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Thousands of Himachal’s disabled denied scholarship, No budget, says Govt: DSA

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HP Disabled Students Association

Shimla: The disabled students in Himachal Pradesh are facing a hard time in claiming their rights to equality and equal opportunities in the field of academics. Despite claims of the state government, the welfare of the disables remains confined to official government files.

It is a matter of shame for the government that even the disables are forced to fight for their constitutional rights.

Earlier, the disabled students were denied admission in HP University for the session 2017-18. The varsity had sent several disabled students back saying the varsity has not implemented the new provisions of five percent reservation for disabled students under the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016.

When a blind student approached the State High Court with this complaint, the State government and the varsity were ordered to enroll the students as per the provision.

As a tight slap on the face of the University and the State Government, the court had also asked them to explain the reasons for not ensuring five percent quota in higher educational institutes for the disabled students despite provisions.

Now, the Disabled Student Association has alleged the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment of withholding scholarships of the thousands of disables studying at the government educational institutes.

The list also includes HP University students.

As per the legal provision and orders of the State High Court, there is a provision of Rs.1750 per month as scholarship to the disabled students studying at higher education institutes. This amount is Rs. 3000 per month for student living in hostels.

However, these students were denied the scholarship.

Scholar Ship to disabled students in Himachal

From HP High Court Orders, 2011

The DSA said when these students approached the Directorate of Scheduled Cast, OBC, and Minority Affairs; they were told that there is no budget for their scholarship.

It said Yoga Devi (MA), Priyanka Devi (LLM), Mukesh (B.Ed), Mira Devi and Neha (both MA Political Science), Hem Singh (M.Com), Vikesh Kumar (MA History), and Mohit Kapor (MA Music) have not received their scholarships.

Majority of these disables belong to economically weaker sections of the society and arrived from remote regions in hope of higher education.

The Association also alleged the state government of neglecting disabled students on every level from primary schools to varsities.

The state government was dragged to court several times by disabled students, NGOs like Umang Foundation, and Students Disabled Association over negligence of the state government to facilitate their education from primary to higher education through the implementation of various Centre and State schemes.

The State High Court had also ordered the government to ensure free education to disabled students and enhance the amounts of their scholarships in schools, colleges, and universities.

The DSA recently wrote a letter to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh with a plea to intervene and order the release of pending scholarships to these students.

Campus Watch

As major achievement, Nauni varsity scientists bag International project on oilseed research

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Nauni varsity scientists bags international project

Solan: Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, was in news last week after Jagriti Thakur, a research scholar at the varsity, won US-based International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Scholar Award for the year 2018.

This week, in a major achievement, the scientists of Department of Plant Pathology at the UHF, have bagged an International collaborative project on developing cutting-edge technology for inducing biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability.

The University will work with nine leading research organisations of the country besides seven renowned research institutes of United Kingdom in the project. The three-year project has a total budget outlay of more than Rs 7.27 crore as Indian component, which will be distributed to the 10 Indian institutes, which are part of the project. Each Indian institute will work on a different aspect of the project with a researcher working on the same area in the UK.

The project has been sanctioned under the prestigious NEWTON BHABHA Fund UK- India Pulses and Oilseed Research Initiative (PORI). The fund has been created by BBSRC of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, GoI.

BBSRC which is a part of UK Research and Innovation, a body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations and government for promoting research and innovation is also making upto £3.5 million available to support the UK components of this research.

Dr HR Gautam, Professor and Head of Department of Plant Pathology informed that Dr Anil Handa, Professor of Plant Pathology will be the Principal Investigator and coordinator of this project while Dr Rajnish Sharma working in the Department of Biotechnology will act as the Co-Investigator.

He added that this achievement is one of the cherished moments in 55 years history of the department. Dr JN Sharma, UHF Director of Research, said that the University is making continuous efforts to get projects from various funding agencies and engage in collaborative work to strengthen the research capabilities and infrastructure.

India is one of the major producers and consumers of oilseeds crops in the world. The university scientists will work on ‘Genomics-led improvement of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability’ by utilizing state-of-art advanced molecular approaches like CRISPER/Cas9 for mapping the genes conferring resistance to turnip mosaic virus (TuMV).

UHF Nauni Lab

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology is an internationally acclaimed laboratory and has facilities for conducting molecular level research for determining the genetic diversity of TuMV in Northern India and developing a panel of Indian TuMV isolates for evaluating European and Indian sources of resistance.

Besides Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, the University of Delhi, South Campus; NIPGR, New Delhi; NBPGR, New Delhi; NRCPB, New Delhi; IARI, New Delhi; PAU, Ludhiana; CAZRI, Jodhpur; DRMR, Bharatpur and IIT Kharagpur will be a part of the project. The University of York, University of Hertfordshire, University of Warwick, University of Essex, Earlham Institute and Rothamsted Research will be the investigators from the United Kingdom.

While congratulating the scientists, UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr HC Sharma said that the project will go a long way in using the latest techniques in biotechnology for disease management to increase the productivity of oilseed crops. This project will also help train our students in using molecular markers for crop improvement.

Through this collaborative project, efforts are being made to encourage multi-institutional collaborations between UK and Indian researchers to undertake high-quality research aimed at increasing crop productivity, resilience, sustainability and quality of pulses and oilseeds grown for food or feed in India. Pulses and oilseeds are important crops in India.

Pulses are relatively under-used crops in the UK but are a major source of dietary protein in India. Oilseeds are grown in both countries and are a valuable source of oil for a variety of uses, as well as animal feed. This collaborative project aims to develop exploit genomic and bioinformatic resources to aid the development of improved varieties for sustainable crop production.

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Campus Watch

Nauni varsity’s Jagriti among world’s 30 research scholars who bagged International Scholar Award

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Jagriti of UHF nauni get international Scholar award

Solan: Jagriti Thakur, a research scholar at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, has been conferred with the US-based International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Scholar Award for the year 2018. She is among the 30 research scholars from across the globe, who have been conferred with this prestigious award. Jagriti is a doctoral student at UHF’s Department of Soil Science and Water Management.

The IPNI award has been conferred on Jagriti for her PhD thesis research synopsis. The regional committees of IPNI scientific staff select the recipients for this award. The award carries a cash prize of 2,000 US dollars and a recognition certificate, which will be presented to Jagriti during a ceremony at the University by IPNI.

Hailing from Bhuntar in Kullu district, Jagriti has completed her BSc and MSc degrees from UHF and is presently pursuing her doctoral research on the topic, ‘Standardization of irrigation and fertigation schedules for apple under high-density plantation’. For the past one year, she has been conducting research at the university’s high-density apple plantations, raised under the Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project (HP HDP).

Dr JC Sharma, her research guide at the university said,

Apple is a major cash crop in Himachal and therefore a lot of importance has been given to its high-density plantations under the HP HDP. The award recognizes our efforts and gives greater impetus to our research, which will help us to determine the water and nutrient requirement for apple under high-density plantation and ensure proper utilization of these resources.

Thanking her parents and University Professors for their guidance and support, Jagriti said that she will now work even harder to develop the irrigation and fertigation schedule for apple under high-density plantation which will be helpful for better utilization of resources and raising farm incomes. She is hopeful of developing the schedules within the next two to three years.

While congratulating the student and the research guide, Dr HC Sharma, UHF Vice-Chancellor said,

It is a proud moment for the university, as only 30 scholars were selected across the world for this honour. The award is a testimonial to the quality research being carried out at the university.

International Plant Nutrition Scholar Award

The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Board of Directors offers two awards of interest to graduate students and scientists working in plant nutrition and management of crop nutrients. Priority is given to the relevance of the proposed research in support of IPNI’s mission. Students in the disciplines of soil and plant sciences including agronomy, horticulture, ecology, soil fertility, soil chemistry, crop physiology, and other areas related to plant nutrition can apply for the award.

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390 students attend St. Bede’s National Seminar ‘Celebrating Indian Science’

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St. Bede's National Seminar

Shimla: On Thursday, the Science Faculty of St. Bede’s College Shimla, in collaboration with Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), Shimla Chapter, hosted a one day National Seminar entitled ‘Celebrating Indian Science: From Past to Future’.

Around 350 Science students of the college along with 140 students from various colleges and schools of Shimla attended it.

These institutes included Centre of Excellence, Govt. Degree College, Sanjauli, R.K.M.V, Rajiv Gandhi Govt. Degree College, Chaura Maidan, Convent of Jesus and Mary, D.A.V School, Lakkar Bazaar, St. Edward’s School, Loreto Convent, Tara Hall, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Jakhu, Govt. School, Sanjauli, Monal Public School, Model School Summerhill and Chapslee school.

St. Bede's National Seminar 2

During the seminar, the students were shown a movie on ‘The Quantum Indians’ in the first technical session of the seminar, and it was followed by On the Spot Quiz.

In the second session, Prof. P.K. Ahluwalia delivered a lecture on the topic ‘Impact of Innovation on Human Development through Science and Technology: From Past to Future.’

St. Bede's National Seminar 3

In the second half, Prof. Subhash Gupta delivered a lecture on the topic ‘Our Journey of Science – Future Ahead.’

In the third session, Prof. Jaspreet Sambi from Panjab University Chandigarh delivered a talk on ‘Indian Science Looking Back and into Future.’

To stimulate the idea of controlling pollution and protecting the environment and to share and discuss issues relating to it, a Panel discussion on the topic ‘Can Scientific Interventions Help Overcome the Curse of Pollution’ was also organized.

Towards the end of the seminar, students asked questions related to their queries which were answered convincingly. It was followed by a live demonstration of experiments by Physics, Microbiology, Biotechnology departments. The Department of Botany and Zoology put up an exhibition on medicinal plants and insects.

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