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Muslim will attend the Ram Mandir “Bhumi Pujon” ceremony “: Invited Iqbal Ansari

AYODHYA: Iqbal Ansari, one of the seven litigants from the Muslim side in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, has been invited for the ‘bhoomi pujan’ for the Ram temple at Ayodhya which would be performed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.
Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has also invited social worker Mohammad Shareef, 82, who was awarded Padma Shree this year for performing last rites of more than 25,000 unclaimed bodies over a three-decade span.

With international travel unlikely to resume soon, the Indian travel industry is betting big on domestic tourists across all categories and budgets

Media looks at the key reforms in the National Education Policy 2020 that is set to transform the academic landscape

Ansari, 69, confirmed that he has received the invite. Showing the Trust’s invitation card to media, Ansari said: “I will attend the ceremony. The dispute over the land is now over after the court’s verdict.” He said he would gift a ‘Ramnami’ (sacred stole) and a copy of Ramcharitmanas to the PM when he meets him at the ‘bhoomi pujan’.
Ansari’s father Hashim was the first litigant from the Muslim side in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case. After Hashim died at 95 in 2016, his son was included as a litigant in the case at the Supreme Court.

Ansari hoped that the construction of the temple would change the fate of Ayodhya. “I respect sadhus and sants. I am happy to have received the invitation for the ceremony. I think it is Lord Ram’s will that I attend it.”

When asked what he would have done had the court decided the case in his favour, Ansari said he had wanted a school and a hospital to be built on the disputed land.
Mohammad Shareef, popularly known as Shareef Chacha, may not be able to attend the ceremony because of his old age. His grandson Shabbir said, “We have received the invite, but my grandfather can’t walk or even speak. We are not sure whether he can go for ‘bhoomi pujan’.”
Trust general secretary Champat Rai told TOI that invitations have been sent out to 145 people, including 135 saints of 36 religious orders of India.


Amitabh Bachchan replies to woman who said she’s ‘totally lost respect’ for him: ‘My respectability is not going to be judged by you’

Mumbai: Amitabh Bachchan has responded to a woman on Facebook who accused him of “advertising” for the hospital where he was admitted for Covid-19 treatment and said that she had “totally lost respect” for him. Amitabh was discharged from the Nanavati hospital on Sunday after spending 23 days in the isolation ward of the hospital. His son Abhishek Bachchan is still undergoing treatment for the novel coronavirus at the same hospital.

A woman complained about the hospital in the comments section of one of his posts that her 80-year-old father wrongly tested positive for Covid-19 at the hospital and suffered bed sores as the doctors didn’t take proper care of him. She wrote, “Mr Amitabh its really sad the kind of advertisement you’re doing for a hospital like that who don’t care about human life and only want to make money…Sorry but totally lost respect for you.”

Responding to her comment, Amitabh wrote, “Jhanvi ji .. I am truly sorry to learn of what your dear and respected Father had to go through and the subsequent problems he developed. I have been in and out of Hospitals from a young age and with medical conditions that have all been extremely severe. There is a certain Code of Conduct in the medical profession and I have noticed that the doctors specialists nurses management all put the utmost in the care of the patient on hand.”

He added, “Yes lab tests can go wrong, but there are several other tests and conditions from which the assessment is made of any particular ailment. No hospital or doctor in my limited experience has ever not followed a code of conduct, or deliberately done adverse treatments for any commercial gain. This I shall humbly disagree with.”

“NO .. I do not advertise for the Hospital, I want to thank them for THE care and treatment that I got from Nanavati I shall and have done it for every Hospital that I have been admitted to and SHALL CONTINUE TO DO SO WITH GREAT RESPECT I! You may have lost respect for me but let me tell you Jhanvi ji , I shall never loose respect for the medical profession and the Doctors of my country . And one last thing .. MY RESPECT AND RESPECTABILITY is not going to be judged by you.”
Follow @htshowbiz for more

Indigenous People

One year of bifurcation: Not Chinese, Ladakhi are concerned of losing identity

A year after Ladakh celebrated Union Territory status, the mood has changed
Residents want protections under the Sixth Schedule and job security. The autonomous hill councils feel undermined by the Central administration.

Safwat Zargar:

On August 5, there was celebration on the streets of Leh, the main city of Ladakh. The Centre had just announced that the state of Jammu and Kashmir was stripped of special status under Article 370 and was going to be split into two Union Territories. The Ladakh division was going to be a separate Union Territory without a legislature. Union Territory status had been an old demand among Buddhists in Ladakh, who form 40% of the population.

While Leh celebrated, the residents of Kargil district protested. Mostly Shia Muslims, they greeted the bifurcation of the state with dismay.

A year later, there is gloom among both communities in Ladakh.

“People are happy that we became a Union territory but our demand was UT with a legislature not like this,” said PT Kunzang, president of the Ladakh Buddhist Association. For decades, the powerful socio-religious group had agitated for Union Territory status which would separate Ladakh from the political fortunes of Kashmir.

“There should be protections for our land, jobs, culture, environment and businesses,” Kunzang said. “The Indian Constitution has a number of safeguards for other tribal areas.”

These sentiments were echoed by Rigzin Spalbar, Congress candidate from Ladakh for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and former chief executive councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council

“We understand it’s still a new phase and they need time to put in place a system,” Spalbar said. “But everyone is worried here. People in Ladakh want a constitutional guarantee that will protect their identity, culture, land and jobs. We are just three lakh people and cannot withstand an inflow of 1.3 billion people from across the country.”

With the August 5 decisions, the inhabitants of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir lost certain Constitutional protections. Apart from hollowing out Article 370, Parliament also repealed Article 35A. The latter had enabled the legislature of the former state to define “permanent residents” of Jammu and Kashmir. The legislature was empowered to reserve for them certain rights, such as the right to hold government jobs and own land in the state of Jammu and Kashmi

When the law was repealed, permanent residents were those who were state subjects of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1954 and their descendants, and those who had lived for 10 years and owned land in Jammu and Kashmir in 1954 and their descendants.

With these protections gone, Ladakh was open to people and investors from outside the region, waiting to buy land or set up industries.

Last September, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes had recommended that the Union Territory of Ladakh be brought under the Sixth Schedule, which offers protections and a degree of autonomy for tribal areas. Over 97% of Ladakh’s population belongs to Scheduled Tribes.

“But the government has made a U-turn on that and that’s why people are apprehensive,” said Spalbar. “No such guarantee is being talked about by the government of India.”

There have been murmurs of a domicile law for Ladakh on the lines of the law notified for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir recently. The rights previously reserved for “permanent residents” are now available for “domiciles”, a much broader category including those who have lived in the region for 15 years, studied there for seven years or written Class 10 or 12 board examinations there. It also includes exemptions for Central government employees and their children

Spalbar said such an arrangement would not be acceptable to people of Ladakh. “By issuing a domicile law you are saying that don’t die today but die after 10 or 15 years,” he explained. “The thing we want is complete protection and security of our land, culture and identity. It shouldn’t be that someone will live in Ladakh for some time and then become a citizen of this place. Ladakh has a scarcity of resources and any change in demography will mean a disaster.”

Kunzang said that in February, the Ladakh Buddhist Association, along with other organisations, had held a mass rally in February demanding constitutional safeguards.

“We were expecting the start of many things but then Covid came,” he said. “The government actually didn’t get the chance to do anything. After that government attention got diverted to Chinese incursions. We are hopeful that once everything normalises, the government of India will accept our demand.”

Buddist monks in Leh district vote in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Crowding out the hill councils
Many feel the transition to Union Territory status has also crippled the independence of the hill development councils, which were an answer to Ladakh’s demands for greater autonomy from Kashmir. There are two autonomous hill development councils in Ladakh, one in Leh district and one in Kargil, each with its own chief executive councillor.

Feroz Ahmad Khan, chief executive councillor in Kargil, said there had been clashes over jurisdiction between the councils and the Union Territory administration. “Sometimes the hill development council gives one order and the UT administration issues another order,” he said. “All of this is happening because of the absence of business rules defining the roles and functions of both the setups.”

Unlike Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Territory of Ladakh lacks a legislative assembly. In such a situation, Khan said, the powers of hill development councils should be increased and not curtailed. “There’s also the issue of the downgrading of financial powers of hill development councils by the ministry of home affairs,” Khan said.

According to Khan, the matters had been raised with the Union home ministry, which had promised to find a solution and strengthen hill development councils.

Not everyone was content with the assurances. In May, Cheering Dorjay, president of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Ladakh unit, quit the party. While the immediate cause was the BJP’s and the Union Territory administration’s failure to bring back Ladakh residents stranded in various parts of India after the coronavirus lockdown was announced, it was not the only reason.

“Another reason was that there was no clarity on the role and responsibility of hill development councils and the Union Territory administration,” said Dorjay, who served as a cabinet minister in the government of the former state. “There’s confusion over which setup should handle what. That’s why everything in the administration has become highly confused.”

According to Dorjay, the Union Territory administration’s influence is now writ large in Ladakh. “They [the Union Territory administration] interfere in everything,” he said. “Since they are more powerful, the UT administration is taken more seriously by government officials.” When he tried to raise these concerns with the Ladakh administration and senior BJP leaders, Dorjay claimed, no one took him seriously. “That’s why I resigned from the party,” he said.

Kunzang, for his part, felt the hill councils should be given legislative powers. “Hill development acts were formed under J&K state acts in the past,” he said. “Now, it’s time to change these acts and strengthen these hill councils. These hill council acts should be passed through Parliament.”

A shrinking pool of jobs
Before special status was revoked and Article 35A scrapped, government jobs were reserved for permanent residents only. “Since these are far-flung areas, candidates from Leh and Kargil had reservations in state government jobs as well,” explained Sajjad Kargili, who contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as an independent candidate from Ladakh.

With those reservations gone, insecurities have grown. “You can say that our jobs have diminished not increased since we became a Union Territory,” Kargili saii

Earlier, residents of Ladakh often found jobs in Jammu and Kashmir divisions. Now, all government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir are reserved for domiciles of that Union Territory, leaving no space for the youth of Ladakh. Najm ul Huda, a lawyer based in Kargil, has moved the Supreme Court against the 100% reservation for domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir.

“In J&K domicile laws notified in March, they have provisions for the children of Central government employees to become domiciles and be eligible for government jobs there,” he said. “There is no such mechanism for the children of state government employees who were from Ladakh. We, too, were permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir before August 5. But they are giving job opportunities to those who come from outside and not those who were previously permanent residents of the state.”

This is the fourth part in a special series on the legacy of the sweeping changes made by the Modi government to the status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019. Read the full series here.

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effect on the freedom of speech and expression: Petition in Supreme Court

New Delhi: Senior journalist N Ram, advocate Prashant Bhushan and former Union Minister Arun Shourie moved the Supreme Court Saturday challenging the Contempt of Courts Act, which they said had a “chilling effect on the freedom of speech and expression” as guaranteed by the Constitution.
Describing the 1971 act as “unconstitutional and against the basic structure of the Constitution”, the petitioners asked the court to quash certain provisions.

The petition argued that “the impugned sub-section is unconstitutional as it is incompatible with values (of the Preamble) and basic features of the Constitution” and, further, that it is “unconstitutionally and incurably vague, and manifestly arbitrary”.

“…by criminialising criticism of the court in sweeping and absolute terms, the impugned sub-section raises a prior restraint on speech on matters of public and political importance,” it stated.

The challenge to the Contempt of Courts Act comes days before the top court is to hear contempt proceedings against Mr Bhushan over serious allegations against the judiciary.ট

Meanwhile, Mr Bhushan also moved the court over the contempt case against him, wanting the order to be recalled. He said the court had initiated proceedings based on a petition by advocate Mahek Maheshwari that, he said, was illegal and had to be cancelled.

Mr Bhushan’s petition said Mahek Maheswari did not obtain permission from the Attorney General, which is a must for filing contempt petitions.

It was initially indicated that the Supreme Court took up the contempt case against Mr Bhushan on its own. It was later found out that it was based on a petition by Mahek Maheswari.

The matter is to be heard next on August 4.

Mr Bhushan has a second contempt proceeding against him – a 11-year-old case over comments to a news publication on former Chief Justices of India.

Meanwhile, as many as 131 personalities, including former judges, authors, former government servants and journalists, opposed the court move’s and wanted proceedings against Mr Bhushan to be dropped.

A statement from them said: “We cannot countenance a situation where citizens live in fear of the Court’s arbitrary power to punish for contempt for words of criticism on the conduct of judges, in or out of court”.

N Ram and Arun Shourie have also had contempt proceedings against them in the past.

The senior journalist had to face one in the Kerala High Court over publication of court proceedings in the Kollam liquor tragedy case. Mr Shourie faced a contempt case over an article about the Justice Kuldip Singh commission; the court finally ruled that the article did not amount to contempt of court.

Indigenous People

‘Our only concern is our identity; we do not want Ladakh to be like Assam’ : Ladakhhi Leader

Gyal P. Wangyal heads the 30-member Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council and holds the status of a cabinet minister. He talked to the journalist on the changes that have come in Ladakh since it became a Union Territory, challenges ahead, Chinese incursion and more. ———————————————– Q/It’s been a year since Ladakh became a Union Territory. How do you see the development? Despite its strategic significance (shared border with Pakistan and China), Ladakh has been the most neglected part of the country under the erstwhile J&K government. Infrastructure developmental work was absolutely on low priority for Srinagar-run government. After becoming Union Territory, Ladakh has got actually its identity. It is the foremost thing for us. For developmental work, Union government has already allocated Rs 6,000 crore for Ladakh. Earlier, having funds for the development was a big problem for us because of stepmotherly treatment by J&K. Now, we need to start from the scratch. We need to begin from zero unlike J&K, and it will take time. Q/Are you saying J&K discriminated against Ladakh? Yes. Ladakh has always faced discrimination by the political class of Kashmir, who used to rule on us from Srinagar or in Jammu. We need to beg to J&K for funds, despite being largest in area, as Ladakh is 65 per cent while Jammu and Kashmir is only 35 per cent of total land area of the erstwhile state. And Leh district itself is 45,000 sq km. Development is to be done for the area not its people. Ladakh has a population of close to three lakh. J&K used to ask money from Planning Commission in terms of area, but while distributing, it was always on the basis of population. Due to this, Ladakh used to get only 2 per cent of the total budget of J&K. So, we had to face issues on the development as our area is vast. Q/How has the development work progressed in the past one year in Ladakh? Since, we have become UT, our budget has increased four times—Rs 232.43 crore for Leh and similar amount for Kargil district. But, it is our bad luck that due to COVID-19 pandemic, we could not utilise it. Due to the restrictions, no meeting of general council of the Ladakh Hill Development could take place in the last five months. So, no planning was made on the disbursement of the allocated fund. Now, we need to follow MHA rules for financial planning. Our biggest problem is availability of labour, as they come from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and even from Nepal. There is a big uncertainty on return of these labourers to Ladakh. Now, we are afraid that whether we will be able to utilise this allocated Rs 232 crore for development. Moreover, from October, winter will set in the state and it brings to halt all infrastructure work due to heavy snow. COVID-19 and tension on border with China have badly affected the development of Ladakh. Q/Are you satisfied with the development on the border area in view of the Chinese incursion? In 2015, there was a proposal from MHA of Rs 600 crore to develop the border area. Unless we provide basic facilities to residents of border villages, they will migrate. In recent past, hundreds of migrants have come down and settled in Leh. Union government could not implement its own plan of border development. Now, we are pushing to revive as it becomes important in terms of Chinese incursion. If we manage to stop migration, these people will always be the eyes and ears for the security agencies. With better road connectivity, border tourism can also be promoted in remote areas. Q/How do you see the abrogation of Article 370 ? To have a separate Union Territory was long-pending demand of people of Ladakh. The demand was legitimate on the various grounds—geographical, cultural and linguistic. Many Ladakhi leaders, including Kushok Bakula Rimpochee, have led the movement for the separation from J&K state. Thupstan Chhewang, former member of Parliament, who founded the Ladakh Buddhist Association that spearheaded the agitation, ultimately led to the setting up of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC ) in 1995. But due to Article 370, we were not allowed to have separate status of Union Territory. Now, Modi government has removed Article 370 and both J&K and Ladakh have made UTs. With abrogation of Article 370, Ladakh should integrate the region fully with the rest of the country as an equal stakeholder in building the nation. Q/Do you fear change of demography? Yes. Fear of the influx of outsiders that would lead to a change in the region’s demography is very much there in every Ladakhi’s mind. Now, anyone can settle here. With no special status, Ladakh will become open for all, especially in terms of real estate. That is why, we need protection of land. Domicile rules also need to be considered for Ladakh, too, if residents of J&K can get it. Essentially, the Ladakhi identity needs to be protected through safeguards. We don’t need everything defined under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Based on Articles 244(2) and 275(1), the Sixth Schedule provides for the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram after setting up autonomous district and regional councils. But, we are asking for safeguards in employment, land, environment and heritage. Q/What are the challenges ahead for Ladakh? We are well aware of it that we do not have any issue of funds after becoming a UT. Our only concern is our identity. We should not lose it. We do not want to be like Assam. Our upcoming generations should not blame us for wrongdoings. Government of India has given us the status of a UT with Hill Development Council, which is unique. But now, there is a need to amend the legislative powers of Hill Development Council at UT level to avoid any friction between UT administration and Development Council. Both need to work together for betterment of Ladakh otherwise tug-of-war will start. We (Development Council) are an elected body and represent the people. Accountability of voters is on us, as nobody will ask questions to the district administrative body. So, we need an amendment to bring us at par with UT administration to work jointly for developmental task. Hill Development Council has 30 body members, of which 26 are elected and four are nominated. PM Modi-led government at the Centre has fulfilled the long pending demand of Ladakhi people. People cannot forget what he (PM Modi) did for Ladakh. Centre had that option to disband Hill Development Council, which it did not do. Q/How do you see the issue of nomads in Ladakh? We have been constantly working on issue of pasture land for nomads. Earlier, we did not have the required fund. Now, we have no dearth of funds. Nomads on border villages suffer the most when it snows. So, we are creating a fodder bank and identifying pasture lands for them. We need to develop the border infrastructure as we are lacking it hugely. Lack of communication system is also an issue. Our executive councillors have made a couple of visits to the remote border villages after tension on the border with China and listened to their grievances. Q/What is your take on incursion by Chinese military? It is not the first time, Chinese have intruded into our territory. They have been doing it for the last five decades. Now, it has come to the limelight because our forces have shown firmness and retaliation on the border, which never used to happen earlier. There is a buffer zone, which was never contested, and both sides used to patrol. Earlier, we never objected to Chinese incursion. We cannot trust China. Ladakhi people are not scared of Chinese military. .Read more at India No 1 Defence News Website .


Scientists figure out a weakness of coronavirus: Ordinary water

In a study, scientists discovered that about 90% of the Covid-19’s particles die in room temperature water in the course of 24 hours
Furthermore, scientists confirmed that boiling water containing Covid-19 kills it immediately and completely.

As the race for a potential Covid-19 vaccine continues in order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, scientists have managed to find out an important weakness of the virus, according to a report.

Researchers from Russia’s VECTOR State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology in Novosibirsk, Siberia have figured out that ordinary water can help restrict the growth of the virus, according to Sputnik News report.

In their study, scientists discovered that about 90% of the virus’ particles die in room temperature water in the course of 24 hours, with 99.9% succumbing within 72 hours. Furthermore, scientists confirmed that boiling water containing Covid-19 kills it immediately and completely.

Significantly, researchers also found that although the virus does not multiply in dechlorinated and sea water, it can remain viable for some time, with its lifespan depending directly on the water’s temperature. Chlorinated water is also said to be highly effective at killing the virus, the report said.

The findings of the researchers were presented recently by Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer protection and human wellbeing watchdog.

In the Covid-19 vaccine front, the country has been showing significant results in vaccine trials.

According to reports, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, a state research facility in Moscow, had completed clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine and paperwork is being prepared to register it.

He also said that they are preparing a mass vaccination campaign against the novel coronavirus for October, said Reuters citing local news agencies’ reports. Murashko adde that the authorities are considering getting doctors and teachers vaccinated against the virus first, according to a report.

A source told Reuters this week that Russia’s first potential Covid-19 vaccine would secure local regulatory approval in August and be administered to health workers soon thereafter.

Meanwhile, Russia registered 5,462 Covid-19 cases, bringing the cumulative total to 845,443, the country’s coronavirus response centre said on Saturday.

The country reported 95 new deaths from the novel coronavirus on Saturday, pushing its national tally to 14,058


New Education Policy declared: MHRD to renamed as Education Ministry

The NEP has been approved by the Cabinet. Current and former HRD Ministers to jointly hold a press conference on the same at 4 pm. Several changes likely ahead for the Indian education system

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Education Policy gets a nod from Cabinet

New Education Policy 2020 HIGHLIGHTS: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the new National Education Policy (NEP) and renamed the HRD Ministry as Education Ministry. Making the announcement, Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said there would be a single regulator for all higher education institutions and MPhil would be discontinued.

In a bid to ramp up digital learning, a National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) would be created. “E-courses will be developed in eight regional languages initially and virtual labs will be developed,” Amit Khare, Higher Education Secretary, said.

Top 100 foreign colleges will be allowed to set-up campuses in India. According to the HRD Ministry document, listing salient features of policy, “such (foreign) universities will be given special dispensation regarding regulatory, governance, and content norms on par with other autonomous institutions of India.”

Standalone Higher Education Institutes and professional education institutes will be evolved into multi-disciplinary education. “There are over 45,000 affiliated colleges in our country. Under Graded Autonomy, Academic, Administrative and Financial Autonomy will be given to colleges, on the basis of the status of their accreditation,” he further said.

The committee — which suggested changes in the education system under the NEP — was headed by former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan. The NEP was drafted in 1986 and updated in 1992. The NEP was part of the election manifesto of the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) ahead of the 2014 elections.

All education institutes to be audited as ‘not for profit’ entities
All education institutions will be held to similar standards of audit and disclosure as a ‘not for profit’ entity. Surpluses, if any, will be reinvested in the educational sector, as per the NEP. There will be transparent public disclosure of all these financial matters with recourse to grievance-handling mechanisms to the general public. All fees and charges set by private HEIs will be transparently and fully disclosed, and there shall be no arbitrary increases in these fees/charges during the period of enrolment of any student.

What is Lok Vidya
BVoc degrees introduced in 2013 will continue to exist, but vocational courses will also be available to students enrolled in all other Bachelor’s degree programmes, including the four-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programmes. ‘Lok Vidya’, that is, important vocational knowledge developed in India, will be made accessible to students through integration into vocational education courses.

Vocational courses to be part of mainstream courses
Vocational education will be integrated into all schools and higher education institutions in a phased manner over the next decade. By 2025, at least 50% of learners through the school and higher education system shall have exposure to vocational education, for which a clear action plan with targets and timelines will be developed.

What is Academic Bank of Credit?
An Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) shall be established which would digitally store the academic credits earned from various recognized HEIs so that the degrees from an HEI can be awarded taking into account credits earned. For instance, now if a student covers a topic related to his or her degree

Indian Sign Language (ISL) will be standardised across the country: PM

What are the changes in the curriculum?
Imaginative and flexible curricular structures will enable creative combinations of disciplines for study, and would offer multiple entry and exit points. Curricula of all HEIs shall include credit-based courses and projects in the areas of community engagement and service, environmental education, and value-based education.

What do multiple exit options in degrees mean?
The undergraduate degree will be of either 3 or 4-year duration, with multiple exit options, as informed by the Education Ministry. After completing one year, a student will get a certificate in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, a diploma if a student leaves after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor’s degree after a 3-year programme. The 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programme, however, shall be the preferred option and will give degree with research if a student has pursued a project along with it.

Higher education institutes to be divided into further categories
Research-intensive Universities. Those that place greater emphasis on teaching but still conduct significant research i.e. Teaching-intensive Universities. Autonomous degree-granting College (AC) will refer to a large multidisciplinary that grants undergraduate degrees and is primarily focused on undergraduate teaching though it would not be restricted to that.

By 2030, one large multidisciplinary college in every district
By 2040, all higher education institutions (HEIs) shall aim to become multidisciplinary institutions, each of which will aim to have 3,000 or more students. There shall, by 2030, be at least one large multidisciplinary HEI in or near every district. The aim will be to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035.

NEP to follow three-language formulae, Sanskrit to be mainstreamed
Sanskrit will be mainstreamed with strong offerings in school – including as one of the language options in the three-language formula – as well as in higher education. Sanskrit Universities too will move towards becoming large multidisciplinary institutions of higher learning.

NEP was requirement for New India
Foreign universities to set-up campuses in India
Under the NEP the world’s top 100 foreign universities will be “facilitated” to operate in India through a new law. According to the HRD Ministry document, listing salient features of policy, “such (foreign) universities will be given special dispensation regarding regulatory, governance, and content norms on par with other autonomous institutions of India.”

IITs asked to take holistic approach
Even engineering institutions, such as IITs, will move towards more holistic and multidisciplinary education with more arts and humanities. Students of arts and humanities will aim to learn more science and all will make an effort to incorporate more vocational subjects and soft skills.

Music , arts and literature to be taught in all colleges
Departments in Languages, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Indology, Art, Dance, Theatre, Education, Mathematics, Statistics, Pure and Applied Sciences, Sociology, Economics, Sports, Translation and Interpretation, etc. will be established and strengthened at all higher educatio institutes.

All institutes to be research institutes
By 2040, all higher education institutions (HEIs) shall aim to become multidisciplinary institutions, each of which will aim to have 3,000 or more students.

UG colleges to be more autonomous
Undergrad autonomy, academic, administrative, and financial autonomy will be given to colleges, on the basis of the status of their accreditation. India has over 45,000 affiliated colleges

Single common entrance exam for all colleges
The common Entrance exam for all higher education institutes to be held by NTA. The exam will be optional and not mandatory.

Report card to have assessment by teacher, peers
Life skills to be taught every year. Report card to have reviewed from teachers, peers, and students as well. Review assessment of performance. AI-based assessment of each year to be given to the student.

A draft of the NEP was put on public display by the government. Feedbacks on the same were sought from all stakeholders. The ministry had claimed to have received over two lakh suggestions for the same. After discussion, the final policy was approved by the cabinet as on July 29, 2020.


Hilal Ahmad Rather and Jawed Ashraf made it possible to get Raffles soon

NEW DELHI: When India’s first batch of five Rafale fighter aircraft took off from France’s Bordeaux-Merignac facility for India on Monday, it would have come as a “personal triumph” to Air Commodore Hilal Ahmad Rather.Presently India’s Air Attache in France, the native of Anantnag in Kashmirhas played a key role in ensuring delivery of Rafale jets to the country. Rather, son of a retired DSP, spent all of last year weaponizing the combataircraft to suit Indian conditions. He is credited with helping the project management team add 13 fresh capabilities to the Indian version of the jet.With the jets due to land in India on Wednesday, the 52-year-old — who also supervised refuelling training of a team of 152 IAF technicians and 27 fighter pilots with French tanks — is being hailed as a hero back home. Junaid Ahmad, Rather’s neighbour, said he was an inspiration to Kashmiri youth. “He has made us proud,” he said. User Vijay Zutshi wrote on Facebook, “I really feel proud to know about Commodore Hilal, a man from our mohalla (colony) and town Bakshiabad, Anantnag. I wish him all the success.” Another user Anmol Pandita wrote, “God bless you in all walks of life. I’m also from Bakshiabad and remember you as DSP sahib’s son.”
As tributes poured in on social media, those close to Rather said he has had an impeccable service record. A fighter combat
leader and a qualified flying instructor, Rather commanded Mirage-2000 Squadron and a front line Air Force base in Gwalior. His accident-free flying of jets like MIG 21, Mirage and Kiran was a useful experience that helped him while coordinating with
the French project management team in Bordeaux over 35 advanced functions of the Rafale jet.
An alumnus of Sainik School (J &K), Rather earned a Sword of Honour — the highest award to a cadet — during his training at
the National Defence Academy. An edition of an IAF gazette from a few years ago describes Rather as “the officer who
consistently adopts a very systematic, fair-and-humane approach, which has improved the working culture, work environment
and morale in the unit”.
A family member told TOI, “Hilal’s father was with the police in J&K when he got commissioned into the IAF in 1988. The family
often faced threats and while others got married in their sprawling bungalow in Anantnag, Rather had to rent out a two-room
flat in Nagrota in Jammu two days before his marriage in 1993 for safety reasons.”
Along with Rather, Indian ambassador to France Jawed Ashraf was also crucial in ensuring delivery of Rafale jets to India. The
combat jets are reaching India four years after an agreement between the two countries was signed in 2016.

Human Rights

Manipur: Sedition case against political activist for allegedly making Facebook posts

The police in Manipur have filed a sedition case against political activist Erendro Leichombam, the chief of Imphal East police station Jogeshchandra Haobijam confirmed to on Tuesday.

The police have also invoked Section 153 (causing provocation to riot) and 505 (public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code against Leichombam. The activist is the convenor of a Manipur-based political party, People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance, which he had co-founded with Irom Sharmila in 2016 after she ended her 16-year-old fast for the removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from Manipur. He had contested the 2016 Manipur Assembly elections, but lost.

The police have refused to divulge more details about the case, but Leichombam said when officers visited his home in Imphal on July 26, presumably to arrest him, his family members were told that the charges stemmed from his Facebook posts. Leichombam’s family claimed that the police referred to a particular picture he had posted on July 24 about Sanajaoba Leishemba, a newly-elected Rajya Sabha MP and the titular king of the state.

In the image, Leishemba, who was elected on a BJP ticket, is seen bowing down with his hands folded in front of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The picture has been captioned “Minai macha”, which roughly translates to “son of a servant”.

Leichombam, who has a postgraduate degree in economic policy from Harvard University, is a vocal critic of the current BJP dispensation in Manipur. He was arrested in 2018 for posting a video on Facebook that the police said amounted to “promoting enmity between different groups and criminal intimidation”. “I have been targeted because I am a long-time critic of the BJP government in Manipur,” Leichombam said.

The political activist said he was scared of going back to Manipur because he feared the state government would file more serious charges against him even if the court were to dismiss the sedition case. “This is what the government did to a journalist after the court said sedition charges don’t hold,” he said, referring to Kishorechandra Wangkhem, a Manipuri journalist who was charged under the National Security Act in 2018 after he posted a Facebook video critical of Biren Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In addition to Wangkhem, several Manipuri civil society activists and political activists have been detained or arrested over the last couple of months for allegedly criticising the BJP government on social media.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday evening, the political activist posted: “I have been charged with sedition by the government for exercising my freedom of speech. To protect Kangleipak from a forceful assimilation is a duty. I will not stop writing. You can’t gag all your critics. Some of us still love our homeland. You can imprison my body, but how will you imprison my mind?”

On July 14, Leichombam had also written a post on the “serious allegations against the chief minister of Manipur” levelled by Thounaojam Brinda, a police officer from the state. In an affidavit to the court, Thounaojam has alleged that Chief Minister Biren Singh had tried to foil a police investigation against a fellow party member accused of smuggling drugs.

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