Vedanta Group lays-off nearly 4,000 employees in India since January

Vedanta Group retrenches nearly 4,000 jobs

Vedanta Resources, the metals and mining conglomerate which has a sizeable presence in India in the oil and gas, aluminium, iron ore and zinc sectors, has slashed nearly 4,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country since January.

The lay-offs have taken place at the mining giant’s Indian arms Vedanta Aluminium, Balco, Cairn India and Sesa Goa, the iron ore business in Goa. Out of the approximate 4,000 jobs lost, about 2,700 are direct and the rest are indirect. Balco accounts for 1,000 job cuts and Vedanta Aluminium for around 2,000, while Sesa Goa as well as Cairn India have already slashed up to 450 jobs each, till now.

While Vedanta Aluminium, Balco and Cairn India have confirmed the job cuts, sources said Sesa Goa too had slashed jobs. Earlier this month, Balco, a part of NRI billionaire Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Ltd, announced that it has started the process of shutting down its rolling mill in Korba (Chhattisgarh). The closing down of the rolling division, which is part of a restructuring exercise by Balco will result in loss of around 1,000 direct and indirect jobs, it had said. Vedanta Ltd, earlier Sesa Sterlite, holds a 51 per cent stake in Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco), while the remaining is held by the government.

In September itself, multiple sources said that Vedanta has initiated a major cost cutting drive at its iron ore business in Goa (Sesa Goa) amid subdued market sentiment and depressed prices of the commodity in global markets. The cost cutting drive includes slashing up to 450 jobs through Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) and identifying buyers to liquidate non-productive land and other properties.

Though around 400-450 jobs have been cut, which includes close to 100-120 permanent positions, sources said there could be more job cuts in the pipeline. In August, Vedanta Aluminium chief executive Abhijit Pati said that the firm has started closure of one of the production streams which will lead to the Lanjigarh facility’s output declining by half.

On being asked about the impact of the shutdown on jobs, Mr Pati had said it “will impact about 2,000 jobs, both direct and indirect”. Since February this year, Cairn India has sacked around 450 employees to maintain its top and bottom line as it feels the pinch from a fall in global crude prices.

13-year old Odisha girl bags Google Science Fair award

3-year old Lalita Prasida has won  the Community Impact Award at the Google Science Fair

India’s Lalita Prasida has bagged an award at the Google Science Fair in the the ‘Google Community Impact’ sub category. The 13-year-old from Odisha was nominated in the Community Impact category which is for projects that make a difference in the innovator’s community by addressing environmental, health and resource management issues.

Lalita, who is a Class 9 student in Delhi Public School, Damanjodi presented a project on a ‘Low-cost bio absorbent’, which aimed at cleaning through a simple and cost-effective way. She has developed a water purifier that works using waste corn cobs, which has won her an award of USD 10,000.

Google Science Fair gives away a grand prize of USD 50,000 in scholarship. The competition received entries in 15 languages; there were 90 regional and 20 global finalists short listed.

Lalita said that, “I am really excited to have won the Google Community Impact Award both for my school and for my country as this will boost my insights and give me an opportunity to work further for solving local problems.” The scholarship also gets her a year-long mentorship from the Scientific American to further help develop her project.

A Google spokesperson said, “Young people such as Lalita can and have made significant contributions to solving some of today’s greatest challenges. Through the Google Science Fair, we want to support and foster the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

The Google Science Fair is an online competition which has been sponsored by companies like Google, CERN, Lego, National Geographic and the Scientific American. It was started in 2011 and is primarily meant for children between the age of 13 and 18.













Female students in tier I cities prefer medicine as a profession: Survey

Female candidates prefer medicine as a career instead of banking in tier 1 cities: Survey

In a survey conducted by Education Portal recently, response from 6,000 female students in the age group of 18-25 living in tier I, II and III cities and belonging to diverse background, were taken up. As many as 16 per cent of girls in tier I cities said they will opt for medicine as a career.

According to the survey, female students in tier I cities prefer to take up medicine as a profession, while those in tier II mostly opt for Banking.

According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), Founder and CEO of, Surabhi Dewra said, “From the survey, it is evident that medical is the most sought after profession for girls in tier I cities, followed by banking and engineering. Law and entrepreneurship are the least sought after careers in tier I cities for girls.” She said, in tier II cities, Banking is the primary sector chosen, followed by Engineering and Teaching.

She further added, “Sixteen per cent of girls surveyed opted for a career in banking in tier II cities. In tier III cities, teaching emerged as the most popular career choice with 19 per cent share.”

In tier III cities, 44 per cent of girls opted for higher education after graduation, while only 22 per cent preferred doing jobs, the survey report showed.

A fair share of 44 per cent of girls in tier I cities opted for jobs after graduation while 21 per cent preferred to go for higher education after getting Bachelors degree. On the other hand, in tier II cities, 35 per cent pursued further education after graduation while 34 per cent opted for job.

The study also revealed that a total of 29 per cent of respondents in tier I cities opted for higher education and jobs for self support, while the number in tier II and III cities stood at 25 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively.

Gaining self confidence emerged as another reason for girls to pursue jobs and higher education after graduation.  A total of 27 per cent girls in tier III cities said they go for jobs and higher education to avert marriage proposals.

JNU vice-chancellor post offered to Subramanian Swamy

JNU vice-chancellor post to be offered to Subramanian Swamy

The HRD ministry is believed to have offered the post of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) vice-chancellor to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, but he has put some conditions before accepting the coveted post.

It is learned that HRD Minister Smriti Irani spoke to Swamy about the offer. However, there was no official communication from the ministry. It also remained uncertain what riders the BJP leader has placed before the ministry for accepting the offer.

Interestingly, the development comes even before the Union Ministry is to finalise the search-cum-selection committee for selecting the new vice-chancellor. The current vice-chancellor SK Sopory is set to retire in January next year.

As per the rules, a panel of names selected by the committee is sent to the President (who is visitor of the central varsities) by the HRD ministry before the declaration of the new vice-chancellor.

This year, the advertisementfor inviting applications from the interested candidates for appointment of the new vice-chancellor was given in August.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University also known as JNU, is a public central university in New Delhi. In 2012, The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) gave the university a grade of 3.9 out of 4, the highest grade awarded to any educational institution in the country.

Tamil Nadu to continue Telugu medium in schools: AP government

Tamil Nadu to continue Telgu language in schools: AP government

On September 23, the Andhra Pradesh government asked Tamil Nadu to restart Telugu medium and the option of choosing Telugu as a second language in schools in the state.

Andhra Pradesh Information, Culture and Telugu language Minister Palle Raghunadha Reddy met Tamil Nadu governor K Rosaiah and the state’s Education and Tamil language Minister KC Veeramani in Chennai and urged for the continuation of Telugu medium and Telugu as second language in the schools of Tamil Nadu.

Veeramani responded positively to the request and assured Reddy that he will hold a meeting on September 30 on Telugu, a release issued by Reddy’s office said.

The Tamil Nadu government had recently decided to discontinue with Telugu language in its schools.  Noting that Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have similarities, Reddy said that the AP government is encouraging Tamil medium in Chittoor district.

The AP government will be publishing exam papers even if there is just one Tamil student, Reddy said.

HC dismisses GMCH decision to amend selection criteria for NRI MBBS seats

GMCH NRI MBBS admissions

On September 22, the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed the decision made by the Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, to revise the selection criteria for admissions to NRI MBBS seats.

Two petitions had been filed by the four NRI candidates who had cleared the common entrance test. Justice Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia set aside GMCH’s new selection criteria and asked the institute to admit the four students on the basis of the initial provisions.

The administration and college authorities had mentioned in the prospectus that qualifying an entrance test is mandatory for the NRI MBBS aspirants. Then they conducted an entrance test for the NRI candidates and declared the result wherein they mentioned that only four students have qualified and are eligible for admission. However, after the MCI circular was quashed by the Karnataka HC, the authorities quashed the entrance test and changed the criteria mentioned in the prospectus and took out a “revised prospectus”. The NRI candidates who qualified the exam, believing their seat was secure now, didn’t apply for seats in other states.

“This decision of the administration to change the admission criteria at the last moment led to unnecessary litigation, delay in the admission process and undue stress for the candidates, ” says Dr. Arvind Goyal a Chandigarh based Academician and PMT trainer.

On being asked whether entrance test should be mandatory for NRI MBBS aspirants, Dr. Goyal says that, “Qualifying the competitive entrance examination is a must so as to achieve a uniform evaluation, as there may be significant variation of standards at qualifying examinations conducted by different agencies and different countries. There must be a uniform entrance exam which all MBBS aspirants including the NRIs should qualify and only then they should be able to gain entry into MBBS based on the merit of this exam. The degree of MBBS concerns with the life of Human beings and only students with a certain level of knowledge and aptitude should be allowed to pursue this degree.

When students of our country seek admission in foreign universities there is a battery of qualifying examinations these students need to pass including English language Skills, Aptitude Tests etc. Even the MBBS doctors and MD doctors of our country need to pass examinations like the USMLE and PLAB to gain entry into medical universities in the US and UK. Why should we as a country project ourselves as “Degree Shops” where without qualifying any Entrance Exam the NRI students can pursue an important degree like MBBS from Medical Colleges of our country

Governor Naik warns over ‘delayed’ sessions in Uttar Pradesh varsities, the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Ram Naik expressed serious concern over “irregular” academic sessions in universities in the state and warned that he would not “attend” convocations at such institutions.

Naik said that in most of the universities in the state, examinations were not being held on time due to which students have to suffer as they receive their degrees and mark sheets late. He spoke after addressing a symposium on Swami Vivekanand at a school.

He warned that he would not attend convocations at such institutions where the norms were “not adhered to”. The Governor also exhorted all state universities to ensure that elections of student unions were “also held as per schedule”.

On being asked about the scandal of large scale fake marksheets in the state, the Governor dodged the question. Earlier, Naik, addressing the symposium, said that he failed to understand the ongoing trend in different universities in the country in which students were being liberally awarded “higher than 90 percent” marks.

During his student days “one who obtained just about 60 per cent marks would frequently top the class”, he said. This practice of liberally awarding high marks to examinees was proving to be a bane for maintaining high educational standards, the Governor added.

60 universities from US, UK, New Zealand and Canada come together in education fair Education has organised a multi-destination education fair, which began yesterday. The fair is bringing together representatives of over 60 universities and colleges in Britain, the US, New Zealand and Canada.

Organised over a two-week period, the fair will see representatives of these universities and colleges interacting with Indian students, who aspire to pursue higher education in internationally-acclaimed institutions.

“IDP Education is world’s leading student placement service provider and organises education fairs across the IDP global network,” Harmeet Pental, regional director of IDP Education, said in a statement in New Delhi on September 8.

He added that, “The India education fair is spread across 14 cities and we expect close to 5,000 students to attend the all-inclusive platform to facilitate exchange of valuable information.”

The fair kick-started in Kolkata on September 9 and will conclude in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu on September 22. Other cities that will host the fair are Ludhiana, Gurgaon, Chandigarh, New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bengaluru, Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi.

The fair will offer students the opportunity to explore various study options available across the four countries under one roof, IDP Education said. The application procedure has been initiated in over 160 universities across Britain, the US, New Zealand and Canada for the 2016 intake.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani launches national web portal for practical training September 10, the Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani launched the national web portal for promotion of a national apprenticeship scheme. The scheme is aimed at people who have a graduate degree, hold a diploma, have cleared their 10+2 or hold vocational certificates. It aims to provide opportunities for practical training.

The Minister, in a statement, said that, “The portal will now ensure seamless connectivity with all stakeholders, including students, establishments and technical institutions across the country for transparent administration through e-governance.”

She added that the portal, through the mechanism of internal complaints committee, would also offer security for women at workplace and ensure grievance redressal for the apprentice. It will also be a multilingual platform which currently engages with the user in four languages, which are- Marathi, Bengali, Tamil and Hindi.

Irani also asked the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to come together to expand the outreach and exposure, especially for the students of Class 11 and 12. A logo and a slogan “Sashakt Yuva, Samarth Bharat” was also released for the portal.

The ministry implements the apprenticeship training scheme for one year through board of apprenticeship training and board of practical training at Mumbai, Chennai, Kanpur and Kolkata.

Ramayana and Mahabharata lessons to be taught in schools and colleges now from Mahabharata, Ramayana and Gita may soon be taught in schools and colleges as part of NDA government’s plan to rid the country of “cultural pollution” and inculcate “values” among young minds. The students will now be taught about India’s cultural values, the course of which will be decided in a meeting of the Education and Culture Ministers of BJP ruled states and the Centre, besides RSS affiliates.

Giving details of the plan, Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma said, “We want to bring it as part of our culture that they (students) should be taught values, they should be taught teachings of Mahabharata, teachings of Ramayana, they should be taught teachings of Gita and all other spritual values irrespective of caste, creed and religion,” Sharma told PTI in an interview.

Asked whether CBSE will be asked to incorporate teachings of Gita, Mahabharata and Ramayana into the textbooks, the Minister said, “There has been a discussion on this issue in regarding the best method by which that can be done.”

On criticism that the NDA government was trying to impose RSS’ ideology Sharma said people of India have given a huge mandate to Narendra Modi and there is nothing wrong in making systemic changes.

“What is RSS ideology, is it anti-national?, Has any of the heads of RSS been anti-national? Are they extremists? What has been wrong about the RSS ideology? I have been with RSS for last 40 years. They never talk of anti-national things. ”

Sharma said contributions of nationalist leaders including Subhash Chandra Bose and Deen Dayal Upadhyay may feature in the revamped Nehru Memmorial Library and Museum here as it has been set up to highlight contributions of important leaders and not the country’s first Prime Minister alone