Author: Biz India

Nalsar Hyderabad’s Academic Revolution

By Prachi Shrivastava Nalsar Hyderabad’s newly appointed vice chancellor Prof. Faizan Mustafa plans to make  drastic changes to the undergraduate law degree syllabus and credit system, introduce new courses designed by practicing lawyers, and target alumni for faculty recruitment. Mustafa said that 20 out of the 50 courses of Nalsar’s five year LLB degree would become optional, as 17 new papers would be added to the current list of three elective courses. “I am going to give a huge choice to my students in terms of electives,” he said. In the present scheme, there are 47 compulsory papers out of a total of 50, despite the Bar Council of India (BCI) rules requiring only 30 compulsory papers, which Mustafa said was “not a healthy state of affairs”. “I feel a university which does not offer too many courses cannot truly be claiming to be a university in the real sense of the term.” The number of lecture hours allotted to every course would also change under the proposal. One credit would be awarded for every 16 hours of taking a course, and hours for each course would be re-allocated based on the number of credits required. “In the best universities of the world credit is given on the basis of the number of lectures which you take for the course,” said Mustafa, explaining that the new system envisaged a...

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U.P. CM Yadav Says He Will Supply 470,000 Tablets and Laptops to Students

Lucknow – Taking a step towards providing free laptops and tablets to students who have passed class X and XII, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has formed a committee to oversee their purchase and distribution to students, as implementation of his Samajwadi Party’s poll promise. The committee, headed by chief secretary Jawwed Usmani, would be entering into detailed negotiations with Information Technology (IT) major companies and try to “get the best deal” for the state. The high-powered committee, other than the chief secretary, would have nine principal secretaries, including those for Information, Finance, IT, Planning, Higher Education and Secondary Education. The committee would first be inviting proposals for the supply of some 470,000 tablets and laptops and would then hold discussions to scale down the prices, since the poll promise of the Samajwadi Party (SP) is likely to bear a price tag of Rs.4,555 crore (about $876 million). The number of class XII students in the state is pegged at 181,900 while the number of class X students is 281,400, for a total of 463,300 students qualified to receive them. The government, at the highest level, has already explored the possibility of procurement of laptops and tablets with IT major HCL whose chairman Shiv Nadar and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav have already held “preliminary parleys” on the matter, an official said. While the IT giant has expressed its...

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Most US Non-Immigrant Visa Fees Increased / All Immigrant Visa Fees Decreased

Effective April 13, 2012, the Department of State adjusted visa processing fees. The fees for most nonimmigrant visa applications and Border Crossing Cards increased, while all immigrant visa processing fees decreasde. Although most categories of nonimmigrant visa processing fees increased, the fee for E visas (treaty-traders and treaty-investors) and K visas (for fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens) decreased. Nonimmigrant Visa Processing Fees w.e.f. April 13 2012 Type of Visa New Fee Tourist, Business, Transit, Crew Member, Student, Exchange Visitor, and Journalist visas $160 Petition-Based visas (H, L, O, P, Q, and R) $190 Treaty Investor and Trader visas (E) $270 Fiancé(e) visas (K) $240 Border Crossing Cards (age 15 and older) $160 Border Crossing Cards (under age 15) $15 Immigrant Visa Processing Fees w.e.f. April 13 2012 Type of Visa New Fee Immediate Relative and Family Preference Applications $230 Employment-Based Applications $405 Other Immigrant Visa Applications $220 Diversity Visa Program Fee $330 Determining Returning Resident Status $275 Fee information may also be found on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, www.travel.state.gov, and on the websites of U.S. Embassies and...

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Indian Prime Minister Says Poor and Needy Should Be ‘Shielded’ From Rising Price of Oil, Citing Government’s $7.8 Billion Subsidy in 2010-11

BATHINDA (PUNJAB): Despite key Congress allies opposing deregulation of diesel prices, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressed on Saturday the need to ‘rationalize’ fuel prices as spiraling cost of international crude severely impacts India’s import bill. Inaugurating a nine-million ton a year refinery here, Singh said imports account for about 80% of India’s crude supplies and “we need to rationalize prices and at the same time ensure that the poor and needy are shielded from the effects of such rationalization.” Despite his caveat on protecting the vulnerable, Singh’s remarks point to likely increases in petrol and diesel prices if he does bite the bullet, despite the Nationalist Congress Party and the Trinamool Congress the “in principle” decision to deregulate diesel prices. The voluble allies have promised to protest the move with the  NCP planning rallies inDelhi and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee instructing party members of parliament (MPs) to voice the party’s opposition. Trinamool parliamentary party leader Sudip Bandhopadhyay has said the party will not support diesel price deregulation. Fuel subsidy accounted for 3.4% of government spending amounting to Rs 41,000 crore (US$7.8 billion) in 2010-11, and the forecast for international crude prices indicates costs will remain high. Under recoveries of oil companies amounted to Rs 138,406 crore (US$26.3 billion) in the financial year 2011-12. With the government straining to control the fiscal deficit, the pressure to increase fuel prices is...

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