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India leads in number of students opting for science, tech degrees

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Students engineering tech college

United Nations, May 16: India leads the world in the number of students getting bachelors degrees in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Of about 5 million students who received their bachelor’s degrees in 2012 in STEM subjects worldwide, 29.2 per cent were from India, UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2018 released on Tuesday said.

China came next with 26 per cent of the STEM graduates. The EU accounted for 9.5 per cent of STEM graduates that year and the US for 6 per cent, the report said.

The report used statistics from 2012 and said the total number of bachelors-equivalent degrees awarded that year was 20 million.

The wide gulf in the numbers of students graduating in STEM explains why the US relies on such a large number of foreigners, especially Indians, to fill its technology workforce needs.

“Many countries are witnessing skills shortages in the fields of digital technologies and many employers report difficulties in filling high-skill vacancies,” UNCTAD said, citing a 2016 worldwide survey by ManpowerGroup on talent shortage that found that 40 per cent of employers reported difficulties in filling positions.

According to India’s University Grants Commission, 10.7 million students were studying science, engineering/technology or computer science in 2016-17, although it did not give a breakdown between undergraduate and postgraduate levels or by year of study.

They made up 36 per cent of those studying in universities and colleges, UGC statistics showed.

Looking to the future, UNCTAD cautioned that “there were indications that educational institutions were not keeping pace with technological advances during the current transition period”.

It urged educational institutions to “react with agility” to the rapid pace of technology and the labour market changes and said this may require “significant transformations” in the education and training systems.

With the widespread use of artificial intelligence and robots looming on the horizon, the report said that “rapid technological progress required the labour force to develop a broader range of skills, focusing on humans’ comparative advantage, to increase employability”.

UNCTAD called for broadbasing education and said: “In the new technological landscape, there is a need for generic, core or fundamental skills such as literacy, numeracy and academic skills, together with basic financial and entrepreneurial skills and increasingly, basic digital and even coding skills.”

IANS

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MeToo being blown out of proportion: Shatrughan Sinha

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Shatrughan Sinha (File Photo)

Mumbai, Oct 18: Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha says while the MeToo movement is noble, it is becoming “free-for-all” and being blown out of proportion.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. Your dear friend Subhash Ghai stands accused of multiple sexual offences. Your comments?

A. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? I am all for the MeToo movement, never in my 40-year career have I misbehaved with any woman. I treat every lady with utmost respect. Having said that, I think this MeToo campaign is being blown out of all proportion.

Q. In what way?

A. While the cause was definitely noble and praiseworthy, it has now become a free-for-all. Anyone can name and shame anyone. Reputations and jobs are being lost through a trial by media. To all the women who are aggrieved I say, please go to court and make sure the wrongdoers are punished.

Q. You’ve done some terrific films with Subhash Ghai. Would you work with him in future?

A. Why not? If he is proven innocent, why not? Even if he is proven guilty, and he serves the punishment given to him, I’d work with him. Sanjay Dutt served his jail sentence and is back working in our large-hearted film industry. In fact, we had no problem working with him even when he was an accused in a serious case.

Q. Many of the top stars and directors have vowed not to work with sexual offenders?

A. This hypocrisy I can’t understand. They have no problem working with Sanjay Dutt who has been convicted. But they want to blacklist people whose guilt is yet to be proven. Just to look like heroes of the MeToo movement.

Q. A-list actors have dissociated themselves from tainted directors?

A. I don’t want to name anyone. But I will say this. Sau choohe khaa kar billi haj ko chali’. Those seeking to perch themselves on a high moral ground, should look into their conscience. The problem of sexual exploitation, doesn’t end with some names being put out in the social media. This is just the beginning. The problem runs much deeper.

Q. Your tainted party colleague M.J. Akbar refuses to step down. What is your take on his brazen attitude?

A. I don’t even know which political party I belong to anymore! Having said that, M.J. Akbar is a friend. And a wise one. I know him from the time he revolutionised journalism in this country. He knows what he is doing, and why. I believe he has employed 97 lawyers to defend him against charges (of sexual harassment). He should have employed three more lawyers… It would have been a century… Seriously, how can he afford such a massive legal fleet? I can’t afford it if I ever need it.

IANS

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Attack on Judge’s Family: Gunman sent to 14 days judicial custody

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GUNSHOT

New Delhi, Oct 18: Gunman Mahipal who shot at the wife and son of additional sessions judge in Gurugram has been sent to 14 days judicial custody on Thursday. 

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Dussehra 2018: Ever wondered why Ravan had 10 heads? Here’s some unknown facts about Dashanan

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Dussehra

New Delhi, Oct 18: Dussehra also known as Vijayadashami is celebrated on the 10th day of Navratri. The festival is celebrated to commemorate Lord Rama’s victory over demon Ravana.

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Effigies of the latter are burnt as a symbol of the victory of good over evil across the country.

Ravana-Burning

This year Dussehra will be celebrated on Friday, 19th of October.

So as you gear up for Vijaya Dashmi, we bring you some intriguing facts about Dashanan, who indeed was one of the most interesting characters of Ramayana. Read on!

1. Ravan was Brahma’s great grandson

Ravan was son of famous rishi Visravas, who himself was son of Brahma’s ten ‘mind-born’ sons Prajapati Pulastya.

2. Most prosperous Lanka king ever

No, Ravan was not a cruel king as is usually believed. Yes, he took over Sri Lanka by force from his step brother Kuber, but went on to become Lanka’s most influential king ever.

3. Worshipped at several places in India and Sri Lanka

While we burn the effigy of Ravan on Dussehra, he is also worshipped at several places not just in Lanka, but India as well. In Andhra Pradesh’s Kakinada, a huge shivalanga supposedly installed by Ravana is worshipped along with the demon-king. There are many other temples in the country as well where people worship him.

4. Ravan did not have 10 heads

Yes, this is true! Some versions of the Ramayan say that Ravan did not in fact have ten heads, but it appeared so because his mother gave him a necklace of nine pearls that caused an optical illusion for any observer.

In another version, it is said that to please Shiva, Ravan axed his head off. But, somehow, the head would always grow back. This went on for a total of 10 times, which eventually pleased Shiva. Shiva granted Ravan the 10 heads that he sacrificed. These 10 heads indicated the 4 Shastras and 6 Vedas that Ravan had mastered.

5. An excellent Veena player

Lankesha is said to have a keen interest in music and was an extra-ordinary Veena player.

6. As he lay dying, Ravan imparted valuable knowledge to Lakshman

Since Ravan was one of the most learned scholars to have ever lived, Ram asked his brother Lakshman to sit beside the dying demon-king and learn from him important lessons in statecraft and diplomacy.

7. Ravan performed a yagya for Ram

Yes you heard it right! In one of the many versions of the Ramayana, it is said that once Ram’s army had created the bridge to Lanka, they needed to get Shiva’s blessing for which they set up a yagya. But a revered devotee and the biggest bhakt of Lord Shiva in the entire region was Ravan, and since he was half-brahman, he was also the best qualified to perform the yagya. Displaying honour, Ravan actually showed up, performed the yagya and gave Ram his blessing.

8. Ravan was shamed by his own wife, which eventually led to his downfall

When Ram’s army was slowly defeating Ravan’s, and he was the only one left alive, Ravan decided to perform a powerful yagya to turn the tide. But it required him to stay put and not leave his spot. Seeing this, Ram sent Angad, Bali’s son and his vaanar sena to disrupt the yagya. After they failed to do so, Angad dragged Ravan’s wife Mandodari. Ravan still didn’t move. Then she screamed at him and shamed him by telling how Ram was fighting a war to get his wife back while Ravan wasn’t moving from his spot to save his wife. Ravan finally moved, leaving his yagya incomplete.

9. Ravan was so powerful, he controlled sunrise

During the birth of his son Meghnad, Ravan ‘instructed’ the planets to stay in the 11th house of the child, which would grant him immortality. Saturn, or Shani, refused to do so and stood in the 12th house instead. It irked Ravan so much, it is said that he attacked Shani Dev with his mace and even imprisoned him.

10. Ravan was well-aware of his impending doom

Most powerful Asuras (demons) knew that they were sent to earth to perform a particular role. Ravan knew that it was his fate to die by the hands of an avatar of Vishnu, something that would help him attain moksha and give up his demon form.

Ravan played his role as a villain, but he was more than just a villain, that brought balance to the equation. No wonder there are many people in the world, who still worship him as they don`t regard Ravan as a negative figure.

Here’s wishing you all a very ”Happy Dussehra” !!

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