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Unique ID like Aadhaar or passport may soon be made mandatory for booking flight tickets

Once a passengers book their tickets, the unique ID, along with PNR, will provide all their information and will also serve as a digital boarding pass.

In the next three to four months air travellers in the country will have to mandatorily provide a unique identification (UID) like an Aadhaar card, passport or PAN at the time of booking tickets.

The government has constituted a technical committee that will prepare a white paper on this proposal in 30 days, said minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha at a press briefing.

“There are various ways of securing that unique identification. Clearly, the best way of doing it is by using Aadhaar and other ways are by using a passport or PAN card,” said Sinha.

As an “incentive”, passengers will be able to avail a paperless and seamless travel experience.

Once a passengers book their tickets, the unique ID, along with PNR, will provide all their information and will also serve as a digital boarding pass, explained Sinha.

Those who provide biometric identification through Aadhaar will have to do an iris or finger scan at the airport, while those who share other forms of ID will be provided a QR code on their mobile phones which can then be scanned at the airport.

However, passengers who wish to collect their boarding passes and skip the digital system will still have the option to do so but won’t enjoy the benefit of hassle-free travel.

“If you are using the system, to potentially get through the entire airport you will be able to zip through in 10-15 min versus 20-30 minutes. We think that this will create an incentive for people,” Sinha told reporters.

The ease of travel offered by opting for the digital system will serve as a “pull factor” for passengers as opposed to a “push factor”, the minister hoped.

Once the technical committee presents its white paper, comments from stakeholders will be invited for a period of 30 days. Thereafter, the government will finalise the rules in 30 to 60 days.

A new set of rules or Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) will be prepared by the government which will state that a UID is a mandatory requirement at the time of booking a flight ticket, Sinha said.

The minister added that the move will also help in executing its proposed no-fly list on unruly passengers as it will help in tracking them.

The technical committee will also suggest a data-sharing protocol among travel portals, the airlines, airports, security agencies as well as various concessionaires such as parking and transportation providers.

The digital system of travelling will not be mandatory for airports to execute, according the minister.


Naming the reality- The rise and fall of the term 'Harijan'

Ramachandra Guha

In his 1984 book, The Untouchable as Himself, the anthropologist, R.S. Khare, speaks of the derision with which Dalits viewed the term, 'Harijan', popularized by Mahatma Gandhi. Khare quotes a Chamar reformer in Lucknow as telling him: "Harijan means what we can never be allowed to become by the caste Hindu, and what we may not want to be anyway. It was a superficial way for Gandhi to resolve his guilt..."

It is well known that Gandhi himself never used the term 'Dalit'. It is less well known that (at least in his English writings and speeches) B.R. Ambedkar did not use that term either. He preferred to call his people either 'Untouchables' or the 'Depressed Classes', the latter a legal category in British India. Although 'Dalit', meaning 'the oppressed', was used in parts of Northern India from the late 19th century, it only gained wider currency in the 1970s, following its adoption by a group of radical activists in Maharashtra who called themselves the Dalit Panthers. Now it is ubiquitously used across India, by Dalits and non-Dalits alike, whereas the Gandhian term Harijan has (perhaps deservedly) fallen out of favour.

When Gandhi first began to campaign intensively against untouchability, circa 1920, he did not refer to the lowest strata of Hindu society as 'Harijans'. Rather, when he spoke or wrote of them in Gujarati, he used the term 'Antyaja' (last-born); and when he spoke or wrote of them in English, he chose to call them the 'suppressed classes'.

In September 1932, Gandhi went on fast in Pune's Yerwada Jail in opposition to separate electorates for the Depressed Classes (which Ambedkar supported). When Gandhi's health began to fail, Ambedkar was made to yield, signing a compromise agreement increasing the number of seats in legislatures reserved for the Depressed Classes, but as part of a joint electorate of all Hindus. After the signing of this 'Poona Pact', Gandhi increasingly referred to the untouchables as 'Harijans', a term meaning 'Children of God'. He thought it less pejorative than 'Untouchable', less patronizing than the colonial coinage, 'Depressed Classes', and more indigenous-sounding than his own earlier alternative, 'suppressed classes'.


The term 'Harijan' had first been used by the medieval poet-saint Narsinh Mehta, whom Gandhi had long admired (Mehta's " Vaishnava jana to" was one of his favourite hymns). In adopting this term for the Depressed Classes, Gandhi remarked: "Not that the change of name brings about any change of status, but one may at least be spared the use of a term which is itself one of reproach."

Gandhi edited a weekly newspaper named Young India. In 1933 he renamed this weekly Harijan, because he believed that the campaign to abolish untouchability was as vital as winning political freedom. India, young (or Young) and old, present and future, had to commit itself to this sacred cause. The name quickly gained currency; among the Hindu middle classes, and the nationalist press, the Untouchables were now regularly referred to as Harijans. However, the euphemism was rejected by B.R. Ambedkar, who never used the appellation to describe his people.

Shortly before he went on fast in September 1932, Gandhi had formed an 'Anti-Untouchability League', vesting the responsibility for running it in the hands of two of his close associates, the industrialist, G.D. Birla, and the social worker, A.V. Thakkar. After the fast had ended and the Poona Pact was signed, this organization was renamed the Harijan Sewak Sangh, which we may translate into English as the 'Servants of Untouchables Society'. Gandhi's colleague, C. Rajagopalachari (popularly known as 'Rajaji'), who had long been committed to the abolition of untouchability himself, objected to the new name. He pointed out that the existence of a Harijan Sewak Sangh "means a continued recognition of untouchables as such". He would rather this body be named the 'Untouchability Abolition League', since, as he put it, what they were striving for was "really abolition of a slave status and the phrase 'Abolition' would be suggestive and emphatic... Service to a group of men is not really the object and aim, if we think about it. It is really the doing away with the evil."

Rajaji wrote likewise to Birla and Thakkar, president and secretary of the Harijan Sewak Sangh respectively. Thakkar was a long-time member of the Servants of India Society, and had earlier founded a Bhil Seva Sangh. Rajaji thought both those names logical, since India was a nation and Bhils a tribe, and both would remain whether one served them or not. But here the purpose was to abolish the practice of untouchability. Hence he wished the new body to be called 'Untouchability Abolition League' or Society, the word abolition being the most prominent part of the name.

Gandhi was agnostic about Rajaji's idea. "The Sangh will not succeed or fail," he wrote, "because of the name. It will be judged by its work." However, since it came from a colleague he enormously respected, he asked Birla and Thakkar to consider Rajaji's suggestion. They rejected it, on the grounds that the name of the society had only very recently been changed from 'Anti-Untouchability League' to 'Harijan Sewak Sangh'. This was done because the respected Pune social worker, V.R. Shinde, was already running an Anti-Untouchability League.

This change of name, wrote Thakkar to Rajagopalachari, was approved by the organization's board, and announced in the press. Fresh stationery had also been printed incorporating the new name. Now, just as "all have got used to the changed name", wrote Thakkar, "comes your suggestion, endorsed by Bapu, that it should be changed a second time". Thakkar admitted that there was 'much logic' in the argument that the aim was not to keep untouchables as untouchables forever. However, he continued, "if we now suggest this second change to the Board, every one will ridicule us, and may not agree to this second change. Not only the members of the Board, but the public at large and the Press will justifiably ridicule the proposal, if it is put into effect". Therefore the board is "averse to the change, though it is reasonable, merely because it is not expedient to do so".

It was a typically Indian scenario. Bureaucratic inertia had triumphed over logic and reason. Worry about adverse commentary in the press, and irritation at the thought of printing stationary afresh, meant that the status quo prevailed. So the name 'Harijan Sewak Sangh' remained, although the alternative would have been less patronizing, more direct.

For some decades now, Dalit thinkers and activists have rejected the term 'Harijan' to describe themselves. The reformer whom R.S. Khare quoted in the 1980s was entirely representative. In fact, even during Gandhi's lifetime, some people found the term 'Harijan' condescending. In April 1944, one correspondent told Gandhi that it instilled "into the minds of the people to whom it is applied a feeling of inferiority, however sacred the name may be". Could not Gandhi replace it with "a name which could also bring into its fold people from other sects"?

Gandhi answered that the name had been originally suggested to him by a member of the 'Harijan' community itself. He agreed that "the feeling of inferiority must go", adding that "the process can be accelerated, if every Hindu would deliberately shed his superiority and in practice become a Harijan... Then we will all become true children of God as the name 'Harijan' means".

The defence was weak, and unconvincing. In truth, Gandhi's own earlier coinage, 'suppressed classes', explicitly targeted social discrimination, whereas 'Harijan' euphemized it. And 'Anti-Untouchability League' was likewise more direct than 'Harijan Sewak Sangh', the term which came to replace it. To quote Rajaji once more, if the aim was "abolition of a slave status" then "the phrase 'Abolition' would be suggestive and emphatic... Service to a group of men is not really the object and aim, if we think about it. It is really the doing away with the evil".

In retrospect, Gandhi may have made a mistake in not endorsing Rajaji's suggestion to rename the Harijan Sewak Sangh the Untouchability Abolition League. Normally so astute in understanding the importance of the right word, the most evocative symbol, he did not here perceive that 'abolition' conveyed a more emphatic meaning than mere 'service'. Surely adequate Indian-language translations could have been found both for 'suppressed classes' and for 'Anti-Untouchability League'. As it turned out, the terms actually chosen by Gandhi turned out to be less than adequate to the task. Moreover, the social workers who ran the Harijan Sewak Sangh placed more emphasis on fostering personal virtue than in removing the civic and social disabilities that the Untouchables suffered from.

Coined admittedly out of good intentions, the term 'Harijan' had problems from the start. And it has long outlived any use or resonance it might have once had.

TRIBUNE, JUN 15, 2017

Panel on elevating 32 officers to IAS meets on July 14

Sushil Manav
Inching a step closer to elevation 32 Haryana Civil Service (HCS) officers to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has fixed the meeting of Selection Committee for July 14.
Sources in the Chief Secretary’s office confirm that the Selection Committee, which comprises a member from the UPSC, the Chief Secretary, the Financial Commissioner (Revenue) and the senior most Divisional Commissioner, will meet on July 14 in Chandigarh.
Due to legal hurdles, the elevation of the HCS officers to the IAS is pending for five years. The state government had sent names of nearly 40 HCS officers for their promotion under the selection lists of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Sources said that when the names were sent to the UPSC in May this year, the elevations were to be made to fill 31 vacancies. However, with the vacation of the stay on post earlier granted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on a petition by an officer, the number of vacancies has gone to 32.
Rules prescribe that a panel of three times the number of vacancies are to be sent to the UPSC.
But since the vacancies for five years are to be filled, the additional names sent for the first financial year have been included in the panel for the next fiscal and so on making the effective number of officers in the panel to nearly 40. With shortfall of nearly 60 IAS officers from their total authorised cadre strength, the situation will ease out to some extent with the elevation of 32 HCS officers.
Many officers have been given dual charge while the post of Deputy Commissioner at Fatehabad is lying vacant for the past two weeks, primarily due to shortage of IAS officers in the state.

Interestingly, some of the present HCS officers awaiting promotion will become senior than the IAS officers under whom they are working at present.

HINDU, JUN 11, 2017

Candidates bringing gadgets to centres will be barred: UPSC
As students prepare for writing the civil services examinations next Sunday, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has said it will debar from future exams the candidates who bring gadgets like mobile phones or Bluetooth devices inside the centre.

In a set of do’s and don’ts for the civil services aspirants, the UPSC has also asked them not to bring any costly items inside the examination halls. “Electronic gadgets like cellular/mobile phones, any other devices for communication, laptop, Bluetooth device, and calculator are banned inside the examination hall.

“Any infringement of these instructions shall entail disciplinary action against the candidates concerned including debarment from future examinations/selection,” the UPSC said.

The civil services examination is conducted annually by the commission in three stages — preliminary, main and interview — to select officers for Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) among others.

The civil services preliminary examination 2017 is scheduled to be held on June 18.


Modi is silently, and perhaps irreversibly, transforming a critical area: India's bureaucracy
The bureaucracy is on tenterhooks these days, abuzz with how uncertain the lives and careers of bureaucrats have become under this government. There is almost no formulaic solution at sight to either appease them or make them feel secure enough in their assignments.

GoI's latest move to shortlist a bench strength of secretary­equivalent officers, alongside the empanelment of new secretaries, has further unsettled the assured pitch that usually comes with such appointments.

Masked behind all this unpredictability is one of the big shifts that has taken place under this government, of which little has been revealed or said. But in a quiet and definitive way, it has changed the rules of bureaucratic play.

At the core of this shift is the 360­degree review or appraisal system to select, promote and even indirectly admonish officials. This essentially reduces the reliance on annual confidential reports as the key basis for shortlisting and empanelment. This, in turn, has a significant bearing on the final selection of a bureaucrat to a top job.

As a result, over the past three years, this new system has slowly unhinged certain basic assumptions in a bureaucrat's zone of maneuverability. Like lobbying the minister concerned for a job in his department, or even other senior bureaucrats in key positions.

This is not to say that any of these methods have turned obsolete. But their effectiveness, or 'rate of return', has sharply dropped. While some of it has to do with the erosion of coalition era multiple power centres, the simple fact is that new rules have replaced old rules.

360­Degree System

It's said that so devoted is the prime minister to the 360­degree system that he doesn't even grant himself to be exempted. He has reportedly chosen to drop names forwarded from his office if they don't pass the 360­degree test.

Three questions arise: What is this review? How is it done? And why is it so important to GoI?

Let's start with the last question first. A way had to be found to counter a decade of Congress rule in which the bureaucracy held sway, allowing for long­lasting loyalties to be cultivated across services and beyond retirement barriers. For new equations to be built, old ones had to be disrupted.

But how? After all, lines and rows of batches­cum­cadres seemed well sorted with a string of 'outstanding' reports and recommendations. There was no way that they would fail the existing evaluation and selection system, unless there was outright political high­handedness, which would have invited avoidable bureaucratic opprobrium.

Then there was the mandate against corruption. This provided the perfect setting for a systemic overhaul by a newly elected political leadership. This is also the reason why GoI could carry out more senior bureaucratic reshuffles than usual in the past three years.

It was in this context that the 360­degree system was put in place. What does it mean? Quite literally, like in many corporates, it amounts to conducting a holistic evaluation across talent, skills, social and personal parameters instead of simply looking at filework. In bureaucracy, this meant don't go by confidential reports alone. GoI's highest echelons were convinced that this system had been rigged, and that many officers were not making it to the shortlist because they had one 'outstanding' less than the other. Few important calls were made.

One, all eligible candidates, regardless of their average performance on their appraisals, will be considered for this assessment. Two, the minister's recommendation of the post being filled will not override the outcome of the 360­degree process. And three, integrity will also be assessed by way of reputation, not just by a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) clearance.

A Tightly Held Secret

So how is the process conducted? The exercise is a tightly held secret conducted by three retired secretary­level officials. They have been appointed for a two­year period, subject to health considerations, and their identities are supposed to be classified.

This group is expected to work pretty much independently, collecting information from myriad sources in an unsuspecting, unassuming manner, figuring out the general reputation of the officer among subordinate staff, paint an overall perception picture on integrity, besides making any other relevant observations.

It's quite possible that this group wouldn't be made aware of the job an officer is being considered for.

Now, whom they talk to, and whose views count is still more or less a grey area. But what we know is that this report is placed before a panel headed by the Cabinet secretary in case of secretary­level appointments, and the establishment officer, who heads the panel for joint secretaries. Both panels have PMO representations.

All other inputs, including intelligence reports and ministerial recommendations, are on the table. But the contents and conclusion of this report have a definitive bearing. The recommendation of this panel is largely final. In other words, the measure of perception and reputation has come to matter more, regardless of what appraisal reports say. And while that may give a second chance to many who have lost out in their careers for the wrong reasons, the system has also introduced new variables, including subjective elements, that have drastically altered the field of play.


Manish Sisodia orders removal of official who refused to hold Facebook live on GST

Director of information and publicity Jayadev Sarangi had refused to organise a Facebook Live with Delhi traders claiming that claiming that an “open tender” was required to hold it.

Vishal Kant 

Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia has ordered action against director of information and publicity Jayadev Sarangi for ‘not been able to deliver on works assigned to the officer’.

Sisodia wrote to chief secretary MM Kutty on Monday, asking him to initiate proceedings against Sarangi for ‘dereliction of duty’, and replace him with an ‘officer who can perform’.

The development comes days after the directorate of information and publicity turned down the deputy CM’s request to organise a Facebook Live to discuss the fallout of GST with traders, claiming that an “open tender” was required to hold it.

Stating that it “lacked technical competence and specialisation” for such a “social media campaign”, the DIP had said that it had no “other option” but to deny the request.

In his direction to the CS on Monday, Sisodia cited instances wherein Sarangi failed to implement his directions, including organising a Facebook Live with traders on GST.

In his order, Sisodia said how the officer failed to organise the Facebook Live, which required nothing more than an internet connection and camera.

“National GST Council met on June 3. I wanted to seek the views and suggestions of Delhi’s traders before going for this meeting. Therefore on May 25 and then on May 30, I directed Sh. Sarangi to arrange my FB Live interaction on June 1 or June 2. He wrote back to me saying that the same cannot be arranged as it would require open tender, which would need one month’s time. I was aghast to read that. Why do you need open tender for FB Live?”the office order reads.

“You do not need to spend a single penny on FB Live. This means this officer neither knows what FB Live is nor has desire to learn. It is really shameful that the director of information and publicity of the Capital of India does not know what FB Live is,” it added.

The deputy chief minister cited two other instances — preparing an advertisement campaign to make people aware about the increased minimum wages and putting up hoardings across the city about the performance of 12th grade students in government schools — over the past week when the director failed to execute his offer.

“...These are clear cases of dereliction of duty. The CS is hereby directed to initiate proceedings for dereliction of duty against him under intimation to this (Deputy CM) office. Either replace Mr. Sarangi with an officer who can perform these jobs or the CS should get following four jobs done…” Sisodia, who heads the DIP, said in his direction to the chief secretary.

The list of work handed over to the CS includes holding a Facebook Live before June 10 as the next GST Council meeting is scheduled for June 11, presentation of a detailed plan for publicity of minimum wages hike on June 6 at 12 noon, ensuring that hoardings of class 12 results are immediately put up starting from June 5 and ensure all radio and TV ads start running from June 6.



BU set to be split into 3 smaller varsities this year

Yogitha R J

BU North, Central and South will be carved out of parent university
The stage is all set for the formation of BU (Central) and BU (North) from the parent university which would become BU (South) hereafter.


The 24-year-old demand for dividing Bangalore University (BU) into three smaller varsities to ensure better administration is set to be fulfilled soon. 

The stage is all set for the formation of BU (Central) and BU (North) from the parent university which would become BU (South) hereafter. 

The trifurcation was approved at a meeting chaired by Minister for Higher Education Basavaraj Rayareddy in the first week of May. The process to recruit vice-chancellors, registrars, members of the syndicate and affiliation of courses for the two new universities has begun, a senior official in the Education Department said.

The two new universities will be given grants in the special budget next year as the government didn’t allocate any funds for them in the 2017-18 budget, the official added. 

The administrative office of BU (North) will come up at BU’s existing postgraduate centre in Kolar, while BU (Central) will operate out of Central College in the heart of the city. BU (South) will have the Jnanabharathi campus as its base. The permanent campus of BU (North) will be built at Amaravathi near Devanahalli. Around 57 acres of land has been sanctioned for it. Rayareddy has promised to sanction an additional 115 acres for the varsity. 

“The two new universities will get new logos which will be finalised by a committee from the 14 shortlisted logos,” T D Kemparaju, Special Officer, BU (North), told DH. “Each university requires at least Rs 200 cr­ore. A proposal has been submi­tted to the government seeking Rs 15 crore for BU (North) and Rs 10 crore for BU (Central) for infrastructure and manpower.” 

For the time being, there is a plan to depute 100 employees from BU (South) to BU (North) and BU (Central) to get them going. 

For this academic year, undergraduate students will be registered under BU (South) and later distributed among BU (North) and BU (Central) once the affiliation of colleges to these universities is worked out. 

DH News Service

A demand is fulfilled 

1993: Demand for trifurcation of BU 

2009: Government seeks report from former vice-chancellor N Rudraiah

2012: Government decides to trifurcate the university

2015: Cabinet approves trifurcation 

Who gets what? 

Areas under BU (South): Vijayanagar, Padmnabhanagar, Bommanahalli, Anekal, Bengaluru

South, Yeshwantpur, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Dasarahalli, Mahalakshmi Layout,

Govindarajanagar, Nelamangala, Magadi, Ramanagaram, Kanakapura and Channapatna. 

Areas under BU (Central)

Shanthinagar, Byatarayanapura, Yelahanka, Malleswaram, Hebbal, Shivajinagar, Gandhinagar, Chickpet, Basavanagudi, BTM Layout, Jayanagar and Rajajinagar.


Areas under BU (North)

Kolar, Malur, KR Puram, Pulakeshinagar, Sarvagnanagar, CV Raman Nagar, Mahadevapura, Gauribidanur, Bagepalli, Chikkaballapur, Shidlaghatta, Chintamani, Devanahalli, Hoskote and Doddaballapur. 

“It takes at least five years for a new university to become fully functional. It has taken five years for the government to effect the decision of trifurcation. If this is the pace of the process, what about quality?” 

K R Venugopal, Principal, University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering

“Two new universities may not become functional this year. Each university needs at least 200 members of staff while the recruitment process takes up to six months. It is doubtful the government will grant Rs 400 crore in the special budget.” 

Dr N Prabhu Dev, former VC, BU

TRIBUNE, JUN 9, 2017

UGC, AICTE merger

HEERA needs polishing

THE Modi government’s love for initialisms will soon spawn a new one — HEERA or Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency — that will be formed with the merger of the UGC and the AICTE, the two regulators for the education sector. A merger has been on the cards for over eight years after the AICTE’s arbitrariness in regulating engineering colleges was showcased in ultra-quick approvals to its then chief’s Haryana-based relatives. The Manmohan Singh government had held back from biting the bullet despite the Yash Pal Committee’s strong pitch for a merger. But the Modi government was left with no option because of a string of Supreme Court orders had created confusion about the mandates of the two bodies. Details are scant despite the high-decibel announcement. From the information available, the fine print is being sorted out by the Niti Aayog.

Till the backroom boys came up with HEERA, the merged entity was to be called IRAHE or the Independent Regulatory Authority for Higher Education. The difference in the two is HEERA drops the word independent — an all important requisite for the new body to break free of the present perception of restrictive and non-transparent functioning. There is as yet no word on how the government will address greater autonomy of action in the proposed body. HEERA must also not introduce inspection raj in a new garb while addressing issues affecting the quality of education such as infrastructure, adequate faculty and enrolment of students.
Currently, the government has been parsimonious with information except to assure that HEERA will eliminate overlaps in jurisdiction and remove irrelevant regulatory provisions. If past deliberations are any indication, the new body will have three independent wings dealing with academics, accreditation and grants. However, in the interest of uniformity, it must also take up regulation of foreign education providers as well as ensure quick closure of poorly performing institutions. The merger will only be a beginning to reform regulators that evolved during the early years of liberalisation and have since remained static. It remains to be seen whether the government will retain clauses in an earlier Bill providing for greater freedom of action. 


UGC tweaks quota to set level NET playing field
NEW DELHI: The University Grants Commission has decided to rework the eligibility criteria for the popular National Eligibility Test to ensure a “level playing field” for general category candidates. The decision, which may stir a fresh debate on reservation, was taken at a meeting of the higher education regulator on Wednesday, officials told ET. The NET determines entry into the higher education teaching profession and is conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education on behalf of UGC. UGC has decided that 6% of the candidates appearing for the NET be declared as qualifying to be eligible for the entry level position of assistant professor and that the reservation policy be applied to this 6%. As per the current UGC norms regarding the procedure and criteria for declaration of NET results, the merit list of candidates who secured minimum marks would be prepared subject­wise as also reserved category­wise (other backward classes, disabled persons, SCs and STs) based on the aggregate marks secured by the candidates in all the three papers and the top 15% candidates in all the categories will be declared NET qualified for eligibility for assistant professors. Why This Change The UGC decision has come following a Kerala HC order in January 2017, on a writ petition filed by the Nair Service Society, which struck down UGC­NET criteria giving relaxation of marks to reserved categories as unconstitutional and as a move unfavourable and biased against the general candidates. The UGC decision, now ratified, will soon be communicated to the CBSE as well. Petitioners in the HC had argued that because of lower minimum marks prescribed for the candidates belonging to the reserved categories, more candidates from these categories inevitably secured minimum marks and qualified for assistant professorship vis­a­vis 2017­6­20 UGC tweaks quota to set level NET playing field ­. The Fine Print Following the HC order, the UGC set up a committee that has mined NET exam data trends for the past 20 years before recommending a new formula. This committee has said that on average 5.5­6% candidates across various categories manage to qualify in the NET. It recommended accordingly that no more than 6% candidates be declared to have qualified the NET. This means that if 600,000 candidates appear in UGC­NET in a particular cycle, 6% of those, i.e., 36,000 qualifying slots for eligibility for an assistant professor are to be earmarked for different categories as per the Centre’s policy in this regard. As per the current reservation policy, a minimum of 27%, 15%, 7.5% and 3% of slots are reserved for the OBCs (belonging to noncreamy layer), SC, ST and persons with disabilities respectively. The method for allocation of these candidates and the various disciplines will be the same as is now applicable for the UGC junior research fellowship.

TRIBUNE, JUN 8, 2017

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