Citizens' Issues
Killing education, by degrees: MBA seats are vacant, so the authorities do away with the mandatory written test

More than 7,000 management course seats are lying vacant for the current academic year, across Maharashtra. The state has decided to scrap the CET to fill up these seats. The biggest beneficiaries will be those institutes which prefer donations over talent for admission

This year, more than 7,000 MBA and MMS seats are lying vacant across Maharashtra. The Directorate of Education (DTE), in its circular issued on 16 September, has given permission to colleges, which are approved by the AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education), to fill up the vacant seats even for students who did not appear for the Common Entrance Test (CET).

The circular says that the institutes should give first preference to students who have cleared the CET. But if seats remain vacant even after the admission of students who have cleared the CET, institutes can fill up this deficit with students from any stream (arts, science or commerce) depending on their final graduation scores.

So in a stroke the authorities have decided that CET is not compulsory any more.

"This is complete injustice for those students who had passed the written test but could not clear the group discussion or the final interview," a senior officer from DTE who wished to remain unidentified told Moneylife.

"Even I was surprised when I came across this circular. Everything happened in a short time and now everything has been messed up," admitted the officer.

"It shows how much our education system and politicians are corrupt. Now with this new circular, admissions will not be given on a merit basis but on donations," a professor, who teaches at the University of Pune, told Moneylife, preferring anonymity. "These kinds of actions not only fuel corruption but also spoil the future of our youth," added the professor.

Justifying the government's step, Rajesh Ankushrao Tope, minister of higher & technical education, has told the media that the government wants "more and more students" to pursue professional courses like MBA to meet industry demand.

But what is the true picture? "What output can we expect from these students when they are not technically qualified for the course? They don't even have basic knowledge about the industry," said the professor.

By the looks of it, it appears that this move could be politically motivated - a number of higher institutes are controlled by politicians.

"There was no adequate preparation from the DTE and the government. Anyhow, this circular will help those institutes which prefer donations rather then talent," added the DTE officer.

There is also a glut in the number of MBA seats available. There are about 290 colleges, including departments attached to various universities across the state, which have been offering the MBA course this year. There are about 27,000 seats for the taking. 

"Even the government knew that many new colleges have been permitted to start the MBA course and existing colleges are increasing their intake capacity by almost 50% to 100% over the past two to three years. (But) no concrete steps were taken to avoid this chaos," added the officer.

There is also a question over the ministry of education's evaluation system before a college is allowed to start an MBA course or increase its intake capacity. "Nowadays it's easy to get AICTE approval to start courses and it's (even) easier for politician-owned colleges," said the professor.

The game starts right from the luring of students with false advertisements. Fancy and thick brochures and impressive websites, which contain colourful photos of buildings, groups of foreign and Indian students with high-tech laptops, long lists of alumni and attractive job offers by MNCs in the name of placements are just a few of the tactics that are used.
A reputed college in Pune, which claims itself as one of the best management colleges in India, shows on its website that for the last year, 127 recruiters had visited the campus for placement. It claims that the average annual remuneration package was Rs9.27 lakh, the highest domestic package and the highest international package were Rs16.6 lakh and Rs24 lakh respectively.

When Moneylife contacted the placement coordinator and asked detailed information about this college's claims, the coordinator refused to comment and said that he was not allowed to provide such information. According to him, he could give out these details only with the dean's permission.

Until the time of writing this story, no information has come in from this college.

"There is a big question over institutes which are situated in smaller cities," said a lecturer from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathawada University at Aurangabad. "Due to strong financial backing, institute owners set up buildings. But qualified faculty, research scope and market exposure are lacking," added the lecturer. Many institutes in semi-urban cities in Maharashtra like Nashik, Aurangabad and Kolhapur are facing a massive shortage of skilled teachers and research facilities.

"I was really horrified when I came to know that in many institutions (including those offering MBA courses) students are taught by alumni who have just passed the course. What will be the future of students in such institutes?" asked the professor from the University of Pune.


ONGC fuel subsidy bill up 15% in Q2

Mumbai: State-owned exploration and production (E&P) major Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's (ONGC) fuel subsidy bill will increase by nearly 15% to Rs3,019 crore in the second quarter this fiscal, reports PTI.

PSU fuel retailers Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) together lost about Rs11,295 crore in revenues on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below cost of production in the July-September quarter, an official said here.

"Of this under recovery, upstream companies like ONGC, Oil India (OIL) and GAIL India will bear one-third," official added.

As per this subsidy sharing formula, ONGC will chip in with Rs3,019 crore by way of discount on crude oil it sells to IOC, BPCL and HPCL.

The subsidy outgo of ONGC will be Rs2,630 crore higher than in the second quarter of last fiscal.

The official said OIL will pay Rs399 crore in subsidy during Q2 of this fiscal and GAIL Rs346 crore.

Of the Rs3,765 crore upstream subsidy contribution, IOC will get Rs2,135 crore, HPCL Rs808 crore and BPCL Rs821 crore.

While, petrol price was freed from government control in June, state oil firms continue to sell diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene at govt dictated price which is substantially lower than cost of production.

IOC, BPCL and HPCL currently lose Rs2.01 per litre on diesel, Rs15.52 per litre on kerosene and Rs188.47 per cylinder on LPG.




6 years ago

After the LPG (Liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation), almost all the sectors were opened for competition and private partnerships. Though there is privatisation, the market is still not open. Since these Organisations are GoI undertakings, they could afford this situation. Govt will subsidise the LPG and Domestic kerosene, Upstream Oil companies make good for the fuel losses. But how long... If the Govt is bold enough there should be a formula for the issue.

Monday’s Market Preview: Cautious opening likely

The Indian market is likely to open on a cautious note today on the back of mixed cues from the global arena. The US markets closed mixed on Friday with the financial sector leading the losses. Markets in Asia were also trading mixed in the absence of any supportive triggers from the US. The SGX Nifty was down eight points at 6,072 from its previous close of 6,080.

Meanwhile, a slew of corporate results for the September quarter, response to the much-hyped Coal India Ltd (CIL) initial public offer (IPO), due to open on Monday (18th October) and global economic triggers will provide direction to the domestic market this week.

The market ended lower for the week ended 15th October — the second week in a row — mainly on profit taking by institutional investors, unsupportive global cues and tardy economic triggers on the domestic front. The market closed the week with a cut of 1% — the Sensex was down 125.21 points at 20,125 and the Nifty settled 40.80 points lower at 6,062.

The US markets ended mixed on Friday with financial stock tanking the most. Stocks rose in early trade after Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke’s statement but tardy economic data results in the indices paring their gains. Mr Bernanke made a case for the central bank to take new initiatives to spur economic growth, stating that inflation is likely to remain below the Fed's 2% target and the economy is on a course to grow too slowly to bring down unemployment. His comments were seen as confirmation that the Fed will likely announce after its 2-3 November meeting that it will resume buying US Treasury bonds.

The Dow lost 31.79 points (0.29%) to 11,062. The S&P 500 gained 2.38 points (0.20%) to 1,176. The Nasdaq added 33.39 points (1.37%) to 2,468.

Markets in Asia were mixed in early trade today on fears that the rise in unemployment in the US will hurt exporters in the region, thus slowing economic recovery. While some analysts see the Fed’s action boosting investments in Asia, others opine that the weak US economy will impact the regional bourses.

The Shanghai Composite was up 0.68%, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.50% and the Straits Times added 0.09%. Conversely, the Hang Seng was down 0.56%, the KLSE Composite was down 0.34%, Seoul Composite was down 0.43% and Taiwan Weighted tumbled 1.01%.

Although the government expects inflation to moderate to about 5.5% by next March, a survey by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has found that households expect it to rise to almost 12% by June 2011.

They also see inflation remain in double digits for the foreseeable future. Wholesale price index (WPI) inflation for September stood at 8.62%, the second consecutive month when it had been in single digits.

According to the survey issued in the latest bulletin by the apex bank, households believe that prices of food, housing and services are going to be up and fuel the rise in overall inflation.


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