Schools from class X to XII reopen in Rajasthan

Going with the new guidelines issued by the state government, schools from classes 10 to 12 reopened from Tuesday in urban areas across the state.

The offline studies of the children of these classes will start after a break of over 20 days. Schools from classes 6 to 9 will open from February 10.

Schools in the rural areas are already operational.

On January 9, the government had closed the schools up to class 12 in urban areas in the wake of rising cases of COVID.

The state government has also made it mandatory that every organization, firm, shop, etc should paste the complete details on the information board about the vaccination status of the people working there.

In this, separate information will have to be submitted about the number of employees who have had single and double doses of the vaccine. Details of employees who have not got vaccinated also should be given. Failure to do so will result in action under the Epidemic Act.

Indian startups generated over 6 lakh jobs: President Kovind

Hailing the Indian startup success story, President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said the burgeoning startup ecosystem has generated more than 6 lakh jobs to date.

Addressing the joint session of Parliament, Kovind said that since 2016, India has seen 60,000 startups in 56 different sectors.

“Our startup industry is also an example of the infinite new possibilities that are rapidly taking shape under the leadership of our youth. Since 2016, 60,000 new startups have been established in 56 different sectors in our country,” he emphasized.

“More than six lakh jobs have been created by these startups. In 2021, during the Corona period, more than 40 unicorn startups emerged in India, each with a minimum market value of Rs 7,400 crore ($1 billion),” said the President.

A Nasscom-Zinnov report said this month that Indian startups raised a record $24.1 billion in 2021, a two-fold increase over pre-Covid levels, while $6 billion were raised via public markets with 11 startup IPOs.

The Indian tech startup base continues to witness steady growth, adding over 2250 startups in 2021, which is 600 more than 2020.

India, accounting for 70 unicorns, added a record number of new unicorns (42) in 2021 across 18 sectors, third-highest after the US and China, with a cumulative valuation of newly-added unicorns standing around $90 billion, according to the report.

Kovind also said that because of the government policies, the cost of internet connectivity and the price of smartphones in India today are among the cheapest in the world.

“This has hugely benefited our young generation. India is also working with great pace on 5G mobile connectivity, which will open doors to new opportunities,” he added.

“India’s efforts on semiconductors will significantly benefit our start-up ecosystem. The government has taken many policy decisions and opened up several new sectors so that our youth can benefit from rapidly changing technology,” the President noted.

Through the ‘Startups Intellectual Property Protection Programme’, he informed, the government has simplified and accelerated the processes related to patents and trademarks.

“As a result, nearly 6 thousand patents and more than 20 thousand trademarks have been applied for in this financial year,” said Kovind.

Afghan women demand govt jobs, representation

Dozens of Afghan women from all walks of live held a protest in Kabul demanding the Taliban to provide government jobs and equal representation in society, the media reported.

Some women who participated in Wednesday’s protest were former employees of the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission, who lost their jobs following the Taliban takeover last August, TOLO News reported.

One such participant, Ferozan Amiri, said: “We the women working in the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission, and the 28 percent active force of the government department, have suffered major damage with the fall of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban’s ruling on government departments on August 15, 2021.”

The protesters also released a resolution which comprised five points — allowing females to work; women’s meaningful inclusion in the government’s decision-making body about women’s affairs; formation of policies to support women’s rights; preservation of posts which were occupied by women; and the creation of a safe environment for women.

“Women are concerned over the fate of jobs in the (Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission). You know, this institution is neutral. Around 28 per cent of the civil service is filled by women,” TOLO News quoted another protester, Khujusta Ilham, as saying.

Meanwhile, Taliban officials have said that there has been no decision to exclude women from the government structure.

“The issue of women’s working activity in (government) departments is under discussion. After an assessment, if the women’s presence is needed in any department, they will be working in the same posts and the same departments,” said Bilal Karimi, a deputy spokesman for Taliban.

To consider the recognition of the current Afghan government, the international community requires the observation of human rights, women rights, and the formation of an inclusive government.

Students claim NEET exam not applicable for AYUSH courses, HC issues notice

A group of students on Monday approached the Delhi High Court claiming that AYUSH courses cannot come under National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) as the examination is restricted to Modern Scientific medicine and does not include traditional medicine courses.

Seeking the stand of the Centre and National Testing Agency in this regard, a division bench headed by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice on the plea filed by six AYUSH aspirants.

Further, the court said it will hear the matter on March 30 along with another plea filed by a group of Allopathic doctors who have moved the Court against allowing AYUSH practitioners to perform some surgeries. It also asked Centre’s counsel Monika Arora to furnish details of allopathic doctors’ plea.

During the course of the hearing, the court also remarked that there is a double standard in the plea. “On a lighter side, you on one hand are saying you are competitive. But when asked to appear in NEET, you are saying we are not,” the court said while listing both the matters for the next hearing.

In the AYUSH aspirants’ petition, it was contended that their courses operate differently and they are fundamentally different from Medical Institutions that grant degrees, diplomas, or licenses in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, or Homoeopathy medicines.

They also said that the common entrance test is not structured to take into account the eligibility criteria for admission to AYUSH courses.

Claiming that NEET for AYUSH courses is in violation of Article 14 which provides equality before the law or equal protection of the laws, the aspirants said they are not against the entrance test system but against NEET for taking admission to AYUSH courses–Ayurveda, Homoeopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Sowa Rigpa.

GATE admit cards not released, exams likely to be postponed

The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) admit cards, which were scheduled to be released on Friday, were postponed and the examination dates have been marked as tentative on the website, signalling that it can be delayed.

Earlier, GATE 2022 examinations were scheduled to be held on February 5, 6, 12 and 13, as per the official website.

According to a notice issued by IIT-Kharagpur, the above mentioned dates are said to be tentative, which means that the examination can be postponed in the light of the surge in coronavirus infections.

The admit cards for GATE 2022 were scheduled to be issued on January 4, which was later extended till January 7. Now, the site has put the admit card download on hold and no new date has been mentioned.

After qualifying the GATE examination, a candidate becomes eligible for recruitment in Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).

The recruitment process of PSUs consists of an interview or test. Some PSUs recruit directly on the basis of marks scored in GATE exams.

Applicants were given time till November 18 to correct erroneous application forms. The authorities had cancelled the examination in Panipat, Sonipat and Idukki cities. Aspirants who selected these cities for their examination centre were given time till November 15 to make corrections.

This year, two new papers — Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and Geometrics Engineering — have been added to the GATES exam, post which the total number of papers reached 29.
Candidates wishing to get admission to M. Tech, other PG courses or PSUs can do it by qualifying the GATE examination.

Delhi: 6 held for solving GMAT exam with Russian hackers’ help

Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSCO) unit of Delhi police has busted an online syndicate and arrested six people for solving the Graduate Management Admission Test examination (GMAT) with the help of Russian hackers, an official said on Wednesday.

GMAT has been the most widely used exam for MBA admissions. Reportedly, around 2,00,000 candidates worldwide take the GMAT exam each year.

According to the official, the members of the syndicate were able to get their clients a score of 780 out of the 800 maximum marks in the said examination. Deputy Commissioner of Police K.P.S. Malhotra told IANS that one of the arrested accused, identified as Raj Teotia from Haryana, was carrying a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh on his head. ”

He was also wanted in a case by the CBI,” he said. Notably, the involvement of Russian hackers has also been revealed during the investigation. “Russian hackers were used by the syndicate to get access to various examination portals,” added the official.

The accused downloaded the disguised remote access software, which was not detected by the safety measures and Proctor. “The accused Teotia was in touch with Russian hackers and also visited Russia in 2018 while Russian hackers stayed at his place during lockdown,” Malhotra said.

Sharing more startling details about the case, the official said the accused got a tool developed to remotely access the online examination system.

“They connived with lab owners, installed the tool through LAN and later on accessed the systems through remote access,” he said, adding the syndicate opened several online examination labs for this purpose.

The IFSO unit of Delhi Police functions under the Special Cell and is a specialised unit that handles all complex and sensitive cases of cyber crime.

Earlier also, on November 30, last year, the IFSO unit busted a racket helping people cheat in online competitive exams and arrested three persons, including the two masterminds from Ahmedabad in Gujarat, for allegedly running the operation.

Telangana expands IT to another tier-II town

As part of its policy to encourage information technology in tier II towns in Telangana, the state government on Friday launched work on IT Hub in Nalgonda.

Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao laid the foundation for the IT Hub, which will be constructed in three acres, with a built-up area of 75,000 square feet.

This state of the art facility will have all the advanced facilities in a plug and play manner.

Officials said nine companies have already signed MoUs with the state government to set up their offices in Nalgonda IT Hub and seven more companies showed keen interest in having their offices in the IT Hub.

The IT Minister said these companies will create jobs for 1,500 local youth. He said the building for the IT hub will be ready in 16-17 months.

He quoted the IT entrepreneurs that Covid-19 has come as a blessing in disguise as it has led to a situation where the work can be done not just from home but from anywhere.

He asked the District Collector and other officials to provide temporary facility to these companies so that they can set up their operations immediately.

KTR, as the minister is popularly known, said Nalgonda will be the six tier II town to have an IT Hub.

“We have already started IT hubs in Warangal, Khammam and Karimnagar. The IT hub in Nizamabad will be inaugurated by Ugadi while the same in Mahabubnagar will be inaugurated soon,” he said.

KTR recalled when the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) came to power in 2014, IT was confined to Hyderabad but Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao set the goal to take it beyond Hyderabad so that tier II towns also enjoy fruits of technology and the youth in these towns also get jobs.

He announced that the IT Hub in Nalgonda will also have a centre of Telangana Academy of Skills and Knowledge (TASK) to train educated youth in IT skills. The facility will also have a regional centre of T Hub to encourage innovations by local youth.

The minister claimed that Telangana was marching ahead on the path of development not just in agriculture and rural development but also in industry and information technology.

He said in a short span of seven years, Telangana witnessed rapid growth.

“Among 28 states in the country Telangana is at 11th place in terms of size and 12th place in terms of population but as per a recent report of the Reserve Bank of India, Telangana is the fourth largest contributor to the economy,” he said.

Fintech firm Slice plans to hire 800 people in 2022

Fintech company Slice on Tuesday announced that it is planning to hire close to 800 people across various posts in the operations, design, product, and engineering verticals in the coming year.

With the company being a market leader, it said it aims to further expand and ramp up hiring by at least 2x in 2022.

“At Slice, we are constantly looking for young talent, whether that are freshers just out of graduate school or experienced professionals who relate to our product and are equally enthusiastic about creating the future of payments,” Rajan Bajaj, Founder and CEO of Slice, said in a statement.

“We plan to hire close to 800 people by the end of next year with a special focus on building and growing our product, operations, design and engineering teams,” he added.

The company said that the new hires will focus on scaling the card product and upcoming UPI product integration.

At least 40 per cent of the new hires in 2022 will be onboarded into the firm’s engineering, product and operations teams.

“Millennials and Genz are strong problem-solvers with a steep learning curve,” Bajaj said.

“They are not afraid to challenge the status quo, making them the ideal fit for Slice, where we are on the cusp of revolutionising India’s credit and payments space,” he added.

War of Words in Tamil Nadu over scrapping of NEET

A war of words has erupted in Tamil Nadu over scrapping of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) with the ruling DMK and its allies expecting Governor R.N. Ravi to give assent to the bill passed by the state Assembly for scrapping the exam.

The Tamil Nadu government is expecting a favourable response from the Governor as it feels that the new bill is based on proper data that could be quantified as well as provision for reservation to Government school students for admission to Medical colleges.

DMK leader and state health minister Ma Subramanian, while speaking to IANS, said: “We had constituted a commission headed by Justice (rtd) A.K.Rajan of the Madras High Court, and the report by the commission is based on proper data as to why NEET is to be scrapped.”

However, the AIADMK is not impressed and former chief minister and Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly Edappady K. Palaniswami has questioned the wisdom of the state government in cancelling NEET which is a national level competitive examination.

In a statement on Monday, the former chief minister called upon the state government to conduct more coaching classes for NEET so that government school students of the state are also able to crack the examination by attending proper training classes.

In a related development, Puthiya Thamilagam founder leader and former MLA Dr K. Krishnaswamy has written a letter to the Governor requesting him not to give assent to the NEET exemption bill. He said that the general public, including students and parents, have welcomed the bill and only certain vested interests were against it.

PMK founder leader Dr S. Ramadoss has called upon the state government to immediately convene a meeting of all political parties to discuss the steps to be taken to get approval for the NEET exemption bill before the commencement of the next academic year.

NEET issue is turning into a major controversy in Tamil Nadu with the DMK getting flak from the opposition for not being able to implement one of its major electoral promises. AIADMK leader and former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, in a statement, said that the DMK knew fully well that NEET could not be scrapped and that it had used the subject as a political tactic to garner votes by misleading the public.

He also said that the people of the state have seen through the game plan of the DMK and the present government and the hollowness of the promises made by the ruling party.

Mohandas Pai invests in Monster.com as it raises Rs 137.5 cr

Online job platform Monster.com on Wednesday said that it has raised Rs 137.5 crore in a funding round led by Mohandas Pai of Meridian Investments and Akash Bhanshali of Volrado Venture Partners, with participation from Quess, its parent company.

The online talent platform said that the funds will be utilised towards enhanced investments on product development and marketing in India, SEA and Middle-East markets.

Post the funding, Monster.com is now valued at $100 million.

“The last year has been incredible for the company, achieving very healthy growth across all metrics. We have an exciting product and business road map in line with our view on how hiring will evolve in the next few years,” said Sekhar Garisa, CEO, Monster.com, APAC & ME.

In 2018, Quess Corp acquired Monster.com’s businesses in India, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, the UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

According to Pai, the next two years will see a huge increase in available jobs, thanks to high economic growth, and job seekers will find a high-quality platform to plan their careers.

“As employers also prepare for a new decade and an employee-first mindset, the platform will help them create a differentiated experience and build deeper relationships with their teams from day one,” Pai said.

Monster.com has over 60 million active users in India.

“Quess acquired Monster for an investment of Rs 145 crore and embarked on a ‘Digital First’ journey with the objective of creating long-term value for our shareholders and clients,” said Ajit Isaac, Executive Chairman, Quess.