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The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) has put in place an online process of applying for old documents. The board has completed digitisation of documents – since 1952 – of over 4 crore students of Class 10 and 12. An application for a document can be made through the GSHSEB website and the document will be posted within three days. With this facility available online, 50,000 students every year will be able to save their commuting time and costs. Candidates can receive duplicates of mark sheets and certificates of any year since 1952 while sitting at home. There is no additional fee, except for the postal charges. Over 4.19 crore old documents have been digitised; this involved the scanning of 40,69,455 pages.
‘The DailyLoo’ reviews Bengaluru’s public toilets: An Instagram page run by St. Joseph's College student Russell Yusuf gives information about the best toilets in Bengaluru. Called ‘The DailyLoo’, the page rates restrooms based on cleanliness, design, maintenance, and the availability of paper towels, toilet tissues and handwash. It also posts reviews from cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Pondicherry, etc., and may soon include public toilets too. Incidentally, The Daily Loo calls the commode the ‘throne’. (18-02-2020)
Pre-wedding parties may be allowed on Gujarat metro trains: Will Ahmedabad get a party plot on wheels? In order to raise funds, the Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation Limited (GMRCL) wants to allow people to organise birthdays and pre-wedding celebrations on metro trains in Ahmedabad. The idea, earlier floated in 2019 and withdrawn due to poor response, may be reintroduced after June 2020. People will be able to book metro trains to celebrate birthdays and pre-wedding parties after revenue hours. The metro rail in Ahmedabad presently operates only over a six km stretch of its proposed 40 km length. There is just one train and it conducts 16 daily trips between Vastral Gam and Apparel Park metro stations during the revenue hours – between 11 a.m. and 5.15 pm. On an average the metro carries only 500 passengers daily. GMRCL may charge Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 20,000 for 50 to 60 minutes of celebrations; it may allow no more than 300 people for each event. It will also provide decorations, musicians, tattoo artists, etc. (17-02-2020)
Indo-Canadian Business Chamber may open office in Vadodara: A Canadian delegation visited Vadodara recently to meet top business and industry leaders in order to strengthen trade relations with tier-2 Indian cities. Canada is keen on tapping the city’s potential in the education, IT and manufacturing sectors. Information and communications technology is one of the priority areas of the Canadian government, followed by the automotive sector, agriculture, clean technology, infrastructure, etc. A Canadian official said that the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber may even open a representative office in Vadodara. Bilateral trade between India and Canada is about $10 billion today and is projected to be $60 billion in five years. (17-02-2020)
Safari Park will be open from February 18: The Safari Park near the Statue of Unity in Kevadia will be opened to the public from February 18, on an experimental basis. The 375-acre park features 1,000 animals and birds of 62 species, including giraffes, zebras, impala, bison, lions, tigers and leopards. It has 16 enclosures for the animals. Tourists can either walk or travel in e-carts. Permission to operate the park has been given by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA). (17-02-2020)
Mr. Samir Sheth donates Rs. 25 crore to MSU: Mr. Samir Sheth of Plastichemix Industries has made a donation of Rs. 25 crore to the city’s MS University (MSU). The donation will help the university in construction of a multi-utility sports complex. The proposal has been approved by the university’s syndicate members and was facilitated by the Office of Alumni Affairs and Donor Relations (OAADR). Interestingly, Mr. Sheth is not an alumnus of MSU. He has lived in Vadodara for many years, and he wanted to give back something to the city – especially MSU. (16-02-2020)
Examinations for Class IX and XI will be between April 1 and 11: The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) has announced that the class IX and class XI examinations will be conducted between April 1 and April 11. This announcement follows the decision to prepone the academic session. Earlier, the examinations were scheduled between April 7 and April 18. The new academic session will begin from April 20 and the summer vacation will be from May 4 to June 7. As of now, schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) begin their academic year on April 1 while GSHSEB schools begin on June 1. However for the current academic year the new academic session will begin from April 20. (16-02-2020)
DGP proposes police commissionerate for Gandhinagar: Following a proposal made recently by Gujarat’s Director General of Police, Gandhinagar is likely to get a police commissionerate. If the state government approves Gandhinagar will become the fifth city in the state to get a commissionerate. The other cities with a police commissionerate are Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara. Jurisdiction of some police stations of Ahmedabad will get shifted to the Gandhinagar police commissionerate. Gandhinagar will also get four deputy commissioners of police. (16-02-2020)
Board schools will have common examinations: From the 2020-21 academic year all primary education in Gujarat will have a common examination process monitored by the state education department. Schools affiliated with Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) and Director, Primary Education will follow centralised assessment for sessional, annual and periodic exams – from grades 3 to 12 – to be conducted by GSHSEB and Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT). The objective is to benefit 1 crore students by improving the quality of education in all 55,000 government, grant-in-ad and self-financed schools affiliated to GSHSEB. The exam papers for main subjects in primary schools will be set by GCERT, and in the case of secondary and higher secondary it will be done by GSHSEB. All state affiliated schools will have to follow NCERT textbooks issued through the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks. The centralised assessment will help to track the progress of every student. (15-02-2020)
Gujarat's schools prepare for new academic calendar: The Gujarat state education board has aligned its academic schedule with that of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The new school academic calendar, changed from June-May to April-March, has been announced, but there is a fair amount of confusion regarding its implications and implementation. The education department has asked schools to start the new academic session from April 20 this year, and from the first week of April from 2020-21. Parents have had to cancel their vacation plans and travel bookings may be affected by at least 15% this summer. The printing of textbooks for Classes IX to XII is complete, and they will be distributed in March. Almost 70% of printing of textbooks for Classes VI to VIII is complete. The printing for Classes I to VIII will finish by mid-March. (15-02-2020)
Court stays intake at preschool in co-operative housing society: A chain of preschool facilities has a branch situated in a co-operative housing society in Ahmedabad, and the residents of the housing society took exception to the ‘commercial activity’ in a residential area. After several legal stages the Gujarat high court has now ordered the school not to grant new admissions to kids for 2020-21. This arrangement is to last till the board of nominees finally decides whether the school can be run in the society. There are many similar cases of residents of cooperative societies taking exception to use of houses or bungalows by the owners to earn from the rent. The societies have also objected to running of hostels or paying guest facilities in housing societies without permission from a majority of residents. (15-02-2020)
Over 600 prohibition cases registered daily in Gujarat: Did you know that an average of 612 prohibition cases are registered every day in Gujarat? Another interesting statistic is that about 50 bootleggers slip past the cops daily. Some more nuggets of information among the details submitted by the state government to the Gujarat high court:
... Between May 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019, 3,15,614 cases of prohibition were registered.
... In 25,891 cases the bootleggers could not be arrested.
... The police have initiated action against 47 police officials in 20 cases over the past 36 months. (14-02-2020)
Woman injured while getting down from a railway coach: Western Railway has been directed by a consumer court to pay Rs. 1.5 lakh to a 79-year-old woman who fell and injured herself while getting down from a railway coach on the Surat platform. The platform was under renovation and the height of the platform had been reduced. She approached the Surat district consumer dispute redressal forum saying that the railway authorities were negligent by not keeping a standard distance between the steps of the coach and the platform. When the court ruled in her favour the Western Railway took the matter to the Gujarat State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission and argued that the consumer forum does not have jurisdiction to entertain such a complaint and that there is a specific provision of the Railway Claims Tribunal to redress such grievances. However, while saying that more care was required to be taken by the woman, the commission felt that it would meet the ends of justice if the railways paid Rs. 1.5 lakh on lump sum basis to the complainant. (14-02-2020)
Three doctors caught practising allopathy without MBBS degree: The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has registered a complaint against three doctors who were practising allopathy in the city without getting a valid registration from the corporation. This was the result of a drive by AMC’s health department to check the qualifications of the doctors practising in the city. Two of the doctors had a degree of alternative medicine from Kolkata. The third doctor had an MDAM degree. Their clinics were sealed and the respective police stations will initiate action against them. (14-02-2020)
Convert your kitchen waste into organic manure: Organic composting machines convert kitchen and other organic waste into organic manure. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has installed such machines for public use at 27 locations in the city, including gardens and party plots run by the corporation. People living in the neighbourhood can use the machines, and also ask for the manure produced. AMC will provide organic composting machines at a cost of Rs. 5 lakh to housing societies that want to convert their waste to manure. Ahmedabad also has two waste-to-energy plants, India’s only sludge hygienization plant and India’s biggest construction waste processing plant. The organic composting machines had been given to AMC by a company under the corporate social responsibility scheme. (13-02-2020)
Move to issue learner’s licences at ITIs is successful: It has been three months since the 221 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and 29 government polytechnics in Gujarat were authorised to conduct online tests and issue learner’s driving licences. More than one lakh learner’s licences have already been issued. Over 49,000 failed the test, and 56,300 applications were rejected due to missing documents, pending fees, errors during the exam, etc. The system for obtaining a learner’s licence remains unchanged: register online for the test, pay the fees, appear for the online test. This facility was earlier available only at the district Regional Transport Offices (RTOs). For the 24 ITIs in city areas, the working hours are from 1.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. For the 197 taluka level ITIs, the working hours are from 3.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. (13-02-2020)
A 25-year-old man used his grandmother for begging: A 25-year-old man in Ahmedabad was recently booked by the city police for using his 70-year-old grandmother to beg. The man – an autorickshaw driver – took his mother to a busy street daily in the morning and left her there to beg through the day. He would then pick her up in the evening. He was cruelly and shamelessly living off her earnings. The police booked him under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, the first time that this law has been applied in the city. This law was initiated by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, to ensure more effective maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens. The old lady’s daughter is a widow who depends on her two sons to earn some income. (13-02-2020)
Errant drivers have not paid penalties worth Rs. 16 crore: Vadodara’s traffic offenders have to pay Rs 16.24 crore towards penalties to the city police department. Since the offenders are known to take their own time to pay up the penalties the police have now launched a major effort to recover the dues. Special penalty collection desks have been set up by the police at 15 locations in the city, and these desks have helped the cops to recover Rs. 2.5 lakh daily. Many errant drivers have as many as 15 e-challans pending against them and the police have asked the regional transport office (RTO) to suspend the driving licenses of such offenders. (12-02-2020)
Deaths continue due to manual scavenging in manholes: There were 16 deaths due to manual scavenging in sewers in Gujarat in 2019. In addition to the tragedies there is no mechanism for speedy payment of compensation. Gujarat’s figure was the third-highest in the country, after larger states like Uttar Pradesh (21 deaths) and Maharashtra (17 deaths). The total for 18 states was 110 manhole deaths in 2019. Manhole scavenging has been prohibited since 1993 after passing of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act. However, no one has been convicted under the act in Gujarat. Concerned by deaths during manual scavenging and manhole cleaning across the country, the Supreme Court had once observed that nowhere in the world are people sent to gas chambers to die. (12-02-2020)
Mega placement fair at MS University: A mega placement fair will be held on Thursday at the Maharaja Pratapsinh Gaekwad Parisar (Donor’s plaza ground) of MS University (MSU). The fair is an initiative of the Gujarat government’s Department of Higher and Technical Education and the Knowledge Consortium of Gujarat. MSU is the nodal agency for conducting the fair for the central zone having government colleges in the areas around Vadodara. Over 3,500 students from 10 colleges in and around Vadodara and those from within MSU are likely to participate. Over 115 companies with about 5,400 vacancies will be at the fair. There are both technical as well as non-technical vacancies – including engineering, science, life sciences, arts and commerce streams. Students from all the participating educational institutes can also register on the day of the fair itself. Students who are in the final year of graduation are also eligible to participate. (12-02-2020)
Sursagar rejuvenation will be completed this month: The Sursagar rejuvenation and beautification project of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) is likely to be completed this month. Sursagar may be ready by February 21 – in time for Maha Shivratri celebrations. Work on the pond will end on February 18. The lighting arrangements will also be demonstrated on that day. Some plantation work at the site will be taken up later. (11-02-2020)
School cricket tournament revived after five years: The Maharani Shantadevi Inter-School Cricket Tournament starts today after a gap of five years. The last time the tournament was played was in 2015. The tournament had been stopped as it was not getting enough dates in the cricket calendar. School cricket had been ignored for long and club cricket took more prominence. It is good that this tournament is being revived because it was the thriving school cricket culture in the city that had produced international cricketers like Anshuman Gaekwad, Kiran More, Nayan Mongia, Atul Bedade and other first-class players. A total of 16 school teams will participate in the tournament, and all the matches will be played as per one day rules. This tournament will now have a permanent place every year in the cricket calendar of the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA). (11-02-2020)
Restaurant charges for packing takeaway food: The Consumer Forum of Panchkula has directed a restaurant in Chandigarh to pay Rs. 2,500 each to two customers who had been charged Rs. 5 each for packing of takeaway food. In the first case a customer had ordered four takeaway dishes for dinner, and he was charged Rs. 5 as packing charges by the restaurant. Another customer faced a similar problem with the restaurant. The customers argued that food cannot be taken away without packing and such a charge was not mentioned in the menu. They said that this act amounts to an unfair trade practice. The court observed that the restaurant has no right to recover the expenses borne by it on the packing of the goods or putting the goods in a deliverable state. Charging Rs. 5 for packing of food is just like a shop charging for a carry bag. (11-02-2020)
Security arrangements reviewed for US president’s visit to Ahmedabad: Personnel of the United States Secret Service (USSS) and the Special Protection Group (SPG) of the Indian government are likely to visit Ahmedabad soon ahead of US President Donald Trump’s expected visit later this month. Specialists from both agencies will review the security preparations for the President’s visit. Mr. Trump may visit Gandhi Ashram and the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera. A team of bureaucrats has already reviewed the arrangements. Police officials from other districts and a team of the National Security Guard (NSG) will be on standby. This will be the first time that a serving US president will be visiting Gujarat. (10-02-2020)
Gujarat ranks 8th in justice delivery system capacity: According to the India Justice Report-2019 prepared by Tata Trusts, Gujarat ranks eighth among 18 large and mid-sized states in justice delivery system capacity. The ranking is based on the functioning of police, prisons, judiciary and legal aid. Gujarat ranks 12th in functioning of police, 9th in prisons, 7th in judiciary and 6th in legal aid. To strengthen the justice delivery system, Gujarat must fill up the vacancies of judges, resolve cases and recruit more women judges in subordinate courts. Also, the state must fill up the gaps in caste reservation in the police force, increase the share of women police personnel and fill up vacancies in prison staff. The state must also check the undertrial population and improve overall legal services. Undertrials in state prisons account for nearly two-thirds of total inmates, and this needs to be checked. Only 15 percent of subordinate judges are women, making Gujarat the third lowest among the eighteen states. Gujarat had the fifth highest backlog in subordinate courts. The state utilised less than 80 per cent of the funds given by NALSA (National Legal Services Authority) for legal aid activities, awareness and advice. From 7.2 per cent in 2017, women account for 11.5 per cent in the police force as on 2019. Among the 18 large and mid-level states, Maharashtra tops the list, followed by Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Haryana. The ranking is done by Tata Trusts in collaboration with the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and various other organisations. (10-02-2020)
Schools asked to celebrate ‘Matru Pitru Poojan Divas’ on February 14: Surat’s district education officer (DEO) has issued a circular to all schools to organise ‘Matru Pitru Poojan Divas’ by students on February 14. Possibly in a reference to Valentine’s Day the circular states: “In current times the youth is blindly following those practices which are against the glorious tradition of our country. To nurture best values from childhood and to protect our culture, Mother-Father Worship Day message should be given.” The schools have also been asked to send photos of the event in reply to the DEO. The letter also instructs schools on how to celebrate the day. The schools will have to call five to 10 parents belonging to different religions and castes. They will also have to invite members of Nagar Prathmik Shikshan Samiti, Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC), municipal councillors, educationalists and social workers to witness the event. A speech should also be delivered about the importance of parents in life. The circular did not mention why the worship is to be specifically organised on Valentine’s Day. The Director of the Centre for Social Studies said to a newspaper that it is not the role of the education department to get involved in such non-academic activities. (10-02-2020)
Number of seats in technical courses may be slashed in Gujarat: The Gujarat government has decided to reduce the number of seats in technical courses from 2020. Over the years there have been thousands of vacant engineering seats. In 2019 about 1 lakh seats had been empty in degree and diploma engineering courses. Perhaps 2,000 seats in degree engineering and 5,000 seats in diploma engineering courses may be slashed. This will also help to improve the student-teacher ratio for the purpose of National Board of Accreditation (NBA) affiliation. A government committee has suggested that career-oriented short-term courses should be started in both government and self-financed institutions. (09-02-2020)
Heritage walk to experience the culture of Alavi Bohra community: Heritage Trust, Vadodara, and the Alavi Bohra community will organise a heritage walk today to highlight the city’s Alavi Bohra heritage. The old Mohalla culture goes back almost 550 years. The Alavi Bohra community settled in Vadodara almost 550 years ago (the city was not yet named Vadodara, and the four gates were built much later). The Fakhri Masjid at Fakhri mohalla between Mandvi and Gendi gate dates back 400 years. Dr. Zulqarnain Bhaisaheb is documenting the community’s history. The heritage walk will begin from Badri Mohalla, Wadi, at 5.30 p.m. The walk will start from the Masjid at Badri mohalla and then the participants will visit three old houses which are almost 75 years old. The participants will also see how the Bohra topi is made. (09-02-2020)
Over 9,700 cases disposed of during Lok Adalat at Vadodara: Over 9,700 cases were disposed of by courts in Vadodara district on Saturday during the day-long National Lok Adalat. The Vadodara district court in the city and the courts in various talukas took up 20,203 cases for hearing – including pending civil and criminal cases like motor accident claims, matrimonial disputes, land acquisition cases, service benefit disputes, bank recovery suits, labour disputes, cheque bounce cases and electricity and water bill disputes. Of the cases finally disposed of, 301 were at pre-litigation stage and 9,435 were pending in different courts. Also, over Rs 60 crores was awarded as compensation or settlement money. It was clarified that the Lok Adalat is not a substitute for the present justice dispensation system, but rather a way to achieve speedy justice and a binding resolution. (09-02-2020)
Gujarat government will promote cinematic tourism: The Gujarat government is likely to announce a cinematic tourism policy to give assistance and financial incentives to shoot films and videos in the state. At present the state tourism department merely lays down some general guidelines but there are no specific financial or other incentives to attract film producers. The government’s objective is to attract more tourists through films, TV serials, web series, advertisements, documentaries, etc. Tourism department officials say that Gujarat has several excellent locations for shooting films, TV serials, web series, ad films and other audio-visual shooting. Also, the state has many beaches, heritage properties, mountains, deserts, rivers, modern buildings and other potential film locations. A single-window guidance and assistance service will be offered. (08-02-2020)
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