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Daily Current affairs 2 July 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair


 

SL. NO.

TOPICS

THE HINDU

PAGE NO.

1

Lessons from Bhutan  

10

1

Report sought on Fly ash management   

05

3

Core sector growth slows to 5.1%.     

15

4

Locust outbreak in Rajasthan’s Barmer

05

5

Finally, aircraft carrier INS Viraat to be scrapped   

22



 

Title

Lessons from Bhutan  (The Hindu Page 10)

Syllabus 

Mains GS paper II: Social issues 

Theme

Education 

Highlights

Context of the news

 

Bhutan has recently announced a policy wherein Bhutan’s teachers, doctors and other

medical staff will earn more than civil servants of corresponding grades

This is a novel move as no other country has accorded teachers and doctors such pride of

place in its government service, both in terms of remuneration and symbolism.

 

About the policy

 
  • The policy’s has been refereed in Bhutan’s 12th Five Year Plan (2018-23), published by its Gross National Happiness Commission, the country’s highest policy-making body.

  • The commission’s strategy is to achieve desired national outcomes through

education. The strategy opens with the notation, “making teaching a profession of

choice”. Therefore the proposal aims to achieve the country’s human developmental

objectives.

  • The decision also comes in the wake of high levels of teacher attrition. Clearly, the

government has formulated the policy to put a stop to such fall in numbers of

teachers.

  • But will improving the status of the teaching profession positively influences

educational outcomes?

  • As per The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Programme

for International Student Assessment (PISA) there is distinct correlation between

student outcomes in a country and the status that its teachers enjoy. Hence it says

that higher wages does improve teacher’s status.

  • Further already Bhutan spends about 7.5% of its GDP on education. The fiscal

implications of the new salary structure are unclear now.

 

Can India afford a similar policy?

 
  • India currently spends about 3% of its GDP on education, accounting for about 10%

of the Centre’s and States’ budgetary expenses and salaries of teachers and other

staff constitute a large portion of this expenditure.

  • The NITI Aayog in its report last year recommended that India raise this to 6% of GDP

by 2022.

  • Paying teachers significantly higher salaries may seem like a difficult task, but the

Central and State governments could consider rationalising both teacher recruitment

and allocation of funds to existing programmes.

  • Some programmes may have outlived their purpose, while others could be better

directed. In fact, improving accountability in the system could lead to reduction in

cost.

  • A World Bank study found that teacher absenteeism in India was nearly 24%, which

costs the country about $1.5 billion annually.

  • Absenteeism could be the result of many factors, including teachers taking up a

second job or farming to boost incomes, providing parental or nursing care in the

absence of support systems, or lacking motivation.

  • Hence, the incentive of a desirable income with strong accountability, can help

mitigate many ills that plague the system, free fiscal space and help meet important

national developmental objectives.

 
  • Further, implementing a policy may be easier in a smaller State, say Delhi.

  • Education is a key focus area for the Delhi government; the State invests 26% of its

annual budget in the sector (much more than the national average). The

administration has also worked on improving teacher motivation as a strategy for

better educational outcomes. The base has been set. Moreover, since the State is

highly urban and well-connected, it would be easier to enforce accountability

measures.

 

conclusion

  • No investment that enables an educated, healthy, responsible and happy community

can be deemed too high by any society.

  • Improving teacher status by offering top notch salaries to attract the best to the

profession could be that revolutionary policy-step forward, which Bhutan has shown

a willingness to take.



 

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Title

Report sought on Fly ash management   (The Hindu -Page.05)

Syllabus 

Mains GS paper III: Environment  

Theme

Pollution 

Highlights

Fly ash utilization

 

Background

India also has a vast coal reserve of 211 billion tones making coal one of the most extensively used fossil fuel for generating power. With 40 % to 50% ash content in Indian, coal this presents an inherent problem of ash disposal. 

Large quantity of ash is being generated at coal/lignite based Thermal Power Stations in the country, which not only requires large area of precious land for its disposal but is also one of the sources of pollution of both air and water.

Initiatives taken to promote Fly Ash Utilization – 

• A 2016 notification by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC) on Fly Ash Utilization mandates -  

  • Mandatory uploading of details of fly ash available on Thermal Power Station’s (TPS) website and updating of stock position at least once in every month;

  • Increase in mandatory jurisdiction of area of application from 100 km to 300 km;

  • Cost of transportation of fly ash to be borne entirely by TPS up to 100 km and equally shared between user and TPS for more than 100 km and up to 300 km;

  • Mandatory use of fly ash-based products in all Government schemes or programmes e.g. Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, etc.

• Further to above, a government notification, released in February 2019 states that -

  • The existing red clay brick kilns located within 300 km shall be converted into fly ash-based bricks or blocks or tiles manufacturing unit within one year from the date of publication of this notification.

  • In order to encourage the conversion, TPS should provide fly ash at the rate of Re 1 per tonne and bear the full transportation cost up to 300 km to such units.

  • Central Electricity Authority (CEA) on behalf of Ministry of Power has been monitoring since 1996-97 the fly ash generation and its utilization in the country at coal/ lignite based thermal power stations. 

  • Through the sustained initiatives of various agencies of government and industry body, Fly Ash utilization level has reached to about 67% (132 MT) in 2017-18 as compared to about only 10% during 1996-97. 

Fly ash utilisation benefits ranges from pollution prevention, resource preservation to resource utilisation - 

  • Prevent Contamination of Water Resources- by preventing contamination of surface water through erosion, runoff, airborne particles landing on the water surface; of ground water moving into surface waters, flooding drainage, or discharge from a coal ash pond.

  • Prevents Soil Erosion- Helps restrict usage of topsoil for manufacturing of bricks.

  • Used in variety of construction works- Fly ash is a proven resource material for many applications of construction industries and currently is being utilized in manufacturing of portland cement, bricks/blocks/tiles manufacturing, road embankment construction and low-lying area development, etc. Flyash bricks have been found to show better strength.

  • Usage in Agriculture- for acidic soils, as soil conditioner and helps in improving upon some important physio-chemical properties of the soil such as hydraulic conductivity, bulk density, porosity, water holding capacity, etc.

 

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Personal Notes










 

Title

Core sector growth slows to 5.1%.     (The Hindu -Page. 15)

Syllabus 

Mains: GS Paper III : Economy 

Theme

Industrial Growth 

Highlights

Context:

 

The growth in eight core industries has reduced to 5.1% in May 2019 from the nine month high of 6.3% registered in month of April 2019.This slowdown is attributed to slowdown in coal and refinery products.

 

Details about Index of Eight Core Industries

 
  • In India there are eight core sectors comprising of coal, crude oil, natural gas, petroleum refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity. 

  • The eight core industries  constitute 40.27% of the total index of industrial production (IIP).

  • This index is prepared by Office of the Economic Advisor, Ministry of commerce of and Industry and is published monthly with the base year as 2011-12.

  • Highest Weightage: Petroleum Refinery production.

  • Lowest Weightage: Fertilizers production.

 

Note: It is to be noted that IIP is prepared by National Statistical Office (earlier CSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme implementation.

 

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Title

Locust outbreak in Rajasthan’s Barmer.      (The Hindu -Page.05)

Syllabus 

Prelims : environment 

Mains: GS Paper III: environment 

Theme

Pests 

Highlights

Why in News?

 

An outbreak of desert locusts in the villages of Rajasthan's Barmer district, adjoining the India-Pakistan border, has posed a threat to the crops. Swarms of locusts were detected in the villages of Tamlor, Gadra Road, Gudamalani and Sheo regions of the district over the weekend.

 

Details 

  • The Union Agriculture Ministry’s Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), headquartered in Jodhpur, has launched efforts on a war footing to control locusts

  • The last major outbreak of locusts took place in Rajasthan in 1993, according to the LWO.

  • The tropical grasshoppers emerged in January this year from Sudan and Eritrea on Africa's Red Sea Coast and travelled through Saudi Arabia and Iran to enter Pakistan, where they invaded the cotton-producing belt of Sindh. The swarms of locusts are now entering the Thar desert, threatening the crops in western Rajasthan.

  • The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned that more hatching and formation of hopper groups were expected in the coming weeks in Rajasthan

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Title

Finally, aircraft carrier INS Viraat to be scrapped   (The Hindu Page 22)

Syllabus 

Science & technology  

Theme

Defence 

Highlights

Context: Over two years after it was decommissioned from service, aircraft carrier Viraat is going to be scrapped. 

 

About INS Viraart 

 

 

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Relevant articles from PIB:

Paper 3:

Topics covered:

  1. Conservation related issues.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: features, need for and significance of the campaign.

 

ContextJal Shakti Abhiyan for Water Conservation Launched.

 

Key facts:

  • It is a time-bound, mission-mode campaign that would focus on 1,592 “water-stressed” blocks in 257 districts.
  • The campaign will run through citizen participation during the monsoon season, from 1st July, 2019 to 15th September, 2019. 
  • The 1,592 blocks, identified as “water-stressed” as per the Central Ground Water Board’s 2017 data, include 313 critical blocks, 1,000-odd over-exploited blocks and 94 blocks with least water availability (for states without water-stressed blocks).
  • Jal Shakti Abhiyan is a collaborative effort of various Ministries of the Government of India and State Governments, being coordinated by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
  • Under the campaign, teams of officers from the central government will visit and work with district administration in water stressed blocks, to ensure five important water conservation interventions.
  • These will be water conservation and rainwater harvesting, renovation of traditional and other water bodies/tanks, reuse, bore well recharge structures, watershed development and intensive afforestation.  
  • Other measures: These water conservation efforts will also be supplemented with special interventions including the development of Block and District Water Conservation Plans, promotion of efficient water use for irrigation and better choice of crops through Krishi Vigyan Kendras.
  • A large-scale communications campaign has also been planned alongside the JSA involving mass mobilisation of different groups including school students, college students, swachhagrahis, Self Help Groups, Panchayati Raj Institution members, youth groups (NSS/NYKS/NCC), defence personnel, ex-servicemen and pensioners, among various others.

 


Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Swadesh Darshan scheme

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Features and significance of the scheme, Important circuits and overview of their locations and geographical significance.

 

Context: Recognizing the potential of rural tourism in the country, the Ministry has identified Rural Circuit as one of the thematic circuits identified for development under this scheme and is aimed at leveraging tourism as a force multiplier for revitalizing the rural economy and for giving both domestic and international tourists a glimpse of the rural aspect of the country

 

About Swadesh Darshan Scheme:

Tourism Ministry launched the scheme.

Objective: to develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country. These tourist circuits will be developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner.

 

Features of Swadesh Darshan Scheme:

  • 100% centrally fundedfor the project components undertaken for public funding.
  • To leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
  • Funding of individual project will varyfrom state to state and will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant).
  • PMC will be a national level consultant to be appointed by the Mission Directorate.
  • National Steering Committee (NSC)will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.
  • Mission Directorateheaded by the Member Secretary, NSC as a nodal officer will help in identification of projects in consultation with the States/ UTs governments and other stake holders.


Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Issues related to education.

STRIDE scheme

 

What to study.

For prelims and mains: key features, need for and significance of the scheme.

 

ContextUGC announces new Initiative – Scheme for Trans-disciplinary Research for India’s Developing Economy (STRIDE) to boost research culture in India.

 

Key features:

  • STRIDE will provide support to research projects that are socially relevant, locally need-based, nationally important and globally significant.
  • STRIDE shall support research capacity building as well as basic, applied and transformational action research that can contribute to national prioritiers with focus on inclusive human development.
  • STRIDE shall support creation, development and integration of new ideas, concepts and practices for public good and strengthening civil society.

 

STRIDE Objectives: 

  1. To identify young talent, strengthen research culture, build capacity, promote innovation and support trans-disciplinary research for India’s developing economy and national development. 
  2. To fund multi institutional network high-impact research projects in humanities and human sciences.

 

Significance:

STRIDE scheme will strengthen research culture and innovation in colleges and Universities and help students and faculty to contribute towards India’s developing economy with help of collaborative research. Focus on Humanities and Human Sciences will boost quality research on Indian languages and knowledge systems.


 

Relevant articles from various news sources:

Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

International Whaling Commission (IWC)

 

What to study?

For Prelims: About IWC- composition, functions and significance.

For Mains: Moratorium on commercial whaling, concerns over Japan’s move and the way ahead.

 

Context: Japan has resumed commercial whale hunting after a hiatus of more than 30 years, defying calls from conservation groups to protect animals once hunted to the brink of extinction.

 

Background:

Tokyo has for decades fiercely defended whale hunting despite heavy criticism from the international community. The government and local authorities celebrate the practice as a tradition with a long history and cultural significance akin to the hunting of whales in countries such as Norway and Iceland, where commercial hunting is permitted, or among indigenous communities in the United States and Canada.

 

About IWC:

It is an international body set up under International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW).

Functions: ICRW governs the commercial, scientific, and aboriginal subsistence whaling practices of fifty-nine member nations.

In 1986, it adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling. This ban still continues.

 

Whale sanctuary:

In 1994, it created the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary surrounding the continent of Antarctica. Here, the IWC has banned all types of commercial whaling.

Only two such sanctuaries have been designated by IWC till date. Another is Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary by the tiny island nation of the Seychelles.

 

Objectives:

  1. To provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks.
  2. For orderly development of the whaling industry.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN)

 

What to study?

For prelims: RIIN- key features, aims and objectives.

For mains: need, challenges and significance.

 

Context: Nagaland government has decided to set up a Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN)with the aim of preventing fake indigenous inhabitants’ certificates.

 

Key features:

  • The RIIN will be the master list of all indigenous inhabitants of the state.
  • The RIIN list will be based on “an extensive survey”.
  • It will involve official records of indigenous residents from rural and (urban) wards and would be prepared under the supervision of the district administration.
  • This provisional list will then be published in all villages, wards and on government websites by September 11, 2019.

 

What will the unique identity look like?

All indigenous inhabitants of the state would be issued a barcoded and numbered Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate.

 

What is an ILP?

The process will be conducted across Nagaland and will be done as part of the online system of Inner Line Permit (ILP), which is already in force in Nagaland.

Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document required by Indian citizens residing outside certain “protected” states while entering them. The ILP is issued by the Government of India and is obligatory for all those who reside outside the protected states. With the ILP, the government aims to regulate movement to certain areas located near the international border of India.

 

Origin of ILP:

ILP’s origin dates back to the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873, which protected the British Crown’s interest in tea, oil and elephant trade.

It prohibited “British subjects” or Indians from entering into these protected areas.

After Independence, in 1950, the word “British subjects” was replaced by Citizens of India and the focus of the ban on free movement was explained as a bid to protect tribal cultures in northeastern India.

Currently, the Inner Line Permit is operational in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.

It can be issued for travel purposes solely.

 

How will be the process be monitored?

The entire exercise will be monitored by the Commissioner of Nagaland. In addition, the state government will designate nodal officers of the rank of a Secretary to the state government. Their role will be to monitor the implementation. However, they will have no say in the adjudication process.

 

How will the RIIN be updated?

Once the RIIN is finalised, no fresh indigenous inhabitant certificates will be issued except to newborn babies born to the indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland.

 

Sources: Indian Express.


Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

1.Security challenges and their management in border areas.

 

AFSPA

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: AFSPA- features, draconian provisions, misuses and need for review.

 

ContextCentre has declared entire State of Nagaland a ‘disturbed area’ for a period of 6 more months under Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

 

What does the AFSPA mean?

In simple terms, AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.

 

Powers given to armed forces:

  • They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.
  • If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
  • Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest.

 

What is a “disturbed area” and who has the power to declare it?

A disturbed area is one which is declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA. An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.

The Central Government, or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area. A suitable notification would have to be made in the Official Gazette. As per Section 3, it can be invoked in places where “the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary”.

 

What’s the origin of AFSPA?

The Act came into force in the context of increasing violence in the Northeastern States decades ago, which the State governments found difficult to control. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Bill was passed by both the Houses of Parliament and it was approved by the President on September 11, 1958. It became known as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958.

 

What has been the role of the judiciary?

There were questions about the constitutionality of AFSPA, given that law and order is a state subject. The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of AFSPA in a 1998 judgement (Naga People’s Movement of Human Rights v. Union of India).

In this judgement, the Supreme Court arrived at certain conclusions including (a) a suo-motto declaration can be made by the Central government, however, it is desirable that the state government should be consulted by the central government before making the declaration; (b) AFSPA does not confer arbitrary powers to declare an area as a ‘disturbed area’; (c) the declaration has to be for a limited duration and there should be a periodic review of the declaration 6 months have expired; (d) while exercising the powers conferred upon him by AFSPA, the authorised officer should use minimal force necessary for effective action, and (e) the authorised officer should strictly follow the ‘Dos and Don’ts’ issued by the army.

 

Has there been any review of the Act?

On November 19, 2004, the Central government appointed a five-member committee headed by Justice B P Jeevan Reddy to review the provisions of the act in the north eastern states.

The committee submitted its report in 2005, which included the following recommendations: (a) AFSPA should be repealed and appropriate provisions should be inserted in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; (b) The Unlawful Activities Act should be modified to clearly specify the powers of the armed forces and paramilitary forces and (c) grievance cells should be set up in each district where the armed forces are deployed.

The 5th report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission on public order has also recommended the repeal of the AFSPA.

These recommendations have not been implemented.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Fly ash

 

What to study?

For prelims: What is fly ash, how is it produced and where it can be used?

For mains: Concerns associated with its contamination, what needs to be done and legislative measures necessary.

 

Context: The National Green Tribunal has sought a report from the authorities on the current status on disposal and management of fly ash. The report has been sought, following a plea alleging unscientific handling of fly ash generated by a unit of NTPC.

 

What is Fly Ash?

  • Fly ash is a major source of PM 2.5 (fine, respirable pollution particles) in summer. It becomes air borne, and gets transported to a radius of 10 to 20 kms.
  • It can settle on water and other surfaces.
  • Fly ash contains heavy metalsfrom coal, a large amount of PM 2.5 and black carbon (BC).
  • Proper disposal of fly ash is still not happening in many places.

 

What can be done?

Fly ash, the end product of combustion during the process of power generation in the coal based thermal power plants, is a proven resource material for many applications of construction industries and currently is being utilized in manufacturing of Portland Cement, bricks/blocks/tiles manufacturing, road embankment construction and low-lying area development, etc.

At present, 63% of the fly ash is being utilised and target is for 100% utilisation of the fly ash. There is need for education and awareness generation.

Road contractors and construction engineers need to know the benefits of using fly ash in construction.

Measures need to be taken to reduce the cost of construction of roads using fly ash by way of tax structure, subsidies and transportation services.

Besides, there is a need to prevent the ash from coming to the power plant by washing the coal at its place of origin. The government should also come out with a policy to encourage fly ash use in cement plant.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 

Mains Question: What is fly ash? In the past few years concerns have been raised over its environmental impact from several quarters. What are these concerns? How they can be addressed? Examine.


 

Facts for prelims:

 

Tamil yeoman:

Context: Tamil yeoman (Cirrochroa thais) butterfly species endemic to Western Ghats has been declared the state butterfly of Tamil Nadu
Key facts:

Uniformly orange in colour with a dark brown outer ring, Tamil Yeoman is among the 32 butterfly species found in the Western Ghats.

This butterfly species moves in groups in large numbers, but only in a few places. Also known as Tamil Maravan, which means warrior, these butterflies are found mainly in the hilly areas.

For the first time Tamil Nadu has declared its state butterfly and only fifth in the country to do soMaharashtra was the first to declare Blue Mormon as its state butterfly, followed by Uttarakhand (Common peacock), Karnataka (Southern bird wings) and Kerala (Malabar banded peacock).

National Skill Development Fund (NSDF):

It was incorporated on 23rd December, 2008 as a trust under the Indian Trust Act, 1882.

It is fully owned by the Government, to act as a receptacle for financial contributions from Governmental sources, bilateral/ multilateral and other agencies and other private sector donors who would prefer to provide funds through the Government.

Its main objective is to enhance, stimulate and develop the skills of Indian youth force by various sector specific programmes.

The Trust accepts donation, contribution in cash or kind from the Contributors for furtherance of objectives of the Fund

 

Public libraries:

There are six Public Libraries under administrative control of Ministry of Culture namely National Library, Kolkata, Central Reference Library, Kolkata, Central Secretariat Library, New Delhi, Delhi Public Library, Delhi, Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna and Rampur Raza Library, Rampur.

Public libraries function under the administrative control of the respective State/UT library authority.

National Mission on Libraries has a scheme for providing financial assistance for upgradation of infrastructure of one State Central Library and one District Library in each State/UT as NML Model Library.

 

Rashtriya Aavishkar Abhiyan (RAA):

  • It was launched in 2015.
  • It is a convergent framework across School Education and Higher Education to motivate children of the age group from 6-18 years in learning Science, Mathematics and Technology through observation, experimentation, inference drawing, model building, etc. both through inside and outside classroom activities and processes. It seeks to create curiosity, excitement and spirit of innovation and exploration amongst school children by encouraging higher education institutions to become Mentoring Institutions and assist secondary and elementary schools in the study of Science and Mathematics.
  • Major interventions under RAA provided under Integrated scheme for School Education – Samagra Shiksha, include conduct of Science Exhibition, Book Fair, Quiz Competition, exposure/study visits for students to Higher Education institutions, participation of students in Inter-school/State/National level Science & Maths Competitions/Olympiads, strengthening of School Science and Mathematics laboratories, use of teaching-learning equipment and material including Digital models and use of technology in Science and Mathematics teaching.

 

Shodhganga:

It is a digital repository for research scholars across Universities and Institutes to deposit, re-use & share their Theses & Dissertations in digital formats including scanned documents.

It is in open access to the world-wide academic community.

 

Shodhgangotri:

Under this initiative, research scholars / research supervisors in universities could deposit an electronic version of approved synopsis submitted by research scholars to the universities for registering themselves under the Ph.D. programme.

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