce my husband first and then such benefits can be given to me. Today also his jibes continued. I have been ignoring this for a while but he is using language against women that is unbecoming of an MP.”Meanwhile, Somnath Bharti, whose wife has accused him of domestic violence, was in the news after he made a comment about AAP taking over the Delhi Police. He had said: “I am fully confident that if Delhi government is given full freedom (over security), beautiful women will be able to go out even after midnight without any fear.” Later, he issued a clarification on Facebook that didn’t read much better, “I request media friends not to twist my statement: I have said ‘beautiful women laden with jewelries can (sic) travel at midnight fearlessly is the kind of benchmark one can measure security level at Delhi against, if AAP has police control’.” Exactly, how the jewellery bit improves the statement is something we are still trying to understand.

Congress leader Gurudas Kamat gets NCW notice for offensive remarks against Smriti Irani

Speaking in Rajasthan on Thursday, Kamat had referred to Irani as a “poncha lagane waali (cleaning woman)” while questioning the minister’s credentials to hold the charge of the education portfolio.

Congress leader Gurudas Kamat was on Saturday asked by the National Commission for Women to explain within a week his alleged offensive remarks against HRD minister Smriti Irani that have invited criticism.Speaking in Rajasthan on Thursday, Kamat had referred to Irani as a “poncha lagane waali (cleaning woman)” while questioning the minister’s credentials to hold the charge of the education portfolio.”We have sent a showcause notice to Gurudas Kamat over his remarks about Smriti Irani. We have asked him to reply in a week’s time,” said Lalitha Kumaramangalam, chairperson of the National Commission for Women.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While campaigning for local body elections in the BJP-ruled state, Kamat had said, “I am from Mumbai and I have seen her doing cleaning job in a hotel there”.”Her family’s financial condition was not good.Therefore, she worked in a hotel in Versova. Since, Smriti was only 10th pass, she cleaned tables in the hotel.” “There is a buzz everywhere that an uneducated sister has been elevated to the position of the education minister of this country,” Kamat had said.BJP leaders in Rajasthan had slammed Kamat’s remarks, saying such “shallow statements” reflect the desperation of the Congress.

IIM Bill prepared by panel headed by ex-IIM chairman, says Smriti Irani

According to IIM-A Director Ashish Nanda, the government, through the bill, has proposed some kind of control in almost every decision that the institutes take.

In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, Smriti Irani added that the draft that evolved through the process was put up for public comments.
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Amid a raging controversy over the draft IIM bill, government on Thursday said it was prepared by a committee headed by former chairman of IIM Trichy’s board of governors M Damodaran and finalised after considering the observations and suggestions of the IIMs.”The committee also included representatives of the IIMs. The draft prepared on the basis of the proposal of the committee was again circulated to the IIMs for consideration in August 2014. The observations and suggestions of the IIMs were considered and the draft was modified on that basis after going through inter-ministerial consulations process,” HRD Ministry Smriti Irani said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, she added that the draft that evolved through the process was put up for public comments. The opinions and suggestions of the stakeholders including the IIMs have been received and these “suggestions are being considered by the Ministry”, she said. Her reply came against the backdrop of vociferous opposition from IIM directors to the bill, contending it will compromise with the “autonomy” of the institutes.”We are deeply concerned that some provisions of the bill would seriously compromise the autonomy of the institute. We believe that this is an important bill for the future of management education and therefore requires critical review to ensure an optimal balance between autonomy and accountability of the institution,” IIM-Ahmedabad chairperson A M Naik had said in a letter to Irani last month.”If the bill turns out to be that a lot of decisions by the boards are subject to government approval, and the government has uniform norms, then that may or may not be best thing for certain IIMs,” said IIM Bangalore Director Sushil Vachani.According to IIM-A Director Ashish Nanda, the government, through the bill, has proposed some kind of control in almost every decision that the institutes take.”The draft bill proposes control of government in almost every matter such as selection of Chairman of board of Governors, fee structure, expenses, etc. They have covered almost everything from strategic to operational decisions,” Nanda said.

Irani meets St Stephen’s molestation victim, directs DU to give stipend, access to lab

New Delhi: HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday met the St Stephen’s College molestation victim and later asked Delhi University to ensure that the girl gets her stipend and unrestricted access to the lab, and that her research supervisor is immediately changed.

The research scholar of St Stephen’s College, who has accused a college professor of molesting her, met the minister, along with CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, during which the minister assured her of justice.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTI

HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTI

Following the meeting, the minister issued directives to Delhi University, to aid and support the girl.

“The minister has already intervened in the issue and has conveyed to the university that till the time the ICC completes its probe, it should ensure that the girl gets her stipend and has unrestricted access to the laboratory and that her research supervisor is immediately changed,” Karat told PTI.

“We took up the case with her and she said that she will categorically uphold the law against sexual harassment and will definitely take action to bring relief to the girl,” she said.

The victim had approached police last month, alleging that she was molested by Satish Kumar, an assistant professor in the college’s Chemistry Department.

She had also accused college principal Valson Thampu of “shielding” the teacher when the matter was reported to him. She had also made public a set of recordings which she claimed to have made during her meetings with the principal over the issue.

Taking cognizance of the entire matter, the HRD Ministry had sought an action taken report from Delhi University and St. Stephen’s College and asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to ensure that the investigation by the institution’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) is expedited.

The girl has, however, withdrawn her complaint from the ICC saying she has lost faith in its proceedings and therefore is seeking redress elsewhere.

The Delhi High Court had ordered a stay on the accused’s arrest till 17 August.

St Stephen’s College principal Thampu drew flak over the incident with repeated demands for his resignation from several quarters.

PTI

Yoga won’t be compulsory in Kendriya Vidyalayas, says Smriti Irani

New Delhi: Human Resource Development minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday said that yoga will not be treated as a mandatory subject for students in Kendriya Vidyalayas and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, though it has been made a part of physical activity programme in schools.

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTIUnion HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTI

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTI

Stating this in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, the minister said, “Yoga is not a compulsory subject in Kendriya Vidyalayas and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, though it is part of sports and physical activity in schools.” She was responding to a question in the Lower House whether the government has decided to make yoga mandatory in all central  government-run schools, including KVs and JNVs.

The ministry of AYUSH had yesterday said that “there are 15,962 schools affiliated to the CBSE who have already been advised to provide compulsory 40-45 minutes of physical activities or games to the students of Classes I-X every day.”

The minister had also said that students of Classes XI-XII should participate in physical activity/ games/mass physical training/yoga for at least two periods per week (90-120 minutes/ week),” it said based on the information provided by the HRD ministry.

Irani, in her reply, today said, “The syllabus on yoga from upper primary to secondary stage has been developed by NCERT and two books for yoga for upper primary and secondary stages were released during the celebration of International Yoga Day.”

Irani also said that National Council of Teacher Education has developed modules on yoga education for Diploma in Elementary Education,  Bachelor of Education and Master of Education programme.

PTI

Smriti Irani holds talks with RSS bodies on new education policy

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani is understood to have held deliberations with functionaries of some RSS-affiliated education bodies on Saturday as her ministry is in the midst of drafting a new education policy.

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani is understood to have held deliberations with functionaries of some RSS-affiliated education bodies on Saturday as her ministry is in the midst of drafting a new education policy.Sources said inputs were shared during the deliberation regarding the new education policy and about giving thrust to a revamped education system which instills nationalism, pride and ancient Indian values in modern education. The interaction came ahead of RSS’ three-day annual meeting in Nainital next week.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The meeting also assumes significance as education bodies have come out with resolutions in recent past supporting the promotion of Sanskrit and vedic values in course curriculum.The Bhartiya Shikshan Mandal, an RSS body, had in a draft outline on education last week had recommended that from classes 9 to 12, students should be taught mother tongue and a classical language which could be Sanskrit or other languages like Arabic, Persian, Latin or Greek etc.The draft titled ‘Bhartiya Education Outline’ also suggests that after eight years of primary education, student will have to “compulsorily” study one economic activity based subject for the next four years.In June, the Dinanath Batra-headed Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas had proposed introduction of vedic maths in schools across the country and sought effective implementation of the three-language formula in all states.It had favoured incorporating vedic maths along with regular mathematic courses in classes so as to improve the level of “competency” among students in the subject.”We have prepared a syllabus on vedic maths and have reached out to a few private schools across the country including a school in Delhi to impart it in classes,” the body’s secretary Atul Kothari had said.Meanwhile, slamming the current education system in the country for lacking “Indianness”, joint general secretary of RSS Krishna Gopal had said an education system should be such which connects students with their roots, their culture and provides an spiritual integration.The new national education policy, the consultation of which started in January this year, could be ready for consideration by the end of this year. The thrust of the Ministry is to reach out to all the stakeholders at the grassroot level to seek their views and suggestions during the consultation stage.

Mass failure in DU exam: Smriti Irani asks officials to enquire

“Have asked officers to enquire with DU,” she tweeted in response to the request of the student’s who took to social media to vent their ire.

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Sunday assured Delhi University students of that the officials will enquire with the varsity over mass failure in Sociology paper, triggering widespread resentment among the students.”Have asked officers to enquire with DU,” she tweeted in response to the request of the student’s who took to social media to vent their ire. At least 410 students of Delhi University colleges had failed in Sociology examination triggering protests.The aggrieved students staged protests at the office of Dean of Students’ Welfare’s (DSW), alleging discrepancies in result, error in evaluation and sought his intervention into the issue. While 250 out of 260 students of Shivaji college have failed the examination, 102 out of 120 Political (Hons) students at Laxmi Bai college, 38 out of 50 at Janki Devi Memorial college and 20 out of 25 at Keshav Mahavidyalya have also failed to clear the exam.Sociology in Contemporary India, is an interdisciplinary subject for honours’ students in these colleges.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The university had last week announced that it would waive off re-evaluation fee of over 400 students who have flunked the Sociology examination and assured a through probe into the issue. The students, all of them final-year students, are under panic as the result can hamper their further study plans.

Good politics, bad PR: PM Modi keeps maan ki baat on Lalit Modi scandal to himself

New Delhi: In the aftermath of the Sushma Swarna-inspired, Vasundhara Raje-supported Lalit Modi controversy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be seething with anger. But so far, he has done a pretty good job of hiding his emotions. In fact, some might argue that he has done it a bit too well — seeming detached — and that isn’t always a good thing.

With Modi’s Mann ki Baat being scheduled for 1100 am on Sunday morning, there was a hope that he would perhaps finally break the self-imposed silence on the issue but instead, towards the end of the talk show, he only took a jibe at all those who were expecting him to make a political statement by saying, ‘Don’t expect me to use the show to make big political statements… I do that everyday. Here I want to talk about things that are close to my heart.’

PM Narendra Modi. PTIPM Narendra Modi. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

One would have thought corruption, rather the urge to rid the country of it, was pretty close to the PM’s heart as well. Nevertheless, it gave the Congress more ammo to go after the PM — who has now been rechristened ‘Maun Modi.’ Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad “was disappointed” and held a press conference soon after the Prime Minister’s Mann ki Baat radio address calling him a “Merchant of Dreams” and nothing else.

“The biggest promise PM Shri Modi made was to bring back Black Money to India, we request the PM to keep his promise,” he said, “While the PM identifies himself as a world leader, talks about the world, did he write a letter to bring back Lalit Modi to India?”

Nabi further added: “Khud kiye tumne apnee deewaron ke suraag, ab koi jhaank ke dekhen to kyun shikayat kee?

So far, Modi has shown himself to be a master of PR. He wants to be in touch with things at the ground level, he tracks things on the net, he congratulates India’s achievers, he tweets out his thoughts, regularly airs his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and even launched a Narendra Modi app recently to speak to his countrymen directly. But what good is all of that when he hasn’t shown enough concern and anger about the biggest scandal his government has been hit by to date.

When Nestle and Maggi didn’t respond after the recent reports that lead and MSG were found in their noodles, experts termed their response as robotic and complacent, and it hit them hard. Can Modi’s response to the Sushma-Raje-Modi controversy be termed similarly poor?

Good PR would have meant Modi coming out and address all Indians, assuring them that there would be no cover-up; assuring them that he would root corruption out no matter how ‘big’ the guilty party is; assuring that impropriety isn’t proper by his standards. Even if he needed time to find out to figure out whether the documents are authentic, he should have been able to do that by now, it has been two weeks since the scandal first broke in India and even longer since the Sunday Times in UK first wrote about it.

Instead, his silence allowed the opposition parties and Indians in general to speculate.

Does he have something to lose? Why is he backtracking? What happened to all his promises? Is this transparency? All in all, it paints him in a not-too-pleasant light. Just a word from him and the opposition would have had no plank to stand on and it would have convinced everyone that we have a PM who isn’t all talk — at least when it comes to corruption.

As Firstpost editor R Jagannathan wrote, “The time to break the silence is at hand, and Modi should now speak up – and act.”

He also pointed out that though the PM can speak and act when it involves his own cabinet colleagues – Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani – he cannot do so in the case of Rajasthan CM. “In a federal polity, it is not the job of the PM to act against Chief ministers, who are independently elected and accountable to the electorate and the law separately. The fact that Raje belongs to his own party does not over-rule federalism. Just as the PM cannot act against Akhilesh Yadav for the unspeakable things happening in UP, or against Mamata Banerjee for the violence and scams in her state, he cannot do so against Vasundhara Raje either.”

Indeed, what might be bad PR may also be good politics. If Modi says anything at the moment, he is committing himself in the public eye and refusal to follow through will hit him hard. By not saying anything; by sending Sushma Swaraj out of the country, he is hoping that the storm will eventually blow over. There are big political advantages to this — if he acts against Sushma or Raje or Smriti Irani — he will show himself to be a man who takes no prisoners. That isn’t something that the allies of the NDA or even the other leaders in his party will take to very calmly.

Our political system isn’t going to clean itself overnight. It will leave many other ‘corrupt,’ ‘helpful’ leaders feeling nervous and that wouldn’t help the BJP or Modi greatly given that the Bihar elections are just around the corner.

On Saturday, Firstpost‘s Akshaya Mishra wrote, “while the party suffers loss of credibility, the only person who is likely to come out unscathed and stronger from the latest development is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. By letting the party to take a call on Vasundhara, he has separated himself from the matter. His Manmohan Singh-like silence may have invited ridicule from the media, but it actually does his image more good than bad.”

And while parts of that may be true, there is no doubt that if he had indeed promised to act then to many in India, he would have shown himself to be the true antithesis of the Congress and proved that their decision to vote him and the BJP to power was indeed a correct one. But for now, everyone lies in wait, hoping that at some point the anger will boil over.

Disclose FIR and charge sheet of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination: Central Information Commission

Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti informed Hemanta Panda from Bolangir district of Odisha that “No postmortem was performed as per the wishes of the family.”
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dna Research & Archives
The Central Information Commisison has directed the Union Home Ministry to make public the FIR and charge sheet filed by Delhi Police in connection with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948.The directives of the transparency panel came on a plea of one Hemanta Panda from Bolangir district of Odisha who had made a seven-point application to the Home Ministry seeking a copy of the FIR and charge sheet among other pieces of information including whether any post mortem was done as per law.The Ministry had forwarded the application to the National Archives of India, Director of Gandhi Smriti, formerly known as Birla House, where Gandhi spent his last days and was assassinated, and Darshan Samiti.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Archives of India informed Panda that he might visit its office to find out information required by him in keeping with the provisions of the Public Records Act, 1993 and Public Records Rules, 1997.Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti informed him that “No postmortem was performed as per the wishes of the family.” Panda was also informed by the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti that they do no have any information related to the FIR and the subsequent charge sheet filed in relation to the assassination.In its response, Gandhi Smriti said the investigation was carried out by Tughlak road Police Station which had registered the FIR after the murder.”The appellant insisted that he had sought the information from MHA and they should provide it to him. Accordingly, we direct the CPIO of MHA to make another search to see whether any information regarding point no. 1 (FIR and charge sheet), mentioned above, is available in that Ministry or with the Tughlak Road Police Station,” Information Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal said. Sabharwal said in case the information in question is not available in MHA or Tughlak Road Police Station, the CPIO of the Home Ministry will informa Panda in writing.”The above directives of the Commission should be carried out by the CPIO, MHA within 30 days of the receipt of the order, under intimation to the Commission,” he said.Sabharwal also said Panda is at liberty to avail himself of the facilities offered by the National Archives of India to consult their records. Gandhi was assassinated by Hindu right wing militant Nathuram Godse at Birla House on January 30, 1948 when the Mahatma was coming out to attend his daily prayer meeting.Gandhi succumbed to injuries at the Birla House. Gandhi, who fervently espoused Hindu-Muslim unity, had faced five unsuccessful attempts on his life since 1934 before being assassinated. Eight people including Godse were charged for the assassination.After a trial at a special court inside Red Fort, Godse and his accomplice Narayan Apte were sentenced to death, while remaining five were awarded life sentence. Vinayak Savarkar, also known as Veer Savarkar, was acquitted.

Degree row: Congress protests at Jantar Mantar, demands Smriti Irani’s resignation

“She should resign morally, instead of getting into legal fight,” Congress leader Kiran Walia said.

The Congress Party staged a protest at the Jantar Mantar here on Thursday against Union Human Resources and Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani for providing false information about her educational qualification to the Election Commission of India. “BJP should take action. Smriti Irani is the education minister and when Delhi University will conduct enquiry on her degree, then how can we be assured that the investigation will not be biased. That is why she must resign and that is our only demand,” Congress leader Ajay Maken told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “She should resign morally, instead of getting into legal fight,” Congress leader Kiran Walia said. A Delhi court yesterday took cognizance of a complaint filed against the latter for allegedly giving false information about her educational qualification. The trial court has fixed August 28 as the next date for recording pre-summoning evidence in the complaint filed against Irani.

Our ministers do not have to resign, it’s not Congress government, says Union Minister Rajnath Singh

While the Home Minister was dismissive of the demand of resignations, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad reasoned that the NDA ministers “do not do all that” was being done by ministers in the UPA government.
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PTI
The government rejected Congress demand for resignation of Union ministers Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani over ‘Lalitgate’ and ‘fake degree’ controversies on Wednesday, saying “our ministers do not do all that their (UPA’s) ministers used to do”.”Our ministers do not have to resign. This is not their (Congress’) government. This is NDA government,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh told reporters at the Cabinet briefing. He was asked how will the Monsoon session run smoothly as the Congress has been demanding resignation of at least three BJP ministers over the controversies.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress kept up its attack against the NDA dispensation, seeking the sacking of External Affairs Minister Swaraj from the Union Council of Ministers and resignation of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on the ‘Lalitgate’ issue.Besides, the party’s student wing NSUI on Wednesday held a protest outside Shastri Bhavan seeking “immediate resignation” of HRD Minister Smriti Irani, accusing her of holding “fake” degrees.While the Home Minister was dismissive of the demand of resignations, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad reasoned that the NDA ministers “do not do all that” was being done by ministers in the UPA government.”Let me add, our ministers do not do all that their (UPA’s) ministers used to do,” Prasad said, in an obvious reference to scandals during UPA era involving then Union Ministers.The remarks by the two senior ministers came a day after BJP MP R K Singh had struck a discordant note over Swaraj and Raje allegedly extending help to former IPL boss Lalit Modi, saying “any help to a fugitive is legally and morally wrong”.Singh’s strong comments were the first public criticism by a ruling party MP against the help extended to Modi by Swaraj and Raje, an issue which has snowballed into a major political controversy for the Narendra Modi government even though BJP has defended both the leaders.Swaraj and Raje have been facing flak from the Opposition for helping Modi in procuring travel documents in the UK.

Degree row: Congress says ‘serious discrepancy’ on Smriti Irani’s part; demands resignation

“Is it not conflict of interest that she remains Education Minister of country while the matter will be under Court’s jurisdiction?” Ajay Maken asked.
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The Congress Party on Wednesday asked Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani to immediately step down from her post after a Delhi court took cognizance of a complaint filed against the latter for allegedly giving false information about her educational qualification.Congress leader Ajay Maken in a press conference called the issue a ‘serious discrepancy’ on Smriti Irani’s part.”Smriti Irani ji has given different information regarding her educational qualifications in election affidavits. This is serious discrepancy. Court has found the matter cognisable, trial is going to start soon, the matter will be investigated. Is it not conflict of interest that she remains Education Minister of country while the matter will be under Court’s jurisdiction?” he asked.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza said, “Smriti Irani has misled the entire country and the Election Commission by giving different affidavits as far as her educational qualifications are concerned. She should immediately step down and a criminal FIR should be lodged against her.” “The court finds the case cognizable, Smriti Irani should be asked to step down for a fair probe,” added Congress leader Randeep Surjewala. Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Sudhindra Bhadoria also added that Irani has no moral right to continue in office. “Court has taken her degree case into cognizance. Smriti Irani has now no moral right to continue in office,” said Bhadoria. The trial court has fixed August 28, as the next date for recording pre-summoning evidence in the complaint filed against Irani.

Trouble for HRD Minister Smriti Irani: Delhi court to hear complaint over her degrees on 28 August

In fresh trouble for HRD Minister Smriti Irani, a Delhi court on Wednesday took cognizance of a complaint filed against her for allegedly giving false information about her educational qualification.

Court took cognizance of the complaint against HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTI

Court took cognizance of the complaint against HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTI

Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain took cognizance of the complaint and fixed the matter for recording of pre-summoning evidence on 28 August.

“It is held that the present complaint case is filed under limitation (of time). Cognizance is taken. The matter be now fixed for pre-summoning evidence on August 28,” the magistrate said.

“The court has taken cognizance. It has directed the complainant to prove his allegations,” Smriti Irani’s lawyer told reporters.

“Her educational qualifications are not false. There is no ambiguity. The court should not even have taken any cognizance of the complaint,” said the lawyer.

Irani’s lawyer also clarified that the HRD Minister had not been summoned in the case so far and no FIR had been registered against her

The complainant in the case, Ahmer Khan, said, “The court took our allegations very seriously. On 28 August, I will present evidence in the court. Then, summons to Smriti Irani will be issued.”

“This is not a personal victory. This is a victory for the people. Smriti Irani is accountable to the people. She will have to provide answers… In her affidavits, Smriti Irani gave wrong educational qualifications,” he said.

“It is not wrong to be illiterate. But giving wrong qualifications, especially after being the HRD Minister, isn’t right,” the complainant added.

The complaint filed by freelance writer Ahmer Khan alleged that Irani, in her three affidavits before the EC while filing nominations for her candidature for Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha polls, had purportedly given different details about her educational qualification.

Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain had on 1 June reserved the order on the plea after hearing arguments on the aspect of limitation and whether cognisance can be taken or not.

Senior advocate KK Manan, appearing for Khan, had told the court that in her affidavit for April 2004 Lok Sabha polls Irani had said that she completed her BA in 1996 from Delhi University (school of correspondence) whereas in another affidavit of July 11, 2011 for contesting Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat she said her highest educational qualification was B.Com part I from the School of Correspondence, DU.

The complaint had alleged that in the affidavit filed for nomination of 16 April, 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Irani said she had completed Bachelor of Commerce Part-I from School of Open Learning, DU.

“It is evident from the contents of the affidavits filed by Smriti Z Irani that at best only one of the depositions by her on oath in respect of her educational qualifications is correct,” the complaint had alleged.

“The aforesaid affidavits of Smriti Irani, apart from the ostensibly false and discrepant statements in respect of her educational qualifications, also appear to contain false discrepant statements in respect of immovable properties owned by her and other details set out by her,” it had claimed.

“The aforesaid facts and circumstances reveal commission of offences by accused under section 125A of Representation of People Act, 1951, besides any other offences that may attract other penal provisions as an outcome of an additional investigation,” the plea had alleged.

With PTI inputs

HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s degrees should be verified: Modi’s brother Prahlad

“Just as degrees of AAP MLA and former Delhi Minister Jitender Singh Tomar are being verified, a probe should be carried out into Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s degrees,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s younger brother Prahlad on Thursday said educational qualifications of HRD Minister Smriti Irani should be verified as being done in the case of former Delhi Law Minister Jitender Singh Tomar.Prahlad, vice-president of All India Fair Price Shop Dealers’ Federation (AIFPSDF), said this while interacting with reporters here.”Just as degrees of AAP MLA and former Delhi Minister Jitender Singh Tomar are being verified, a probe should be carried out into Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s degrees,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AAP and Congress have been demanding the Centre to probe the charges of false educational qualification against Irani.When asked about the row over help to tainted former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi by Union Minister Sushma Swaraj for travel documents, Prahlad said it was done on “humanitarian” grounds and the issue should not be unnecessarily hyped.On the issue of blackmoney stashed abroad, he said, “The central government is making all efforts. Blackmoney stashed in India is far more than that in foreign countries.” Suggesting that LPG cylinders should be supplied through ration shops, the AIFPSDF vice-president said, “Just as grocery is distributed from ration shops, LPG cylinders should also be supplied through them so that the income of such dealers increases and corruption gets checked.”

#DespiteBeingAWoman: Why invoke Indira Gandhi to counter Modi’s ‘praise’ for Hasina?

The truth is, far away from the comfortable fighting pit of Twitter, women are systematically made to suffer the consequences of being born with a uterus. And mostly we don’t fret over it. In fact, many of us go and dutifully ‘like’ pictures taken by friends on vacations – of Rajasthani women balancing multiple matkas on their heads as they trundle across the desert, or of women blowing into a chulha to stoke the fire or tea garden workers carrying babies in sacks tied to their backs as they pluck tea leaves. Before we quickly type in our ‘wows’ in the comments section, we mostly don’t think about what the picture really implies behind its National Geographic aesthetic. Women who have to travel miles to get drinking water, women who have to jeopardize their lungs to put a basic meal together, women who have no maternity leave or childcare in their lives. The world in which these women live, and everything they do, is indeed achieved ‘despite being a woman’. No hashtags are necessary.

When Narendra Modi, with his usual theatrical flourish, announced how amazing it was that Sheikh Hasina, ‘despite being a woman’ was resolved about fighting terrorism, he epitomized why being a woman continues to be such a challenge. It is because neither education, nor success, nor exposure to modern professional spaces can bust the many stereotypes that we nurse about women. And the lower we go down on the economy ladder, the gender roles become more defined and more unquestioned.

Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina. AFP.Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina. AFP.

Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina. AFP.

Modi was not being deliberately sexist. He was actually manifesting a more dangerous form of it – the kind when you think you’re actually praising a woman by saying, ‘OMG, a woman did this?’ Here the awe actually stems from the belief that women can’t do several things associated with men.

It is the same kind of subconscious sexism that spurred the editor of Aaj Tak to question how Smriti Irani could have been made the HRD minister. Curiously enough, on stage, the man was accompanied by a woman anchor who was asking as many questions as Ashok Singhal himself. For someone who presumably is used to seeing women working in similar professional spaces as men, Singhal showed that the country still nurses rampant stereotypes about gender.

A case in point is the hashtag that was started to chide Modi for the comment. Called #DespiteBeingAWoman, it was perhaps started to underline the misogyny underlining Modi’s comments. While some tweeters were able to see the irony of Modi’s comment about a woman who like him runs a country and has done so for longer and put out sarcastic tweets about daily chores with the hashtag, others took to expounding about many ‘successful’ women to make their point.

So there were tweets about Marie Curie, Indira Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Smriti Irani, pictures of women holding guns, quotes of African-American civil rights activist Rosa Parks, references to mathematician Shakuntala Devi.The underlying message seemed to be, look, a woman can be as good as a man. Ironically, at least in the clique of people who use Twitter, that should be a fact, not an argument. Saying, “Look, so and so won a Nobel Prize for Physics. And she is a woman.” is only a mild variation of, “OMG, she won a Nobel Prize for Physics? A woman?”

As we point at exceptionally successful women almost in defence of our worth, we actually suggest that being an ordinary Indian woman is of no consequence at all. It’s equivalent to saying that you have to be exceptionally good to match a man.

The question is, in this day and age, should we even point at exceptionally successful women to bolster the argument that men and women, most rationally, are intellectual equals? In fact, should we even grace ‘despite being a woman’ with a argument? Denounce it, yes. But explaining why, trying to arise to the defence of women by tabulating lists of women achievers credits those arguments and stereotypes with more intelligence than they deserve.

The fact that sexism thrives among the most educated and the so-called ‘elite’ too isn’t quite a secret. If you are a woman and a sports geek, you’re sure to have run into men, and women, who stare at you with wide admiration if you have an opinion on a football match. If you’re out smoking on the street, you have caught the disapproving uncle and the scandalised aunty staring at you for doing what men do. That uncle might be scandalised that a woman smokes on the street and Narendra Modi might be impressed that a woman fights terrorism but they both stem from the same stereotypes about what women can do in a men’s world. These reactions are not driven by logic, they come from the lack of it. Women do all kinds of things that men think is their province and some men need to just get used to it #DespiteBeingAMan.

Smriti Irani unveils plan to help parents to monitor wards in KV schools

Instant connect: To strike a cord with the audiences, minister shares her experience of being a mother

HRD minister and chairperson, KVS, Smriti Irani launching the KV Shaala Darpan for Kendriya Vidyalayas, in New Delhi on Friday. Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Upendra Kushwaha is also seen

PTI
Much against her usual arrogant and pretentious self, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani on Friday for a change shed her stereotyped cast. She was all an image of humility and modesty, while talking to school children, their parents and teachers. The occasion was launching of e-governance program Shala Darpan for the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghatan (KVS).Shala Darpan is an online portal meant to maintain an online data base of each student. From attendance to examination papers, study material, medical conditions and health challenges, everything will be recorded in the software for any reference. The portal, developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC) will also provide a parent-teacher interface and also help parents to regularly monitor their wards. They will also receive routine progress reports of their wards, besides the conduct during school hours.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Using satire and at times emotions, reminding audience she was also mother of two children, she was at best to connect with the audience. Referring to the software Shala Darpan helping the parents to monitor their wards on real time basis, she said her own children were too happy not studying in the Kendriya Vidhyalaya. “I can understand how important it is for a parent to get timely first hand information about performance of the child. Parents of these students will not have to wait for the parent teachers meeting day,” she added.But the minister was quick enough to put a word of caution for the parents, asking them to remind their own childhood, “I know what it means when a teacher writes a note in the dairy. The child wants to hide it first from the mother and then from the father. If the note has to be signed by the parent, many here might have tried to copy the signatures of our parents,” she added.The minister advised parents to take feedback in the positive spirit. “Shala Darpan will provide you with routine updates, if you get to know that the child was not performing well, don’t panic and don’t pressurise your child. In fact it will give you time to work on your child at home,” she explained.Irani called the program a step in the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of e-governance, good governance and digital India plan. She also said that four states have expressed their interests in having a similar software for their schools.

Controversies occurred because I challenged status quo in education sector: Smriti Irani

HRD Minister Smriti Irani, who has been dogged by controversies, on Saturday said this was happening as she was a “straight-talker” who challenged the status-quo in education sector which was being used as a source of “profit” by some people.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani, who has been dogged by controversies, on Saturday said this was happening as she was a “straight-talker” who challenged the status-quo in education sector which was being used as a source of “profit” by some people.Participating in a ‘talkathon’ with two other union ministers, Piyush Goyal and Nirmala Sitharaman, Irani also rejected the charge of saffronisation of education and listed a number of initiatives by her to “empower” students and parents in decision-making, wondering if that was “saffronisation”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I think if you challenge the status quo, then some people who are held accountable make some noises as they feel they are being challenged. They realise that jobs cannot be gotten merely on the basis of recommendation and cannot use a government institution to further their interest but will have to work in the interest of the nation.”When people, who had made the institutions a den and a medium of profit, see that a straight-talker has come and will insist on work…,” she said. She was asked about a host of controversies dogging her ministry in the first year of the Modi government.Rejecting the charge of saffronisation, she said she had already made a detailed statement in Parliament with full facts and wondered if steps like making books free online and involving students and parents as stake-holders in education amounted to saffronising it.Goyal also congratulated Irani for “changing the discourse” on education by challenging “entrenched interest” in the sector.Irani noted that education was not confined to educational institutions but was linked with the country’s future, tradition and culture as she spoke about measures being taken by her in which a few people sitting in Delhi were not deciding the education policy of the country.Talking about ‘Swayam’ portal initiative, India’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Irani said her ministry was working to ensure that educational resources reach every citizen and said some significant changes were expected in next six months.”Government is determined to ensure that resources reach every citizen and now we hope that citizens step up and take charge,” she said.”We are very soon going to fix learning outcomes of all classes. We have told schools to provide these to parents,” she said, adding that the ministry will also put it on its website so that parents can understand what is the learning outcome that is required.She said ever since the NDA government has come to power, there has not only been cooperative federalism in education but also a direct communication with people to decide the national education policy.Irani counted as one of her achievements involving people, village councils, districts and states in framing the national education policy which, she said, was earlier prepared by a select few in Delhi. “Now there is a transparent methodology.” The HRD Minister also claimed that unlike the previous UPA government, there is now inter-ministerial coordination. “This has also the hallmark of the new government, coordination among various ministries is also an achievement along with the communication.”She also said that one of the first mega projects, which was envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for her ministry would be setting up of national e-library in which central universities, IITs, IIMs and NCERT will pool in their resources.It would work in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture and also include data provided by the National Archives of India, she said. The ‘talkathon’ was part of government’s initiative to highlight its achievements during one year in office.This was the first time that three ministers took up people’s queries simultaneously during a talkathon session.’Only IIT Madras can revoke ban on APSC’Irani on Saturday also said the decision to revoke the ban imposed by Indian institute of Technology (IIT) Madras on Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) lies with the students’ council of the institution, and added that such a move cannot be taken on the basis of a ‘whim’ of a political organisation.Reacting to the NSUI’s demand to withdraw the ban on the APSC for allegedly criticizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Irani said, “The students’ council of IIT Madras decides what action has to be taken or what decision has to be taken. You cannot trample the rights of a democratically-elected student body in an institution just at the whim of a political organization.”On Friday, IIT Madras had justified its decision to ban the group, clarifying that the body was merely temporarily de-recognised for violating the guidelines of the institute.The institute had earlier de-recognised the APSC over an anonymous complaint to the Central government that it was trying to spread hatred towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies by distributing provocative pamphlets and posters in the campus, igniting a massive controversy.

PM’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ inspired by Rahul Gandhi’s youth dialogue: Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi

Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Sunday claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Man Ki Baat’ programme was inspired by Rahul Gandhi who started a dialogue with youths in 2004.

Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Sunday claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme was inspired by Rahul Gandhi who started a dialogue with youths in 2004.”It was Rahul Gandhi’s initiative to engage in dialogue with youths in 2004, which was copied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he came up with the idea of ‘Man Ki Baat’ radio programme. He did not do such thing when he was Gujarat chief minister,” Joshi said at a press conference here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She alleged that the programme has delivered no result and has failed in influencing people as they have now understood that the government has betrayed them.Speaking on the status of education and government’s work in the sector in the last year, Joshi accused HRD Minister Smriti Irani of “shattering” the education structure.”Instead of strengthening the educational structure, the HRD ministry under Smriti Irani has spent more time in demolishing institutions of prestige, downsizing motivated educationists and scholars because they want RSS ideologues to head such institutions,” Joshi said.

Kashmir govt seeks HRD minister Smriti Irani’s help in funds for rebuilding flood-ravaged schools

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Education Minister Naeem Akhtar on Monday met HRD Minister Smriti Irani in New Delhi and sought her intervention in expediting the release of special fund to rebuild the flood-hit infrastructure in education sector in the state.

HRD minister Smriti Irani. PTI

HRD minister Smriti Irani. PTI

The Vice-Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC), who visited the state recently for personal assessment of the damages, had submitted his recommendations to the HRD Ministry for special funding to rebuild the damaged infrastructure.

Akhtar said while educational institutions across the state were badly hit by devastating floods in September last year, the educational hub in the heart of Srinagar in particular had been the worst affected, said a release issued by the state government.

He said prestigious institutions in Sringaar like SP College, Amar Singh College, Women’s College MA Road, Degree College Bemina, College of Education, SP Higher Secondary School, Girls Higher Secondary School Kothibagh, Girls Higher Secondary School Amirakadal and others suffered massive damage to libraries, laboratories, furniture and other items.

Irani said she would be personally visiting the state to take an overall review of the education sector so that deficiencies in infrastructure and human resource are addressed comprehensively, the release said.

Akhtar also sought the intervention of the Union HRD Minister for speeding up the process for setting up the proposed IIT at Jammu so that the classes can be started from the current academic session.

He said the state government has already identified the site for the purpose.

He was accompanied by Minister of State for Education and Information Priya Sethi. He also urged the HRD Minister to expedite the release of funds under SSA so that not only the salaries of the aggrieved teachers are released, but infrastructure development is also speeded up in the crucial school education sector.

During their interaction, Irani assured the Minister of sanctioning more Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) and Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) for J&K to cover the uncovered districts.

Regarding making IIT Jammu functional, the Union Minister said that a team of officers from the Centre would be visiting Jammu soon to expedite the process for setting up of IIT, the state government release said.

PTI

I am a hard nut to crack, says HRD Minister Smriti Irani

“I am a hard nut to crack,” says HRD Minister Smriti Irani who also asserts that she is “too fat” to be cut to size.

“I am a hard nut to crack,” says HRD Minister Smriti Irani who also asserts that she is “too fat” to be cut to size.The 39-year-old minister, who is in the eye of many a controversy including being accused of saffronising education, dismisses sugestions that she was getting “isolated” and that her Ministry reports to RSS. “If you notice all the ariticles, a few cut and copy paste job. If you look at the articles, issues are more personal which makes me believe that politically when it comes to education…I am a hard nut to crack,” she told a private news channel. She was asked about views that she was not a political heavyweight and a women activist saying she would not trust her with jam and pickle ministry.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Irani said it was quite telling that from being a political non-entity, she was now someone that everybody was talking about. “That says a lot. May be because the status quo is being challenged. I am of the opinion that the education sector has become a matter of political friction. In the last 10 months there is a political consensus emerging. That rattles a lot of people,” she said. Asked if she was feeling victimised, the minister said, “I have never cried martyr. I have never played the victim card and I wont do it today as well.”When told if she was being isolated from the party, she said “I don’t think so”. Asked about her exclusion from the BJP national executive, Irani said, “I am not a decision maker. I am a party worker. My responsibility to the position I hold is to ensure that within the constitutional framework I fulfill my obligations”. “Are you being cut to size,” she was asked. “I don’t think so. I am too fat for that,” she replied.To a question whether there was a move to undercut her, Irani said she did not think so. “I do not think so. My Prime Minister won the elections on good governance. He gives me a responsibility as the HRD Minister. I am fulfilling the responsibilities to the best of my abilities. My performance in Parliament is for the entire nation to see and judge. Its my boss who judges me, for my party to judge. I am still doing OK.”Queried about allegations of saffronisation of education, she said the education sector will be within the constitutional framework of the country. “How wrong is that”. She was asked about a belief that her ministry reports to RSS. She said “no, it does not.”

Court to hear complaint against Smriti Irani for allegedly giving false educational information

The complainant alleged that in another affidavit of April 16, 2014 filed by her for the Lok Sabha polls, it was said that she was a Bachelor of Commerce Part-I from the School of Open Learning, DU.
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A Delhi court will hear on April 25 a private complaint filed against Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani for allegedly giving “false” information about her educational qualification in her affidavits filed with the Election Commission of India.The petition came up before Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain who fixed it for hearing on April 25. The complaint filed by Ahmer Khan, a freelancer, alleged that in an April 2004 affidavit filed by Irani for the Lok Sabha elections, it was stated that she has completed her BA in 1996 from Delhi University (school of correspondence).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It claimed that in another affidavit of July 11, 2011 by Irani for election on Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat, it was stated that her highest educational qualification was B.Com part I from the School of Correspondence, DU.The complainant alleged that in another affidavit of April 16, 2014 filed by her for the Lok Sabha polls, it was said that she was a Bachelor of Commerce Part-I from the School of Open Learning, DU.”It is evident from the contents of the affidavits filed by Smriti Irani that at best, only one of the depositions by her on oath in respect of her educational qualifications is correct,” the plea claimed. It alleged that she had given “false information” about her educational qualifications in the affidavits.It further said, “the aforesaid affidavits of Smriti Z Irani, apart from the ostensibly false and discrepant statements in respect of her educational qualifications, also appear to contain false/ discrepant statements in respect of immovable properties owned by her, and other details set out by her.””The aforesaid facts and circumstances reveal commission of offences by the accused under section 125A of the Representation of People Act, 1951, besides any other offences that may attract other penal provisions as an outcome of an additional investigation,” the plea said.It requested the court to take cognisance of the offences alleged in the plea and summon Irani for trial.

Smriti’s record may be in doubt, but Outlook’s hit-job is sexist, hypocritical

“How an actress who has faced the biggest of television cameras of all sizes and shapes could get so rattled by a pinhole CCTV eye, we will never know.”

Those are the opening lines of an article on how bureaucrats are quitting the human resource development ministry in droves, fed up with their minister, Smriti Z Irani’s high-handed ways. This is one of five articles that form part of a cover story package in Outlook on the fading fortunes of Irani.

For those who’ve just crawled out from under a rock, the reference to the CCTV is the furore over Irani spotting a camera in a Fabindia outlet in Goa that was placed in a manner that could, she alleged, see into trial rooms.

Let us keep Irani aside for a minute.

Union HRD minister Smriti Irani. ReutersUnion HRD minister Smriti Irani. Reuters

Union HRD minister Smriti Irani. Reuters

There is still some difference of opinion about whether the camera was actually positioned to look into the trial rooms. Another story which is part of the cover package makes this point and hints that the controversy may have been an attention-grabbing gimmick by Irani. That’s a point to consider – though debatable. But the author of this wonderful opening line is not taking this line. The sentence is about why Irani should kick up a kerfuffle over the camera regardless of its positioning, since she should be used to facing cameras. So a woman who is or has been an actress does not have the right to privacy, not even when she is trying on clothes?

The sentence is a telling comment about what the writer – and the magazine, since the sentence was allowed to pass – think of both women and the acting profession. Note that this is not the author quoting some fuddy-duddy conservative. It is his line. Why then outrage over Sanjay Nirupam asking Irani, “aap to TV par thumke lagati thi, aaj chunaavi vishleshak ban gayi hain (you were dancing on TV and now you are an election analyst)?” Or over Sushilkumar Shinde talking down to Jaya Bachchan, when she intervened to speak on violence in Assam: “This is serious stuff and not a filmy subject”?

But wait. When Deepika Padukone took down a leading daily for publishing a picture of her cleavage taken by an awkwardly positioned camera, Outlook carried articles which were largely supportive of her stand and bemoaned the sexism and misogyny actresses faced. One of them is linked here.

So it’s okay – even laudable – if Padukone protests about the way a picture about her body is used, but it is not okay for Irani to kick up a fuss about a dodgily-placed CCTV camera?

Let us bring Irani back into the picture now.

If what was all right for Padukone to do is not all right for Irani to do, then clearly there is something more at play here. The cover package is a hatchet-job on Irani. Now it is perfectly within Outlook’s right to do hatchet jobs or puff jobs on anyone. All newspapers and magazines are doing that all the time. Irani has not exactly excelled in her stint as HRD minister and perhaps warranted a negative story. But was there no anecdote relating to her rather bad stint in the ministry to show “how quickly Smriti Irani has squandered away the goodwill in her 10 months as helmswoman of a most crucial ministry”? Was such a sexist and personal comment warranted in an article about her professional record, which otherwise acknowledges the constraints she is functioning under? Is this the extent to which we as a profession will go when we do negative stories?

This anything-is-game approach is actually very selective. I was widely applauded by other journalists for a blog post I wrote in 2011 on media speculation about the state of Omar Abdullah’s marriage. Yet, many of these very journalists found nothing wrong in Narendra Modi’s marriage being made an issue before the 2014 elections and even after. His suitability for the post of prime minister should have depended purely on his chief ministerial record and yet there were numerous stories and endless speculation about the circumstances of his marriage and the consequent `abandonment’ of his wife.

This started well before he filed his election affidavit in which he mentioned his wife for the first time (since it became mandatory to do so). This was the only public aspect of the whole matter – that he had not mentioned her in earlier affidavits. The media, however, was silent on other politicians with two wives who mention only one of them in their election affidavits. The raking up of Modi’s personal life has not stopped – an editorial on Barrack Obama’s visit to put in a despairing line contrasting the two leaders on their marital life. Was there nothing else to criticise about the visit or about Modi’s record as prime minister?

This obsession with Modi’s marriage – a very personal matter – contrasts sharply the deafening silence the media maintained on Sonia Gandhi’s health when, as UPA chairperson, she suddenly went abroad for surgery. The Hindu (and Firstpost) were among a few publications which questioned the secrecy surrounding her illness. It was not a purely personal matter given the position she then held. There are other politicians with deeply problematic personal lives, which influence their professional conduct in some cases. All this is well known to journalists, but this is never hinted at, let alone written about.

Why is it okay for the media to dredge up personal matters of one politician’s life and keep quiet about another? What is the litmus test to decide that one person’s private life is public business and another’s public life is private business? These are questions the media will have to answer if it is to retain the last dregs of its already strained credibility.

Apparently, the opening line of the Outlook article has been doing the rounds on Twitter since Saturday. And still, till the time of writing this, friends who are on Twitter (I am not) say there has been no condemnation/criticism of this by any of the big names in journalism who are on Twitter. Outrage when journalists are called presstitutes and bazaru is immediate and sustained. But there is not a squeak of protest or admonishment when journalists indulge in personal attacks while writing on a minister’s performance, when they apply double standards in writing on people’s personal lives. Is that fair?

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