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Global rankings of Indian institutions need to be improved: President

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Ranchi: “There is a need to improve international rankings of Indian institutions of higher education,” said President Pranab Mukherjee.

“In the last three and half years, I have visited more than 100 institutions and there was no lack of merit on the part of our higher learning institutions. They, however, need to promote themselves better. Noble laureates like Hargobind Khurana and V Ramakrishnan completed their studies in Indian universities,” Mukherjee said at Vinoba Bhave University in Hazaribagh.

He lauded the efforts of two Indian institutions that have broken into the top 200 for the first time and said he was confident that many more would join these institutions soon.

The President — who is an a two-day visit to the state — said Vinoba Bhave University now had 24 post-graduate departments, 22 constituent colleges and 91 affiliated colleges that offer teaching and research programmes in humanities, science, commerce, management, computer application, engineering, law, education and medicine.

Having completed two and a half decades, Vinoba Bhave University is quickly proceeding towards realising its vision of becoming a modern 21st-century institution and centre of excellence, he said.

Mukherjee said universities cannot work in isolation, and should contribute to the betterment of society.

He said India was well known for education and research in the past.

There was a time when India played a leading role as a centre of higher education. Renowned seats of learning like Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri enabled India to lead the world for almost 1,800 years, he said.

On the occasion, former union finance and external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha, who earlier represented Hazaribagh in the Lok Sabha, was conferred with D Litt (Honoris Causa) degree.(IANS)

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President Pranab Mukherjee lauds Mamata Banerjee for good work in Health and Education sectors

Mamata Banerjee
Bring Software Industries to West Bengal, says CM Mamata Banerjee to Bengali Diaspora. Wikimedia

Kolkata, May 20, 2017: President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday lavished praise on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, lauding her government’s competence especially in the education and health sectors.

“She is doing lot of work, in education, in health. I have been a part of the state politics for 50 years. After becoming President, I have come to the state so many times,” the President said at a programme here.

“… From my personal experience I can say her government is working competently. I bless her as an elder. She is much younger to me,” he added.

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Then, turning to Banerjee, who was present on the dias, he said: “You go ahead, God will help you”.

Mukherjee, who was speaking at the inauguration of the Indian Institute of Liver and Digestive Sciences — Eastern India’s first full-fledged healthcare institute dedicated to liver diseases — also commended Banerjee for taking immediate action after she received complaints that medical treatment was being “sold at an exorbitant cost”.

Banerjee had in February met private hospital authorities and pulled up many of them for “unethical” money-making practices and followed it up by passing the stringent West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Bill, 2017 that led to the formation of a regulatory commission to monitor the activities of private healthcare providers.

“After receiving complaint that instead of service, treatment was being sold at an exorbitant cost, she has taken immediate action.

“She has spoken to doctors, talked to the departments concerned, and individual and organisations who are involved in the matter. And she has found out a way through discussions,” Mukherjee said. (IANS)

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Indira Gandhi still “most acceptable ruler” of India for her Decisiveness and Fearlessness: President Pranab Mukherjee

Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, with daughter Indira Gandhi, Wikimedia

New Delhi, May 13, 2017: President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said Indira Gandhi was still the “most acceptable ruler” of the country and hailed the late Prime Minister for her decisiveness and fearlessness.

“To the people of India, she is the most acceptable ruler of a democratic country, even today,” Mukherjee said at the launch of the book “India’s Indira – A Centennial Tribute” during her birth centenary year.

He said that Indira Gandhi’s short period in political wilderness revealed her true strength.

“She remained undaunted in the face of attacks and criticism. She never lost courage. If the Congress party came back into power within a short period of three years, it was because of Gandhi’s hard work and determined action,” said Mukherjee at the event attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi among others.

“When Congress was defeated in 1977, when I met her, the first thing she told me was ‘Pranab, don’t get unnerved by the defeat. This is the time to act. And she acted,” he said.

The President, who had served as a minister in her cabinet, said that she had “waged a relentless war against communal and sectarian violence, throughout her life” while successfully rising above “divisive identities of caste, community, religion and creed and established a direct connect with people”.

“It was this unhindered rapport that made her acceptable from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Mizoram to Dwarka. She had only one identity – that of an Indian,” said the President.

He said that Indira Gandhi’s life was infused with a tremendous passion for India and its people, and hailed her contributions towards the progress and development of India.

About Indira Gandhi’s decisiveness, Mukherjee referred to several of her bold decisions including the Operation Blue Star the 1984 military operation to remove Sikh militants from the Golden Temple in Punjab.

“Sometimes history demands some action which may not prove correct later on, but perhaps is most relevant at that time,” he said.

“Fearlessness in action and boldness in decision making was the unique hallmark of her character,” said Mukherjee who was presented the first copy of the book edited by senior Congress leader Anand Sharma. “It was in Indiraji’s time that India became the third largest reservoir of skilled scientific and technical manpower, the fifth military power, the sixth member of the nuclear club, the seventh in the race for space and the tenth industrial power,” he said.Gandhi was Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977 and then from 1980 to 1984 when she was assassinated. (IANS)

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President Pranab Mukherjee to honour Freedom Fighters to mark Champaran Satyagraha’s 100th year

Nari Shakti Awards
President Pranab Mukherjee, Wikimedia

Patna, April 16, 2017: Hundreds of freedom fighters from across the country started arriving here on Sunday to be honoured by President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday to mark the ongoing year-long centenary celebrations of the Champaran Satyagraha, officials said.

“Hundreds of freedom fighters from different states have started arriving in Patna to be honoured by President Pranab Mukherjee on April 17 at the felicitation ceremony as part of centenary celebrations of Mahatama Gandhi’s Champaran satyagraha,” Vinodanand Jha, an official of the state education department, said.

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Jha said that while some freedom fighters have arrived here on Saturday, others will arrive on Sunday. “Most of the freedom fighters would reach here by Sunday night.”

According to Jha, freedom fighters from 19 states — including Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi — would be honoured by the President.

In all, 2,972 freedom fighters from across the country, including Bihar, would be honoured. “As per the plan, 264 freedom fighters from 19 states and 554 selected of 2,708 freedom fighters of Bihar will be honoured by the President,” Jha said.

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The year-long celebrations to mark the 100th year of Mahatma Gandhi’s first major resistance against British rule, popularly known as the Champaran Satyagraha, began last week in Bihar.

Mahatma Gandhi launched his Satyagraha — a non-violent agitation — against the forced cultivation of indigo by the British rulers in Champaran district in Bihar on April 10, 1917. (IANS)