Citizens' Issues
New PhD admission rules upset Mumbai university students

Students say the new norms, enforced with retrospective effect from July 2009, upsets the choice of subjects that they have made and which have been officially approved

The University of Mumbai's new admission procedure for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is creating trouble for those students who have already got their topics approved by the Research and Recognition Committee (RRC).

Students have complained that they were being compelled to adhere to the new admission rules despite getting prior approval from the RRC for their research topics for the PhD, which were only pending registration formalities before the new norms were introduced. The new rules were implemented in November, following amendments by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to the procedure for admission to the PhD course at universities.

The UGC (Minimum Standard and Procedure for Award of MPhil/PhD Degree) Regulations, 2009, issued by the University Grants Commission on 1 June 2009, and in the subsequent gazette notification of 11 July 2009 by the Secretary, University Grants Commission, made certain amendments to the procedure for admission to the PhD course in universities.

The UGC directive was implemented by the Mumbai university (vide its circular no. 24140) on 18 November 2010. The new procedure was applied to all students who have registered on or after 11 July 2009.

The new rules have become a worry for the students who have started their research work, but were only waiting for registration formalities to be completed. A student who complained to Moneylife said, "I am a registered student of PhD (Computer Science) at Mumbai university and my topic approval was done in March 2009, however, registration formalities were completed after 11 July 2009. Mumbai University circular dated 18 November 2010 advises to follow the new procedure without appreciating the fact that the crucial step of topic approval at RRC was done before 11 July 2009."

Sainath Durge, vice-president of Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarathi Sena, the students' wing of the MNS, told Moneylife, "There was a gap of nearly one and half year between the release of UGC's new guidelines for PhD and its implementation by the Mumbai University. Because of the delay, students are suffering, which is highly unfair."

Vinod Malale, public relations officer of the University of Mumbai, said, "The new rules were introduced on the lines of the UGC's guidelines. Tomorrow we are conducting an academic meeting and all these issues of admission norms and other procedures for PhD will be discussed."

Interestingly, the Pune University had in December 2009 applied the new procedures only to students registering after 11 July 2009. It mentioned that students having approval at RRC before June 2009 would follow the old rules. This clearly indicates that there is a different interpretation of the same UGC directive by various universities.

An email to the vice-chancellor of the University of Mumbai as well as the registrar, seeking an explanation on the issue, has not been answered yet. In fact, the vice-chancellor's office, stated, "As the matters of PhD are looked after by the Controller of Examinations (CoE), your e-mail has been forwarded to the Controller of Examinations, University of Mumbai." Moneylife tried to contact the CoE for comment, but was not successful.


Govt extends ban on pulses export till March 2012

The ban on export of pulses was imposed in June 2006 to augment domestic supply and check prices of the commodity. Production of pulses during 2011-12 is put at 16.51 million tonnes while the Planning Commission has estimated the demand during the period at 19.11 million tonnes

New Delhi: The government today extended the ban on export of pulses by one more year till March 2012, even as the country is likely to import 3.40 million tonnes of the vital foodgrain item to match the enhanced demand, reports PTI.

"The period of validity of prohibition on exports of pulses is extended up to 31 March 2012," a Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) notification said. The ban was to expire on 31st March 2011.

The restriction was imposed in June 2006 to augment domestic supply and check prices of the commodity.

Wholesale price based inflation in the pulses segment in February 2011 stood at 1.89%, down from 12.72% in the same month last year.

However, the prohibition will not apply to export of Kabuli Chana and 10,000 tonnes of organic pulses during 2011-12, DGFT said.

Notwithstanding expected bumper production of pulses during 2011-12, India is likely to import 3.40 million tonnes of the commodity, the government had said recently.

The production of pulses during 2011-12 as per the Second Advance Estimates of the agriculture ministry is put at 16.51 million tonnes.

The Planning Commission has estimated the demand for pulses in the country during the period at 19.11 million tonnes.

To augment domestic availability of pulses, the government has permitted its imports at zero duty up to 31 March 2012.

Regarding export of organic pulses, the DGFT said the quantity shall be 10,000 tonnes up to March 2012.


Parliamentary panel to examine Antrix-Devas deal

The government had last month annulled the controversial deal between ISRO's commercial arm Antrix Corporation and Bangalore-based Devas Multimedia for lease of space segment in S-band

New Delhi: The controversial Antrix-Devas deal will now come under the scrutiny of a Parliamentary panel. Parliament's Committee on Estimates has decided to examine the allocation of S-band spectrum by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with special reference to the Antrix-Devas deal, reports PTI.

The government had last month annulled the controversial deal between ISRO's commercial arm Antrix Corporation and Bangalore-based Devas Multimedia for lease of space segment in S-band.

Under the deal, Antrix was to provide 70 MHz of the scarce S-Band space segment to Devas for its digital multimedia services. This was to be done by leasing 90% of the transponders in satellites GSAT-6 and GSAT-6A that are proposed to be launched by ISRO. Devas, in turn, was to pay Antrix a total of $300 million over 12 years.

The agreement was signed on 28 January 2005.

Consequently, the Department of Space (DoS) got the Cabinet approval for the building of GSAT-6 at a cost of Rs269 crore and GSAT-6A at a cost of Rs 147 crore under the commission's delegated powers.

There were complaints about the manner in which the deal was entered into and the way in which it was being operationalised.

It was found that the DoS got the approvals for building the satellites without making any reference to the fact that they were to be utilised primarily for Devas' benefit.

Prime minister Manmohan Singh has strongly rejected any suggestions that his office continued talks with Devas on its controversial after the Space Commission decided to scrap it.

Mr Singh had ordered a review of the deal by a committee comprising BK Chaturvedi, Member, Planning Commission and aerospace scientist Roddam Narsimha.

The committee had submitted its report to the prime minister on 12th March. Mr Singh had asked cabinet secretary KM Chandrashekar to examine the report and make recommendations on the follow-up action within 15 days.


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