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Universities demand autonomy before accountability

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The tussle between the universities and human resource development ministry over autonomy of the university system is not new.

As the government plans to fix accountability for universities in the New Education Policy (NEP), central and state level universities demand more autonomy for the universities before fixing accountability. In the North zone vice chancellors meet called by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) in Delhi, academicians also raised concern over the rapid and unplanned expansion in the higher education sector.The tussle between the universities and human resource development ministry over autonomy of the university system is not new. The universities hold the opinion that their autonomy should not be compromised in the quest for NEP. Making a reference to the government’s decision of introducing common syllabus across universities and painting them with the same brush, eminent legal scholar and former Delhi University VC Professor Upendra Baxi said, “Treating all universities as same violates the plural and the diverse character of the university system.” Baxi’s whose fight with the government over universities autonomy goes back to the time when late Arjun Singh was the HRD minister also added that if the government wants to make the universities accountable, it has to stop interfering with their autonomy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The meeting that was attended by 70 VCs from central and state universities also raised concern over HRD ministry’s pace of expansion and making announcement for establishing new universities. It is expected by 2030 every one in four student will be a graduate from India. “We are not against expansion of higher education. But it has to be well thought and above political influences. Government has been making announcements and opening new universities. But these universities are lacking basic facilities,” said professor Ranbir Singh, vice chancellor of National Law University. Singh is also the president of the AIU.Singh also added that government’s endeavour to open universities at remote locations has been a failure since good teaching faculty does not want to relocate to these places. “Any teacher would want to relocate to a place where his children get a good school, his family gets adequate health care facilities and there is a smart lifestyle attached to the city,” says Singh.To link academia to industry, the house also proposed setting up a University-Industry Council. Absence of adequate sharing and coordination between the university and industry leads to shelving of the important research work.This was the fourth of the five regional meetings of the AIU to discuss the challenges of higher education. The association will submit its report to the HRD ministry after the fifth conference scheduled in Mumbai early next year.

Dalit children murder: Mother fighting for life with burns on face, respiratory system

Her condition, the treating doctors said, was being monitored constantly.

The hospital authorities said that their two children, two-and-a-half year son, Vaibhav and 11-month-old girl Divya, were brought dead to the hospital.

PTI
The Dalit woman, Rekha, who suffered burns on her face and respiratory system, after some upper caste persons allegedly set her house afire while she was sleeping with her family in Faridabad, is fighting for her life in the ICU of the burn ward at Safdarjung Hospital here.Her condition, the treating doctors said, was being monitored constantly. “Rekha has suffered 25 per cent thermal burns which includes her face and respiratory region. She is admitted in ICU of the burn ward and her condition is being monitored by a team of doctors consistently,” said a senior doctor at the Safdarjung hospital. Her husband, Jitender, 31, has sustained ten per cent superficial burns on his hands and is out of danger. “He was treated on OPD basis and is non-serious,” the doctor said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The hospital authorities said that their two children, two-and-a-half year son, Vaibhav and 11-month-old girl Divya, were brought dead to the hospital. The shocking incident occurred at around 2.30 AM at Sunped village on the outskirts of Delhi when the attackers allegedly poured petrol from the window and set their house ablaze while the family was sleeping inside. A religious programme was being held nearby in the village at that time. 11 persons, including a father-son duo, have been booked on murder, rioting and other charges, a police spokesman said.

Namami Gange: Officials study polluted areas

The project for controlling and treating sewage pollutants that flow into River Ganga may face more delays under the Central government’s Clean Ganga project. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is in the process of identifying the most polluted stretches along the river’s 2,525 km length. This exercise, NMCG officials said, would help narrow down the pollution problem to help targeted setting up of sewage treatment plants. But the effort of narrowing down most polluted stretches may turn into a headache as they pass through several districts and most importantly, each district administration has to carry out ground truthing exercises.

The project for controlling and treating sewage pollutants that flow into River Ganga may face more delays under the Central government’s Clean Ganga project. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is in the process of identifying the most polluted stretches along the river’s 2,525 km length. This exercise, NMCG officials said, would help narrow down the pollution problem to help targeted setting up of sewage treatment plants. But the effort of narrowing down most polluted stretches may turn into a headache as they pass through several districts and most importantly, each district administration has to carry out ground truthing exercises.
<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> According to NMCG sources, nearly 50 stretches have been identified along Ganga with the help of Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping and the process is near completion. The real task though will begin when the satellite mapped stretches have to be demarcated on ground.
“Shifting of utilities, land acquisition and ironing inter-district issues are all time consuming activities while we move towards setting up of sewage treatment plants,” said an NMCG official on condition of anonymity. Along the Ganga, Kannauj to Varanasi is the most critically polluted stretch as more than 400 tanneries and equal number of industries discharge more than 3,000 million litres of effluents per day. This stretch also draws excessive water from the river for irrigation, power generation and drinking water. Apart from this stretch, in West Bengal, the Dakshineshwar, Garden Reach, Diamond Harbour and Uluberia areas also witness high pollution levels where more than 1,700 million litres of effluents is discharged per day.
NMCG said that the identification of critical stretches was important to also make the project cost-effective as sewage treatment plants are capital intensive. “Treating one MLD (million-litres per day) of sewage would roughly cost around Rs 4 – 5 crore. Earlier we were trying to focus on the entire sewerage network in urban areas, but we have realised that addressing pollution control will be more effective.” The NMCG is now awaiting for cabinet approval for Namami Gange, the flagship programme under the larger Clean Ganga project. The approval is expected in the coming days, sources said.

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