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Uttar Pradesh placed at bottom of NITI Aayog’s School Education Quality Index
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENTNEW DELHI
Kerala and Rajasthan have emerged as States with the best quality of school education in the country, with scores of 76.6% and 72.9% respectively, in the NITI Aayog’s rankings released on Monday.
The Union Territory of Chandigarh, however, pipped them overall with a score of over 80%.
Reflecting the huge differences in quality across the country, Uttar Pradesh scored the lowest among 20 large States, with just 36.4%, although the small State of Arunachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Lakshadweep had even lower scores.
The School Education Quality Index (SEQI) is part of the NITI Aayog’s effort to rank the performance of States in across various indicators, including water, health and the ease of doing business, to encourage data-driven policy reforms.
The Centre plans to collaborate with the World Bank to offer performance-linked grants as incentives for the States with high rankings, School Education Secretary Rina Ray said.
The first edition of the SEQI assessed the States on the basis of learning outcomes, access, equity, infrastructure and facilities, and the governance processes which aid such outcomes. The Index is largely based on data from the National Achievement Survey (NAS) of 2017-18 and the Unified District Information on School Education data of 2016-17.
Following SC directions, HC judge visited observation home
Up in arms: Youth raising slogans at a protest against the dilution of Article 370 in Srinagar on Friday. PTIPTI
After August 5, only four boys below the age of 18 were detained by the police, and they are now lodged at a Juvenile Observation Home in Srinagar’s Harwan, a senior government official said.
In all, there are 21 boys at the observation home. Of them, 17 were detained before August 5 — the day Home Minister Amit Shah moved two Bills in the Rajya Sabha to revoke the special status of Jammu & Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcate and downgrade the State into two Union Territories.
On September 20, the Supreme Court assigned the Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s Juvenile Justice Committee to inquire into allegations of illegal detention of children. The Chairman of the J&K High Court Legal Services Committee, Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey, visited the observation home last week following the Supreme Court’s directions.
‘Investigation is at an advanced stage and the likelihood of his influencing the witnesses cannot be ruled out’
The Delhi High Court on Monday declined to grant bail to former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the INX Media case, noting that the investigation is at an advanced stage and the likelihood of his influencing the witnesses could not be ruled out.
Justice Suresh Kumar Kait cited the submission of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that two material witnesses (accused) had been approached with the plea not to disclose any information regarding Mr. Chidambaram and his son Karti (the co-accused).
The High Court remarked that though Mr. Chidambaram has been “a strong” Finance Minister and Home Minister and presently, Member of Parliament, “the fact that he will not influence the witnesses directly or indirectly, cannot be ruled out in view of the above facts.”
The 74-year-old was arrested on August 21 from his residence in New Delhi by the CBI. The case relates to a First Information Report registered by the CBI on May 15, 2017, against alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance provided to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of ₹305 crore in 2007, when Mr. Chidambaram was Finance Minister.
In a parallel probe, the Enforcement Directorate is investigating the alleged offence of money laundering arising out of the FIR.
The High Court, in its 47-page judgment, cited the ‘sealed cover’ as revealing that Indrani Mukherjee and Peter Mukherjee (accused) met Mr. Chidambaram even before the filing of application before the FIPB unit.
Nearly five months after the Supreme Court ordered the Gujarat government to give 2002 riots victim Bilkis Bano ₹50 lakh in compensation, a house and a job to tide over the “devastation” of her family, the court learned on Monday that the State is yet to budge on the judicial order from the highest court.
“Why have you not paid her? Why have you not paid?” Chief Justice Gogoi asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Gujarat government.
Mr. Mehta said the State may be filing a review.
The court, in a detailed decision on April 23, had described the tragedy of Ms. Bano’s past. It had noted how her infant daughter was “smashed” against the wall in their house before her own eyes. Ms. Bilkis was herself pregnant when she was gang-raped by the mob. Seven members of her family were also killed by the mob at Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad on March 3, 2002.
It ordered the Gujarat government to pay her the compensation and provide her a job and a house in two weeks. But nothing had come out of it.
The Chief Justice asked Mr. Mehta whether the April order would at least be made good now considering the “peculiar facts” of the case.
Mr. Mehta asked for four weeks for the government to arrange employment for Ms. Bano. The CJI, however, decided on two.
The paleochannel linked the Ganga and the Yamuna near Prayagraj
The Union Water Ministry has excavated an old, dried-up river in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) that linked the Ganga and Yamuna rivers. The aim is to develop it as a potential groundwater recharge source, according to officials at the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), a body under the Union Jal Shakti Ministry that coordinates the cleaning of the Ganga.
The “ancient buried river” as it was described at a conference organised by the Ministry, is around 4 km wide, 45 km long and consisted of a 15-metre-thick layer buried under soil.
According to Executive Director, NMCG, D.P. Mathuria, the discovery was made last December by a team of scientists from the CSIR-NGRI (National Geophysical Research Institute) and the Central Groundwater Board during a helicopter-borne geophysical survey covering the Prayagraj and Kaushambi region in Uttar Pradesh.
These paleochannels reveal the course of rivers that have ceased to exist.
The newly discovered river, according to Mr. Mathuria, was a “buried paleochannel that joins the Yamuna river at Durgapur village, about 26 km south of the current Ganga-Yamuna confluence at Prayagraj.
The genesis of the palaeochannel’s discovery followed a 2016 report of a seven-member committee, headed by Professor K.S. Valdiya of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), commissioned by the Water Resources Ministry.
This report concluded that evidence from palaeochannels suggested that the mythological Saraswati river did indeed exist. They claimed to have based their conclusions on reports and maps of palaeochannels in north India and a separate, ongoing project by the Central Groundwater Board to map the aquifers (extremely deep stores of groundwater) of India.
“Knowledge on subsurface connectivity between Ganga and Yamuna rivers will play a very crucial role in planning of Ganga cleaning and protecting safe groundwater resources,” Mr. Mathuria said.