Rs 2,500 per year fee, free two-wheelers, laptops: It’s sale season in engineering colleges

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Staring at the possibility of thousands of seats going vacant and facing imminent closure under All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE) norms, private engineering colleges are now offering all kinds of lures to attract students. From fees as low as Rs 2,500 per year to offers of free laptops and two-wheelers, colleges are now adopting new marketing strategies to woo students.

 

Indian Institutes of technology,IITs,Female students

 

Too Few Girl Students in IITs! What about other technical Colleges?

 

The number of girl students studying at the Indian Institutes of technology (IITs) is set to go up as official figures show that the percentage of seats secured by them this year has gone up to 15.39% compared to 9.15% in 2017.

 

 

It’s raining SALE in engineering colleges

 

The economics of demandsupply, and quality, is finally catching up with the private colleges offering engineering courses in Gujarat. Staring at the possibility of thousands of seats going vacant again, and facing imminent closure under AICTE norms, many of these institutes have started luring students with “attractive offers” in the hope of ensuring their survival.

 

BTech blank in private institutes

 

Salt Lake: Nearly half the 80 private engineering colleges in Bengal might need to close down after failing to fill more than 70 per cent of their first-year BTech seats this academic season.

 

International Day of Friendship 30 July, 2018.

Adolescent boys practise parkour — athletic manoeuvres around obstacles — in Gaza.  ©UNICEF/NYHQ2014-2063/Romenzi

Our world faces many challenges, crises and forces of division — such as poverty, violence, and human rights abuses — among many others — that undermine peace, security, development and social harmony among the world’s peoples.

To confront those crises and challenges, their root causes must be addressed by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms — the simplest of which is friendship.

Through friendship — by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust — we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good.

Anti Corruption law amended – Will it weaken the law or restore fairness?

Parliament amends anti-corruption act: Will it weaken the law or restore fairness?

The Lok Sabha passed the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 Tuesday.

The Bill makes bribe a direct offence and redefines the provisions related to criminal misconduct by a public servant. It also states that a police officer will have to obtain prior permission before investigating a public official.

ThePrint asks- Parliament amends anti-corruption act: Will it weaken the law or restore fairness?


In guise of making bribery direct offence, govt passed bill to protect corrupt officers

Santosh Hegde
Former Karnataka Lokayukta

A cursory assessment makes the amendment looks like a positive one. However, when you read the fine print, a different image emerges.

In the guise of making bribery a direct offence, the government has passed a bill to protect corrupt officers. The amendments will only make it more difficult to prosecute corrupt officers. Earlier, permission was only necessary to file a charge sheet against serving officers. Section 197 of the CRPC mandated this. Permission had to be sought before an investigation in certain cases.

However, this amendment extends that as a blanket privilege to even retired officers. They have created more hindrances in the path of punishing guilty civil servants.

The clause that directs the inquiry to establish ‘intention’ is extremely vague and ambiguous. How does one establish ‘intention’ with certainty? This will only make it more difficult to establish guilt in case of civil servants. Moreover, they have redefined criminal misconduct.

The amendments will only dilute the anti-corruption act further. It is already clear that no political party wants a strong ombudsman like a Lokayukta or even a Lokpal. Now with this, they have further watered down the cause of a corruption-free service and at a time when there is widespread corruption at the upper-most level.


Prior permission to investigate clause will boost morale of honest public servants

Sanjay Dixit
Additional Chief Secretary, Rajasthan

The Prevention of Corruption Act in its erstwhile form was a great deterrent to public-spirited and honest officers. Cases are legion where honest officers have been victimised by the vested interest for acting in the interest of the public. The liberal interpretations of the court against the public servant, presuming every public servant to be corrupt, had exactly the opposite effect of that intended.

The honest officer would take extreme care to cover his flanks, and the dishonest would raise the risk premium for doing even the right job. Naturally, the public suffered in both the cases.

Particularly notorious was the definition of ‘criminal misconduct’ under Section 13 of the Act, especially under Section 13(1)(d)(ii) and (iii). The courts interpreted the ‘abuse of position to obtain pecuniary advantage to himself or any other person’ so widely that any act of a public servant could be interpreted as a benefit to someone.

Arguably, it is the job of a public servant to act in public interest so that benefits accrue to the public. This is how persons like Siddharth Behura and P.C. Parakh landed in the CBI net for mere technical mistakes, in spite of alabaster clean reputations throughout their careers. After a bench led by Justice Lodha struck down the prior permission provision for investigating officers of JS rank and above as discriminatory, decision-making became a task fraught with great perils. For some, however, great perils meant higher demands too.

Specifically, amendments to Section 13 to introduce ‘intentional enrichment’ instead of vague provisions of 13(1)(d)(ii) and (iii) is the most notable provision of this amendment. Also, the provision for prior permission for investigation and extending the protection in investigation and prosecution to retired employees is a great morale booster for the honest public servant.

At the same time, introducing provisions that criminalise bribe giving have also increased risk for graft. All in all, a great boost to the honest public servant and dampener for the bribe taker and bribe giver.


The amendments remove ambiguities that hinder prosecution

E.A.S Sarma
Former secretary, dept of economic affairs, ministry of finance

Latest amendments to Prevention of Corruption Act passed by Parliament present a mixed bag of features. Some are positive and some negative.

For the first time, bribe givers will be treated not merely as abettors of the offence, but as offenders themselves. Helpless bribe givers coerced into bribing public officials are exempted. Private companies giving bribes too will be treated as offenders, not merely abettors. The amended Act will facilitate confiscation of the offender’s property, a provision that was absent in the original Act.

The amendments remove the ambiguities that hinder prosecution. The term “criminal misconduct” is defined more cogently and explicitly. The Act now provides special courts and time limits for trials, a welcome feature.

Some amendments are worrisome. While the requirement of “prior sanction” by the government for prosecuting an offender is in itself an irritant in the original Act, the amendments now introduce a similar provision even for taking up investigations. This new provision will enable unethical governments to shield dishonest officers from prosecution because any delay in the investigation will obfuscate evidence and weaken prosecution.

One should look at these amendments in the overall context of how the NDA government has proceeded with other anti-graft laws. The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (2013) was diluted in 2016 to exempt public servants’ families from disclosing their assets. The Whistle Blowers Protection Act was diluted in 2014 to prohibit disclosures running counter to the Official Secrets Act, a provision that could nullify the primary intent of the legislation.

Electoral corruption sets the tone of governance. By amending the Companies Act to lift the ceiling on political donations, introducing a system of non-transparent electoral bonds to ensure anonymity of donors/ donees, and amending the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act to clear the way for larger foreign political donations flow, the NDA has taken retrograde steps in its avowed campaign against corruption.

Neither the BJP nor its allies in the NDA are willing to submit themselves to the stringent transparency requirements of the RTI Act.


Amendment ensures that civil servants will no longer be harassed

Anil Swarup
Former secretary, government of India

The amendment is a step in the right direction and will certainly strengthen the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Before we talk about how we need to know the problems with the earlier Act. The issue was two-fold. First, a large number of honest officers were being harassed. Second, most of the actual culprits would get away.

The earlier provisions were framed in such a manner that civil servants with bona fide intentions could be questioned. This created a sense of apprehension in civil servants. Even when I was working, I noticed a number of officers who were uneasy about committing on paper. Take the case of H.C. Gupta for instance, the courts never found a quid pro quo equation, however, he had to be charged because the law was such.

The amendment ensures that unless mala fide intention can be proven and quid pro quo established, civil servants will no longer be harassed. This will help them make decisions more freely and in a timely manner.

Moreover, the amendment targets the actual culprits – those giving bribes. The idea is to nail the person acting in an illegal manner. There is also a time schedule within which action will have to be taken against such people.

The amendment will hold accountable dishonest people and not unnecessarily harass honest ones.


Amendment or not, the ruling party has no interest in fighting corruption

Ashutosh
Spokesperson, AAP

There are two questions to be asked about the amendments. One, can the amendments make any qualitative change in the fight against corruption? Theoretically speaking, it may. Two, is the establishment serious about fighting corruption? That is where the problem lies. We are a corrupt society and the ruling party has no interest in fighting corruption because they are the real beneficiaries of the corrupt system.

Which political party can proudly say that they don’t indulge in corrupt practices? None, except the Aam Aadmi Party.

Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister riding on the anti-corruption wave. He said that he neither eats nor does he let anybody eat. Modi promised that he would not tolerate corruption but the system continues to be the same. Corruption has increased.

His close businessmen, friends and party men are thriving. The Rafale deal is a prime example of this. The government has no answers on why the price jumped three-fold or why an inexperienced company was given the order. The government is hiding behind the secrecy clause. Even party president’s son is allegedly in the dock. There are serious allegations against cabinet minister Piyush Goyal and no action has been initiated.

No Lokpal has been appointed. The SC had to intervene but nothing will be done about it. When Modi was the chief minister, he did not let a Lokayukta be appointed. When it did happen, due to court intervention, he was not allowed to function.

I agree that corruption under the Congress regime flourished. One of the biggest scams surfaced. But one has to acknowledge that people who were allegedly involved did resign, but the same is not happening now.

This country has many laws but very few law implementers. So if another amendment is added, how will it change the reality on ground? Life will go on like before.

The intent is missing and without intent, there is no fight against corruption. It’s all a well-choreographed drama.


Amending anti-corruption act will not stop political witch hunting of public servants

Amrita Nayak Dutta
Special Correspondent, ThePrint

The bureaucracy is rejoicing Parliament’s collective decision to amend the anti-corruption act. They claim that it will allow them to take faster decisions, without fear. However, it may not essentially offer recourse to honest public servants from political witch hunting, even as it makes investigations tougher against the real offenders. To punish a public servant or not will be at the discretion of the ruling political dispensation.

Whether it’s the bureaucrats or bankers, the amendment will allow them to be put through increased political pressure to get a job done, with the hope that their departments or the government of the day will not give a go-ahead to the police or the investigating agency in question to start a probe against them.

For instance, if a bank official decides on giving out a huge loan to a business tycoon like Nirav Modi under pressure from some politician, belonging to the ruling regime, they may effectively go scot-free as they will have the political protection to escape investigations.

For the investigators too, the job is going to get difficult as they will have to prove actual financial losses to prosecute a public official, which are prone to cover-ups in massive paperwork.

The definition of criminal misconduct has also been changed and an additional threshold of proving ‘intent’ has been introduced. It is no longer only about possessing disproportionate assets, but also proving that the public servant ‘intended’ to do so.

On the bright side, the amendment does fill up some gaps. It makes giving bribes a specific offence and enhances the reach of investigators to bribe givers, including private persons, among the offenders. It does promise to make prosecutions on merit by allowing a certain degree of protection to public servants taking bona fide decisions, which may turn out to be incorrect in the future.

But its actual impact on the much-discussed speed of decision making and corruption remains to be seen.

272 companies violate CSR regulations.

 

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The government today said it has issued preliminary notices to as many as 272 companies for not complying with corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending requirements under the companies law.

Under the law, certain class of profitable entities is required to shell out at least 2 per cent of their average three-year annual net profit towards CSR activities in a financial year.

In case of not spending the requisite amount, the firms concerned have to provide reasons for the same.

In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Corporate Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal said Centralised Scrutiny and Prosecution Mechanism (CSPM) has been tasked to examine the records of top 1,000 companies obliged to spend on CSR.

“Based on scrutiny, preliminary notices have been issued to 272 companies. This is a continuous process and prosecution is filed against companies that have not complied with CSR spend requirements and also not furnished any valid reasons for not spending or under

spending or under spending,” he added.

The Registrar of Companies initiates action against non-compliant companies after due examination of records.

“For 2014-15, prosecutions against 254 were sanctioned of which 33 companies have filed applications for compounding,” the minister said.

Of 6,286 companies, as many as 2,203 firms spent more than the prescribed amount towards CSR during April-November period of 2016-17, while 3,718 companies spent less than the required amount and 346 firms did not spend any amount

towards such activities.

A social audit from TISS at Bihar shelter home (Muzaffarpur Balika Grih) claims that 42 girl inmates were beaten up, drugged before being sexually abused.

Acting on court orders, the Bihar Police on Monday dug up a ground on the premises of a Muzaffarpur shelter home run by an NGO in search of the body of an inmate who was allegedly murdered after sexual assault. The excavation work ended as no body could be found.

The matter came to light after a social audit report of the TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) claimed that 42 girl inmates of the Muzaffarpur Balika Grih had allegedly been sexually assaulted. The inmates were allegedly beaten up or drugged before being sexually abused.

One of the victims alleged that those who resisted rape were killed. A girl was beaten up and killed and her body was buried on the stay home premises, she had alleged. The court ordered excavation to exhume her body in presence of magistrate Sheela Kumari.

“On court’s permission, the excavation was carried out at the stay home run by NGO Seva Sankalp and Vikas Samiti on Monday with the help of sniffer dogs but nothing was found. Further probe is on to ascertain the veracity of the allegations,” said Muzaffarpur SSP Harpreet Kaur.

“One of the inmates had alleged that staff members often assaulted girl inmates and one of them had died in the process. We dug up the spot on the premises to verify her claims,” she said.

A special investigation team (SIT) had been formed. “The police have arrested 10 persons in connection with the Muzaffarpur stay home incident, while raids are on to nab other accused,” said the SSP.

The girl inmates were shifted from Muzaffarpur to other homes, while medical tests were carried out to ascertain rape. At least 16 of the 21 medical reports submitted to the officials concerned had confirmed rape, while other reports are yet to come,” said sources, adding some other girls had disappeared in the past and the matter was under investigation.

At least 30 traumatised rape survivors were under medical observation at various hospitals. Madhepura MP Papu Yadav had demanded a CBI probe into the incident.