Citizens' Issues
VCs of central varsities agree to implement CBCS
Vice chancellors of all central universities on Tuesday agreed to implement the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) in their institutions, the human resource development ministry said.
 
The decision was taken in a review meeting of the vice chancellors here.
 
"All VCs assured that their preparations are complete and they will be starting CBCS from this academic session," the ministry said in a statement.
 
Teachers and students have been protesting against the implementation of CBCS, saying it was adding to their distress.
 
However, the University Grants Commission (UGC) clarified that the introduction of CBCS would not "in any way" hamper the academic liberal environment of the universities.
 
Out of 39 central universities, 37 have introduced CBCS at the post-graduate level and 18 introduced the same at the undergraduate level, the statement said.
 
In the meeting, it was said that the UGC has developed model syllabi for 85 mainline and 18 specialised courses.
 
The syllabi will give leverage to the universities to modify the same to the extent of 30 percent depending upon their areas of specialisation, the statement added.

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SC moved against method of designating senior lawyers
The Supreme Court was moved Tuesday against the "non-transparent and arbitrary" method of designating senior counsel while people espousing public causes are ignored on account of some "unwritten bias against them".
 
The PIL petition contended that the existing system of designating a "senior counsel' has resulted in severe "discrimination against persons from minority communities, differently-abled and women".
 
In the last 15 years from 2000 onwards, only one Dalit has been designated son by the Supreme Court, and only two from the Muslim community, the PIL said.
 
Challenging the method of voting to designate a lawyer as "senior", senior advocate Indira Jaising said that a "senior advocate is not something akin to a beauty contest or an election but must be based on an objective evaluation of forensic and academic skills".
 
The PIL said that the method of "designation by vote leads to unhealthy lobbying with judges and victimizes ethical lawyers who do not lobby" as it also ignores the past practice where a lawyers with at least five recommendations from judges were ordinarily designated as seniors.
 
"The lack of transparency", the PIL says, has "resulted in undesirable outcomes leading to a monopoly of a few senior counsel at the bar and has made legal services by senior lawyers unaffordable and out of reach of ordinary litigant".
 
"It has also led to the denial of those who come from different disciplines of law with expert knowledge in specific branches of law," the PIL said.
 
It also says that "renowned academicians with several books to their credit, including some who have themselves taught sitting judges are not designated and should be designated as senior counsel".
 
"The advocates from backward states like Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand or Bihar have not been designated at all. The advocates from rural background are totally ignored," it claimed.
 
"Even with regard to a progressive state like Karnataka, only one advocate has been designated after a gap of 25 years," it noted, adding that in the "last round of designation, out of five advocates designated, four of them belonged to one caste".
 
With regard to advocates who conduct PIL cases and advocates who have confined their practices in the area of their domain expertise, the PIL says that there appears to be "an unwritten bias against them".
 
In the last three decades, the Supreme Court has not designated any advocate coming from either of this class, it said.
 
"The general impression at the bar is that the PIL lawyers who espouse the issues concerning human rights and environmental issues are denied designation for their anti-establishment attitude," the PIL contends.

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NMDC to set up steel plant in Karnataka
The National Mineral Development Ltd (NMDC) will set up a three-million tonne per annum steel plant in Karnataka, union Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Tuesday.
 
The greenfield plant, in the state's mineral-rich northern region, will be a joint venture with the state government at a cost of Rs.18,000 crore, he told reporters here.
 
Though the Hyderabad-based NMDC's main activity is mining iron ore and selling the raw material to steel plants, it is foraying into rolling out the hot metal to meet the 300 million tonne production target the government seeks to achieve over the next decade.
 
"The government is setting up four steel plants in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Odisha through state-run SAIL, RINL and NMDC by forming special purpose vehicle (SPV) for each of them with the respective states where the raw material is available in abundance," Tomar said after chairing a parliamentary consultative committee meeting of his ministry.
 
The installed capacity will be doubled to six million tonne per annum in each plant in the second phase to meet the demand from across the country by diverse industry verticals for domestic consumption and exports.
 
The proposed four steel mills will contribute an additional 20-24 million tonnes to the annual national capacity, which is currently at 101 million tonnes, though actual production is 80-85 million tonnes.
 
Later, Tomar flew to Belagavi to discuss the ambitious project with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and officials, as land and resources, including captive mines, have to be identified and allotted.
 
"I have also urged the chief minister to allot captive iron ore mines to KIOCL (Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd) to fully utilise its pellet production plant at Mangaluru, as its mines in the Western Ghats were shut down by the Supreme Court (a decade ago) on environmental grounds," Tomar told reporters at Belagavi.
 
NMDC will be the second state-run enterprise to have a steel plant in Karnataka after SAIL, which operates a steel mill at Bhadravati in Shivamogga district.

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