CBI books 4 former CBSE officers in illegal recruitment scam

Agencies
September 26, 2020

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New Delhi, Sept 26: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday said that it has filed a case against then Joint Secretary, two Assistant Secretaries, and one more official of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on charges of alleged irregularities in recruitment.

CBI officials said that the case was registered against four former officers of CBSE on charges of misusing their official position, circumventing reservation provisions, and using forged and fake documents to get jobs in the CBSE. One of the accused is also charged with paying a consultant Rs 26.92 lakh for which no contract document could be located.

The CBI named S.P. Rana, a Joint Secretary, who retired while on suspension, dismissed Assistant Secretary Babita Rani, Assistant Secretary Shikha Tomar and Assistant Programmer Ruchin Tomar in the case.

According to the FIR, Rana is accused of appointing Rani and Shikha Tomar, who belong to the Jat community, between 2012 and 2014 under the OBC quota though the community was not eligible for reservation at that time.

The FIR alleged that Rana facilitated the selection of Shikha Tomar, the daughter-in-law of his brother, as Assistant Secretary on the basis of a fake and invalid experience certificate.

The FIR also charges Rana with allowing overpayment of Rs 26.92 lakh to KPMG for its outsourced services for processing of an application for affiliation and upgradation of schools.

"During enquiry, the CBSE was not able to provide the original file for the payments," it said.

The case was registered after a preliminary inquiry by the CBI revealed that Rana made repeated recommendations for Rani's appointment in 2012. "Rani was selected under the OBC category despite the fact that she was not a bonafide OBC candidate," the FIR said adding that the government had included the 'Jat' community in the OBC list only in March 2014.

"At the time of the interview, Rana was holding the charge of Joint Secretary (Administration and Legal), CBSE under whose supervision, the selection was made. Rana further facilitated Rani by approving the request made by her for not verifying her credentials i.e. caste certificate, experience certificate, etc," the FIR said.

Rani was dismissed from service on January 31 this year.

The CBI FIR also alleged that Shikha Tomar was appointed as Assistant Secretary in 2013 on the basis of a fake experience certificate issued from Ozark Global Information Services (OGIS), whose Director Atul Goel said that she never worked with the organisation and the certificate issued to her is a forged one.

A charge sheet dated November 12, 2018 for major penalty proceedings has been issued by the CBSE but she has not joined duty for long and not responding to the CBSE's correspondence.

Meanwhile, Ruchin Tomar is accused of producing a forged and fake degree certificate and mark sheets of Bachelor of Engineering in 2014 to land a job in the CBSE. He was also terminated from the job after he did not provide the original mark sheets.

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News Network
October 12,2020

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New Delhi, Oct 12: Actor-turned-politician Khushbu Sundar was dropped from the position of Congress national spokesperson by the party on Monday and is scheduled join to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in New Delhi.

The Congress through a release dropped the Tamil Nadu leader from the post of AICC Spokesperson today "with immediate effect."

Sundar, along with former Indian Revenue Services (IRS) Officer Saravana Kumar, who had taken voluntary retirement, will join the BJP at around 12:30 pm at an event in party headquarters in the national capital.

Sundar's crossover is taking place at a time when BJP is trying to expand its footprint in Tamil Nadu.

The Legislative Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu are scheduled to take place next year. BJP's ally All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has already announced Edappadi K Palaniswami will be its chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming polls.

However, BJP leaders from the State have said that they want to have a bigger say, courtesy it being a national-level party.

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Agencies
October 12,2020

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New Delhi, Oct 12: The prolonged closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic in India may cause a loss of over USD 400 billion in the country's future earnings, besides substantial learning losses, according to a World Bank report.

South Asia region stands to lose USD 622 billion from the school closures in the present scenario or up to USD 880 billion in a more pessimistic scenario, it said, adding while the regional loss is largely driven by India, all countries will lose substantial shares of their GDP.

The report titled "Beaten or Broken? Informality and COVID-19 in South Asia" claims that South Asia is set to plunge into its worst-ever recession in 2020 as the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on the region's economies linger.

"Temporary school closures in all South Asian countries have had major implications for students. They have kept 391 million students out of school in primary and secondary education, further complicating efforts to resolve the learning crisis, said the report.

While most governments have made enormous efforts to mitigate the impact of school closures, it has been difficult to engage children through remote learning initiatives," it said.

The report also noted that the pandemic may cause up to 5.5 million students to drop out from the education system and cause substantial learning losses, which will have a lifetime impact on the productivity of a generation of students.

"Most school systems closed in March, and -- though there are important exceptions -- countries are starting to reopen or have already opened their schools. Children have been out of school for approximately 5 months. Being out of school for that long means that children not only stop learning new things, they also forget some of what they have learned.

"The projected learning loss for the region is 0.5 years of learning-adjusted years of schooling (LAYS), falling from 6.5 LAYS to 6.0 LAYS, an enormous setback from recent advances in schooling," it said.

The Learning Adjusted Year of Schooling' (LAYS) concept, introduced by the World Bank, seeks to combine access and learning outcomes into a single measure.

It combines quantity (years of schooling) and quality (how much kids know at a given grade level) into a single summary measure of human capital in a society.

The report has projected that based on country data on household labor incomes, the average child in South Asia may lose USD 4,400 in lifetime earnings once having entered the labour market, equivalent to 5 percent of total earnings.

"These projections are based on what we currently know about returns to schooling, using the reduced level of learning caused by the crisis. Summing these numbers for all children in South Asia, the region stands to lose USD 622 billion from the school closures in the present scenario, or up to USD 880 billion in a more pessimistic scenario.

"While the regional loss is largely driven by India, all countries will lose substantial shares of their GDP. For reference, note that South Asian governments spend only USD 400 billion per year in total on primary and secondary education. The total loss in economic output from the current closures is hence substantially higher than what countries currently spend on education," it said.

The novel corona virus has infected over 3.7 crore people across the globe claiming over 10.5 lakh lives.

India's COVID-19 caseload stands at 71.2 lakhs while the death toll is 1.09 lakh as on Monday.

Universities and schools across the country were ordered shut on March 16 to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. On March 25, the Centre announced a nationwide lockdown. While several restrictions have been eased gradually in different phases of the 'unlock' since June 8, educational institutions continue to remain closed.

However, according to the latest unlock guidelines, schools, colleges and other educational institutions outside COVID-19 containment zones can reopen after October 15. The final decision on reopening the institutions has been left with the states and Union territories.

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Agencies
October 19,2020

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New Delhi, Oct 19: The number of new coronavirus infections reported daily in India dropped below 60,000 for the second time this month, while the number of fresh fatalities registered across the country dipped below 600 almost after three months, the Union Health Ministry data stated on Monday.

The total cases mounted to 75,50,273 with 55,722 infections being reported in a day. On October 13, India had last registered daily cases below 60,000.

The death toll climbed to 1,14,610 with 579 fatalities being registered in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The active cases of coronavirus infection remained below 8 lakh for the third consecutive day.

There are 7,72,055 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 10.23 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

The number of recoveries have surged to 66,63,608 and the national recovery rate has improved to 88.26 per cent. The case fatality rate due COVID-19 stands at 1.52 per cent.

India's Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28 and crossed 70 lakh on October 11.

According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 9,50,83,976 samples have been tested up to October 18 with 8,59,786 samples being tested on Sunday.

The 579 new fatalities include 150 from Maharashtra, 64 from West Bengal, 56 from Tamil Nadu, 51 from Karnataka, 39 from Chhattisgarh, 29 from Uttar Pradesh  and 28 from Delhi.

A total of 1,14,610 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 42,115 from Maharashtra followed by 10,642 from Tamil Nadu, 10,478 from Karnataka, 6,658 from Uttar Pradesh, 6,429 from Andhra Pradesh, 6,056 from West Bengal, 6,009 from Delhi, 4,012 from Punjab and 3,635 from Gujarat.

The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.

"Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research," the ministry said on its  website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.

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