Every year, on Teachers’ Day, the HRD Ministry gives away national awards to meritorious teachers working in primary, middle and secondary schools. Last year, 374 teachers were recognised for their work. This year, however, only 45 teachers have been selected for the honour. While the change has sparked angry reaction from teachers, the government is in no mood for a rollback. Apparently, in an internal review, the HRD Ministry felt that the awards had lost their prestige because they were too many awardees and they could only be nominated by their respective state selection committees. The state panels, the ministry felt, promoted a culture of nepotism. To address this, the government changed the selection process, permitting teachers to nominate themselves, and reduced the total number of awardees from 374 to 45 this year. Apparently, this change was modeled after a similar change effected for the Padma awards.
While explaining the intricacies of the Gaganyaan Mission, India’s first human spaceflight programme, ISRO chief K Sivan on Tuesday tried to play a clip of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech, where he announced the programme to send a human to space by 2022. A technical glitch stopped the video from playing, prompting Minister of State Jitendra Singh to joke that ISRO works better in space than here.
Justice K M Joseph of the Supreme Court is an ardent fan of celebrated playback singer K J Yesudas. This was also evident in his choice of songs for the Kerala flood relief fundraiser on Monday evening. The two songs he sang at the event were rendered by Yesudas in the 1991 Malayalam film Amaram and the 1978 Hindi film Saajan Bina Suhagan.
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has for long planned to set up a cell within the ministry to monitor, screen and act against online child pornography. The minister had earlier held meetings with the Internet Service Providers Association, industry bodies such as NASSCOM, and representatives from Facebook and Twitter on this issue. Most recently, Maneka is known to have asked UNICEF to help with setting up the monitoring cell, but the ministry is yet to hear back from the agency on its willingness to take charge.