Current Affairs 2017 - April

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Plan for common Engineering entrance exam put on hold

The Ministry of Human Resources and Development has put on hold the plan for conducting a single entrance test for admission to engineering courses throughout the country till a consensus is reached with the states. The ministry feels that without reaching consensus, the purpose of having a common engineering entrance exam would not be served. Also, the ministry wants to discuss the possibility of having common counselling provisions with the states.

However, it is not fully clear whether the consultation with the states will delay the implementation of the plan in 2018. As per the sources, as soon as the consensus is built among the states, the centre will work out the modalities of implementing the plan.

Background

Recently, the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) had passed a regulation to hold a national-level common engineering entrance exam from 2018. But, it was vehemently opposed by states like West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Development wants to conduct a common test for admission to engineering courses similar to that of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical and dental colleges introduced last year.

At present, various exams are held for admitting students to engineering courses. For instance, the CBSE conducts JEE-Mains exam every year, for which over 11 lakh students appear. Several states have their own tests. In addition, several private colleges have their own entrance examinations. In India, there are over 3,300 approved engineering colleges with an annual intake of around 16 lakh students. So, the government feels that there should be a single common entrance examination for admission to engineering courses.

AICTE

AICTE is a statutory body established in November 1945. It comes under the aegis of Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resources Development. AICTE is a national-level council for technical education responsible for planning and coordination of technical education and management of education system in the country. It accredits graduate and post graduate programs at Indian institutions.

 

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Kerala hosts country’s first ever transgender athletic meet

Kerala has conducted the country’s first-ever transgender one-day athletic meet in Thiruvananthapuram. The event saw the participation of 132 participants belonging to 12 districts of the state. No participant representing Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts participated in the event. The event was jointly organised by Kerala sports council and Sexual Gender Minority Federation of Kerala. In the competition, six events were conducted, namely, 100 metres, 200 metres, and 400 metres running; 100x 4 relay race, high jump and shot put.

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Tripartite MoU signed for broadband services to Post Offices

A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between BBNL, Department of Posts and BSNL to provide broadband connectivity of BharatNet to Post Offices in rural areas.

BSNL would provide broadband services. The infrastructure expenses and the operational expenses would be paid by the Department of Posts. BBNL would facilitate and coordinate the entire project.

BharatNet

BharatNet is Centre’s rural internet connectivity programme which is implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL). It is world’s largest rural broadband connectivity programme using Optical fibre. Bharat Net seeks to connect all of India’s households, particularly the rural areas, through demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps to realise the vision of Digital India. The project is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF). The three-phase implementation under the BharatNet project is:

  • Under the first phase, one lakh gram panchayats would be provided connectivity by laying underground optic fibre cable (OFC) lines by March 2017. This phase is nearing its completion.
  • Under the second phase, connectivity will be provided to all 2,50,500 gram panchayats in the country. It is to be completed by December 2018.
  • Under the third phase from 2018 to 2023, state-of-the-art, future-proof network, including fiber between districts and blocks would be created.

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