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Rail academy to award MBA degree to railway officers
Business Standard, 16 August 2016

In a step towards setting up the country's first Railway university, an MoU will be signed tomorrow between National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) here and Maharaja Sayajirao University to award MBA degrees to rail employees in various fields like accounts and personnel.

NAIR, the apex training institute for imparting training to railway officers, has been selected for upgradation as a full-fledged Railway University as part of efforts to enhance the skills of railway officers.

It is envisioned that Railway University, when set up, would act as an affiliating University. Five other premier Central Training Institutes of the Railways at Pune, Nasik, Jamalpur, Secunderabad and Lucknow, which train officers of various specific disciplines in the Railways, would be affiliated as constituent colleges.

As a measure of enhancing professional management education in the railway field to the Probationary Officers, it was decided that NAIR shall tie-up with Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara for awarding MBA degree in specific Railway fields to Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS), Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS) and Indian Railway Store Service (IRSS) officers, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

The MoU will be signed by Union Minister Suresh Prabhu and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani here. This was ratified earlier by the academic council and Senate of MS University.

Railway probationary officers who are currently trained at NAIR, will study and obtain MBA degree from the University with specialisation in respective fields such as Finance, Human Resource Management, Production and Operations Management and Marketing Management.

The tie-up also enables MS University to select students at their end for MBA along with Railway officers. These students will also be awarded MBA degree in respective disciplines.

He said this will also serve the requirements of railway-related infrastructural construction contractors, suppliers, Metros and Port Railways.

They can also seek employment in Railways, by appearing in exam conducted by UPSC, he said.

The programme starts with the first batch of IRSS joining NAIR in August 2016.

Other initiatives for railway related education and research as a railway budget initiative, four Centres of Railway Research (CRR) were to be set up in premier educational institutions of India.Memorandum of Understandings have since been signed between Ministry of Railways and University of Mumbai on April 18, 2015, IITs Kanpur, Madras and Roorkee on December 22, 2015. One Centre for Railway Research is also in existence at IIT Kharagpur.

The areas of research are also earmarked for these different CRRs based on the core competencies of the different institutes. It is expected that these Centres for Railway Research would contribute immensely towards providing solutions for utilisation of Railways assets in a more cost-effective manner and its various processes towards complete customer satisfaction.

To expand the areas of research further, Indian Railways have also set up the Malviya Chair at IIT BHU, Varanasi for development of proper materials for use by Indian Railways and a 'Chair on Sustainable Mobility' has also been set up at TERI University, New Delhi.

The assigned areas of the CRRs include civil infrastructure of high speed rail, bridges and structures, track management system, environmental engineering, and rail wheel dynamics at IIT Roorkee.

Geo-tech engineering, advanced fuel efficient systems, fire safety management, advanced electronics, high speed rolling stock design, advanced signalling and fog vision at IIT Kanpur are among other assigned areas of the CRRs.

IIT Madras will have structural health monitoring of railway infrastructure, intelligent transportation, computer vision and imaging, reliability engineering and energy management.

RDSO, the research arm of the Indian Railways is coordinating with all the CRRs and chairs.

Centre for Railway Research, Mumbai University shall carry out research related to heavy haul technology, high-speed technologies, energy efficient traction power supply systems and track research.

The CRR will in due course also offer degree programme, post graduate programmes and PhD programme in research areas related to Railways and will also involve students in research projects and offer course electives related to Railway technology.

Mumbai University's academic council has recently approved a undergraduate course in Railway Engineering for the current academic year at the Railway Research Centre at their Ratnagiri sub-campus.

To prevent recurrent monsoon flooding that brings India’s metro cities to a halt, adopt the watershed approach
Times of India , 4 August 2016

The horror of Chennai floods was still fresh in the mind when severe flooding crippled the millennium city of Gurugram and struck Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Rain for only two hours paralysed life in glittering Gurugram, with knee-deep waterlogging forcing authorities to shut down schools and offices declaring a holiday. It is a reality of unsustainable urban development that population growth and visionless race for infrastructure is disturbing the natural equilibrium and worsening quality of life for urban residents.

Master plans have failed in our country because they are rigid, obsolete and unable to cope with the pace of growth of Indian cities. Traditionally, colonies and residential areas have been the unit of micro-level planning within city limits. Planning has focussed on providing civic amenities like water supply, electricity, road connectivity and sewage facilities to residents of an area. In cities like Gurugram, the focus of water supply schemes has been to lay down pipelines, import water from outside city limits and supply it to residents.

While this is a convenient approach to solve water scarcity within the city, it increases dependence on natural resources outside the city or state jurisdiction and increases vulnerability by limiting the scope of management only to supply and not to availability of water.

Moreover, the approach of laying sewage lines to expand coverage only, disturbs the natural drainage patterns of a city and increases the incidence of waterlogging. Lack of a regional planning approach has led to haphazard proliferation of slums and other urban problems.

A watershed is a geo-hydrological unit comprising all land and water within the confines of a drainage divide. Firojpur Jhirka-Delhi ridge forms the western boundary and Delhi ridge forms the eastern boundary of such a watershed. These hills are the northern continuation of the Aravalli hills. The natural drainage pattern of the city comprises large depressions and streams, tending to converge inland instead of flowing into Yamuna. A delineation of watersheds in Gurugram district, indicate the distribution of Gurugram urban into six micro-watersheds, five of which flow northwards to Delhi. Delhi-Jaipur expressway crosses these micro-watersheds almost in the middle, and blocks the natural drainage pattern from south to north.

Adopting a watershed approach to micro-level planning in a city reduces its dependence on imported natural resources like water from outside the city limits, and also mitigates the risks of extreme weather events. While increasing the potential for water conservation options like rainwater harvesting and aquifer recharge, it is useful in efficient drainage and storm water management.

It is more important to incorporate the watershed approach within city development plans itself, especially in siting of residential colonies and other facilities. This will increase the availability of water for residential areas while reducing energy consumption in transporting water to upstream locations. It will also lead to reduction in financial expenditure for laying the pipelines.

While it is not possible to relocate the existing infrastructure of cities like Gurugram, municipal authorities should reassess the drainage network especially along the roads and highways in the context of natural drainage pattern within the micro-watershed. Locality-wise sink hole/ depressions need to be identified, and lift systems should be installed at these places for transferring water. NDMA through its guidelines for management of urban flooding, published in 2010, also recognises the significance of this approach. However, it hasn’t found salience in urban development discussions among authorities.

As climate change is reality now heavy precipitation events are likely to increase. This requires city authorities to adopt an integrated watershed based approach for better adaptation of their population.

The watershed approach is being adopted across the cities of the world. The City Concept Plan of Singapore had the provision of satellite towns development around the central water catchment area. Louisville-Jefferson county in the US have stormwater master management plans. In India this approach has been applied to village level development planning. But cities too need this approach, if they are to be ‘smart’.

Shresth Tayal and Swati Singh, The writers are researchers at TERI University

Afghan refugee narrates her story on World Refugee Day
Business Standard, 22 June 2016

New Delhi, June 22 (ANI): World Refugee Day wasobserved in New Delhi recently to recognize and applaud the contribution of forcibly displaced people around the world.

On the occasion, an Afghan migrant narrated her journey from war-torn Afghanistan to New Delhi.

The event was organized by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and TERI University and brought together refugees from countries like Afghanistan, Myanmar and Eritrea.

Salma, the Afghan refugee, who now teaches yoga in New Delhi, told ANI, "I had organized a fashion show for girls in 2013 in Afghanistan and got lot of criticism from the Afghan government for adopting western culture which is against Islamic culture. As the Government did not support me, I left my country and migrated to India in 2013."

As per UNHCR data, there are 21.3 million refugees worldwide and 40.8 million are internally displaced.

"On 20th of June, the United Nations celebrated the World Refugee Day. It is the day when we celebrate the courage, resilience of the refugees those who were forced to leave their countries that's why we have organized a panel discussion today to create empathy about refugees who are in India," said Suchita Mehta, a coordinator.

The UNHCR says that there are around 14,000 Afghan refugees in New Delhi.

"I think there is couple of areas particularly where academic institutions can get involved with the refugee agenda one is that there is not enough awareness what we called the recipient societies on refugees and we tend to look upon them as somebody who is a kind of impinging on our society, competing with the resources that are available not necessarily integrating in our culture and so on. We do not tend to focus on the challenges and the background they are coming from what is the value that they bring to our society and how do they help us as Indian citizens integrate into the world better by allowing this multi cultural understanding to develop in society," said Dr. Leena Srivastava, Vice Chancellor, TERI University.

World Refugee Day is celebrated on June 21 every year.


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Date News Title Source
22 June 2016 Hope Collective - An eCommerce Platform for Mercha... Business World Disrupt
19 May 2016 Making sustainability a part of your career... BusinessLine on Campus(BLoC)
17 May 2016 TERI University Conducts Workshop on PhD Research ... This week Delhi.com
16 May 2016 Sustainability... The Times of India ( Education Times )
25 April 2016 Green Session ... The Times of India (Education Times)

Malnutrition and Its Linkage to Sustainable Development
ThinK to Sustain, 10 February 2012

Nida Yamin, a student at TERI University, explores the long-prevalent issue of malnutrition in India and its effects on growth and development of the country as a whole, and suggests how community-based programs can improve the situation and lead to national nutrition security.   

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