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January 31, 2022

Free Trade Agreement Between The Republic of India and The United Kingdom

 the Republic of India and the United Kingdom concluded the first round of talks for an India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Both sides acknowledge the importance of ensuring this first round – held virtually over 2 weeks - could proceed despite the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic.

During this round, technical experts from both sides came together for discussions in 32 separate sessions covering 26 policy areas including: Trade in Goods, Trade in Services including Financial Services & Telecommunications, Investment, Intellectual Property, Customs and Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Technical Barriers to Trade, Competition, Gender, Government Procurement, SMEs, Sustainability, Transparency, Trade and Development, Geographical Indicators and Digital.

The negotiations were productive and reflected our shared ambition to secure a comprehensive deal to boost trade between the 5th and 6th largest economies in the world. The positive discussions in round one have laid the groundwork for the UK and India to make positive and efficient progress.

The second round of negotiations is due to take place on 7-18 March 2022. Both teams maintain a shared ambition to conclude negotiations by the end of 2022 – as part of both sides’ efforts to secure a comprehensive agreement, Chief Negotiators will continue to consider the benefits of an Interim Agreement.

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January 30, 2022

Industry-Academia Cooperation is crucial to channelize the young talent and human resources

 Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Shri Mansukh Mandaviya today launched NIPER Research Portal along with Shri Bhagwanth Khuba, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers in presence of Dr V. K Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog. National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) Research Portal has been created with the aim to disseminate the information about all the NIPERs and their research activities, patents filed and Publication information at one place so that a industry and other stakeholders know about them.

Reiterating the vision of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra of Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan and Jai Anusandhaan, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya said that Research & Development is one of the crucial pillars for a country's economy. He said that we need to harness this energy of aspirations of all stakeholders and create a holistic ecosystem. Our expertise in generics can also be further expanded to other sectors, he added.

Pointing towards the importance of healthy competition both in Industry and Academia, the Union Minister noted that competition and demand is a necessity of research and innovation as this promotes quality ideas and solutions for our citizens. He stressed that Research and Innovation is a necessity for the sustained growth of pharmaceuticals sector.

The Minister stated that the country already has young talent and human resources, but we need to channelize them effectively through Industry-Academia cooperation. To enhance this industry–Academia collaboration, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has created this Research Portal to capture the research activities of all seven NIPERs, he informed. He said that that the platform inaugurated today would help us in promoting this synergy and would be a boon for our industries, especially the MSME sector.

Shri  Bhagwanth Khuba said India is the third-largest pharmaceutical manufacturing country and our vaccine development story is an example of effective cooperation among stakeholders.  He said that the platform will track the research and tasks of all NIPERS. He further said that the Government is committed to promote research and innovation and this portal is a step in that direction.

Dr VK Paul recollected the key role played by NIPERs in India's health ecosystem. He requested the government to streamline the funding pipeline and expedite the budgets allocated. He urged the industry to provide support like the NIPERs research fund for priority areas. He also encouraged NIPERs to create a vibrant scientific community by engaging with stakeholders and mobilizing ideas of the young generation, promoting academic autonomy and delivering on their research goals.

Accentuating the importance of NIPER’s Research Program, which focuses on the needs of the hour, the Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ms S. Aparna said that the importance of Research and Innovation has never been more important and more apparent than in the last two years of the global pandemic. We have seen the need for new drugs, re-purposed drugs, safer drugs, more efficacious drugs and the most affordable drugs to help mankind, she added.  Shri highlighted that the portal will promote research work that is more relevant to the current evolving need of the sector and the requirements of the patient community.

The purpose of this portal is to authenticate availability of the research work that is ongoing. It will help other researchers and especially the industry to get in touch with the relevant organization so that they can work together and make the research more purposeful and meaningful. For long, research institutes have been working in silos or isolation. The research portal will try to bring together research institutions spread across different departments within government and also these institutions with industries. The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers also requested all relevant research institutions like the Department of Biotechnology, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of AYUSH, ICMR etc., and even DRDO, where a lot of pharmaceuticals sector-related research takes place to join this portal.

Kindly click the link below to see the portal:

http://nipermis.pharmaceuticals.gov.in/

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January 30, 2022

Apprentices trained in railway establishments are given preference in appointment over others

 Indian Railways has been providing training to applicants in designated trades under the provisions of the Apprentices Act since August 1963. These applicants are taken as apprentices based on their academic qualification without any competition or selection. Though the railways were obligated to provide only training to such candidates, those who completed their training were being engaged as Substitutes against level 1 posts, since 2004.

  • Substitutes are temporary appointees who can be engaged to meet any exigencies and operational requirements. While such appointees are given benefits, due to temporary railway servants, they are not entitled to be absorbed in permanent employment without undergoing due process.
  • In view of the ongoing transformation of Indian Railways and with a view to bringing fairness, transparency and objectivity in all railway recruitments, the railways centralized the process for all recruitments to level 1 in 2017, which would henceforth be conducted through a common nationwide computer based test (CBT)
  • The Apprentices Act was amended in 2014 whereby section 22 of the Act provided that an employer shall formulate a policy for recruiting apprentices trained in its establishment. Pursuant to such amendment, Indian Railways made a provision to give preference to apprentices trained in railway establishments in open market recruitment to level 1 posts, to the extent of 20% of the posts advertised.
  • While these apprentices appear for written test along with other candidates, they are given preference in appointment over others, subject to obtaining minimum qualifying marks and meeting and medical standards.
  • Accordingly, 12504 Level 1 posts out of 63202 advertised vide CEN 02/2018 were earmarked for such candidates in the first common recruitment held in 2018. Similarly, 20734 Level-1 posts, out of 103769 posts advertised under CEN RRC 01/2019 have been earmarked for these apprentices. Recruitment for this notification is to be held.
  • These apprentices are demanding for appointment in the railways without undergoing the prescribed recruitment process, namely written test and physical efficiency test that all other candidates are required to undergo as per extant rules. This demand is not feasible for acceptance as it is violative of Constitutional provisions and Apex Court judgment in matters of public employment whereby any employment cannot be provided except through a procedure involving fair selection.
January 29, 2022

India-Israel agree to further enhance cooperation in the agricultural sector

 Israeli Ambassador to India Shri Naor Gilon called on the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar at Krishi Bhawan on 27th January 2022. Welcoming the Ambassador, Shri Tomar congratulated him on taking over as the Ambassador of Israel to India. Shri Tomar expressed happiness on the completion of 30 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel. The Minister expressed satisfaction at the functioning of 29 Centers of Excellence in 12 States which are producing more than 25 million vegetable plants, over 387 thousand quality fruit plants and can train more than 1.2 lakh farmers per year.

 

Union Minister Shri Tomar informed that it has been decided to convert 150 villages around the Centers of Excellence into Villages of Excellence with technical assistance from Israel, out of which 75 villages are being taken up in the first year to commemorate the 75th year of India's independence where India and Israel will work together. Shri Tomar also highlighted the various schemes that have been launched by the Government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for the welfare of farmers, including PM-Kisan, Agri-Infrastructure Fund, formation of 10 thousand FPOs, Schemes for promotion of organic farming, natural farming and soil health cards etc.

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The Ambassador of Israel Shri Gilon expressed satisfaction over the functioning of the Centers of Excellence, stating that these CoEs are a great example of cooperation between the two countries. The Ambassador appreciated the working of ICAR institutes and showed interest in further collaboration with ICAR and making available the latest technologies available with Israel. He proposed the certification of CoEs to further enhance the standards and quality of services being provided to the farmers. He also invited Union Minister Shri Tomar to visit Israel. Shri Tomar appreciated the Ambassador's proposals, agreed to work on them and thanked the Ambassador and the officers from the Embassy of Israel for their cooperation.

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January 26, 2022

The India Toy Fair, 2021

 Government of India is organizing 'The India Toy Fair, 2021' from 27th February 2021 to 2nd March 2021 on a virtual platform. This initiative is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision of making India a global hub for the Toy Industry.

The Fair aims to provide an impetus to the underlying themes of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” and “vocal for local” campaigns, launched by the Government to promote indigenous industries. It also aims to leverage the potential of toys in making learning joyful across all ages in education.

The India Toy Fair 2021 intends to bring policy makers, toy manufacturers & distributors, investors, industry experts, MSMEs, artisans, start-ups, children, parents and teachers together on a common platform, in a bid to propel the growth of the Indian Toy Industry, giving it a global competitive edge.

The main attractions of the Fair include a Virtual Exhibition with over 1000 virtual stalls, webinars by State Governments, knowledge sessions with engaging panel discussions/webinars on diverse topics by experts on areas including toy-based learning, craft demonstrations, competitions, quizzes, virtual tours, product launches, etc. For the education sector in particular, the Knowledge Sessions involving various experts will focus on areas emphasized in the NEP 2020 such as play-based and activity-based learning, indoor and outdoor play, use of puzzles and games to promote critical thinking and overall on how to make learning more engaging and enjoyable.

The exhibitors include Indian businesses engaged in creating happy childhoods and educating children through play, as well as NCERT, SCERTs, CBSE along with their schools and teachers, IIT Gandhinagar, NID and Children University Ahmadabad. The fair is expected to feature millions of users from different parts of India and will give them an opportunity to buy products from a variety of different exhibitors.

The official website and online registration for the India Toy Fair was launched today. The Toy Fair can be visited virtually from 27th February to 2nd March 2021 by registering at https://theindiatoyfair.in/.

January 22, 2022

Indigenous Sensor, Weapons & EW Suite for LCA Tejas and Air Independent Propulsion for submarines

 Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will display two tableaux during the forthcoming Republic Day Parade on January 26, 2022. The tableaux are ‘Suite of Indigenously Developed Sensors, Weapons and Electronic Warfare Systems for LCA Tejas’ and ‘Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP)’ developed for the submarines of Indian Navy. 

The first tableau displays an indigenously-developed Advanced Electronically Scanned Array Radar called ‘Uttam’; five different aerial launched weapons and an Electronic Warfare (EW) Jammer to further enhance the capabilities of fourth generation LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) Tejas. The ‘Uttam’ radar is highly compact and modular state-of-the-art sensor to provide situational awareness to the pilot. The radar is developed by Bangalore-based electronics laboratory.

 The five aerial launched weapons include air–to-air missile ‘Astra’ which is an all-weather, active radar homing missile with beyond visual range striking capabilities; ‘Rudram’, a new generation anti-radiation missile with a capability to destroy adversary’s radar and communication systems; ‘Smart Anti Airfield Weapon, meant to destroy the ground targets and airfields; a long range guided glide bomb ‘Gaurav’ and ‘Tactical Advanced Range Augmentation’, an advanced precision strike weapon meant for ground targets. These weapons are developed using complex technologies by Hyderabad-based DRDO laboratories. 

Tejas is fitted with ‘Advanced Self Protection Jammer’ designed to provide protection from acquisition radars, fire control radars, anti-aircraft artillery and airborne multirole radars. Developed by electronic laboratory at Hyderabad, it provides the electronic warfare capability for the LCA. Integration of these weapons, radar and EW systems with LCA is an important step towards increasing the indigenous content of systems and makes the LCA mission ready.

 The second tableau showcases indigenously-developed AIP System for propelling the Indian Naval submarines underwater. The AIP System is powered by indigenously-developed fuel cells with a novel onboard hydrogen generator. It is one of the most advanced AIP Systems in the world where Fuel Cell Technology is used to generate onboard power. The AIP allows a submarine to be submerged for longer periods compared to conventional diesel-electric submarines and makes the sub-surface platform more efficient by making it quieter than even a nuclear submarine. 

At present, the AIP is customised for P-75 class of submarine. Once fitted, it will allow the submarine to stay under water for longer time without the need to surface frequently. This will substantially enhance the underwater endurance of the submarine. This niche technology is available only with very few countries in the world. The DRDO has developed this technology with the collaboration of academia and industry.

January 21, 2022

Meghalaya

 Many congratulations to all the people of Meghalaya on the golden jubilee celebration of the statehood! Today, I applaud everyone who has contributed to the building and development of Meghalaya. Some of the great personalities who raised their voice for Meghalaya's statehood 50 years ago are present at the ceremony. I salute them too!

Friends,

I have had the privilege of visiting Meghalaya many times. I had come to Shillong to attend the North Eastern Council meet for the first time when you gave me the opportunity to serve as the Prime Minister. It was an unforgettable experience as a Prime Minister to participate in this event in Shillong after a gap of three-four decades. I am glad that the people of Meghalaya have strengthened their identity of being close to nature in the last 50 years. Meghalaya is becoming an attractive place for the country and the world for its beautiful waterfalls, for its clean and serene environment and for connecting with your unique tradition.

Meghalaya has given the message of nature and progress, conservation and eco-sustainability to the world. Our brothers and sisters from Khasi, Garo and Jaintia communities deserve special appreciation for this. These communities have encouraged life in harmony with nature and have also contributed appreciably in enriching art and music. The tradition of Whistling Village i.e., Kongthong village encourages our eternal sense of connection to the roots. Every village in Meghalaya has a rich tradition of choirs.

This land is full of talented artists. The Shillong Chamber Choir has given a new identity and new height to this tradition. Along with art, the talent of the youth of Meghalaya has been strengthening the pride of the country in sports as well. When India is on its way to becoming a major power in sports, the country has high hopes from Meghalaya's rich sports culture. While the sisters of Meghalaya have revived the art of bamboo and cane weaving, the hardworking farmers here are cementing Meghalaya's identity as an organic state. The cultivation of golden spice and Lakadong turmeric is now famous all over the world.

Friends,

The Central Government has sincerely tried to accelerate the development journey of Meghalaya in the last seven years. The central government is fully committed especially to better road, rail and air connectivity. Work is being done on a priority basis for ensuring new markets for the local organic products in the country and abroad. Under the leadership of young Chief Minister Conrad Sangma ji, efforts are being made to ensure central schemes for the masses at a fast pace. Meghalaya has benefited greatly from programs like the PM Gramin Sadak Yojana and the National Livelihood Mission. The number of households receiving tap water in Meghalaya has increased to 33 percent due to the Jal Jeevan Mission, whereas it was just one percent of the households (getting tap water) two-three years ago till 2019. When the country is moving towards using drone technology on a large scale for the delivery of public facilities, Meghalaya has become one of the first states in the country to deliver corona vaccines through drones. This is a picture of a changing Meghalaya.

Brothers and sisters,

Meghalaya has achieved a lot, but it still has a lot to achieve. Apart from tourism and organic farming, efforts are also needed for the development of new sectors in Meghalaya. I am with you for all your efforts. We will work together to achieve the goals you have set for this decade. Best wishes to all of you!

Thank you, Khublei Shibun, Mithla

Jai Hind!

January 20, 2022

Rural sustainability and advancement by Apex Cluster Community Resources Development Society (ACCORDS)

 The Apex Cluster Community Resources Development Society (ACCORDS) is a non-profit organisation that was foundedin the year 2006 (under Manipur Societies Registration Act I of 1989, bearing Regd. No. 796) byNorth Eastern Region Community Resource Management Society (NERCRMS) under North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP) Phase – I; which was funded by the NEC, Ministry of DoNER, Govt. of India jointly with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Office bearers of ACCORDS, Senapati District, Manipur

The ACCORDS is enabling environment for sustainable socio-economic development of the rural communities by providing micro credits and other support services such as skill building, promotion of enterprises and community resources that enhances quality of life and sustain peace and harmony in the region. The ACCORDS is a conglomerate of589 Self Help Groups (SHGs), 143 Natural Resource Management Groups (NaRMGs), 35 SHG Federations, and 21 NaRMGs Cluster Associations.

Skill Development Programs organized by ACCORDS

The ACCORDS is collaborating with institutions like NABARD, KVK, District Administration, Line Departments such as Forest, Veterinary, Horticulture, Agriculture, and others.

 

Ongoing activities:

 

1. Microfinance                                                                  Self –financed by ACCORDS

2. Special SHGPI (old 100 NERCORMP SHGs) through NABARD

3. SHGPI (100 new SHGs)                                               through NABARD

4. Tribal Development Fund project                                  through NABARD

5. Livelihood & Enterprise Development Prog.     Through NABARD

 

Major Achievements

 

  1. The ACCORDS microfinance was launched in 2009 and provided loans to 200 SHGs at low rate of interest (14 % per annum) for income generation activities.
  2. Promoted over 600 SHGs in Senapati and Kangpokpi Districts under NERCORMP/IFAD and 150 SHGs under SHPI/NABARD programme
  3. Facilitated in credit linking of 100 SHGs with banks.
  4. Trained 150 women under LEDP and 90 women under MEDP supported by NABARD
  5. Conducted 15 Financial Literacy Awareness Programme under NABARD.
  6. Constructed a Rural Haat at Tadubi Bazaar under NABARD.
  7. Running Rural Mart at Senapati under NABARD
  8. Implemented TDF/Wadi projects for 200 beneficiaries under NABARD.
  9. Facilitated Area based schemes (Credit linkage) of 40 beneficiaries with MSCB and NABARD.

 

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January 18, 2022

Draft UGC (Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Higher Education Institutions to offer Joint Degree, Dual Degree and Twinning Programmes) Regulations, 2021

 Union Minister of Education Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ today informed that the UGC has placed the draft Regulations on Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Higher Education Institutions to offer Joint Degree, Dual Degree and Twinning Programmes, in the public domain and invited suggestions from all the stakeholders. The Minister sought insights and feedback from the public including the academia and all other stakeholders to enable the Ministry of Education to bring about effective implementation of this aspect of NEP. The Minister also informed that the last date of receiving suggestions/feedback has now been extended to 15th March. Feedback may be sent to ugcforeigncollaboration@gmail.com.

The Government of India is taking a number of initiatives for the implementation of the National Education Policy-2020. The NEP-2020 calls for permitting credits acquired in foreign countries to be counted for the award of a degree. Furthermore, the budget announcement of 2021 proposed regulatory mechanism to permit dual degrees, joint degrees and twinning arrangements. Accordingly, UGC has framed the draft UGC (Academic collaboration between Indian and foreign Higher Education Institutions to offer Joint Degree, Dual Degree and Twinning Programme) Regulations, 2O21.

These Regulations shall apply to Indian Higher Education Institutions intending to collaborate with Foreign Higher Education Institutions leading to award of diploma(s) and degree(s) including Post Graduate and Doctoral programmes, and Foreign Higher Education Institution intending to collaborate with Indian Higher Education Institutions. Academic Collaboration between Indian and foreign higher education institutions under these Regulations shall facilitate Credit Recognition and Transfer, Twinning Arrangement, Joint Degree Programme and Dual Degree Programme.

Under “Twinning Arrangement”, students enrolled with an Indian higher education institution shall be able to undertake their programme of study partly in India, complying with relevant UGC regulations, and partly in the foreign higher education institution. Moreover, credits earned by the students at a foreign education institution shall be counted towards the degree/diploma awarded by the Indian higher education institution. In case of “Joint Degree programme”, the curriculum shall be designed jointly by the collaborating Indian and foreign higher educational institutions and the degree shall be awarded by both the collaborating institutions with a single Certificate bearing the crests and logo of both collaborating institutions, upon completion of the programme. “Dual Degree Programme” under these Regulations shall be conferred by the Indian and foreign higher education institutions, separately and simultaneously, upon completion of degree requirements of both the institutions.

Promotion of foreign academic collaboration shall be strengthened through the introduction of the provisions of joint degree, dual degree and twinning arrangement. This initiative will provide global exposure to the students, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary education with internationally relevant curriculum, improve employability, attract foreign students to study in India and improve the standing of the Indian universities in international rankings as internationalization is an important parameter.

Click below to see Draft UGC (Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Higher Education Institutions to offer Joint Degree, Dual Degree and Twinning Programmes) Regulations, 2021:

ugc.ac.in/pdfnews/4258186_Draft-UGC-Academic-Collaboration-with-Foreign-HEIs-Regulations-2021.pdf

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January 15, 2022

‘SARTHAQ’, the NEP Implementation Plan for School Education

 Union Education Minister chaired a high level meeting on implementation of NEP-2020 in New Delhi today. Secretary, Higher Education, Shri Amit Khare; Secretary , School Education, Smt Anita Karwal and senior officials of the Ministry were present in the meeting.

 

In pursuance of the goals and objectives of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 issued on 29th July, 2020 and to assist States and UTs in this task, the Department of School Education and Literacy has developed an indicative and suggestive Implementation Plan for School Education,called ‘Students’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement through Quality Education (SARTHAQ)’. This implementation plan was released today by the Education Minister Shri Ramesh PokhriyalNishank also as a part of the celebrations leading to the AmritMahotsav on 75 years of Indian independence.

In a significant achievement, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the  Government has rolled out the Plan of Action of National Education Policy 2020 well within one year.

The plan keeps in mind the concurrent nature of education and adheres to the spirit of federalism. States and UTs are given the flexibility toadapt this plan with local contextualization and also modify as per their needs and requirements. This implementation plan delineates the roadmap and way forward for implementation of NEP, 2020 for the next 10 years, which is very important for its smooth and effective implementation.

SARTHAQ has been developed through wide and intensive consultative process with States and UTs, Autonomous bodies and suggestions received from all stakeholders; around 7177 suggestions/inputs were received from them. A teacher’s fest, ‘ShikshakParv’ was especially organized from 8th to 25th September 2020 for discussing various recommendations of NEP 2020 and its implementation strategies, which attracted around 15 lakh suggestions. 

Speaking on the occasion,ShriPokhriyal urged all the stakeholders to use this plan as a guiding star to undertake transformational reforms in the school education sector. He said that like the policy itself, the plan is also interactive, flexible and inclusive. The major focus of SARTHAQ is to define activities in such a manner which clearly delineate goals, outcomes and timeframe i.e., it links recommendation of NEP with 297 Tasks along with responsible agencies, timelines and 304 outputs of these Tasks. Attempt has also been made to propose activities in a manner, such that it will be built upon the existing structure rather than creating new structures. Thus, SARTHAQ takes care of the spirit and intent of the Policy and is planned to be implemented in a phased manner.

SARTHAQ has also been prepared as an evolving and working document and is broadly suggestive/indicative in nature and will be updated from time to time based on the inputs/feedback received from the stakeholders.

Following outcomes have been envisaged for entire education system afterimplementation of SARTHAQ:

  • New National and State Curriculum Frameworks for School Education , Early Childhood Care and Education, Teacher Education and Adult Education will be developed encompassing the spirit of NEP and will pave way for curriculum reforms
  • Increase in Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), Net Enrolment Ratio (NER), transition rate and retention rate at all levels and reduction in drop outs and out of school children.
  • Access to quality ECCE and Universal Acquisition of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by Grade 3.
  • Improvement in Learning Outcomes at all stages with emphasis on teaching and learning through mother tongue/local/regional languages in the early years.
  • Integration of vocational education, sports, arts, knowledge of India, 21st century skills, values of citizenship, awareness of environment conservation, etc. in the curriculum at all stages.
  • Introduction of Experiential learning at all stages and adoption of innovative pedagogies by teachers in classroom transaction.
  • Reforms in Board exams and various entrance tests.
  • Development of high quality and diversified teaching-learning material.
  • Availability of text books in Regional/local/home language.
  • Improvement in quality of Teacher Education Programmes.
  • Improvement in quality of newly recruited teachers and capacity building through Continuous Professional Development.
  • Safe, Secure, inclusive and conducive learning environment for students and teachers.
  • Improvement in infrastructure facilities including barrier free access and sharing of resources among schools.
  • Uniform standards in learning outcomes and governance across public and private schools through setting-up of an online, transparent public disclosure system through establishment of SSSA in states.
  • Integration of technology in educational planning and governance and availability of ICT and quality e-content in classrooms.

SARTHAQ will pave the way for our children and youth to meet the diverse national and global challenges of the present and the future and help them to imbibe 21st century skills along with India’s tradition, culture and value system as envisioned in National Education Policy 2020. ShriPokhriyal stated that it is envisaged that the implementation of SARTHAQ would benefit all stakeholders including 25 crore students, 15 lakh schools, 94 lakh teachers, Educational Administrators, Parents, and community as education is the backbone of an equitable and just society.

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January 15, 2022

NPST and NMM

 Union Education Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ today launched the “MyNEP2020” Platform of NCTE Web Portal. The platform seeks to invite suggestions/inputs/membership from the stakeholders for preparing draft for development of National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) and National Mission for Mentoring Program membership (NMM). The “MyNEP2020” platform will be operational from 1st April 2021 to 15th May 2021.

This exercise of digital consultation envisages the participation of teachers, education professionals, academicians, & other stakeholders in preparing the documents on teacher policy for sustainable and positive change in the Teacher’s Education Sector. For preparing the documents on above two major recommendations of NEP 2020, NCTE will work in close consultation with individuals/organizations.

Expert committee will extensively review the inputs collected during the consultation period and will finally formulate the Drafts for public review. Comments by the reviewers from the stakeholders will then be used to prepare a final Draft for notification.

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January 14, 2022

Toycathon aims to position India at 100 billion USD global toy manufacturing market

 Union Minister Women and Child Development and Textiles Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani and Minister of State for Education Shri Sanjay Dhotre virtually inaugurated Toycathon 2021 grand finale today. Shri Amit Khare, Secretary, Higher Education, Ministry of Education; Shri Upendra Prasad Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles; Prof. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE; Dr. Abhay Jere, Chief Innovation Officer, Ministry of Educations Innovation Cell; Dr. M.P. Poonia, Vice Chairman, AICTE and Dr. Mohit Gambhir, Director, MoEs Innovation Cell were present at the inauguration session.

The Toycathon 2021 is being organized jointly by Ministry of Education in coordination with five other Ministries viz: Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Commerce &Industry, Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, and Ministry of Textiles. This inter-ministerial Toycathon focuses on conceptualizing new and innovative toys using local materials which are economical, affordable, safe, environment friendly, with exceptional high quality for both Indian and global markets.

Speaking on the occasion, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani marked the moment as historical where the nations first toy hackathon is being dedicated to the world. The Minister complimented 17749 individual teams that submitted the ideas at Toycathon 2021. She hoped that many more ideas from this toycathon grand finale be commercialized. She emphasized that the toys have huge impact on psychomotor abilities of children, impact their memory skill and generate huge responsibility towards ensuring future autonomy of the child.

She expressed her concerns that 85% toys that our children are playing with are imported and are predominantly made of plastic. Drawing inspiration from Prime Ministers global commitment for sustainable development, Minister invited research bodies and toy manufacturers to make sustainable toys. She also advised that India is known for its engineering potential and our technologists should equip toy sector with adequate and innovative technologies for electronic toys.

Shri Dhotre said Indian toy market stands at around $1.5 billion USD and currently we are importing a major chunk from outside. The global toy market is estimated to be more than 100 billion USD, we must channelize our creative, innovative and manufacturing power to have our share in these areas. This toycathon will provide opportunity to our young innovative minds to lead the path to manufacture toys in India for the world.He suggested that the use of toys could ease the burden of rote learning science and other subjects.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Upendra Prasad Singh  highlighted the commercial as well as pedagogical importance of toys in inculcating the values, ethos and awareness about our history and culture. He said we have a very large number of clusters and very good artisans, but one thing which is required is to innovate, innovate as per the changing requirement of not only our country but for abroad as well. He hoped that the ideas generated in this toycathon will be very useful for the said purpose. 

Shri Amit Khare expressed his concerns that economical value of imported toys is huge and it is a roadblock for atmanirbhar Bharat. He said, The curb on import of toys will generate new opportunities for our artisans. He added that the National Education Policy 2020 advocates for 5+3+3+4 system and it asks for activity-based learning for children through toys and games, here the importance of regional Indian toys is very significant in connecting young minds with our history and culture.

On Inaugural occasion Prof. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE said that early child education should not be stressful and it should be fun based learning through toys, stories and games. He added, Edutainment, which is entertainment and education at the same time,  is required.He praised the organizing team for developing a robust digital platform which could bring the participants, evaluators and organizers on one platform to facilitate this toycathon.

Dr. Abhay Jere, Chief Innovation Officer, Ministry of Educations Innovation Cell, welcomed the dignitaries and motivated the participants to do best as per their abilities.

Dr. Mohit Gambhir, Director, MoEs Innovation Cell, who mastered the inaugural ceremony emphasized the importance of grassroot innovation. He said In todays time it is well understood that the future innovations will spring from the base of pyramid – where common men-women will innovate for their needs. This base of pyramid is very critical for holistic development of society and needs to be trained.

The hackathon was initially conceptualized in physical as well as digital mode. Due to the prevailing Covid 19 pandemic and owing to the safety of participants the physical edition has been deferred and now only digital edition is being conducted from 22ndJune to 24thJune 2021. Toycathon 2021 majorly focuses on conceptualizing new and innovative toys using local materials which are economical, affordable, safe, and environment friendly, of exceptionally high quality for Indian as well as global market.

The ongoing Toy Hackathon have 3 tracks:

Track 1for Junior Level Participants i.e., primarily SCHOOL STUDENTS. They mainly focus on designing toys for kids of age group 0-3 years and 4-10 years. 

Track 2 for Senior Level Participants i.e., students and faculty from Higher education institutions. This group focus on developing concepts for 0-3 years, 4-10 and 11 years and above. This segment primarily focused on Electronics, Sensors, Mechatronics, and toys based on AI and ML approaches, AR-VR-XR and Robotics.

Track 3 for Startup-Professional Level that incudes overall innovation and development of prototypes. These prototypes are expected to enable toy industry in boosting up the production along with improving the quality of toys in Indian market.

During three-day Toycathon 2021 grand finale, participating teams of all tracks will be mentored through specialized mentoring session in morning half of the day and then they will be evaluated in later half of the day for initial two days and then there will be a power judging round for participating teams to declare winners for Toycathon 2021 Digital Edition. For this purpose, Ministry of Education Innovation Cell has engaged 645 mentors and evaluators for 1567participating teams. 85 Nodal centers have been selected to support Ministry of Educations Innovation Cell and All India Council for Technical Education, which are the organizing agencies for this Inter-ministerial Toycathon.

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January 13, 2022

NIPUN Bharat Programme

 Union Minister for Education, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ today virtually launched a National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN Bharat), for ensuring that every child in the country necessarily attains foundational literacy and numeracy by the end of Grade 3, by 2026-27. The National Mission was launched in the presence of Minister of State, Shri Sanjay Dhotre, Smt. Anita Karwal, Secretary (SE&L), senior officers from the Ministry, all States and UTs, Senior Policy Makers and Heads of Institutions. On this occasion, a short video, anthem and NIPUN Bharat Guidelines were also launched. This Mission, which has been launched under the aegis of the centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha, will focus on providing access and retaining children in foundational years of schooling; teacher capacity building; development of high quality and diversified Student and Teacher Resources/Learning Materials; and tracking the progress of each child in achieving learning outcomes.

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Addressing the participants Shri Pokhriyal said that NIPUN Bharat aims to cover the learning needs of children in the age group of 3 to 9 years.  He said that teachers need to focus on every child for developing basic language; literacy and numeracy skills which will help them develop into better readers and writers. Thus, NIPUN Bharat envisages making the experience of learning at the foundational stage Holistic, Integrated, Inclusive, Enjoyable, and Engaging, he added.

The Minister underlined that the National Education Policy 2020 has laid down that attaining foundational literacy and numeracy for all children must become an immediate national mission. In keeping with this, the Department has developed a comprehensive guideline under NIPUN Bharat, through a series of intensive consultations with implementing partners, experts to make it flexible and collaborative, he added. Shri Pokhriyal said that it covers key technical aspects of foundational literacy and numeracy as well as the administrative aspects for effectively setting up an implementation mechanism at the National, State, District, Block and School level. He also informed that an approval of Rs 2688.18 crore has already been given under Samagra Shiksha scheme to the States and UTs for implementation of the various interventions for Foundational Stage in 2021-22.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Dhotre said that quality education is the bedrock of strong Nation building and, foundational education in literacy and numeracy skills is its core component. The Minister stated that in the coming years, this mission will change the outlook of our school education, and will strongly impact 21st Century India. Shri Dhotre stressed that NIPUN Bharat will not only help our students to take a big leap in their higher classes, but it will also have a major impact in making our students globally competitive.

The unique feature is that the goals of the Mission are set in the form of Lakshya Soochi or Targets for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.Although, the overall aim is to achieve the desired learning outcomes by the end of grade 3, however, in order to generate greater awareness among the parents, community, volunteers etc. the Lakshyashas been developed from Balvatika to Grade 3. The Laskhyas are based on the learning outcomes developed by the NCERT and international research and ORF studies. For example, a child should be able to read 45to 60 words per minute and atleast 60 words per minute correctly by the end of Grade II and III respectively from an age appropriate unknown text with comprehension and clarity.

The success of NIPUN Bharat will primarily depend on teachers, so, there will be a special emphasis on capacity building of teachers.  A special package for foundational literacy and Numeracy under NISHTHA is being developed by NCERT and around 25 lakh teachers teaching at pre-primary to primary grade will be trained this year on FLN. 

Following outcomes have been envisaged from implementation of the goals and objectives of NIPUN Bharat Mission:

  • Foundational skills enable to keep children in class thereby reducing the dropouts and improve transition rate from primary to upper primary and secondary stages.
  • Activity based learning and conducive learning environment will improve quality of education.
  • Innovative pedagogies such as toy-based and experiential learning will be used in classroom transaction thereby making learning a joyful and engaging activity.
  • Intensive capacity building of teachers will make them empowered and provide greater autonomy for choosing the pedagogy.
  • Holistic development of the child by focusing on different domains of development like physical and motor development, socio-emotional development, literacy and numeracy development, cognitive development, life skills etc. which are interrelated and interdependent, which will be reflected in a Holistic Progress Card.
  • Children to achieve steeper learning trajectory which may have positive impacts on later life outcomes and employment.
  • Since almost every child attends early grades, therefore, focus at that stage will also benefit the socio-economic disadvantageous group thus ensuring access to equitable and inclusive quality education.

Thus, NIPUN Bharat is envisaged to support and encourage students, along with their schools, teachers, parents, and communities, in every way possible, to helprealise the true potential of our children and propel the country to new heights.

Click below to access presentation on NIPUN Bharat: 

https://static.pib.gov.in/WriteReadData/specificdocs/documents/2021/jul/doc20217531.pdf

Click below to access NIPUN Bharat Guidelines:

https://www.education.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/NIPUN_BHARAT_GUIDELINES_EN.pdf

 

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