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Gaps in quality education despite vast network of colleges: President Kovind

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President Kovind

Pune | President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday said India has a vast network of universities and colleges but gaps still exist in attaining world-class excellence in education.

To achieve global standards, the government has taken a decision to promote 20 institutions of higher education as “institutes of eminence”, Kovind said at the 15th convocation ceremony of the Symbiosis International University here. The President noted that India has a massive network of 903 universities and 39,050 colleges. “But the fact is there are still gaps in quality and in attaining world-class excellence across the spectrum,” he said.

“In this context, the government has taken a decision to promote and support 20 institutions of higher education as ‘institutes of eminence’, to grant them recruitment and curricula flexibility in order to reach best-in-class global standards,” he added. After a competitive process, the first few of these institutes of eminence were announced recently. There will be future rounds as well, he said.

Underlining the performance of girls in higher education, he said as president, he made a conscious effort to visit universities and educational institutions across the country to meet and interact with students and future thought leaders of the country.

“One of my findings has been that the academic performance of girl students tends to exceed that of boys. Today too, of the nine gold medals awarded at this convocation, six have gone to graduating girls. This is commendable and a happy sign for our society,” he said. He also asked students to use their education to help fellow citizens.

“Your education gives you responsibility to help those less-privileged and less-fortunate. How you choose to do this is entirely up to you, but remember that your empathy for fellow citizens is as much a test of your scholarship as your mark-sheet or your degree,” the president said. He said knowledge has no gender or geographical boundaries and that India has been a centre of learning for centuries.  From Taxila to Nalanda, the subcontinent’s age-old universities attracted students from different parts of Asia and beyond, he noted.

“In modern times as well, our campuses have been open to and welcoming talented young people from many countries, specially those in our neighbourhood and in Africa, a continent with which we have a special relationship, shaped in classrooms,” Kovind said.

He said it was worth noting that 46,144 international students from 166 countries study in various colleges, universities and institutions of higher learning in India. “Of those who are graduating today, 329 students are from 33 countries other than India. This adds to the multicultural and cosmopolitan atmosphere of your (Symbiosis) campus, and promotes goodwill among nations,” he said.

He congratulated the graduates hailing from other countries, especially one from Uganda who won the ‘Outstanding Foreign Student’ Award. “You arrived here as students. I am confident you are departing as lifelong friends and unofficial ambassadors of India,” he said.

He said the story of modern India owes much to the progressive ideas that have flowed from Pune, and for which “our nation is truly appreciative”. He hailed social reformers like Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule, M G Ranade, Vasudev Balwant Phadke, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Gopal Krishna Gokhale for taking the “lamp of learning” far and wide. For each of them, the “spread of education was non-negotiable”, he said, adding that “breadth of Indian higher education is appreciable”.

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Tremendous efforts made to catch absconding former minister: Bihar DGP

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Manju Verma

Patna | Under fire from the Supreme Court over its inability to arrest absconding former minister Manju Verma, the Bihar Police on Friday asserted that it was making tremendous efforts to nab the suspended Janata Dal (United) leader.

The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the state police for failing to arrest Verma in connection with an Arms Act case, which cropped up in course of the CBI probe into the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal. It directed Director General of Police K S Dwivedi to appear before it in person on November 27 if she was not nabbed by then.

In reply to a query, the DGP said Friday attempts were being made to secure her arrest. “We are making tremendous efforts.” Dwivedi said no time-frame could be given for the arrest of any person wanted in a criminal case. “Though we appreciate the concern expressed by the Supreme Court, we hope to trace her very soon.”

The officer said some objection was raised from Verma’s side before a court in Begusarai district when they tried to initiate proceedings for attaching her property. “We are working to get that resolved,” he added. The former minister had last week moved an application before the Begusarai court, through her lawyer, pleading that she not be treated as an absconder as she was not evading arrest, but trying to seek relief as per law.

Verma had stepped down as the minister for social welfare in August, following reports that her husband, Chandrashekhar Verma, had close links with Brajesh Thakur , the prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal.

During a raid by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at her in-laws’ residence in Begusarai, a huge quantity of ammunition was recovered, following which the agency lodged an FIR against the couple. The former ministers’ pleas for anticipatory bail have been rejected by the lower court as well as the Patna High Court. Her husband surrendered before a Begusarai court last month after several weeks of dodging the police.

An embarrassed JD(U), headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, said Thursday it had suspended her from the primary membership of the party. Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Hindustani Awam Morcha have accused the ruling party of shielding the absconding two-time MLA.

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Sabarimala row : Police have asked me to return to Pune: Trupti Desai

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trupti desai

Kochi | Amid over a 12-hour stand-off with devotees and others, including BJP workers, at the airport here vowing not to let her proceed to the Sabarimala shrine, activist Trupti Desai said police have asked her to return to Pune. The development comes even as the doors to the Lord Ayyappa temple opened for the “Mandala Makkaravillakku” puja.

The activist, who reached here around 4.40 am along with six young women en route to the hill temple, has been unable to come out of the airport, with the protesters saying her group would not be allowed to proceed to the Sabarimala temple. Desai said police officers held a meeting with her. “Police have requested me to return to Pune,” she told reporters. Desai said she will announce her decision by 6.30 pm.

Protesting local BJP leaders at the airport said the devotees, including women, would not let Desai and her colleagues to come out of the airport and proceed to Sabarimala temple. They alleged that Desai and her team came here to violate the centuries-old custom of the temple that prevented entry of women and girls in the age group of 10 and 50. Talking to the media over the phone, Desai earlier said she would not go back without darshan at the Lord Ayyappa temple.

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#Watch: “Swamiye Ayyappa” chants echo outside Cochin airport as Trupti Desai waits inside

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The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Trupti Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”. 

 

Cochin| The crowd of protesters outside the Cochin airport is swelling since the morning to oppose the activist Trupti Desai from entering Sabarimala. The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”.

On the other hand, Trupti Desai vowed to not go back without the Darshan of Lord Ayyappa at the Sabarimala Temple. However, several Hindu organizations have indicated at statewide protests if she tries to enter the hill shrine.

Currently, Desai along with a group of women activists accompanying her is waiting at the Cochin airport. The stalment has continued since morning. The Kerala police tried to take her out safely through cargo area but it failed as the protesters caught a wind of the move.

Watch: Devotees chant “Swamiye Ayyappa” outside Cochin airport during the protest.

 

Watch: Activist Trupti Desai waits at the Cochin airport

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