Dr. Jitendra Singh announces first-ever PG course in Northeast studies

Dr. Jitendra Singh announces first-ever PG course in Northeast studies 

The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh, here today, announced the introduction of the country's first-ever recognized Post Graduation Masters' degree course in Northeast studies. The announcement was made by him after a visit to the Centre for Northeast Studies in Jamia Millia Islamia University where he convened a meeting with Vice Chancellor, Prof. Talat Ahmed, Head of Northeast Studies, Prof. Sanjoy Hazarika and other faculty members to give a final shape to the decision. 

Dr. Jitendra Singh said, for India this is a totally new and unique initiative of its kind because this will be for the first time that any Indian University will introduce a formal recognized Post Graduation Degree Course in region based studies. The concept of region based research and study within a university was, by and large, hitherto unknown in the Indian academia and mostly existed in some European universities and therefore, with the introduction of this course, not only the Jamia Millia Islamia University will acquire a distinct identity of its own but the Northeastern part of India will also earn a unique academic distinction. 

Dr. Jitendra Singh said, there is often talk of bringing Northeast closer to mainstream India but he has personally always subscribed to the idea of simultaneously bringing mainstream India closer to Northeast. The new initiative, therefore, would be a promising step in that direction, he added. 

It is a little known fact, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, that Northeast has a very high literacy rate with a small State like Mizoram recording a literacy rate of 92% to 93%, second only to Kerala. In addition, he said, students and faculty of Northeast origin are making a very valuable contribution in the leading colleges and universities of union capital and other Indian metros. 

Dr. Jitendra Singh said, DoNER plans to promote Centres for Northeast Studies as resource banks for people from outside Northeast to understand and study the exclusive culture and richness of that region. He assured the Vice Chancellor that the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) will offer all its cooperation in making the initiative successful. 

Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Talat Ahmad and the Head of North East Study Centre, Prof Sanjoy Hazarika informed the Minister that while a formal PG Master’s course in Northeast studies will begin from next academic session, one optional paper on Northeast has already been introduced in post graduation exam from the current academic year. 


Hastkala exhibition cum sale of art objects inaugurated by Tourism and Culture Minister 

The Union Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation inaugurated ‘OBJECT d’ ART’(Hastkala), an exhibition cum sale of art objects and ethnic art décor, at Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Janpath, New Delhi, today. 

The exhibition aims to promote the majestic and decorative craft traditions of India. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that the Government is taking various measures to promote handicrafts, such as linking it with tourism. Dr Mahesh Sharma said that the government is making special efforts to protect handicrafts and preserve the dying crafts. Dr. Mahesh Sharma added that exhibitions such as this play an important role in enabling the artisans to market their products and improve their income. The Minister also made an appeal to all residents of the national capital to take out some time and visit the exhibition. 

The exhibition showcases Dhokra artefacts, oil lamps from the south, metal jali work on wood, Koftgiri craft such as shield with sword, Surahi (replicas from Mehrangarh fort), tile paintings, stone dust paintings, Venkatgiri wall hangings, Sanjhi art, Gond paintings, wooden patina finish panels, painted tiles, marble gold leaf artefacts and a host of other decoratives. It is organized by Central Cottage Industries Corporation of India Ltd. (CCIC), a Govt. of India undertaking under the Ministry of Textiles. 

Shri Pramod Nagpal, MD, CCIC said that the organization aims to provide a marketing platform for the artisans of India. He added that 70% - 75% of the sale proceeds are passed on to artisans. Shri Nagpal said that CCIC is open to enrolling new artisans and weavers, provided their products are of top quality. He said that artisans and weavers may contact any of CCIC’s emporiums for the purpose. 

The Hastkala exhibition is yet another step in the series of special displays being organised by CCIC wherein artisans can directly connect with the global audience and share ideas, encouraging co-creation possibilities for collective growth. The exhibition will be open to general public from July 8 to July 19, 2015, from 1o AM to 7 PM daily. 

Brief highlights of some of the products on display 

Bell metal craft: The bell metal craft or Dhokra is one of the earliest known methods of metal casting. It is the original creative instinct of traditional tribal people of Bastar, Chhattisgarh and is 100% eco-friendly. 

Gond art: The word Gond means ‘Green Mountains’. The work of Gond artists is rooted in their folk tales and culture and thus story telling is a strong element of every Gond painting. 

Koftgiri: Ornamentation on armaments and weaponry was integral to Mughal and Rajput cultures. Motifs cover a wide variety of themes from flora and fauna, mythology to scenes from the lives of kings. Koftgiri is one such majestic craft embellished with precious metals. 

Sanjhi Art: Sanjhi is the art of hand cutting designs on paper. Sanjhi art products are created in stencil, filled with vibrant colors and are used for festive decorations. 


Science Express to Focus on Climate Change This Year 

Javadekar Chairs Meeting on Science Express Climate Change Special 

The Minister of State (Independent Charge), Shri Prakash Javadekar today chaired the first meeting of Science Express Climate Change Special (SECCS) attended by Union Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Minister of State of Science and Technology, Shri Y.S Chowdhary. The Science Express will focus on the theme of Climate Change this year. Shri Javadekar said that the meeting had been called to decide the overall contours of the theme. 

Today’s meeting elicited various suggestions, including involving state governments in a big way, as well as involving children, volunteers and experts from various institutions of the Ministries involved in the running of the Express. The Science Express is a joint initiative of three Ministries and Departments – Ministry of Railways, the Department of Science & Technology and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The train has had a highly successful run for the last eight years. Students from schools and colleges and lakhs of people come to see the train. Shri Javadekar said that there is an umbrella of 117 organisations on the theme of Climate Change. 

Officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Science & Technology participated in the meeting. The representatives of Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad presented an outline of the exhibits to be put up in different proposed coaches of Science Express Climate Change Special. Last year’s theme of Science Express was Biodiversity. 

The next meeting of SECCS will be held at Ahmedabad on the 17th and 18th of this month. 

Javadekar Chairs Sixth Meeting of National Campa Advisory Council; Slew of Green Initiatives Approved 

The Government has approved a slew of green initiatives to increase the forest cover through aggressive and affirmative afforestation. Interacting with mediapersons after chairing the Sixth meeting of National CAMPA Advisory Council (NCAC) here today, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar said that unspent funds to the tune of Rs. 250 crores had got accumulated over the last five years and that the Council has allocated Rs. 162 crores to carry out these initiatives. Shri Javadekar said that various programmes like encouraging Urban Forestry, School Nursery Programme, giving online education and protection of endangered species of flora and fauna will be started in various parts of the country. 

Projects under Urban Forestry (Nagar Van Udyan Yojana) on a pilot basis envisage creation of city forests under 200 municipal bodies. Shri Javadekar said that 50 cities are likely to join this initiative and funds to the tune of Rs. 50 crores have been initially earmarked for the purpose. 

A School Nurseries Programme will also be taken up on a pilot basis to inculcate the spirit of conservation of environment in young minds. Students from Class V to IX will be encouraged to plant saplings, nurture them and take the potted plants to their homes at the end of the academic session. 

In Andaman & Nicobar Islands, support will be provided for a 1 MW biomass-based power project. The project will primarily use biomass and agricultural residue for power generation. Funds to the tune of Rs. 5 crores have been set aside for the purpose. Besides, Rs. 5 crores has also been initially earmarked for the monitoring of corals and mangrove in the Islands. 

An effort is being made to protect the endangered species of fauna through CAMPA assistance. The endangered species are – Dugong, Gangetic Dolphin, Great Indian Bustard, Manipur Brow Antler Deer (Sangai) and Wild Water Buffalo. Assistance to the tune of Rs. 20 crores has been earmarked to protect the endangered species. 

Shri Javadkar said that forests and forest activities such as felling of trees and monitoring their growth will be intensively monitored through GIS system. He added that Rs. 75 crores have been kept aside for such activities. The Minister also emphasised that Forest Survey of India returns to carry out a tree census after 20 years, but will now do so after every five years. 

The Minister stated that Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill is being studied by the Standing Committee at present. He hoped that the Bill will be passed in the next session of Parliament. 


Bilateral issues concerning security, visa discussed between India and South Africa 

South African counterpart calls on Union Home Minister 

A delegation from South Africa led by the Home Minister, Mr. Malusi Nkanyezi Gigaba called on the Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh, here today. 

Addressing the delegation, the Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh recalled that India’s relationship with South Africa began to strengthen when Mahatma Gandhi started his Satyagraha. There have been friendly ties between both the countries and enhanced cooperation in diverse areas, including in commercial and economic relations. Shri Rajnath Singh said that there is substantial potential for growth of trade and tourism given the mutual business interests that exist between India and South Africa. He underscored that the issue of immigration and visa plays an important role in meaningful transformation of any cooperative efforts between two countries in these areas, he added. 

The Union Home Minister said that the Government of India is committed to have meaningful cooperation between both the countries so that challenges faced on many fronts can be adequately addressed. India adopts a holistic approach that ensures ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism and it is committed to combating terrorism and extremism and to ensure that perpetrators of terrorist acts, their masterminds and conspirators are brought to justice, the Union Home Minister added. 

Shri Rajnath Singh said that India and South Africa are active members of several international groups, such as the “India-Brazil-South Africa” (IBSA) Dialogue Forum and the “Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa" (BRICS) initiative. These international groupings, play an increasingly important role in promoting closer coordination and greater understanding on global issues between our countries, he added. 

The Union Home Minister said historically, politically, commercially and culturally, South Africa is an important partner of India. Both the countries should be able to build a stronger and more effective international arena, not only for the safety and prosperity of our own communities, but for greater global peace and stability, Shri Rajnath Singh added. 

The South African Home Minister, Mr. Malusi Nkanyezi Gigaba in his response showed interest in E-Tourist Visa, Border Management and Visa facilitation agreement. He mentioned that South Africa is keen to promote tourism and business between the two countries and would recommend business visa with multiple entry for a period of 10 years on the basis of reciprocity. He also highlighted about the steps being taken in South Africa from security point of view for checking the cases of visa through fraudulent documents and measures being taken to tighten the security environment in the country. 

The issues of protection of children from abuse, unveiling of statue of Nelson Mandela in India later this year, repatriation of criminals and drug traffickers were also discussed in the meeting. 

Both sides also reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen and enhance the existing bilateral cooperation in the fields of economic development, internal security, border management, passport, visa and immigration in addition to other areas of cooperation. 

The Union Home Secretary, Shri L.C. Goyal, the High Commissioner of South Africa in India, Mr. F.K. Morule and other senior officers from both countries also participated in the meeting. 

Comprehensive approach for Border Area Development Programme 

The Department of Border Management of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), has issued modified Border Area Development Programme (BDAP) guidelines in consultation with all Stakeholders viz. concerned Ministries/Departments of Government of India, State Governments implementing the BADP, Border Guarding Forces and NITI Aayog. 

The modified guidelines include important modifications in the BADP guidelines as follows: 

(i) Coverage of BADP has been extended to cover all the villages which are located within the 0-10 Km of the International Border, irrespective of the border block abutting on the International Border or not of 17 States which constitute the International Land Borders. However, priority will be given to those villages which are located within 0-10 Km from the International Border and within that the villages identified by the Border Guarding Forces (BGF) shall get upper-most priority. 

(ii) Representatives of some more Union Ministries viz. Ministry of Rural Development; Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs; Ministry of Health & Family Welfare; and Ministry of Human Resources, have been made Members of the Empowered Committee (EC) on BADP under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Border Management, MHA, to ensure convergence with the schemes of these Ministries with BADP schemes. 

(iii) The list of schemes permissible under BADP has been expanded to include schemes/ activities relating to Swatchhta Aabhiyan; Skill Development programmes; Promotion of sports activities in border areas; Promotion of Rural Tourism/ Border Tourism; Protection of heritage sites; Construction of helipads in remote and inaccessible hilly areas, which do not have road connectivity; Skill development training to farmers for the use of modern/ scientific technique in farming, Organic farming, etc. 

(iv) Provision for Third Party Inspection and Quality Control Mechanism under MHA for random inspections of the BADP schemes by independent Monitors (Individual/ Agency) to be designated as National Quality Monitors has been made. 

(v) It has been provided that the State Governments shall have the monitoring of the BADP schemes by the existing District Level Monitoring/ vigilance Committee where local Members of Parliament and MLAs are represented. 

(vi). Special/Specific area schemes such as composite development of at least one village of sizeable population surrounded by five-six or more villages close to the border as Model Village; Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Construction of toilets in schools, public places particularly for women; warehouses for food grains and fodder in hilly areas particularly in snow bound areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, E-chaupals, agrishops, mobile media vans etc. have been made. 

The Border Area Development Programme (BADP) has been implemented through 17 States (viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal) which constitute the International Land Borders. It is implemented in 367 Border Blocks of 104 Border Districts in these 17 States. 

The main objective of the BADP is to meet the special developmental needs and well being of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near the international border and to saturate the border areas with the entire essential infrastructure through convergence of Central/ State/ BADP/ Local schemes and participatory approach. The funds under BADP are provided to the States as a 100% non-lapsable Special Central Assistance. The programme is supplemental in nature and the budget allocation for the financial year 2015-16 is Rs.990 crore. 

The BADP was started in the year 1986-87 for balanced development of border areas of States bordering Pakistan, namely, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan and subsequently it was extended to all the land borders.


Dr. Jitendra Singh announces first-ever PG course in Northeast studies Dr. Jitendra Singh announces first-ever PG course in Northeast studies Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 3:22 PM Rating: 5

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