Under fire for scrapping NET, education ministry says it took proactive action

News Network
June 20, 2024

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Amid the massive row surrounding the cancellation of the UGC-NET exam, the Education Ministry has said that the test was scrapped because its integrity may have been compromised and has emphasised that it won't hesitate to take action against anyone.

Govind Jaiswal, joint secretary in the Education Ministry, told the media that the exam, for which over 11 lakh students had registered, was cancelled on the basis of inputs received from the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre. The exam, which was held on Tuesday, was cancelled yesterday.

"The matter has been handed over to the CBI for a thorough investigation. A fresh examination shall be conducted, for which information will be shared soon," he said.

The ministry, he said, will not hesitate in taking action against those involved in wrongdoing. "At this level, when the investigation is underway, we can't disclose more details. NTA has its own mechanism and a lot of other stakeholders are involved. This all is under investigation," he said.

The exam was conducted by the National Testing Agency, which is under fire for alleged irregularities in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for admission to medical colleges. A total of 24 lakh aspirants took the exam. Reports of irregularities have now prompted nationwide protests and triggered demands for a re-test.

The government, he said, has taken proactive steps.

The ministry official also responded to questions on why the exam was conducted in OMR (pen and paper) mode this time -- a shift from the earlier practice. "Based on NTA's experience of four years, inputs were received from different stakeholders and this decision was taken."

UGC-NET is a test to determine a candidate's eligibility for the post of assistant professor in universities and colleges, and also for the award of research fellowships. The Education Ministry yesterday ordered that the exam -- held Tuesday -- be scrapped after inputs that its integrity may have been compromised.

The cancellation of the UGC-NET examination amid the ongoing protests against the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) has provided fresh ammunition to the Opposition parties to target the Narendra Modi government ahead of the Parliament session.

The Congress described the Narendra Modi-led NDA government as "paper leak government". Other members of the INDIA bloc, including Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) have also slammed the government over the two exams.

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News Network
July 15,2024

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar's petition challenging the CBI's FIR against him in a disproportionate assets case.

The bench, comprising Justices Bela M Trivedi and S C Sharma, stated it would not interfere with the Karnataka High Court's decision.

The case involves allegations by the CBI that Shivakumar accumulated assets disproportionate to his income from 2013 to 2018. 

The FIR was initially filed in September 2020, with an investigation mandated to be concluded within three months by the high court.

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News Network
July 12,2024

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Microsoft has reportedly closed the email accounts of Palestinians living abroad, cutting off their access to online services used to contact relatives in Gaza amid the ongoing genocidal Israeli war.

Some Palestinians told the BBC on Thursday that their email accounts were closed without any explanation.

They added that this closure prevented them from accessing bank accounts, job offers, and the Skype application used to communicate with family members in the besieged Gaza.

“They killed my life online," said Eiad Hametto, who lives in Saudi Arabia.

"They’ve suspended my email account that I’ve had for nearly 20 years - It was connected to all my work.”

Hametto also said being cut off from Skype was a huge blow for his family.

Microsoft alleged that the affected users had violated its terms of service, but the Palestinians rejected the claim.

“We are civilians with no political background who just wanted to check on our families,” Hametto stressed. 

Salah Elsadi, who lives in the US, said that his Microsoft Hotmail account and all associated services were deactivated in April.

"I've had this Hotmail for 15 years," he said. "They banned me for no reason, saying I have violated their terms - what terms? Tell me. I've filled out about 50 forms and called them many many times."

Another Palestinian Khalid Obaied said he had paid for a package to make phone calls, but he was banned after 10 days for no reason.

"That means it's only because I’m a Palestinian calling Gaza,” he added.

Israel unleashed its brutal Gaza onslaught on October 7 after Hamas carried out its historic operation against the occupying entity in retaliation for the regime’s intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the Tel Aviv regime has so far killed at least 38,345 Palestinians, mostly women and children, in Gaza, and injured 88,295 others.

The Israeli aggression has disrupted telecommunication services (landline, mobile, and internet) in the Gaza Strip. 

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News Network
July 8,2024

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A leading general medical journal has estimated that the death toll from Israel’s genocidal war on the Gaza Strip could be 186,000 or even more, translating to 7.9 percent of the population in the Palestinian territory.

In a report published on Friday, The Lancet said the figure includes both direct and indirect deaths from the Israeli onslaught and those still buried under the rubble in the besieged Gaza.

The journal added that it had applied a conservative estimate of four indirect deaths per one direct death reported by the Gaza Health Ministry.

“It is not implausible to estimate that up to 186,000 or even more deaths could be attributable to the current conflict in Gaza,” it said.

Israel unleashed its brutal Gaza offensive on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group carried out its historic operation against the occupying entity in retaliation for the regime’s intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the Tel Aviv regime has so far killed at least 38,514 Palestinians, mostly women and children, in Gaza. The ministry announces the death toll only after receiving the dead bodies. 

The figure provided by the ministry is “likely an underestimate,” The Lancet said. “The total death toll is expected to be large given the intensity of this conflict; destroyed health-care infrastructure; severe shortages of food, water, and shelter; the population’s inability to flee to safe places; and the loss of funding to UNRWA, one of the very few humanitarian organizations still active in the Gaza Strip.”

It also called for an immediate and urgent ceasefire in Gaza accompanied by measures to enable the distribution of medical supplies, food, clean water, and other resources for basic human needs.

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