Gujarat Education News

Gujarat’s bond with Modi has grown stronger because of his work… will help BJP win again: Amit Shah
Times of India | 1 day ago | |
Times of India
1 day ago | |

Union home minister Amit Shah, who has been campaigning extensively in Gujarat, is confident that the performance of successive BJP governments in the state and the growing affection for Prime Minister Narendra Modi will help BJP score an easy win there. In an exclusive conversation with TOI’s Diwakar and Akhilesh Singh on the campaign trail, he dismissed AAP’s challenge as exaggerated, insisting that Congress continues to be the main challenger but is headed for yet another defeat. Excerpts:What is your assessment on the Gujarat elections?■ The BJP is on a very strong wicket. We shall break all our past records – be it the number of seats or vote percentage – and come to office once again with a thumping majority. You recorded your highest tally – 127 – and highest vote share – 49. 85% – in 2002, the first election fought under Narendra Modi as CM. You hope to surpass that after having been in office for 27 long years?■ Yes. BJP had expressed similar confidence the last time but things did not turn out that way. Congress gave you a real scare and your tally dropped to 99…■ The last polls were an aberration. They were held in the shadow of three intense caste-based movements backed by Congress, which had, working through NGOs it funded, stealthily prepared the background for two years for the campaigns to create divisions among castes. The trick worked in the immediate run and had an impact on elections. But the antagonism that was manufactured and introduced in Gujarat was alien to Gujarat’s ethos. People quickly saw through the divide-and-win game plan. As a result, we won all the 26 Lok Sabha seats just two years later. BJP has since won most of the elections in the state. We hold 90% of seats in local body polls. Today, the party is in office in all districts and all municipal corporations. This clearly shows that the impact of the divisive politics that Congress introduced has worn off. What happened in 2017 was an exception, it could never be the norm in Gujarat. What else has changed since 2017 to make you so confident?■ A lot of issues that BJP consistently raised since its Jana Sangh days in the 1950s, and which resonated with large sections in Gujarat, have been resolved by Narendra Modi’s government. The end of the special status for J&K, removal of Section 35A, construction of Ram Mandir, ban on triple talaq, and beginning of the process to enact a Uniform Civil Code by setting up a committee and initiatingtalks: all this has found huge traction with the voter here. There is also appreciation of the Modi government’s effective management of Covid-19. Administering 230 crore doses of vaccines is no small feat and this is acknowledged by the people. Then, we have also ensured food security for 80 crore people who had lost their jobs and means of livelihood during the two years of the pandemic. All this has positively impacted the voter in Gujarat. I have personally sensed this on the ground. Our economy is stronger today and we have jumped from 11th to 5th spot in the ranking of global economies. This has also created a favourable impact for the BJP in a state like Gujarat where commerce and industry matters a lot and which is home to a large number of MSMEs. Few will dispute your success in turning Gujarat into a laboratory of your ideology. PM Modi’s popularity is obviously a big factor, while BJP’s organisation here is a well-oiled machine. Your advantages are evident. But what about the fatigue factor and the inevitable yearning for change? It felled the once-powerful CPM government in West Bengal.■ Yes, change is inevitable. It is the way of life and nobody can stop it from happening. But a party can also evolve to accommodate the desire for change. BJP consistently innovates and adapts to accommodate the yearning for change. In fact, the party has very often been the trigger for change. We keep carrying out changes. This gives people the confidence that the party is alive to their aspirations. Why would they seek to change a government which keeps improvising and innovating to satisfy their changing needs? So, you claim the BJP, despite being in power for close to three decades, is still seen as a change agent?■ Yes. BJP is a living organism, it keeps changing. That is what every party needs to do in order to be relevant, in order to survive. Our foundational beliefs never change, but our manner of working keeps changing according to the needs of the people. Our governments also keep innovating and have carried out multi-dimensional and dynamic changes in order to be more effective. Did you drop Vijay Rupani for the same reason?■ No. After Narendrabhai, we have had three chief ministers in Gujarat. First was Anandiben. We have a rule in our party that a member can be a part of electoral politics until the age of 75. And, accordingly, Anandiben was relieved from her post when she was 74 years and 10 months old. She has now been tasked with a different responsibility. … Vijaybhai also completed his five years. Then came Bhupendrabhai. We are fighting elections under his leadership and he will continue as the CM after the polls. We don’t dump people. There is always uncertainty on whether BJP will continue with the incumbent after the polls. In some cases, you did not declare your choice before the polls while faces were projected in other instances. What has Bhupendra Patel, a first-term MLA, done in such a short time that BJP has decided to retain him in the job and the Narendra-Bhupendra combo is being projected as the double engine of growth?■ In the one to one-and-ahalf years that he has been in office, Bhupendrabhai has followed all the norms that Narendrabhai had set. He has speeded up Gujarat’s development while upholding the party’s ideology. The results of his work can already be seen; even at the grassroots level. Gujarat’s share in overall exports has risen to 30%. Among the states, it has the largest share of MSMEs and startups registered in the past one year. It has successfully implemented the ‘One nation, one ration card’ scheme. The soft-spoken CM has also displayed firmness in dealing with illegal encroachments. And, there has been no controversy about him. Would you agree that playing the challenger is easier? When you are the incumbent, you are forced to play defence.■ As I had told TOI at the time of the UP polls, antiincumbency is relative. It does not apply to all situations and is dependent on how you have performed in office. We have seen parties winning polls because of pro-incumbency sentiments that their performance generated. And with the type of governance we have provided in Gujarat – 24-hour electricity in every house, road connectivity, business investment, FDI, and high export volume – we have no reason to fear anti-incumbency. The term anti-incumbency was coined during Congress rule for its listless performance. However, under BJP, we have seen the emergence of the concept of ‘pro-incumbency’ and that is the dominant sentiment in Gujarat. Isn’t the Morbi disaster a blot on the state’s performance?■ It was a heart-wrenching tragedy. We all – from PM Narendra Modi to the grassroots BJP worker – feel very sad for the victims. However, we shouldn’t rush to a conclusion just because an election is underway. An administrative inquiry is going on. The high court has also taken cognisance and asked Gujarat Human Rights Commission to look into the matter. The Supreme Court is also cognisant and has shifted all petitions to the HC. Let us wait for the HC’s order. I can assure you that the Gujarat government will accept whatever decision the court takes. There is something puzzling about your campaign. Congress is seen as a reluctant warrior. Its senior leaders are not even campaigning. And yet PM Modi and you keep attacking Congress…■ What you said is true of Congress across the country. Congress has been adrift. It neither has issues nor leadership or a programme. It is a confused party. Yet, the fact remains that Congress has always had a base in Gujarat. Since 1990, they have got at least 30% vote share in every election. That’s why we cannot take them lightly in Gujarat. Our fight is with them. A consistent vote share of 30% translates into one-third of the electorate. Does this not reflect on your failure to win over sections of the society?■ There was a time when the entire country wasn’t with us. Now a large section of the population believes in our vision. We hope that those who are still not supporting us would come around after seeing our work. People say the ‘Gujarat model’ is just hype, a marketing trick: it has only glitter, no substance…■ You can’t see the substance if you have blinkers on. You will be able to see if you take off your goggles of biases and prejudices. What about the criticism that there has been excessive focus on highways and the industrial base, and the social sector has not got adequate attention?■ Another baseless criticism by those blinded by bias and who don’t care to even look at the figures. Gujarat is among the top three states on all parameters. Going back to 2017, the BJP performed poorly in tribal-dominated areas. Are you expecting an improvement this time?■ I am convinced we will do better. . . In every election, we have improved our vote share from tribal areas. And this time I am convinced that we will succeed. There is appreciation in those areas of the way we managed the pandemic; how we have expanded infrastructure and welfare benefits right to the doorsteps of individuals. I am sure people will acknowledge this. The alienation of Patels was another factor. Have they come back to the fold?■ As I said, after 2017 we’ve had two elections. One Lok Sabha, where all sections voted for us and we swept. We have also won the polls forlocal bodies. This could not have been possible without the support of all sections. Everyone has understood that what Congress did in the couple of years preceding 2017 was low-level politics which resulted in the disruption of mutual harmony. Is Hardik Patel’s coming to BJP a testament to this?■ It is not about an individual. It is about the masses… That explains everything. It is said that your principal rival is AAP and you are attacking Congress because you want to shore them up so that there is a split in anti-BJP votes.■ Every party has the right to fight an election. But if you look at Gujarat’s political history, it has largely been a bipolar polity and a third party has never been successful. Be it Chimanbhai Patel, Shankarsinh Vaghela, or Keshubhai Patel, Gujarat has always seen a two-party fight. I feel that the battle is between BJP and Congress. Congress has a lot of baggage and so it is easy for you to blunt their attack. AAP is a new player in Gujarat and is free of that handicap. Besides, a new player that also casts itself as an underdog has its own appeal. Do you agree?■ This is a never-ending debate. It seems you have made up your mind. I cannot convince you if you have already reached a conclusion and are looking for statements to fit that. Let us wait for the votes to be counted, doodh ka doodh aur paani ka paani ho jayega. AAP has unleashed a bagful of freebies. This has worked for them in Delhi and Punjab. Don’t you think this can have an impact in Gujarat as well?■ They made similar promises in Uttarakhand and in Uttar Pradesh; in Maharashtra too. People are not fools. Gujarat has a budget of Rs 2. 42 lakh crore and the cost of implementing the promises that have been made would come to Rs 3. 6 lakh crore. Do you really think that people cannot see through this? They are smart, trust me. Does your confidence have to do with the ethos of Gujarat which values industry and enterprise?■ I don’t want to get into a meandering debate on this. But the fact is that we have given every home in Gujaratelectricity, toilet and gas cylinder. We have given every poor home an Ayushman Bharat card with health coverage up to Rs 5 lakh. And we have also given free rations as help during Covid-19. As against this, people make promises which are unrealistic and can never be kept. Making promises is one thing but what is crucial for winning people’s trust is whether you keep them. Our track record speaks for itself. There are reports about dissension over distribution of BJP tickets. So much so that you had to camp here to firefight.■ This is not new. But I don’t call it firefighting. Reaching out to a party colleague who is unhappy is not firefighting. It is an act of solidarity and camaraderie for someone who has been with you for years. It is my duty to hear them and assuage their feelings. It takes about 20 years to build a dedicated party worker. If a few of them are unhappy that their claim was not heeded, then it is our duty to put a hand on their shoulder and share their grief. And this is what takes BJP ahead. Many people say that the perception about BJP being the overwhelming frontrunner has its flipside too. It will lead to complacency and low turnout.■ Our booth-level presence is the strongest in Gujarat and our workers maintain constant rapport with people. The people of Gujarat have always participated in elections. I am confident that we will have a good turnout as in all elections, and BJP will score a massive win. Then why give a ticket to Payal Kukrani, whose father was convicted in the Naroda Patia violence?■ But what’s wrong about this? She’s a well-educated young woman; a doctor. She has been a hard-working member of the party. True, her father was convicted and has served his sentence. But what has that got to with the daughter? Does she not have a life of her own? You have pronounced her guilty because she is someone’s daughter. But you would never criticise AAP or NCP for not removing their ministers even when they are behind bars. Isn’t it a case of double standards? You have campaigned extensively, what is the feature of this election that has struck you the most?■ The nation has witnessed good governance under Narendrabhai’s leadership in the last eight years. Narendrabhai’s leadership has won laurels and glory for the country. Simultaneously, BJP’s ideological commitments have also been fulfilled. This has had a very positive impact on the people. Modiji was always loved by the people. But I can seethat the affection for him has grown because of the way he has stabilised the economy and strengthened national security. This is true of the entire country. But people here share a special bond with him because he is from Gujarat. His popularity is at its peak and will help BJP score a record win. What is your assessment of Himachal Pradesh?■ We are coming to office with a thumping majority. Over the years, BJP has made many promises in its manifesto. Some of them have been fulfilled, but others, like the Uniform Civil Code, remain on paper. Even CAA is in limbo because the rules have not been framed.■ You are mistaken. CAA is now the law of the land. It has to be implemented and we will do that… We just have to formulate the rules which we could not do because of the pandemic. We shall start working on this, now that the Covid situation has eased. As far as UCC is concerned, it is not just a part of our manifesto since our inception, the Constituent Assembly also directed the legislatures to enact one at the appropriate time. We are alive to our commitment and the task assigned by the framers of the Constitution. Your decision to ban the PFI has led to a backlash of sorts. We have seen serious terror plots being sought to be executed in Coimbatore and Mangalore.■ All challenges to internal security need to be strongly dealt with. We need to proceed against all such dangers, and while we need to analyse all the factors involved, the fear of risks should not deter us from taking on the threat itself. PFI, in many states, had become a danger to our unity and diversity, and our internal security. We watched them push our youth towards terrorism. I believe that the decision to ban it was correct and was taken at the right time. And if there is going to be any reaction, we have all the means and the intent to quell that. What is your assessment of the situation in J&K? When can we expect assembly polls?■ The entire world knows J&K is in very good shape. So far, investments worth Rs 56,000 crore – the highestever – have been committed in the state. Some 30,000 sarpanches have been elected and are working on local body polls. The roots of democracy have spread and gone deeper. People belonging to the backward classes who had been denied benefits available to their counterparts in other states have now been availing of reservations. Women have got their rights. All languages of J&K have got due recognition. And, for the first time, the public is getting a taste of what development actually means. As far as elections are concerned, the Election Commission has finished delimitation, grievances have been redressed. Now, constituencies have been delineated. Electoral rolls, which were riddled with irregularities, are being checked. The EC will announce the dates once the exercise is over. Very often, the judiciary does not seem to be in sync with what the government considers to be imperative for national security.■ There have been such instances. In our Constitution, the roles and responsibilities of the legislature and the judiciary have been very clearly defined and demarcated. We are keeping a close watch on the developments. We shall see how things move. We hope that everyone, including the judiciary, works within their remit. You have been cast as someone who is trying to impose Hindi. Regional parties have attacked you for this. However, you have also argued for regional languages to be used as a medium of education, including for higher and technical courses. What exactly is your position?■ We have championed the use of all Indian languages since the time of Jana Sangh. I am of the firm opinion that we have been able to utilise only 5% of the country’s intellect and talent as a section considers English as the only suitable medium of education and this prevents large sections from accessing quality education and training. The argument that a child will not get good education if he is not taught in English is rooted in misconception, steeped in bias and contrary to the findings of pedagogical studies. I have nothing against English as a language. But it is established that a child learns better and faster if he is taught in his mother tongue. If he is forced to switch to another language because of the hierarchy drawn by elites, his learning process is disrupted. We should be proud of our languages… We have the oldest language, the oldest grammar and the oldest literature. As I said, I am not opposed to English, but we have an excellent pool of Indian languages, which should not be wasted. It is directly linked to the country’s progress and growth.

Gujarat’s bond with Modi has grown stronger because of his work… will help BJP win again: Amit Shah
Modi counters AAP pitch: ‘We got you schools, clinics and power’
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

In what appeared to be a veiled counter to the Aam Aadmi Party’s campaign focus on health, education and electricity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoked all three issues at his public addresses throughout the day, even stating at Dahegam that over the past 20-25 years, the BJP in Gujarat has managed to fulfill and accomplish the basic necessities of roads, electricity and water in the state.With electricity being a consistent plank taken by Modi at all four of his public addresses on Thursday, he said at Modasa that in the past 20 years, his government had worked towards ensuring round-the-clock electricity supply to farmers in villages.“Electricity is as important as water. Without electricity, development is not possible. None of you would be sitting with mobile phones here without electricity … We set up so many electricity generation units that today Gujarat is electricity-surplus … Because of consistent electricity supply, during the Covid-19 pandemic, children in villages could continue their studies on cellphones. This change has been brought about by the honest work of the BJP government … Today, we are producing electricity from wind and solar energy … We have made entire villages into electricity generation units by setting up solar panels on rooftops … Today electricity not only comes free, you even get to earn from it while sitting at home, selling the surplus electricity generated … We worked to bring this revolution to each household … You can now sell electricity the way you would sell vegetables. The era of producing cheap electricity is over, it is the era of selling surplus electricity and we are working on it.” Referring to solar energy initiatives for farmers in Gujarat, Modi also said that the BJP government has made farmers, ‘anna-data’, as well as ‘urja-data’.At Bavla, Modi added: “20 years ago, one could not even imagine electricity for 24 hours”, further pointing out that “today in villages, electricity supply is as good as in the cities” of Gujarat. At Dahegam, he said that Gujarat has already accomplished development on the issues of sadak-bijli-paani (roads, power and water) in the last 20 years. “There was a time when elections would have issues like corruption, casteism, nepotism. Then came the time when issues of sadak-bijli-paani (roads, power and water) became big. Today, because of the work done in the last 20 years, Gujarat has accomplished all that was there to be done in these areas. Gujarat has come out of the crisis. For 20-25 years, Gujarat concentrated on developing basic amenities and emerged as a leading state of the country. Today, 24 hours power is available for domestic use in Gujarat,” Modi said.At Dahegam and Bavla, Modi also exhorted BJP’s development work on the educational front, stating at Dahegam that the state government has “transformed the education sector in the region”.“Around 20-25 years ago,” Modi said, “Gujarat’s education budget was Rs 1,600 crore. Today, it has reached Rs 33,000 crore… The (entire) budget of many states isn’t as much.”He added that Gandhinagar was becoming a big centre of education in terms of higher secondary schools, engineering and diploma colleges, and other universities like a Children’s University, Forensic Sciences University, Pandit Deendayal Energy University, Maritime University, Rashtriya Raksha University, Gujarat National Law University, and the Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG).At Bavla, Modi said, “Twenty years ago, [finding] a school at the taluka level was a stroke of fortune. Otherwise, one had to go to schools at the district-level.” He added that, “Twenty years ago, there was hopelessness when it came to education… Twenty years ago, there was only one university in Ahmedabad district. Today, there are 23 universities in the district.”Saying that historically, Gujarat had a prevalence of malnutrition, and that his government had worked in the last 20 years to ensure nutrition, Modi claimed at Modasa, “Due to efforts of the past 20 years, with the ‘Double Engine Sarkar’, BJP has taken the initiative to defeat malnutrition. It has especially benefitted our tribal women… Not only that, to ensure nutrition during pregnancy, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana’s benefits reach over three lakh households in Gujarat.”Attributing the Chiranjeevi Yojana, introduced in Gujarat in 2006 to encourage institutional deliveries, as the reason behind fall in infant mortality rates in the state, Modi also hailed Ayushman Bharat for reducing out-of-pocket expenditures in his public addresses. Noting in both Modasa and Bavla that women often suppress their health problems even when they are in extreme pain “because if they express their pain to their children, they think the family will be drowned in debt if she gets treatment”, Modi cited the Ayushman Bharat scheme for easing such difficulties for women. He went on to mention Ayushman Bharat at three of his public addresses, at Palanpur, Modasa and Bavla.

Modi counters AAP pitch: ‘We got you schools, clinics and power’
Time to earn from power, not getting it for free: PM Modi
Times of India | 2 days ago | |
Times of India
2 days ago | |

AHMEDABAD: Time has now come for people to generate income from electricity instead of getting it for free, PM Narendra Modi said on Thursday in an apparent dig at AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s poll promise of providing power without charge. Modi also accused Congress of criticising him relentlessly rather than working for Gujarat’s progress. The PM is on a whirlwindcampaign tour for the December assembly elections in the state. He addressed rallies in Palanpur, Modasa, Dehgam and Bavla. Citing the example of India’s first fully solar-powered village, Modi said in Modasa: “You must have seen how the entire Modhera village is now running on rooftop solar power. People are using electricity as per their need and selling excess power (to the government). I want to replicate this system across Gujarat,” he said. “Under this system, you can earn money by selling excess electricity generated from solar panels. Only Modi knows this art wherein people will be able to earn from electricity,” he said. Kejriwal has been claiming that he is the only politician in the country who has “mastered this magic of providing free electricity”. Modi said now the farmers are themselves generating electricity through solar panels installed on unused corners of their fields. “They can also sell surplus electricity and earn money. The era of demanding affordable electricity is over,” he said. In Dehgam, the PM said opposition party functionaries are devoid of any vision for developing Gujarat as they are busy criticising him all the time. “Instead of finding solutions to problems of the slum dwellers, Congress used to just throw some pieces towards them. We are also working forempowerment of the poor and middle class,” he said. Modi also accused Congress of “divide and rule” policy and focussing only on how to be in government. He said Congress has ignored Gandhian values, which resulted in villages of Gujarat suffering from utter neglect for years. “Mahatma Gandhi used to say that the soul of India resides in its villages. But Congress never cared to follow such Gandhian values. They actually trampled that soul,” he said in Bavla near Ahmedabad. Modi also charged Congress with fomenting rifts between villages and cities. “Congress only tried to benefit from these conflicts,” he said. Talking about education, he said the BJP government has transformed this sector in the state and made it more scientific and modern. “Gujarat’s education budget has now gone up to Rs 33,000 crore, more than the total budget outlay of several states,” he said. In Palanpur, Modi said: “This election is not about who will become an MLA or whose government will come. This election is all about deciding Gujarat’s destiny for the next 25 years. ” He said the BJP government has focussed on tourism, environment, water, cattle-rearing and nutrition aspects for the overall development of Banaskantha and the surrounding region.

Time to earn from power, not getting it for free: PM Modi
  • "Time To Earn From Electricity, Not Get It For Free," Says PM Modi
  • Ndtv

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stepped up campaigning for his party BJP in GujaratAhmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today it was time to generate income from electricity instead of getting it for free, an apparent reference to promise of free power made by some parties in Gujarat, and asserted that next month's Assembly election is about deciding the state's destiny for the next 25 years.Stepping up his campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with just a week left for the first phase of polling, the Prime Minister addressed four rallies for the second consecutive day in different parts of the state in support of ruling party candidates.Addressing an election rally in Modasa town of Aravalli district in north Gujarat, the PM said only he knows the art through which people can earn money from electricity.Both Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress, political rivals of the BJP, have promised free electricity (up to 300 units per month) to people if voted to power in Gujarat.Seeking to counter their free power promise, Modi said he wants to see people across Gujarat earning money from excess electricity generated from solar rooftop systems instead of just getting it for free."You must have seen how the entire Modhera village (in Mehsana district) is now running on rooftop solar power. They are using electricity as per their need and sell excess power (to the government). I want to replicate this system across Gujarat," he said."Under this system, you can earn money by selling excess electricity generated from solar panels. Only Modi knows this art wherein people will be able to earn from electricity," said Mr Modi.He told the audience a woman from Modhera is now planning to buy a refrigerator and an air-conditioner as electricity has become affordable after the installation of rooftop solar power."She told me that though her family was able to afford the appliances earlier, they refrained from using them because they could not bear the running cost. Now, they can afford it because electricity is free. I am working to bring this revolution at the doorstep of each and every household in Gujarat," the PM said.He said now farmers are themselves generating electricity through solar panels installed on unused corners of their farms."They can also sell excess electricity and earn money. The era of demanding affordable electricity has gone. Today, you can generate income by selling electricity," said Mr Modi, who had served as the Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014.Mr Modi also slammed the Congress, saying the opposition party only believes in the formula of "divide and rule" and it only focuses on how to get power."Rajasthan is near your border. Have you seen any development in that state? Have you seen any good news coming out of that state? The Congress cannot do development," he said.At another election meeting in Palanpur town of Banaskantha district, Mr Modi said the upcoming polls will decide the state's destiny for the next 25 years.He added that though many development works have been carried out by the BJP in Gujarat and the Centre, time has come to take a "giant leap"."This election is not about who will become an MLA or whose government will be formed. This election is all about deciding Gujarat's destiny for the next 25 years," Mr Modi said.The PM pointed out that Gujarat's education budget has now gone up to Rs 33,000 crore, more than the total budget outlay of several states.Notably, the comments of the BJP's star campaigner on Gujarat's education scenario came at a time when the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has been aggressively pitching the 'Delhi model' of education and has promised to revamp government-run schools if voted to power in the state.The PM told the gathering that Gandhinagar has now become an education hub housing numerous colleges and universities.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"Mahatma Gandhi used to say that the soul of India resides in its villages, but Congress leaders never cared to follow Gandhian values. They actually crushed that soul. Villages remained neglected and their true potential was never realised," he noted.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayWhatsApp's Secret New Feature Will Make Your Life Easier

Arvind Kejriwal Speaks On "Revdi" And More At NDTV Townhall: Highlights
Ndtv | 2 days ago | |
Ndtv
2 days ago | |

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in an NDTV exclusive townhall speaks on a range of topics including his predictions on the Gujarat and Delhi civic body polls, pollution control and BJP's corruption allegations on AAP.Here are the highlights from Arvind Kejriwal's interview at a special NDTV townhall.On BJP's Revdi, Corruption AllegationsBJP keeps accusing us of corruption - they have found nothing - not one paisa. They have attacked Manish Sisodia, tore his cushions and mattresses - found not a paisa. Over the last 7 years they have filed 167 cases against AAP leaders - not one has been proved in court. 800 probe agency officers are dedicated only to find a paisa-worth of wrongdoing by AAP. They have found nothing.Modi ji also gives free ki revdi, I also give free ki revdi. While Modi ji does it for the rich, I do it for the janta (public). He is waiving off huge loan defaulters behind closed doors, is not free ki revdi? I do it openly for the benefit of the people.Providing good schools and hospitals is not free ki revdi ... such acts are called "punya" in Hinduism.We used to run free Yoga classes in Delhi. It was stopped for no good reason. Who shuts free Yoga classes, man? It is a sin in Hinduism to stop Yoga classes. You all in the media headline it as "another flashpoint". What am I to do in these Aurangzeb-like orders?On Gujarat, Delhi Civic Body ElectionsI predict a win for the Aam Aadmi Party in the MCD elections. AAP will get 230-plus seats. BJP will get less than 20 seats. For Gujarat too, I feel AAP will win the elections in the state.If you want improvement, please vote for AAP, no matter which party you are from or support. If you vote for BJP, they will waste 5 years fighting with me. So, the choice is yours. Your work will get done if AAP is voted in.Forget the double-engine government - there is a new engine in the market. Vote for the new engine - it works better.In the last 5 years, the Delhi government has given Rs 1 lakh crore to MCD. Please ask the BJP where it all went. All gone. They are so greedy.We have done a lot of work in the past seven years. We have fulfilled our promises, improved education, made mohalla clinics, made hospitals better. We have done a good job in Delhi - whatever people expected of us, we have delivered. We have delivered well on education and healthcare.For MCD elections - we assure we will do a good job there too. We will clean Delhi and also remove the rampant corruption in the MCD.MCD employees don't get salaries for six months. They keep protesting. We will ensure they get paid on the 1st of every month. That is my guarantee.On Satyendar Jain Jail Video LeakThere were no VVIP facilities in jail for Satyendar Jain. All that he got was according to the jail manual. The man is eating roti, you ask why is he eating roti. What kind of politics is this?If you want to see VVIP culture in jails, see what the CBI chargesheet says about when Amit Shah was in jail. They made a deluxe jail for him. In Satyendar Jain's case, the court has said nothing about VVIP culture - Will the court decide or will you or the BJP decide on what is VVIP culture.On Pollution Control In DelhiWe need the intent to do good work. That is all that is needed - neeyat (intent). Today we have reached the moon, what are mountains of garbage in front of that.I have asked for 5 years to clean Yamuna starting 2020 - so I have time till 2025. If I can't do it, then throw me out.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comWe acknowledge the responsibility of stubble burning in Punjab. We will work on it. The farmers need an alternative. They need a solution. If they get one, they will stop burning stubble. The Punjab government will do something. We will do something.Pollution is a national problem - in Bihar, in UP, elsewhere. There is pollution in many places. But the Central government does nothing about it. Nothing will come of it if all they do is play politics over pollution and point fingers. When we approach them, they shut the doors on us.

Arvind Kejriwal Speaks On "Revdi" And More At NDTV Townhall: Highlights
Education to inflation, Gujarat youth confident about issues but not parties
The Indian Express | 4 days ago | |
The Indian Express
4 days ago | |

Right across the Sheth Damodardas School of Commerce on the Gujarat University campus in Ahmedabad, Chetan CR runs a tea stall that he has named the “Engineer Tea Bar”. A qualified textile engineer, the 25-year-old began selling tea about two months ago. He is from the village of Pratapara in Bhavnagar district, which is about 170-odd km from Ahmedabad, and has been voting since he got his rights.“Our village comes under the Talaja Assembly constituency and will vote for BJP candidate Gautam Chauhan, who is from our village. Last time too, he was fielded from the seat but lost by a narrow margin,” says Chetan but adds that he is not sure if he will vote for Chauhan or incumbent MLA Kanu Baraiya of the Congress who won by just 1.28 per cent more vote last time.Chetan is part of a constituency of voters, the youth, who have a major say on who will form the government. There are nearly 11.74 lakh first-time voters this time in Gujarat, up from 11.8 lakh five years ago. Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys a lot of support among the youth and, in a special appeal to first-time voters, said at a rally in Valsad on November 19, “It is not (simply) that you have completed 18 years and are voting … you are going to become a participant in the shaping of the destiny of Gujarat, you are to become a policymaker of Gujarat.”One such first-time voter is Neha Vaghela, a Master’s student at the School of Languages at Gujarat University. But the prospect has left the 20-year-old more confused than excited. “All the parties, especially the ruling party, just campaign to collect votes for a month just before the elections. They showcase their work and ask for votes. We are very confused,” she says.Her friend Pratham Solanki, who studies at the private National College of Commerce and will also be voting for the first time, says, “The Congress was not seen anywhere in five years except for now. And the Aam Aadmi Party cannot be trusted, it is an outsider.” But he also points out that the government did nothing about paper leaks for government recruitment exams, an issue the AAP has taken up vociferously.Vaghela also thinks that the government’s focus should be on education. “Otherwise, the ruling government is fine. Unemployment may be an issue, but education is a greater issue.”Down the street from Chetan’s stall, Gujarat University students eat snacks at a food stall. One of them, aged 22 years, is a first-time voter and turns out to be inclined towards the AAP. “I want to vote for the AAP, it seems good. I have visited Delhi and seen their work. They have done some good work in education. In my family too, the decision is going to be between the AAP and the Congress. The BJP has not worked.”At the Iskon Gathiya on SG Highway, where Modi once held a “Chai pe Charcha” in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections that propelled him to power, 35-year-old Sheikh Abu Zar is a regular. Zar has always gone for the “None of the Above”, or NOTA option. “I don’t think any of these parties should come to power. The Assembly elections are sheer timepass,” he says, sipping his tea amid a crowd of other regulars savouring their bun maskas and gathiyas (a type of deep-fried snack).Zar has been running an automobile centre across the road for the last 15 years. “It is not about which party comes into power in a state but which party is at the Centre. All the policies the BJP claims to have brought were initiated by the Congress. Even in Gujarat, the issues such as education were brought to the fore by the Congress. The BJP merely followed its path.”Asked why he does not vote for the Congress if he admires the party so much, Zar says, “Well, the candidate is important too. There are no solid leaders at the local level, in our constituency, whom we can bank on.”For 24-year-old Veena Solanki who belongs to the Baori community of Rajasthan and makes a living by selling winter wear outside the LD College of Engineering, inflation is the biggest issue. “I believe the Congress in power will take care of this. I have heard this in my family too, even from relatives in Rajasthan, where the Congress is in power. But even the AAP looks promising as these issues are on their manifesto. It is tough to decide.”

Education to inflation, Gujarat youth confident about issues but not parties
‘Bengal has 3.68 lakh vacancies. Mamata will do what Assam did, abolish 8,000 posts’: CPM youth leader
The Indian Express | 5 days ago | |
The Indian Express
5 days ago | |

The CPIM’s youth and student wing, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), has been standing behind protesting students who claim they were unfairly denied government school teaching jobs in what has now blown up into the West Bengal TET (Teachers’ Eligibility Test) scam, from the very first day. The DYFI state secretary, Minakshi Mukherjee, is leading the movement from the front. Protesters often talk about her as the “captain” of this movement. She spoke to The Indian Express on a range of topics. Excerpts:Is there any data on how many people have landed jobs from these melas? An educated person will ask for the data. If I’m conducting a Rozgar Mela, won’t I have the data? If India is now “skilled”, as the Centre wants us to believe, what were Indians doing in Qatar, working as labourers to build the infrastructure for the ongoing football World Cup? What is worse, is to just go to any city in India and take a dip into the crowd. You will see someone speaking in Bengali. They were jobless in West Bengal, so they are going to other states.All I can say is that she must be examined for chemical imbalance in her brain. You will get your answer if you go to Singur and talk to the people now. The then-Opposition leader [Mamata Banerjee] filed a case in courts against the [then Left Front] government. By the time the court ruling came, she was the Chief Minister, and yet she lost the case. Her statement is like “Chit bhi meri, pat bhi meri (Heads I win, tails you lose)”.The government is not interested in a healthy debate, because, for that, it has to be honest and responsible. If the government’s policy is to encourage corruption and steal, there’s no liability and any fair discussion is not possible. That’s why the ruling class resorts to suppressing such movements for accountability, and that’s what this government is doing.Firstly, we want to take the movement forward. Secondly, we want to explore if there is any solution to this problem. Remember, this has been going on for 11 years. Let me recount a personal experience to explain the current stand-off. On the day we gave a deputation to the state education minister, he said, “I have heard that lakhs of boys and girls have sat for the exam, but only a few thousand are present in the Dharmatala protest!” What he wanted to say is that it’s not a widespread concern, that all the boys and girls who have appeared for the exam should come up at the protest for the government to sit up and take notice! In other words, the government is saying “Do what you can do. I don’t bother”.A lot of people who don’t have the qualification! We’re getting information that boys and girls who failed, landed jobs. It might be a job, but it comes with huge responsibility and requires accountability.Teachers sacrifice a lot to raise the profile of the school. Who do they sacrifice for? Those who go to government schools. Who goes to government schools? Common people, the poor, those who need mid-day meals in schools. If that is the case, the state’s working people will suffer. So they should also be included in the movement, and it will only intensify. This fight is not only for the children who are going to study in government schools. Those who don’t send their sons and daughters to government schools also pay tax. The government can’t do whatever it wants with their tax money just because their sons and daughters are not being educated by the government.The former state education minister is in jail. So are an MLA and many education department officers. So, the corruption was not carried out by a single man. The problem is with the government’s policy. In other words, this government needs to go.Our job is to stand beside these aspirants. In this fight, we have already lost our comrade Maidul Islam Middya. Many other comrades were jailed, or have false cases lodged against them. So, this is our fight too, and it will continue.The CBI and the ED did not spontaneously launch their investigations. Why did they have to be roped in? Because the job aspirants have been sitting on roads for 11 years. They have filed many cases, and many officials, including the chief minister, have promised them justice, but done nothing. People have started to lose faith in this government. Only after that, when the court ordered CBI to investigate, did the central agencies come and start their probe. We want the CBI and ED to follow the law. After all, they too are paid through our tax money. But we have to continue our fight, and won’t withdraw.West Bengal currently has 3.68 lakh vacancies in government jobs. But we know this state government will do exactly what the Assam government did. They just abolished 8,000 vacant posts. This government has already started saying it will abolish 50,000 vacant posts in our municipalities. We believe you have to create more new posts to give better service to the people. The government has appointed two lakh people on contract instead. Why were they not given permanent appointments? If this government can’t take proper policy decisions, we have to change it. So, this fight is a bigger fight. It’s not only to set the state’s education system right, but to challenge this government’s wrong policies in every sector. We decided that for such a big fight, we have to reach out at the booth-level, and knock on the doors of every resident of the state.This is not the scenario only in West Bengal, but across the country. The Centre has privatised everything, from railways, BSNL, coal, to airlines, transforming the people into modern slaves. In India, one in nine people are jobless. Meanwhile, after the bridge collapse in Gujarat [Morbi], the Prime Minister said it was God’s wish. When Assam was flooded, instead of relief, the state Chief Minister offered puja to the river with taxpayers’ money! It’s going on in every part of the country.

‘Bengal has 3.68 lakh vacancies. Mamata will do what Assam did, abolish 8,000 posts’: CPM youth leader
As Mission Prarambh’s Vikram-S rocket soars into space, recalling Vikram Sarabhai, the father Indian space science
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Vikram-S, the first of a set of launch vehicles developed by Hyderabad-based company Skyroot, soared into space on Friday (November 18), marking the entry of the Indian private sector into the space launch market. Mission Prarambh is successfully accomplished, the Indian Space research Organisation (ISRO) announced after the launch.Skyroot’s rocket is named after Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India’s space programme. Friday’s launch affords an opportunity to recall the life and achievements of one of the stars of a remarkable generation of India’s pioneering space scientists.Mission Prarambh is successfully accomplished.Congratulations @SkyrootACongratulations India! @INSPACeIND pic.twitter.com/PhRF9n5Mh4— ISRO (@isro) November 18, 2022The late President APJ Abdul Kalam had famously termed Vikram Sarabhai as the “Mahatma Gandhi of Indian Science”. By the time he was found tragically dead in a hotel room in Kovalam in Kerala in 1971 at the age of 52, Sarabhai had founded 38 institutions that are now leaders in space research, physics, management and performing arts. Almost all of India’s space scientists who came after him owe a debt of knowledge, leadership and gratitude to Sarabhai.Committed to freedom of thinkingBorn to Ambalal and Sarla Devi, Ahmedabad’s leading textile-mill owners, Vikram Sarabhai showed creative promise early. He was 15 when he built a working model of a train engine with the help of two engineers, which is now housed at the Community Science Centre (CSC) in Ahmedabad. The CSC was Vikram’s way of providing other children the privileges he had, of experimental research.“He was essentially a researcher, and believed that people, especially children, should be allowed to think freely and come up with solutions on their own,” Sarabhai’s son Kartikeya, who founded the Centre for Environment Education in 1984, had told The Indian Express earlier.Vikram Sarabhai’s daughter and Indian classical dancer Mallika recalled how, as children, they were at the centre of every family decision. This freedom helped “garner convictions early in life and to take a position. You were never too young to be able to be involved in what was going on or what affected you,” Mallika said.Tagore, Raman, and BhabhaAfter studying from Gujarat University in Ahmedabad, Sarabhai went to study physics and mathematics at Cambridge University, with a reference from Rabindranath Tagore, but was forced to return when World War II broke out.He completed his post-graduation at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru under Dr CV Raman, where he also met Dr Homi Bhabha, and returned later to Cambridge for a PhD in cosmic rays.When Sarabhai and Indian classical dancer Mrinalini Swaminathan married in 1942, the Quit India movement had broken out and his eldest sister Mridula had been arrested. None of the family could attend the wedding except Vikram’s driver, Lala, Kartikeya recalled.The PRL, ISRO’s predecessor, the Indian National Committee for Space Research as well as the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad are the cradle of India’s space programme, and continue to be a critical part of the country’s missions. Sarabhai’s research-and applications-based approach singled him out as a scientist and entrepreneur who lived ahead of his time.Space, nuclear science, broadcastingGiving flight to Sarabhai’s dream of probing the atmospheric regions for space research, was the first sounding rocket that was launched from Thumba, in Kerala, in 1967.Sarabhai convinced Parliament and the Planning Commission in 1969 on the merits of “decade profile”, as he envisioned the Indian nuclear programme. In 1966, when Sarabhai took over as Atomic Energy Commission chairman after Homi Bhabha’s death in a plane crash, he started a dialogue with NASA that formed the base for Satellite Instructional Television Experiment.Launched in 1975 from village Pij in Gujarat’s Kheda district, it would beam TV programmes to villages and was the first Indo-US space venture using technology for education. This was how the Krishi Darshan programme for farmers on Doordarshan was conceived.Sarabhai extended his research emphasis even to business, when he founded Sarabhai Chemicals in Vadodara in 1943, and subsequently the Sarabhai Research Centre and the Operations Research Group.

As Mission Prarambh’s Vikram-S rocket soars into space, recalling Vikram Sarabhai, the father Indian space science
Gujarat Vidyapith VC: Khimani not chosen unanimously, finds panel; dissent ‘vanishes’ from records
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

A member of the search-cum-selection committee had submitted a dissent note on Dr Rajendra Khimani’s selection as Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith (deemed-to-be-university) in Ahmedabad, says the minutes of a University Grants Commission (UGC) meeting to consider a four-member panel’s report to look into the appointment. However, the dissent note has gone missing from the records.The UGC meeting was held on November 25 last year “to consider the report of the UGC-formed four-member committee constituted to look into the issue of appointment of Dr Rajendra Khimani as Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith”.“I did not agree with Dr Rajendra Khimani’s name since the Central Vigilance Commission-directed UGC inquiry is pending against him. The last meeting of the committee was held on June 28, 2021, and I had conveyed my dissent. Despite that, the Chancellor took an immediate decision and declared Dr Khimani as the Vice-Chancellor on June 29, 2021, which looks some fishy decision,” stated the letter received by the Ministry of Education from Prof Navin Sheth, Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat Technological University (GTU). Sheth was the Central government’s nominee in the search-cum-selection panel.Sheth stated in his letter that five meetings were held by the committee and 19 applications were scrutinised. “After thorough discussion, the committee members agreed on two candidates—Prof Nisheeth Chhotalal Desai and Dr Sanjay Raghuvir Chaudhary for the panel.” Yet, Khimani was appointed as the VC.However, the minutes of the meetings were not attached with the documents provided to the UGC. The Gujarat Vidyapith also informed the UGC that 23 applications were received but failed to inform whether the selection was done after due interaction with the candidates.The dissent came to light when Sheth wrote to the Ministry of Education highlighting his dissent. The ministry, in turn, forwarded the letter to the UGC following which the statutory body formed a four-member committee, comprising Central University of Punjab VC Prof RP Tiwari, former VC of the Central University of South Bihar Prof HCS Rathore, former National Law India University Bhopal VC Prof Balraj Chauhan and UGC joint secretary Dr Archana Thakur to inquire Dr Khimani’s appointment.The committee found many lapses in the selection process. “The advertisement did not mention the qualifications and other requirements as per UGC Regulations for the Vice-Chancellor. Also, the deemed-to-be-university also failed to provide as to how these three names shortlisted by the search committee were recommended. It is not clear whether the selected candidate fulfill the qualifications required for a VC under UGC Regulations,” the committee noted on the basis of records provided by the Registrar of Gujarat Vidyapith.The committee, which held three meetings, also corroborated Sheth’s claims.“It is also surprising that the Chancellor selected the candidate against whom one member dissented. It is to mention here that the other two names in the list were recommended by all the three members,” the committee submitted.The committee also “failed to find any note or supportive documents such as the dissent note, educational qualifications of the candidates criteria adopted by the search-cum-selection committee and how the panel was prepared… An important fact is that the expert who dissented was the only external expert in the committee unrelated to the university”.“It was also informed by the Registrar of Gujarat Vidyapith that there was no dissent note on record of the sealed documents submitted by the search-cum-selection committee. This is more surprising that in spite of the fact that the dissent was put (forward) by the government nominee in the minutes of the search-cum-selection committee, the Chancellor or the deemed-to-be-university administration did not bother to inquire about it from the government nominee,” the minutes of the panel’s meeting reveal.“…it appears that the Hon’ble Chancellor has not acted fairly during the whole process and was in a hurry to appoint one particular person as Vice-Chancellor ignoring the dissent note of the government of India nominee,” the committee report stated.

Gujarat Vidyapith VC: Khimani not chosen unanimously, finds panel; dissent ‘vanishes’ from records
Medical education books to be translated into Gujarati
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

AHMEDABAD: Following the Union government's decision to introduce medical education in regional languages, the state government has started preparations for teaching of medical, dental, physiotherapy and nursing courses in Gujarati. On Tuesday, the commissioner for medical education and health issued a notification announcing that a 17-member committee has been constituted to translate all medical education textbooks for medical, dental, physiotherapy and nursing courses into Gujarati. The notification says the committee will submit a roadmap to the department within a fortnight. The decision has been taken in light of the National Education Policy (NEP). On November 10, the National Medical Commission (NMC) convened a meeting of all state heads over video conferencing under the agenda 'Bilingual Education'. It was decided to form a committee at state-level to delegate responsibilities, the notification said. Sources said most of the medical fraternity is not pleased with this move as they say that it is not possible to teach medical subjects in regional languages as translating medical terminology into Indian regional languages is next to impossible. On October 16, Union home minister Amit Shah had launched the country's first medical education in Hindi language in Madhya Pradesh. The state launched the pilot project of an MBBS course in Hindi at Gandhi Medical College in Bhopal. Three MBBS subjects - anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry - are taught in Hindi in the first year in all 13 government medical colleges of Madhya Pradesh and this will continue in the second year during the next session. A doctor who did not wish to be named said that in the Hindi translation of medical textbooks, they have translated the word 'injection' as 'dravya aushadh sharirantargat sukshmaropan nalika'. "It is almost impossible to translate medical terminology. They should not experiment with such sensitive branches of education," the doctor said.

Medical education books to be translated into Gujarati
Students of over 1,000 schools in Haryana can’t register for boards
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

GURUGRAM: As 1,300 schools wait for an extension of the temporary recognition awarded by the government earlier this year, the fate of over 60,000 students in classes 10 and 12 hangs in the balance. These schools have failed to get permanent recognition due to space and land constraints, and currently, they can not get their students registered on the Board of School Education Haryana (BSEH) portal for the March 2023 board exams. The schools and their syndicates claimed this is happening despite depositing sports funds and registering with the Management Information System (MIS) department. “The government has adopted an uncaring attitude towards thousands of students unable to register for the board exams. This is a gross injustice, and the government must provide them relief,” said Yashpal Yadav, state president, Haryana Sikshan Sansthan Sangathan. “The issue is mainly with schools in the cities. Due to haphazard residential development around these schools, it is impossible to expand their geographical scope.The government must come up with some middle route for a one-time settlement, considering the problem,” said Private Schools Welfare Association president Ram Awtar. In January 2022, TOI reported that the government issued an extension to unrecognised schools for the 2021-22 session. For the 2022-23 sessions, schools were to apply afresh for permanent recognition. The government relaxed the land requirement norms and opened a dedicated web portal to smoothen the process. The land requirement for primary schools is now 250 sqm instead of the earlier 500 sqm. Similarly, for high schools, it is now 1,200 sqm instead of 2,000 sqm. “What more do these schools demand from the government? It has relaxed norms and has been giving extensions for the past 18 years. These schools have been deemed unfit because of their location in congested areas and insufficient infrastructure,” said a senior secondary education department official. “No student will be made to suffer. We have our CHEERAG scheme, where students can take admissions to private schools, with the government reimbursing the fees. Additionally, our government schools are doing better than these schools. So, the students can seek admissions there,” the official added. The schools, however, demand that the government allow them to shift or grant permanent affiliation in the existing condition.

Students of over 1,000 schools in Haryana can’t register for boards
Recruitment to halt at Gujarat University due to state assembly elections
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat University’s ongoing recruitment process for teaching and non-teaching positions is likely to be halted because of state assembly elections. The university had recently started accepting applications for teachers, accountants, librarians and other posts. Sources said that the university has not stopped accepting the applications but further procedures such as interviews will not take place till the elections are over. The state education department recently paused the recruitment of lecturers’ posts in various grant-in-aid colleges in the state. Sources said that the recruitment on around 1,100 lecturers’ positions, which have been lying vacant since 2019, had started recently and recruitment process was also completed for some posts. However, with the model code of conduct in place before the state assembly polls, the education department halted the process mid-way. Sources said that the government had first announced the recruitment in 2019, however, the process started only in 2021 and the department started the interview process. So far, the department has recruited lecturers of accountancy and statistics subjects while the process of recruitment for the remaining subjects is still pending. Sources said that the government halted the recruitment as even if it continues the recruitment, the government cannot issue appointment letters to selected candidates because of the model code of conduct.

Recruitment to halt at Gujarat University due to state assembly elections
Only 10 schools don’t teach Gujarati: Govt
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

Ahmedabad: After the petitioner, in the PIL seeking teaching of Gujarati as compulsory subject in primary schools, told the court that most schools affiliated with central boards do not follow the Gujarat government’s diktat, the state government on Friday asserted in the Gujarat high court that all schools in Gujarat state, barring 10, teach the Gujarati language as a subject.The proceedings were on a PIL filed by Matrubhasha Abhiyan, demanding the implementation of the government resolution of April 13, 2018, mandating the teaching of Gujarati as a subject in all primary sections in the state. Its counsel, Amar Bhatt and Archit Jani, maintained that schools affiliated with Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Indian Certificate for Secondary Education (ICSE) and International Baccalaureate (IB) do not heed to this government mandate and do not teach compulsorily teach Gujarati. Some of them at best offer it as an option.The petitioner’s lawyers told the HC that they gathered details from websites of some schools and found that a hundred of them do not teach Gujarati. They offer Sanskrit or French as options. “This is in gross violation of the circular. We are not against any school,” advocate Bhatt said.The government lawyer sought time from the court stating that an affidavit will soon be submitted by the official concerned. She further said, “According to information gathered, barring ten schools, Gujarati is taught in all schools. We have gathered data from district education officers.” Bhatt countered by saying that the schools may be offering Gujarati as an optional subject, but not as a compulsory subject.The bench of Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice Mauna Bhatt told the government lawyer to take time to file the affidavit and to convey to education officials to consider schools, which teach Gujarati as compulsory subject and not as an option. The court also asked the petitioner to share details with the government.The judges further said, “The court is aware that this (litigation) is basically to serve the language and the state.”The petitioner’s lawyer said that in other states, where the local language is to be taught compulsorily by legislation, there is a provision for action if the law is not followed. In Gujarat, the government’s circular does not provide for any consequences, if schools do not follow the policy. The judges said the state government may “contemplate” on the lines of making legislation in this regard.Further hearing has been posted for November 18.

Only 10 schools don’t teach Gujarati: Govt
GU exams postponed due to polls
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

Ahmedabad: Gujarat University on Wednesday announced that the examinations that were scheduled to begin from November 22 and December 8 have been postponed as they coincide with the state assembly election process. A statement from the university said that the new likely dates are December 12 and December 27 respectively. The statement says that the examinations of commerce, business management, science, law and education courses have been postponed as most of the teaching staff have been assigned poll duties. Many campuses of colleges and universities are also being used as polling stations. The university will announce the detailed exam schedule at a later stage, the university statement said.

GU exams postponed due to polls
  • Gujarat University exams postponed due to polls
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: Gujarat University on Wednesday announced that the examinations that were scheduled to begin from November 22 and December 8 have been postponed as they coincide with the state assembly election process. A statement from the university said that the new likely dates are December 12 and December 27 respectively. The statement says that the examinations of commerce, business management, science, law and education courses have been postponed as most of the teaching staff have been assigned poll duties. Many campuses of colleges and universities are also being used as polling stations. The university will announce the detailed exam schedule at a later stage, the university statement said.

  • Gujarat University postpones exams due to polls
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: Gujarat University on Wednesday announced that the examinations that were scheduled to begin from November 22 and December 8 have been postponed as it collided with the state assembly election process. A statement from the university said that the new likely dates are December 12 and December 27, respectively. The statement says that the examinations of commerce, business management, science, law and education have been postponed as most of the teaching staff have been assigned poll duties. Many of the college and university campuses are also being used for elections as polling stations. The university will announce the detailed exam schedule at a later stage, the university statement said.

Tejaswi Surya tells young voters to continue political stability in Gujarat
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Highlighting the importance of political stability for the development of a country, national president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Tejaswi Surya on Wednesday called upon young voters of Gujarat to “continue political stability for progress”.Surya, who is also a Lok Sabha MP, was interacting with young voters at the Deendayal Upadhyay Auditorium in Ahmedabad.In his brief address, Surya said, “There is this war going on between Ukraine and Russia. The economic situation in Sri Lanka is in doldrums. There is tremendous political instability in our immediate neighbourhood such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, etc. In an old democracy like the United Kingdom, seven Prime Ministers have changed in three-four years. The United States is going through an economic and political turmoil. In the US, inflation is going up in two digits after Covid.”“In this context, we are in India where not inflation, but economic growth is in double digits under the leadership of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi,” he added.Surya also said that it was because of tremendous political stability established in the country in the past eight years that the country has been able to effectively handle various challenges. He asked the young voters to continue this political stability by voting for the BJP in the upcoming Assembly elections of Gujarat which is “India’s capital of development”.Surya also talked about topics including opportunities in start-ups, sports as a career option, health sector, education sector and  new education policy of the Central Government.

Tejaswi Surya tells young voters to continue political stability in Gujarat
Gujarat Elections: AAP Wants Naroda Patiya To Move On But Scars Of 2002 Riots Remain
Ndtv | 2 weeks ago | |
Ndtv
2 weeks ago | |

Naroda Patiya falls under the Naroda assembly constituency and will vote on December 5.Ahmedabad: Twenty-one years after the Gujarat riots, the wounds of Naroda Patiya have turned to scar tissue, still visible, often painful and reminder of a communal divide still to be bridged. But life has to go on and focus should be on "community neutral" issues such as price rise, says AAP MLA hopeful Omprakash Tiwari.Hoping to win over the people of Naroda Patiya, the locality on the outskirts of Ahmedabad that came to be associated with the 2002 riots, and the assembly elections next month, Tiwari said he would like religion to be left aside and for people to come together to vote for change. "We have forgotten what happened here 20 years ago. India is a religious country and everyone has freedom to practise the religion of their choice," Tiwari told PTI."But we have to first address the issues of unemployment, price rise and lack of affordable education for all," he added when asked if the riots that followed the Godhra train burning were an issue in the constituency that has been voting for the BJP since 1990.A day after 57 'karsevaks' returning from Ayodhya were charred to death in a coach of Sabarmati Express train at the Godhra railway station, violence broke out in Naroda Patiya. Ninety-seven people, including women and children from the Muslim community, were killed by mobs which also ransacked and looted their properties, set their houses on fire and gang raped some women. Most of the victims were poor.Naroda Patiya falls under the Naroda assembly constituency and will vote on December 5.While the BJP and the Congress are yet to announce their candidates, the Aam Aadmi Party has fielded former Congress leader Tiwari.The BJP and the Congress are yet to announce their candidates from the seat.Tiwari, a two-term municipal councillor from Naroda, had contested from the seat on the Congress ticket in the 2017 assembly polls but lost to BJP's Balram Thawani by a huge margin of votes.This time will be different, said the AAP candidate about the elections that will see a three-cornered contest with the advent of his party in a state that has traditionally been bipolar in its politics.Naroda assembly constituency has about three lakh voters, mostly Hindus and Jains with about 4,000-5,000 Muslim voters.Naroda Patiya is still fearful but seemingly ready for change.Like Salim Shaikh, a witness in the massacre case in which former BJP MLA Maya Kodnani was among the accused, who expresses his willingness to back AAP. Kodnani was convicted and sentenced to 28 years imprisonment in the case by a trial court in 2012 but later acquitted by the Gujarat High Court.Shaikh, his wife and children survived the violence but their house and other property were gutted in a fire. His niece's two children, one two years and the other just four months old, were killed."The 2002 incident was so painful for us. We had faith in the Congress but it didn't do anything for us even though it remained in power at the Centre for 10 years," Shaikh told PTI when asked about the mood of the minority community."Several accused are out of jail today, the compensation that we got was also inadequate... That's why we have decided to vote for the AAP this time," he added.Shaikh said candidly that he doesn't believe AAP will end communalism."Yet we will support the party in this election because looking at its government's work in Delhi, we feel that things will change if it is voted to power." Yashin, whose house was also gutted in a fire in the area, said many of his neighbours shifted to resettlement colonies built at 87 locations in Gujarat. He is also apprehensive about what the future holds."Our colony was also rebuilt and we are living a normal life here. We have a cordial relationship with other community members. But all of us always live in constant fear. One never knows when communal politics will be played here," he said.The AAP is confident its strategy of not talking about communal divide will succeed in attracting minority votes. But not everyone is convinced."They talk about education, corruption and other issues. They also talk about taking people to the Ram temple on pilgrimage. But when it comes to the release of the convicts of Bilkis Bano case, they go silent," Sharif, another victim of the 2002 riots, said.With the AAP playing "soft Hindutva", the party will not get complete support of the minority community, he said."Minority votes would have shifted en bloc to the AAP, helping it gain at least 22 seats in Gujarat had the party reached out to the Muslims, raised their voice and promoted their leaders. The AAP wants Mulsim votes but doesn't want Muslim leaders," he said.Sharif has been living in a resettlement colony developed in Ramol for the victims. He was living in Naroda Gam, about two kilometres from Naroda Patiya, when the violent mob attacked his colony, set his house on fire along with those of his fellow residents, and killed several people on February 28, 2002.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comGujarat will vote in two phases on December 1 and 5. The votes will be counted on December 8.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayGovernors vs 3 Opposition-Led Governments In Southern States

Gujarat Elections: AAP Wants Naroda Patiya To Move On But Scars Of 2002 Riots Remain
Karnataka minister Dr. Ashwathnarayan is bringing the world to Kempegowda, through The Statue of Prosperity
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Bengaluru will soon witness the unveiling of the statue of its founder, Nadaprabhu Kempegowda, at the International Airport in Devanahalli. Called the “Statue of Prosperity”, it towers 108-feet-high and is likely to be recorded as the World’s Tallest Statue of a Founder of a City.Initially, the statue was conceived of in miniature terms and the proposed location was outside the limits of the airport. Even the proposed height was around 15 feet, just to signal government intent. But that idea never took off. When the B S Yeddyurappa government assumed office in 2019, he and his Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Ashwathnarayan C.N., a Vokkaliga leader, felt that credit to Nadaprabhu was long overdue and that efforts to host his statue on a grand scale should be expedited without delay.  The government considered several areas before deciding to install the monument near the airport, where it will be visible to the millions of passengers that enter and exit the land each day. The two leaders believed that this would be the ideal setting for letting the world know about the city and, most importantly, its history. It was therefore agreed that the Nadaprabhu Kempegowda statue would be located on the grounds of the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). 23 acres of central park area inside the airport grounds were allotted for the project after lengthy consultations with the relevant authorities.Ram V. Sutar, a renowned sculptor who sculpted the Statue of Unity in Gujarat and whose family has been involved in this scientific craft for three generations, was chosen for the job.The government is also constructing a theme park at the location of the statue that would reflect Kempegowda’s idea of Bengaluru. The theme park would have a model of Bengaluru that includes tiny lakes, cultural symbols, museums, and other elements. According to Dr. Ashwathnarayan, Vice-Chairman of the Kempegowda Heritage Area Development Authority and Minister for Higher Education, IT&BT, Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, and Livelihood, the entire project should be finished in six months.The Ramanagara district’s Kempapura property, which is five and a half acres and is thought to be Kempegowda’s Veera Samadhi, has been purchased by the Karnataka government. With this, the groundwork for the area’s development has been laid. The Minister also imagines a system in which technologists, culture and history enthusiasts, and others are highly interested in researching Kempegowda’s life and disseminating his approach to infrastructure. Kempegowda envisioned Bengaluru as being productive, entrepreneurial, infrastructure- and culture-rich, and today’s residents are receiving the benefits in spades.When asked how Karnataka managed this project despite time and mobility constraints induced by Covid-19, Dr. Ashwathnarayan said: “Since it is a very big structure, it had to be created part-by-part, with precision planning. Due care was taken to ensure that it was immune to heavy winds and other natural forces. Some parts had to be transported in trailers that rolled on as many as 12 wheels. Transportation was by no means an easy task. But because the sculptors have had previous experience in logistics, it was smoothly managed.” Kempegowda is not just a person, for the residents of Karnataka. He is a living force, and therefore, it was increasingly being felt that his story needed to be told to the world, especially when Bengaluru is now an internationally known tech city, welcoming people from across the globe and cultures. The reason behind the giant statue is the fact that while several global cities have icons they publicly celebrate – and that often attract international praise for ‘rootedness’ and ‘civilizational pride’, Bengaluru, despite having so many rich facets, did not have one in the monument. This statue, therefore, is an effort to unite residents of Bengaluru and inspire them to ‘own the city, just as Kempegowda did, with his vision. Bengaluru is one of the very rare cities in the world that boasts richness across spectra such as education, technology, culture, and cuisine, to name a few. According to Indian tradition, people are profoundly attached to their country on both an emotional and a spiritual level. Therefore, it was believed that for this initiative to succeed, Karnataka’s people and soil needed to be fully committed. According to Dr. Ashwathnarayan, this way of thinking also permeates the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is why this campaign is taking a grassroots approach and collecting soil from all around the state to utilize in the theme park’s Gopuras. 

Karnataka minister Dr. Ashwathnarayan is bringing the world to Kempegowda, through The Statue of Prosperity
Eligibility rulesfor primary teachers relaxed
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

Ahmedabad: The state education department has made changes in the eligibility criteria for primary school teachers. The changes come following a recent high court order. Sources said that the education department has decided that all candidates who have completed the BSc course with any principal subject will be eligible to apply for a primary teacher’s post. Earlier, only those with the BSc degree with six designated subjects were considered.As for those with the BA degree, those who have had psychology, philosophy, or sociology as subjects will also be able to apply for a primary teacher’s job.The sources said that the Gujarat high court recently had ordered a change in the minimum eligibility criteria for assistant teachers. The court had asked the state to consider BA graduates with sociology, philosophy, and psychology as their principal subjects for the job. Similarly, the court had also directed the state to consider BSc graduates with any principal subject who have cleared the TAT-2.TNN

Eligibility rulesfor primary teachers relaxed
  • Education department changes eligibility criteria for primary teachers
  • Times of India

    AHMEDABAD: The state education department has made changes in the eligibility criteria for getting a job as a primary school teacher. The changes come following a recent high court order. Sources said that the education department has now decided that all candidates who have completed their BSc with any subject as principal subject will now be eligible for applying for the primary teacher’s post. Earlier, BSc with selected 6 subjects was the eligibility. Similarly, the education department has added three subjects as eligibility criteria for BA degree holders. Now, those who have a BA degree with psychology, philosophy and sociology will be able to apply for a primary teacher’s job. Sources said that the Gujarat high court recently had ordered a change in minimum eligibility criteria for assistant teachers. The court had asked the state to consider BA graduates with sociology, philosophy and psychology as their principal subject for the job. Similarly, the court had also directed the state to consider BSc graduates with any principal subject who have cleared TAT-2 exam as eligibility criteria for primary teachers’ posts. Sources said that soon after the court’s order a proposal was made to change the eligibility criteria which was under consideration so far. Recently, the education department issued a resolution making changes in the eligibility.

Focus won’t be on vanity projects, but sanity if Congress wins Gujarat polls: Chidambaram
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

If the Congress comes to power in Gujarat, the focus of the state government will not be on vanity projects like the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet train or the Central Vista project in Delhi, said former finance minister P Chidambaram. He was addressing a group of businessmen and professionals in Ahmedabad Tuesday.“Every pie should be weighed and spent. You simply cannot spend money on vanity projects. The new Parliament is a vanity project. You must spend only on sanity projects,” he said.“I think the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train is a vanity project. The flight will take you (to Mumbai) in one hour. I am told the bullet train ticket will be priced similar to the airline ticket,” he said the government should have focused on speeding up existing trains. “Vanity projects must be avoided,” he said, adding that 20 per cent of India is extremely poor.He said that of the six crore people in Gujarat, one crore are poor. “The government is for helping the poor and so I would advise the government of Gujarat, if a Congress government is formed, keep the poor in mind and address their requirements — jobs, houses, water, electricity — so that their lives can become a little better,” he said while addressing an audience comprising doctors, chartered accountants, lawyers and businessmen.‘Demonetisation did not reduce cash in circulation’During the interaction, Chidambaram pointed out that Tuesday was the sixth anniversary of demonetisation. “They said demonetisation will restrict cash in circulation. On the day of demonetisation, the total cash in circulation was Rs 17 lakh crore and today it is Rs 31 lakh crore, so demonetisation did not reduce the cash in circulation,” he added.Terming the government’s target of a $5 trillion economy a hoax, Chidambaram said, “The $5 trillion goal is a bit of a joke… Ask the question when will you reach $5 trillion. They were saying 2022, then they pushed it to 2023, now the chief economic adviser is saying 2024 and the joint secretary of finance ministry is saying we will reach in 2025. We will reach the goal whether Government of India does anything or not. It is a big hoax.”In response to a question on what the Congress would do for the education sector which is currently operating like a business entity in Gujarat, Chidambaram said, “I personally believe that education cannot be a for-profit activity. If you want to enter the field of education, you may do so. Don’t make a loss… By and large, both education and health care should remain a not-for-profit activity. I know what I am saying may not be very popular, but that is the only way poor people can get proper healthcare and education.”

Focus won’t be on vanity projects, but sanity if Congress wins Gujarat polls: Chidambaram
Day after AAP yatra, Ahmedabad Muslim-majority areas ‘in no hurry to shift from Cong to party we don’t know’
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

ON Saturday evening, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that has been noticeably silent on Muslim issues in its Gujarat campaign, particularly related to the 2002 riots, took out a Tiranga Yatra through the predominantly Muslim areas of Ahmedabad. The first such yatra by AAP through these constituencies was led by the party’s star campaigner and Punjab Chief Minister, Bhagwant Mann.AAP might be seen as a threat essentially to the Congress in the state, but here in seats currently represented by Congress MLAs, the day after AAP’s yatra, most people say they are not going to change their political loyalty.Sarfaraz Seth owns Bismillah Hotel in Shah-e-Alam area, located just three shops away from the AAP local office. A banner at the entrance displays the party’s symbol broom, and photos of AAP supremo and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Mann, party’s state president Gopal Italia, and its CM face Isudan Gadhvi.The areas that AAP covered during its Saturday yatra are lined with similar restaurants as Seth’s, apart from smaller eateries, automobile service centres, cycle repair shops, and Shah-e-Alam Roza, a 15th-Century shrine.Seth, 34, says the Congress will win again from the Dani Limda seat, which fell in the AAP yatra route. A Scheduled Caste reserved constituency, it is currently represented by Shailesh Parmar of the Congress. “The Aam Aadmi Party is a new party, and has never worked anywhere in Gujarat. We do not know how it works. He (Arvind Kejriwal) keeps repeating his guarantees of free electricity, good education, medical treatment, employment and so on, but it is Team B of the BJP,” Seth says, repeating an apprehension that many have and the Congress has been stressing upon.Seth, who was born and brought up in the area and has been running the hotel for at least a decade, also says that they are happy with the Congress MLA. “They even got this road repaired a few months back… MLA Parmar is approachable and we are familiar with the Congress office here. Corporator (ward Dani Limda of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation) Shehzad Khan Pathan (of the Congress) is also accessible, and solves our problems… We vote for the Congress because of them.”In contrast, voters point out, the AAP office in the area opened just three-four days back. “Inka kya bharosa… aaj hain, kal nahi hain (They can’t be trusted, they are here today, may be gone tomorrow).”Kesar Khan, 45, who owns a battery store across the Shah-e-Alam shrine, says they have no doubt that the BJP will return to power in the state. “People can vote for whoever they want, but it is the BJP which will anyhow form the government. So, we will make sure that the Congress wins from our constituency… It will always be the BJP in the state and the Congress in Dani Limda.”The AIMIM, which won seven seats in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in its debut election in February 2021, did not win any of the four wards of Dani Limda, though it scored wins in the neighbouring Jamalpur.The voters say AAP is also at a disadvantage as the candidate it has fielded from Dani Limda – retired mamlatdar Dinesh Kapadia – is an “outsider”. Kapadia’s name was announced early in September, and his photo features in AAP posters now.At the AAP office, caretaker Hanif Noor Pawan, 60, says that while the Shah-e-Alam office opened only now, “the main office for the constituency was inaugurated two months back”.Towards the Shah-e-Alam Darwaza stands Khala Medical Stores of Anwar Khan, 41. He did not join the AAP march, Khan says, and will vote for the Congress again, “like always”. “Anyone can hold a rally… AAP is a new party, it must be performing well in Delhi and Punjab, but their promises do not sync with our mentality. Maybe it fits well with the mindset of those states. Here, all these guarantees will not work,” says Khan, repeating that they vote for the Congress because of corporator Pathan.Khan also says that they are determined to ensure that their vote does not get divided. “In the 2007 Assembly elections, the NCP had also contested and the fight had become the Congress versus NCP. The votes got divided, and the BJP won. We do not want to take the risk, for a party which has never worked in Gujarat.”The Shah-e-Alam area also has a 50-year-old settlement of Bangladeshi immigrants called Chandola Talav Basti, or Bangladeshi Basti. Minarul Sheikh, 35, whose father came from Bangladesh and who was born here, says, “None of us went for the rally by Mann. There is no point. It is just Shehzad Khan Pathan who listens to us. So we vote for the Congress.”Sheikh adds: “In all these years, not a single party has come to our basti, to woo us with their promises, or enquire about our demands. So, why should we go to any such rallies, when they do not even bother?”All the residents here have voter identity cards. Sheikh says that, against their better judgment, they once went for a rally (protest) against the NRC and Citizenship (Amendment) Act, before the pandemic. “But people were beaten up. They did not have any proof against us… but they simply picked up a few people… So we avoid going for any sort of rally,” he says.Ramesh Vohra, part of AAP candidate Kapadia’s team, says that the party will continue to focus on its issues of development. “We will stick to our manifesto, of reopening closed schools, improving the school infrastructure in the area, providing free electricity etc. The Congress has been winning, but it has not fulfilled anything in its manifesto, except an Ambedkar Hall. There is a severe problem of water, drainage, and roads in many chawls of Dani Limda.”Vohra adds that they had identified two major communities in the area – “Dalits and minorities (Muslims)”. “We will work first for them.”However, why has the party not engaged with the Muslim community on sensitive issues such as the recent Kheda flogging or the release of the Bilkis Bano case convicts? Vohra defends: “There is no point in getting into controversial issues when there are problems of development, such as electricity, water and education, across communities. So, we will make sure first that all these are provided to the people. Our job is to actualise what is written on paper (of the Constitution) and make it reach the ground.”

Day after AAP yatra, Ahmedabad Muslim-majority areas ‘in no hurry to shift from Cong to party we don’t know’
UPSC Essentials: Weekly news express with MCQs — ‘Two-finger test’, Delhi Pollution and more
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

The Indian Express’ UPSC weekly news express covers some of the most important topics of current affairs news from this week to help you prepare for UPSC-CSE. Try out the MCQs, Points to ponder and check your answers provided towards the end of the article.‘Two-finger test’ on rape victimsSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies I: Social empowermentWhy in news?—The ‘two-finger test’ on alleged rape victims is regressive, has no scientific basis, and is an affront to the dignity of women, the Supreme Court said Monday, as it declared that those found indulging in the practice will be guilty of misconduct.KEY TAKEAWAYS—The so-called two-finger test or per vaginum examination is conducted on alleged victims of sexual assault and rape to determine whether they are habituated to sexual intercourse.—This is not the first time the SC has expressed its disapproval with the two-finger test. The Centre’s guidelines on examining victims of sexual assault also forbid it, but the practice continues.What is the ‘two-finger test’?—A woman who has been sexually assaulted undergoes a medical examination for ascertaining her health and medical needs, collection of evidence, etc.—The two-finger test, carried out by a medical practitioner, involves the examination of her vagina to check if she is habituated to sexual intercourse. The practice is unscientific and does not provide any definite information. Moreover, such ‘information’ has no bearing on an allegation of rape.—A handbook released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on dealing with sexual assault victims says, “There is no place for virginity (or ‘two-finger’) testing; it has no scientific validity.”—Saying it was “regrettable” that the practice was still followed, the SC stated, “Whether a woman is ‘habituated to sexual intercourse’ or ‘habitual to sexual intercourse’ is irrelevant for the purposes of determining whether the ingredients of Section 375 (rape) of the IPC are present in a particular case.”The SC’s earlier comments on the test—In May 2013, the apex court had held that the two-finger test violates a woman’s right to privacy and asked the government to provide better medical procedures to confirm sexual assault.—A bench of Justices BS Chauhan and FMI Kalifulla held that even if a woman is “habituated” to sexual intercourse, that cannot give rise to the presumption of consent in the particular case.—Invoking the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights 1966 and the UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power 1985, the apex court said rape survivors are entitled to legal recourse that does not re-traumatize them or violate their physical or mental integrity and dignity.What the government’s guidelines say—In 2014, the Union health ministry released a document titled ‘GUIDELINES & PROTOCOLS Medico-legal care for survivors/victims of sexual violence.—The guidelines are clear about the two-finger test, saying, “Per-Vaginum examination commonly referred to by lay persons as ‘two-finger test’, must not be conducted for establishing rape/sexual violence and the size of the vaginal introitus [opening] has no bearing on a case of sexual violence. Per vaginum examination can be done only in adult women when medically indicated.”—In fact, the guidelines state that a rape victim’s consent (or her guardian’s, if she is minor/mentally disabled) is necessary for any medical examination. Even if consent is not provided, the victim cannot be denied medical treatment.—However, these are guidelines and are not legally binding.Other recent attempts to stop the ‘two-finger test’—In April this year, the Madras High Court directed the state to ban the two-finger test. The bench of Justices R Subramanian and N Sathish Kumar observed that despite the SC’s 2013 observations, the test is being conducted, even on minors.—In August this year, the National Medical Commission (NMC), the country’s top medical education regulator, modified modules for forensic medicine, including guidelines about the two-finger test. The modified module on virginity test states that students will be trained on “how to apprise courts about unscientific basis of these tests if court orders it”.Point to ponder: ‘Two-finger test’ in rape cases is offensive to the dignity of women but a stringent legislature alone cannot fix it. Comment.1. MCQ:Which of the following statements is/are correct with respect to the union health ministry’s document titled ‘GUIDELINES & PROTOCOLS Medico-legal care for survivors/victims of sexual violence’.1. Union Health Ministry brought out detailed guidelines for the medical examination of victims of sexual assault in early 2014 after the 2013 Justice Verma Committee report.2. These guidelines are not legally binding.a) Both 1 and 2                           b) Only 1c) Only 2                                      d) Neither 1 nor 2Delhi PollutionSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate ChangeMains Examination: General Studies III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.Why in news?—The haze and smoke over Delhi, which has become an annual event for about three weeks in October-November, has triggered a temporary ban on construction activities and the movement of trucks and diesel four-wheelers that do not comply with BS-VI norms.—The Supreme Court will hear a petition on agricultural stubble burning in the northern states, considered the prime reason for the extremely bad air quality in Delhi-NCR.KEY TAKEAWAYSIs agricultural burning the main culprit?—At this time of the year, the burning of agricultural waste in Punjab and Haryana is indeed the dominant reason for the smoke and haze over Delhi. The particulate matter from the burning contributes 30-40% of the PM2.5 concentrations in Delhi’s air during this time. It is the single largest source of PM 2.5 levels on most days during this period.—The reason is the weather, or rather, heat. Hotter air rises higher above the surface and takes the pollutants along with it. The polluting particles are lifted 2-3 km above the surface or even higher, before getting dispersed.—During October-November, however, the air is not that hot. The pollutants are trapped and tend to get concentrated at lower levels of the atmosphere, resulting in the smoke and haze situation that is being witnessed now.But why is agricultural waste burned?—This waste is the remains of the paddy crop after it has been harvested. This kind of burning is not specific only to Punjab or Haryana. However, the scale of burning in these states is much bigger than elsewhere.—Even in these states, this practice is relatively new. Even 10 years ago, the crop-burning problem was not this acute.—The burning is necessitated by the need to prepare the fields for the next crop in a very short window of time. Due to a slight shift in the cropping pattern in these states, there is now very little time between the harvesting of one crop and the planting of the next crop.—The traditional method of manually uprooting, or cutting, the stumps of the previous crop is time-consuming, and can delay the sowing of the next crop. So farmers resort to the easier option of burning these remains.So is there no remedy for this situation?—Several solutions have been suggested, and are being tried. These include suggestions to change the crop cycle, deployment of mechanised equipment for harvesting that would render burning unnecessary, and conversion of this waste into something more useful, like a source of energy, which can become an incentive for not burning.—Hundreds of crores have been allocated in the last few years to buy the necessary equipment or to try out alternative methods of dealing with this problem. But clearly, these equipment and methods have not been deployed effectively.Would the ban on construction and diesel vehicles work?—Construction has a small contribution to PM2.5 concentration. The particles released from these activities are usually larger, and add to PM10 concentrations. The banning of construction, therefore, is unlikely to have any significant impact on the prevailing situation.—Diesel vehicles, particularly older trucks, are indeed important contributors to high PM2.5 levels. And a ban on their movement can help in improving the situation somewhat.—However trucks, which are the biggest generators of pollutants in the diesel vehicle segment, are not allowed to move inside Delhi during the day in any case. In fact, the movement of trucks only at night results in a significant variation in the PM2.5 levels between day and night times.(source: The harvest of polluted air by  Amitabh Sinha)Point to ponder: Delhi’s air pollution is not a seasonal problem – it needs year-round solutions. Comment.2. MCQ:Acid rain is caused by the pollution of environment by (2013)a) carbon dioxide and nitrogenb) carbon monoxide and carbon dioxidec) ozone and carbon dioxided) nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxideHow is the Governor appointed, and how can she/he be sacked?Why in news?—Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader TR Baalu on Tuesday (November 1) urged “all like-minded MPs” to support a proposal to remove the Tamil Nadu governor, R N Ravi.—The DMK’s call for removal comes when Governors in several non-BJP-ruled states, including Kerala and Punjab, have expressed disagreements with the government on various issues.KEY TAKEAWAYSGovernor’s appointment, removal—Under Articles 155 and 156 of the Constitution, a Governor is appointed by the President and holds office “during the pleasure of the President”. If this pleasure is withdrawn before the completion of the five-year term, the Governor has to step down. As the President works on the aid and advice of the Prime Minister and the council of ministers, in effect, the Governor can be appointed and removed by the central government.—Thus, a Governor is a representative of the Union government in states. Article 163 of the Constitution says the Governor will normally be aided and advised by the Council of Ministers except in those functions which require his discretion.—While the Governor’s duties and responsibilities lie in a particular state, there is no provision for impeaching the Governor.Governor-state relations—Although envisaged as an apolitical head who must act on the advice of the council of ministers, the Governor enjoys certain powers granted under the Constitution, such as giving or withholding assent to a Bill passed by the state legislature, assenting to the convening of the state legislative assembly, determining the time needed for a party to prove its majority, and which party must be called first do so, generally after a hung verdict in an election.—All these powers have been flashpoints recently — to cite two instances, when the Maharashtra Governor had Devendra Fadnavis sworn in as the chief minister in 2019 amid a hung verdict, only for his government to fall in 80 hours; and when the Punjab Governor in September refused to allow a special session of the Assembly for a vote of confidence in the AAP government.What happens in case of disagreements?—There are no provisions laid down in the Constitution for the manner in which the Governor and the state must engage publicly when there is a difference of opinion. The management of differences has traditionally been guided by respect for each other’s boundaries.What courts have said?—Since the Governor holds office “on the pleasure of the President”, questions have been raised time and again on whether the Governor has any security of tenure, and if the President is obligated to show reasons for recalling a Governor.—In Surya Narain Choudhary vs Union of India (1981), the Rajasthan High Court held that the pleasure of the President was not justiciable, the Governor had no security of tenure and can be removed at any time by the President withdrawing pleasure.—In BP Singhal vs Union of India (2010), the Supreme Court elaborated on the pleasure doctrine. It upheld that “no limitations or restrictions are placed on the ‘at pleasure’ doctrine”, but that “does not dispense with the need for a cause for withdrawal of the pleasure”.—This ruling had come in response to a PIL filed by BJP leader BP Singhal, who had challenged the removal of the Governors of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Goa on May 2, 2004 by the President on the advice of the newly formed UPA government.—In its judgment, the Bench, while noting that the President can remove the Governor from office “at any time without assigning any reason and without giving any opportunity to show cause”, the power to remove can’t be exercised in an “arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner”.“The power will have to be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances for valid and compelling reasons… A Governor cannot be removed on the ground that he is out of sync with the policies and ideologies of the Union Government or the party in power at the Centre. Nor can he be removed on the ground that the Union Government has lost confidence in him,” the Bench ruled.—The Bench held that the court will presume that the President had “compelling and valid” reasons for the removal but if a sacked Governor comes to the court, the Centre will have to justify its decision.—After this, in 2014, when the BJP government came to power, it was claimed that the central government was pushing Governors to quit on their own, instead of recalling them. In August 2014, the Supreme Court agreed to examine a petition by then Uttarakhand governor Aziz Qureshi, challenging the NDA government’s push to make him quit the post.What various commissions have said—Over the years, several panels and commissions have recommended reforms in how Governors are appointed and how they function, such as the Administrative Reforms Commission of 1968, the Sarkaria Commission of 1988, and the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, headed by retired CJI M N Venkachaliah, in 2001.—The Sarkaria Commission had recommended that Governors are not sacked before completing their five-year tenure, except in “rare and compelling” circumstances. Recommendations have also been made for a provision to impeach the Governor by the Assembly. However, none of these have been implemented.Point to ponder:  State governments and governors have been at loggerheads for half a century. Comment.3. MCQ:Which of the following are the discretionary powers given to the Governor of a State?Select the correct answer using the code given below.a) 1 and 2 onlyb) 1 and 3 onlyc) 2, 3 and 4 onlyd) 1, 2, 3 and 4 China’s Belt and Road initiative and India’s longstanding, consistent positionSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests.Why in news?—External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday (November 1) told a virtual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) hosted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that “connectivity projects should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States and respect international law”.— Jaishankar’s statement is seen as a reference to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive multinational, multi-modal connectivity infrastructure project promoted by China. India does not support the BRI, and has declined to join the project.—A joint communique issued at the end of Tuesday’s meeting said Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan reaffirmed their support for China’s BRI and to work jointly to implement the project.KEY TAKEAWAYS—The major reason India opposes BRI is because it passes through Indian territory that is illegally held by Pakistan.—The arm of the BRI project that links mainland China to the Arabian Sea runs from Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region to Gwadar port in southwestern Baluchistan in Pakistan. The project enters Indian territory occupied by Pakistan in Gilgit Baltistan, and traverses the entire length of Pakistan from north to south before reaching the Arabian Sea.—This arm of the BRI is called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, and consists of multiple modern highway and railway projects. It involves the planned rebuilding and upgradation of Pakistan’s National Highway 35 — the Karakoram Highway or China-Pakistan Friendship Highway — that goes from the Khunjerab Pass on the Xinjiang border to Hasan Abdal to the northwest of Islamabad via Gilgit and Mansehra, and the upgradation of the highway that links Gilgit with Skardu to the north of the Line of Control (LoC).—India has repeatedly voiced its concern and opposition to the CPEC, and flagged the violation of international law in its building by China and Pakistan.* On May 13, 2017, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs had said: “Regarding the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’, which is being projected as the flagship project of the BRI/OBOR, the international community is well aware of India’s position. No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.”* In October 2021, speaking at the UN Sustainable Transport Conference hosted by Beijing, Priyanka Sohoni, Second Secretary at the Indian Embassy in China, said: “There have been some references to the Belt and Road Initiative or BRI at this conference. Here, I wish to say that as far as China’s BRI is concerned, we are uniquely affected by it. It’s inclusion of the so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a flagship project impinges on India’s sovereignty.”* In July 2022, India took note of reports about the participation of third countries in CPEC projects, and cautioned that “any such actions directly infringe on India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. MEA official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said: “India firmly and consistently opposes projects in the so-called CPEC, which are in Indian territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan.”* As far back as in 1994, India’s Parliament had resolved unanimously that the entire former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India, and that India’s position has been clear and consistent in this regard. On March 11, 2020, the government told Parliament that India’s “consistent and principled position, as also enunciated in the Parliament resolution adopted unanimously by both Houses on 22 February 1994, is that the entire Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh have been, are and shall be an integral part of India”.Point to ponder: The G7’s infrastructure investment plan to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative. How?4. MCQ: Consider the following statements about the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation:Which of the above statement is/are correct?a) 1 onlyb) 2 onlyc) Both 1 and 2d) Neither 1 nor 2 Performing Grade IndexSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.Why in news?—Kerala, Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh have emerged as the best performers in school education across indicators such as learning outcomes, equity and infrastructure in the 2020-21 Performing Grade Index (PGI) of the Ministry of School Education.KEY TAKEAWAYS—It assesses states’ performance in school education.—States are scored on a total of 1,000 points across 70 parameters, which are grouped under five broad categories: access (eg. enrolment ratio, transition rate and retention rate); governance and management; infrastructure; equity (difference in performance between scheduled caste students and general category students) and learning outcomes (average score in mathematics, science, languages and social science).—States are graded and not ranked to discourage the practice of one improving only at the cost of others, “thereby casting a stigma of underperformance on the latter”.—According to the government, the objective is to help the states prioritise areas for intervention in school education.—The Education Ministry released the first PGI in 2019 for the reference year 2017-18.—The PGI grading system has 10 levels. Level 1 indicates top-notch performance and a score between 951 and 1,000 points. Level II, also known as Grade 1++, indicates a score between 901 and 950. Those with Grade 1+ (or Level III) have scored between 851 and 900. The lowest is Grade VII, and it means a score between 0 and 550 points.—It sourced data from NAS 2017 and UDISE 2020-21.—6 states mentioned above and Chandigarh attain level-2. No state or UT attain level-1. Ladakh has significantly improved its performance in PGI. It has moved from Level 8 to Level 4 in 2020-21.—The maximum and minimum scores obtained by the states in 2020-21 are 928 (Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab) and 669 (Arunachal Pradesh), respectively.—Last year, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the UTs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Chandigarh were on level-II, for which states/UTs need to score 901 or above out of 1,000. Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh are the new entrants to level-II.Point to ponder: What India’s education system needs ? Discuss.5. MCQ:With respect to Performing Grade Index, which of the following statements is/are true?1. The Education Ministry releases Performing Grade Index for states’ performance in school education.2. 6 states and 1 UT attain level-1 as per 2020-21 PGI.a) Only 1                           b) Only 2c) Both 1 and 2                d) Neither 1 nor 2 Answers to the MCQs: 1 (a), 2 (d), 3 (b), 4 (a), 5 (a)

UPSC Essentials: Weekly news express with MCQs — ‘Two-finger test’, Delhi Pollution and more
  • Daily Briefing: Delhi’s worsening air quality; Isudhan Gadhvi interview; and more
  • The Indian Express

    Get your weekend started with the top 5 stories from our edition:1) With the air quality index in Delhi touching alarming levels, fingers are being pointed yet again at a recurring problem — fields being set on fire in harvesting season to get rid of standing stubble before farmers sow their rabi crops.🔴 We visit Punjab’s Sangrur district, where farmers say that while there are enough machines — from happy seeders to super seeders and munchers — to deal with the stubble, there are few alternatives cheaper than setting their farms on fire.🔴 In our latest edition of Idea Exchange, scientist Sachchida Nand Tripathi talks about why stubble burning has been such an important factor in the deterioration of air quality in the last few weeks. 🔴 But Amitabh Sinha explains that the deteriorating air quality in Delhi isn’t because of stubble burning alone — the weather also plays a key role. Here’s how. 🔴 Meanwhile in Delhi, primary schools have been shut and a large section of government employees have been directed to work from home. 2) Isudhan Gadhvi, who was named the Chief Ministerial face of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly Polls, talks to The Indian Express about his plans for the state if they come to power. “In the first Cabinet meeting, we will declare a WhatsApp number to tackle corruption… We will also announce free power and by Feb, hold exams for tehsil patwaris,” he says.3) The BJP government in Gujarat made a series of announcements  targeting a range of communities in 20 days since October 14, when the Election Commission (EC) announced the Assembly election schedule for Himachal Pradesh but did not notify the Gujarat poll dates. PM Narendra Modi also spent five days in the state to inaugurate multiple developmental projects. We list out the slew of announcements made by the ruling party just before the Model Code of Conduct came into effect there.4) As the war in Ukraine rages on, talks about nuclear weapons are in public discourse, once again. In our opinion section, Senior advocate Fali S Nariman writes about what international jurisprudence says about the use of nuclear weapons. “All the nations of the world – nuclear and non-nuclear – must join together to establish a regime of a nuclear-free world,” he says.5) This week, Shubhra Gupta reviews the latest Janhvi Kapoor-starrer ‘Mili’:  “The survival thriller has its moments and Janhvi Kapoor puts in the work. However, the pace slackens and bloat becomes the problem.” (2⭐)Express Saturday Quiz An ancient Christian monastery believed to pre-date Is;am’s spread across the Arabian Peninsula has been discovered on an island off the coast of the UAE. The monastery sheds new light on the history of early Christianity along the shores of the Persian Gulf. Where was it found?Until tomorrow, Aneesa PA and Rahel Philipose 

PM handing over some thousand appointment letters when ‘millions search for jobs’: Mallikarjun Kharge
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of unemployment, saying the PM is handing over some thousand appointment letters when “millions of youth search for jobs”.Kharge said Modi came to power with a promise of two crore new jobs every year, but forget creating two crore new well-paying jobs, it took eight years for the BJP-led Centre to even think of filling 10 lakh existing central government vacancies.Prime Minister Modi is holding ‘Rozgar Melas’, handing out appointment letters, and has addressed the melas giving 75,000 letters in Delhi, 13,000 in Gujarat, and 3,000 in Jammu and Kashmir, Kharge said.“Today, when millions of youth search for jobs, PM is handing over some thousand appointment letters!” the Congress president said in a series of tweets.Modi Ji came to power with a promise of 2 Cr new jobs every year.Forget creating 2 Cr new well-paying jobs, it took 8 years for the @BJP4India Government to even think of filling 10L existing Central Government vacancies.1/— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) November 5, 2022Kharge said rural India is facing the unprecedented challenge of unemployment. The average rural inemployment in the past 6 years is 7.02 per cent according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), he said.“Our youth is forced to wait for years to get a government job. All this is because of lack of will and false promises by the BJP,” he said.Kharge claimed the situation is so desperate that for 40,000 posts under the Agnipath Scheme, the government received 35 lakh applications.“For a few thousand posts in Uttar Pradesh, 37 lakh applications were received. Post-graduates and PHDs are applying for jobs well below their qualifications,” he claimed.Kharge said lakhs of vacancies currently exist in the public sector, including in the Armed Forces, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), central government schools, higher education institutions, health institutions, PSUs, PSU Banks, police and courts.Noting that armed forces and CAPFs are important pillars for the security and safety of our nation, Kharge said currently there are more than 2 lakh vacancies in the Armed Forces and CAPFs.However, the recruitment in the last two years has remained absolutely “dismal”, he added.“We are still dealing with the disastrous effects of the pandemic on our education system and the resulting learning loss. However, there are still 18,000 vacancies in the central government schools,” he claimed.“How does the government expect these schools to impart education with such vacancies,” Kharge asked.Higher education Institutions, including IITs, IIMs, and Central Universities, have more than 61,000 vacant teaching and non-teaching posts, the Congress president said, citing that in central universities and Delhi universities, 20,291 posts are vacant, 962 in IIT Bombay, 1,287 in Allahabad university and 1,804 in Aligarh Muslim University.“The country was devastated during the Covid-19 pandemic. We saw everything. Shortage of doctors, nurses, medical staff, medicines, etc. However, the government has still not learnt its lesson,” Kharge said, adding that 1,03,544 positions of key Anganwadi care-workers are vacant.“The situation of the country’s foremost hospital and public medical research university is a case in point. At AIIMS Delhi, total vacancies – 3,768. Total recruitment since 2017 – 1,893 (merely 470 per year),” he said in another tweet..@BJP4India claims to be working for the welfare of SCs, STs, OBCs and other backward communities.As per Govt’s own response in Parl, a large no. of backlog and unfilled vacancies still remain for SCs, STs and OBCs. What is the Modi Govt’s plan for filling such vacancies?11/ pic.twitter.com/vI8sJ2zAXq— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) November 5, 2022The Congress president said the BJP claims to be working for the welfare of SCs, STs, OBCs and other backward communities but according to its own response in Parliament, a large number of backlog and unfilled vacancies still remain for SCs, STs and OBCs.“What is the Modi Govt’s plan for filling such vacancies,” he asked.The share of regular employees in Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) has consistently decreased in the last eight years, Kharge said, citing that it has decreased from 14 lakh in 2011-12 to 9 Lakh in 2019-20.On the other hand, the share of contract employees is increasing, from 2.6 lakh in 2011-12 to 5.16 lakh in 2019-20, he said.“Modi Sarkar has failed to generate new employment opportunities for the youth! We don’t hear ‘Make in India’ ‘Skill India’ anymore! What happened to these programmes & their slogans? Where are the 16 Cr jobs that you promised? Why are you silent, Modi ji?” Kharge said.The Congress has been attacking the government over alleged lack of jobs for the youth and rising unemployment.

PM handing over some thousand appointment letters when ‘millions search for jobs’: Mallikarjun Kharge