(By Yogesh K. Upadhyaya. Email: Yogesh@optonline.net)
The process for converting our institute to IIT is delayed. As stated in the past issues, the Institute of Technology (Amendment) Bill was introduced in the parliament on August 30, 2010. The Bill includes 8 new IITs and conversion of IT-BHU to IIT-BHU.
The Bill was also sent to Standing Committee on Human Resource Development for review. The Committee has reviewed the Bill and sent its comments to parliament. Now we have to wait for the next parliament session (February budget session) to see whether the Bill is passed.
1) The parliament was pre-occupied with the discussion about 2G Spectrum Scam during the last winter session of parliament. With the opposition parties demanding formation of JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee) to probe the scam, and govt. resisting it, the parliament session could not take up many pending bills and agenda for discussion.
2) As per Report tabled in the Rajya Sabha by Parliamentary Standing Committee on HRD Ministry, it observed that some of the new IITs do not have their own land or infrastructure ready yet. Based on the report, the HRD ministry has contacted respective state govts. to release land; and ministry is trying to speed up the process of acquiring land and infrastructure by the new IITs.
3) HRD ministry has also meeting with IIT Council (the apex decision-making body of all IITs) on January 21, 2011 to discuss and sort our various administrative and academic issues.
About 2G Spectrum Scam:
The scam has taken our country and govt. by storm. The passage of IT Amendment Act in the parliament is usually a straight-forward process. However, the heated debate between the govt. and opposition parties about the recent scam may not allow any agenda in parliament to pass. Here is a brief report about the scam, based on recent news media reports:
The scam (known as 2G Spectrum Scam) was first reported by CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) of govt. of India. It stated that invitation for tender bids for allocating airwaves/spectrum of telecom frequencies for 2nd Generation telecommunications were allocated to various telecom companies without a proper bidding process. This cost our ex-chequer a loss of Rs. 176,000 crores (Rs. 1,760 billion or US 40 billion dollars). Subsequently, the minister in charge of telecommunications, Mr. A. Raja was removed from the post and put in a jail.
The CBI disputed the figure of CAG, and stated the actual loss to govt. at only about Rs. 22,000 crores, as stated by CVC (Central Vigilance Committee). The ruling party states that the actual loss to govt. was nil, as no govt. money was taken out and the loss is only a hypothetical value. CAG has been asked to testify in Supreme Court about the how the loss was calculated. This is based on petition filed by Subramanian Swamy (of BJP) in Supreme Court against govt.
The actual loss to govt. due to scam is still debated. However, many bogus companies which took part in auction sold the rights to bigger and established telecom companies at 10 times the price the very next day, earning thousands of crores of Rupees overnight. The extent bribe or kickback is also not known, but estimated to be around 10-15% (Rs. 18,000 – 27,000 crores or US 4-6 billion dollars).
This scam is haunting the govt. badly. The opposition (mostly BJP) is demanding JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee) to probe into details. The ruling party (fearing that target of opposition is Prime Minister) is agreeing only for a weak PAC (Parliamentary Action Committee) for investigation. A compromise may soon be reached to avoid showdown in the parliament.
The scam is the biggest political corruption incident in India. It is far bigger than usual arms and weapons deal routinely signed with Russia and other countries, involving $2-5 billion deal.
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P Rama Rao gets Padma Vibhushan; Padma Shri for Subra Suresh
25 Jan 2011, 2012 hrs IST, AGENCIES
(Prof. P. Rama Rao)
Noted metallurgist P Rama Rao and Director of the US' National Science Foundation Subra Suresh were today chosen for the Padma Vibhushan and Padma Shri awards respectively.
Rao, a former secretary in the Department of Science and Technology, had stints in the Defence Research and Development Organisation and also served as the chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.
All through his professional career, his research interests were centered on metallic behaviour and alloy development.
In 2008, Rao had submitted a report to the Defence Ministry making suggestions for the revamp of the DRDO.
Rao is a recipient of the Padma Shri (1989) and the Padma Bhushan (2001).
Suresh, who has been chosen for the Padma Shri, is one of the closest scientific advisers of US President Barack Obama.
He took over as the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in October last year for a six-year term.
Suresh, 54, served as Dean of the Engineering School and as Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A mechanical engineer who later became interested in materials science and biology, Suresh has done pioneering work studying the biomechanics of blood cells under the influence of diseases such as malaria.
Suman Sahai, Chairperson of Gene Campaign, a grassroots level research and advocacy group, was chosen for the Padma Shri.
Gene Campaign has been largely considered for raising the national debate on the dangers of seed patents and its threat to food sovereignty.
Indian-born American physicist Mani Lal Bhaumik was also among the Padma Shri awardees. Bhaumik was born in a small village in Tamluk, in West Bengal and is credited with the development of excimer laser, which found application in the Lasik corrective eye surgery.
Among the Padma Shri recipients were Prof. M Annamalai, Mahesh Haribhai Mehta, Coimbatore Narayana Rao Raghavendran, Prof. E A Siddiq, Gopalan Nair Shankar.
Suryanarayanan Ramachandran has been chosen for the Padma Bhushan in the Science and Engineering category.
Interview with Prof. P. Rama Rao in Chronicle April 2010 issue:
Prof. P. Rama Rao can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Prof. P. Rama Rao
Professor Palle Rama Rao, presently Chairman, Governing Council, ARCI, Hyderabad, obtained his Ph.D. degree in Physics-Metallurgy from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, India in 1964. He was a post-doctoral research associate during 1966-67 at the University of Pennsylvania. He started his career as a faculty member of the Department of Metallurgy at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1960 and then moved to BHU in 1962 as a Lecturer. He was appointed Professor of Physical Metallurgy at BHU in 1975, in which position he continued till 1982.
For the next 9 years he served as Director, Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), Hyderabad. In 1991 Professor Rao was appointed Secretary to Government of India, Department of Science and Technology, a position he held till 1995. Additionally, he held charge as Secretary, Department of Ocean Development. Subsequently, during 1996-99, he served as Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Government of India and as Vice-Chancellor, University of Hyderabad during 1999-2002. He was appointed a Member of the Atomic Energy Commission, Government of India in 2004. He was awarded a distinguished Professorship by the Indian Space Research Organisation which he held during 2002-07.
He is a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize (1979); the Presidential honours Padma Shri in the year 1989 and Padma Bhushan in the year 2001; Life Time Achievement Award" instituted by the Ministry of Steel, Government of India, etc. etc.
Professor Rama Rao has over 240 technical publications, including journal papers, edited volumes and published conference proceedings, to his credit and he has served on the editorial boards of national and international journals.
Education of Prof. P. Rama Rao
*B.Sc. (Hons.) in Physics from Presidency College, Madras University in 1956
*M. Sc. (Nuclear Physics) from Andhra University in 1957
*PhD (Physics-Metallurgy) from IT-BHU in 1964
*Post-doctorate research in materials science at University of Pennsylvania during 1966-67
BHU Prof. conferred Indira Gandhi Prize
Naveen Kumar, TNN, Jan 23, 2011, 09.35pm IST
VARANASI: Bringing another honour to the Banaras Hindu University, its senior astrophysicist from the Institute of Technology (IT) has been conferred the prestigious Indira Gandhi Prize for popularisation of science (2011).
(Prof. B. N. Dwivedi)
The Indian National Science Academy (INSA), the highest academic body in the field of science in the country, has conferred the prestigious award on BN Dwivedi, former head of department of applied physics, along with Biman Nath of Raman Research Institute, Bangalore, for their outstanding contributions in popularising science through mass media, especially print media, both in Hindi and English on a wide range of science subjects and issues.
The recipients of the prestigious award would deliver an award lecture on subjects of their choice under the aegis of local chapter of INSA during the year. The award carries a medal, an honorarium of Rs 25,000 and the citation. This award has also put the scientist in the league of science icons like Prof JV Narlikar and Prof Yashpal, who have earlier received the award for bridging the gap between science and society and popularising science in the masses.
"There could not have been a better tribute to MM Malviya on his 150th birth anniversary celebration year than confirmation of this prestigious award in an area that was so dear and close to the great founder of the university," Prof Dwivedi informed TOI on Sunday. "It is the recognition of continuous work that strives to link science and technology with masses and dispel their unfounded fear, myths and misconceptions associated with the subject. It is all about communicating science in interesting and simple manner so that learning and understanding of science becomes an enjoyable affair," he said.
It may be mentioned here that Dwivedi has also hogged limelight during total solar eclipse of 2010 when he led a team of scientists and students to capture the panoramic view of rare celestial event with naked eyes apart from catching wonderful images of outer surface of the sun through telescope. He has already received awards from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi in 2005 for outstanding contributions in science and technology communication through books and magazines.
Greater heights to scale
TNN, Jan 23, 2011, 09.35pm IST
VARANASI: This senior scientist has set his eyes on bigger mission that can prove a milestone in the field of astrophysics in the country. "Presently, we are deeply involved in the study of outer atmosphere of the Sun and all eyes are set on the launch of first Indian Space Coronagraph satellite, to be launched by Aditya-I in 2013. The successful launch of the indigenous satellite will not only give a new dimension to the field of astrophysics in the country, but also prove to be a milestone in predicting space weather," BN Dwivedi informed TOI.
It may be mentioned here that the first Indian Space Coronagraph satellite is being developed by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore, in association with other national institutes in the country. IIA director SS Hasan is leading the mission that comprises a number of senior astrophysicists including Dwivedi. The satellite launching vehicle Aditya-I is being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
"We are mainly interested in the study of green and red lines of iron ions emanating from corona (outer surface of sun), as the study of super charged iron ions due to extremely high temperature of the Sun could be crucial in predicting space weather. They would also enhance knowledge about satellite communication, travel in the space by astronauts and all kinds of grid on the Earth. Similarly, it would be crucial for understanding the relationship between Sun and the Earth, linking our effort with understanding of space weather," Dwivedi explained.
It is also worth mentioning here that Dwivedi has been associated with the National Aerospace Agency ( NASA) project called Skylab for the past two decades. The project started in 1991, where Prof Dwivedi joined as associate scientists, has developed solar and heliospheric marking observatory along with successful instrument on solar ultraviolet measurement for emitted radiation (SUMER). The senior scientist has been also associated with Hindoe satellite launched by Japan for the study of outer atmosphere of Sun by making use of observatory from space.
*Profile of Prof. B. N. Dwivedi on Applied Physics Dept. (IT-BHU) website
*An Interactive Seminar on Total Solar Eclipse in Varanasi (by Prof. B. N. Dwivedi)
(Prof. B. N. Dwivedi addressing the seminar)
*INSA (Indian national Science Academy)
Indian National Science Academy, a premier science Academy in the country, plays crucial role in promoting, recognizing and rewarding excellence. Another important task is to publish journals, organize scientific discussions and bring out proceedings and monographs.
The Academy promotes public awareness and understanding of science. Acting as links between the scientific community and the planners, they advise the governments on critical issues. Importantly they serve as forums for interaction among scientists within and outside the country.
It recognizes many top young scientists, engineers and technologists by awarding them medals, providing modest support for pursuing research activities to needy young researchers. Senior scientists are honoured with different awards/medals and the prestigious Research Professorship. Superannuated fellows of the Academy are given limited grant through Senior Scientist, Honorary scientist schemes etc. Through Academy exchange programme with different overseas academies, the scientists are facilitated to visit research institutions abroad and also foreign scientists visit India to lecture/scientific discussions in different institutions in the country under the programme
We are pleased to state that Prof. N. K. Mukhopadhyay, Department of Metallurgical Engineering, has received “C. N. R. Rao Education Foundation Award for Excellence in Scientific Research”, for his outstanding contributions in the field of Metallurgical Engineering jointly with Prof. B.N. Singh, Department of Zoology, and Faculty of Science.
This award was presented to him by Dr. Karan Singh, Chancellor of BHU & Hon’ble Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), in presence of Prof. D. P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of BHU and Prof B. D. Singh, Rector of BHU, at Swatantrata Bhawan, BHU on December 25, 2010, during the celebration of 15th Birth Anniversary of Pandit Malaviyaji on BHU campus.
About C. N. R. Rao Education Foundation Award for Excellence in Scientific Research:
In 2006 this award has been established to encourage the research work in BHU in pure and applied sciences (basic, engineering and agricultural sciences), by Prof. C.N.R. Rao - a Distinguished Alumnus of BHU, through the “Prof C.N.R. Rao Education Foundation”, Bangalore. The applications are invited from the faculty who are engaged in of basic, engineering and agricultural sciences. The eligible faculty should have at least one Gazetted National Award or should be the Fellow of any National Academy. The committee constituted by the University examines the applications and makes the recommendations based on which the University confers this award to the faculty for achieving his/her excellence in Science Research. This award carries a certificate and a sum of Rs.15,000/-. Earlier recipients were Prof. S. C. Lakhotia, Dept. of Zoology (2006) and Prof. D. Pandey, School of Materials Science and Technology, IT (2007). For the year 2008, this award was conferred upon jointly to Prof. N. K. Mukhopadhyay and Prof. B. N. Singh.
“C. N. R. Rao Education Foundation Award for Excellence in Scientific Research” Presented to Prof. N.K. Mukhopadhyay of Department of Metallurgical Engineering, IT-BHU by Dr. Karan Singh, Chancellor of BHU & Hon’ble Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha),
*Department of Metallurgical Engineering, Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India
*About Prof. C. N. R. Rao (Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao) in Wikipedia
*C.N. R. Rao home page
(Prof. C. N. R. Rao)
The news about Prof. N. K. Mukhopadhyay receiving C N R Rao Award were published by many newspapers, including Hindustan Times (English), Dainik Jagaran (Hindi) and one local Hindi newspaper. The news from Hindustan Times is shown below.
For news coverage by different newspapers, please click the following PDF link:
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