Exclusive jurisdiction of states over water hinders its proper management



Status of water

Nikhilesh Jha : Wed Aug 01 2012, 01:31 hrs

Exclusive jurisdiction of states over water hinders its proper management

Many significant developments have taken place in the past few months regarding water resources management (WRM) in the country. The Supreme Court, in February, gave its go-ahead to the interlinking of rivers and asked the government to ensure that the project is implemented expeditiously. The judgment seems to have more opponents than supporters. Then, inaugurating the India Water Week in April, Prime Minister Manmohan Singhobserved that a problem that hindered better WRM was the fragmented and inadequate institutional and legal structure for water, and that there was an urgent need for reforms.

A solution to the water problem requires a revisiting of the entire gamut of WRM. The subject “water” is placed in the Constitution in Entry 17 of List II (State List) of Schedule VII. However, the caveat is Entry 56 of List I (Union List), which says, “Regulations and development of inter-state rivers and river valleys to the extent to which such regulation and development under the control of the Union is declared by Parliament by law to be expedient in the public interest.” Unfortunately, the Centre has made little use of the powers vested in it vide Entry 56 of List I. The result is that by virtue of Article 246 read with Entry 17, List II, states have exclusive jurisdiction over waters that are located within their territories, including inter-state rivers and river valleys. It is arguably this status of water in the Constitution that constrains the highest in the executive and the judiciary, despite their pronouncements on and commitment to resolving the problem. It also makes a mockery of the National Water Policy that declares water a “prime natural resource, a basic human need and a precious national asset”. It has also stopped the Centre from establishing allocation rules and clearly defined water rights among states that have unending disputes over the sharing of inter-state water resources. The latest example is the second Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal, which has turned into a warzone, with a battery of lawyers, technical staff and irrigation department officials from Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh fighting to win the maximum allocation of the Krishna river for their respective state.

The Centre has also been reluctant to take a proactive position on the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (CLNNUIW), a document adopted by the UN on May 21, 1997, pertaining to the use and conservation of all waters that cross international boundaries, including surface and ground water. Unfortunately, the convention is not yet ratified. Alongside the US, China, Canada and Australia, India is among the major opponents of the CLNNUIW. A ratification by India would have at least given it the support of other ratifying nations to pressure China against the diversion of the Brahmaputra. Several Chinese projects in west-central Tibet may have a bearing on river water flow into India as well as Bangladesh. There are also reports that China is planning to divert 200 billion cubic metres (BCM) of the Brahmaputra from south to north to feed the Yellow River. If this is true, India will face a severe crisis once the Chinese projects are completed. Many of the hydel projects in the Northeast may have to be shelved. Of the 1,900 BCM of river runoff available in the country, about 600 BCM is generated in the Brahmaputra, one can imagine what would happen if the bulk of this is diverted by China.

According to a recent World Bank report, entitled “India’s Water Economy: Bracing for a Turbulent Future”, “faced with poor water supply services, farmers and urban dwellers alike have resorted to helping themselves by pumping out ground water through tube-wells… it has led to rapidly declining water tables and critically depleted aquifers, and is no longer sustainable (at many places).” The report adds that “government actions — including the provision of highly subsidised or even free power — have exacerbated rather than addressed the problem.”

India is getting seriously water-stressed; and we need to act fast. Water has to be treated not as a local resource, but a global resource. We need to see if a change in its constitutional status is required. Similarly, we need to proactively decide on our stand on the proposed UN convention. Our opposition is not helping us nor the cause of humanity. We also need to enhance our water-storage capacity, as we suffer the most from the vagaries of the monsoon.

The river-linking project, alongside a chain of water-conservation projects, would offer a solution.

The writer is joint secretary and CVO, CPWD. Views are personal
express@expressindia.com

Dear Twitter: Corporate censorship is still #censorship


 

Andrew Couts July 31, 2012 By

Twitter corporate censorship

Opinion: Twitter’s apparent willingness to censor a user to protect its corporate friends damages the company’s image as a champion for free speech.

UPDATE: Guy Adams’s Twitter account has been restored, as of about 1:35pm ET.

By now, you’ve likely heard about the debacle surrounding British journalist Guy Adams’s Twitter account, which was suspended by Twitter after Adams topped off a tirade against NBC’s time delayed London Olympics coverage by publishing the work email address of Gary Zenkel, NBC’s executive in charge of its Olympics broadcast.

If not, here’s a quick primer: Adams, as Twitter explained to him in an email, had violated the microblogging service’s privacy policy by publishing Zenkel’s email address. Twitter forbids the posting of “another person’s private and confidential information.” As the media has been quick to point out, however, it is not entirely clear that Adams actually violated anything.

For a moment, let’s ignore the fact that Adams posted Zenkel’s work email address — not his personal address, nor his phone number or home address — which some might consider “public” by nature. Twitter’s rules go on to explain that, “If information was previously posted or displayed elsewhere on the Internet prior to being put on Twitter, it is not a violation of this policy.” While it is now quite difficult to find any links through a Google search that were not published after Adams’s Twitter suspension, Chris Taylor of Mashable was able to find Zenkel’s email posted online prior to the current hoopla. And now, of course, Zenkel’s email address has been re-posted all over the Web.

But it’s clear at this point that Twitter — NBC’s “official narrator” for the 2012 Olympics — simply used its privacy policy as an excuse to shut up Adams. As the Telegraph reports, it was Twitter, not NBC, that first noticed Adams’s harsh criticism of the network. Twitter brought Adams to NBC’s attention, and NBC subsequently filed the complaint form that led to Adams’s inevitable account suspension.

As far as censorship on Twitter goes, this is deeply disturbing on several levels. First, it shows that Twitter is willing to bend its rules for users to meet its own ends. (If Twitter is NOT bending its rules, I’d love to hear from Twitter how that is possible. Sadly, the company is staying mum on the matter.) Second, it shows that Twitter’s commitment to transparency and free speech on its network has as much value as Monopoly money.

Back in January, Twitter announced that it had changed its censorship policy so that censored tweets would only appear censored in the country whose government issued the takedown order. Twitter would also post any instance of censorship on the independent watchdog site ChillingEffects.org. The move sparked outrage amongst users who saw the policy change as Twitter bending to totalitarian governments that seek to silence their citizens.

At the time, I defended Twitter’s new policy: Rather than increase censorship on Twitter — a platform that served a vital role in Iran’s Green Revolution, the Arab Spring uprisings, and the Occupy Wall Street movement — the new policy would actually decrease censorship, since removed tweets would only appear invisible to residents of a single country, not the whole world, as was previously the case. It was not Twitter we should be boycotting, I said, it was the totalitarian governments that seek to imprison the ideas of their people.

While I stand by that logic, this NBC disaster proves that oppressive regimes are not the only enemy Twitter users need to worry about: Twitter’s very existence as a company is a problem.

Twitter may be willing to stand up to governments who push around its users, but it is apparently not beyond doing some shoving itself. Since Twitter has so far refused to further explain its suspension of Adams’s account, we can only assume that the fateful move was born of greed — a need to build a relationship with a corporate behemoth like NBCUniveral. What’s to prevent Twitter from roughhousing its users again for similar reasons? Nothing, obviously.

Of course, all of this should be expected. Twitter is, after all, a company, not a publicly owned service like 911. And companies ultimately exist to make money. Rather than join the media pile-on that is currently underway, I wanted to believe that there was some socially justifiable reason for Adams’s account suspension. But as someone who once defended Twitter against those who thought it held the ideals of free speech above its bottom line, however, I must admit that this whole sad saga with NBC and Adams was, disappointingly, inevitable. So the next time you try to pose as a champion of your users and for free speech in general, Twitter, forgive me for taking a more skeptical stance. You are, it seems, just the same as the rest.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/nbc-vs-guy-adams-twitters-disappointing-foray-into-corporate-censorship/#ixzz22Gs8Q4BH

 

Assam riots: Real issue is development


 

 

Ram Puniyani says end of propaganda politics can help people understand actual problems, in Tehelka

PRIME MINISTER Manmohan Singh has called the recent violence in Assam a blot to the nation. Fifty three people have died and almost four lakh people have been rendered homeless in the clashes that occurred last week in Khokrajhar and Chirang districts, between Bodos and ‘illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators’, majority of whom happen to be Muslims. There was some inexcusable delay in deploying the army in the area, which resulted in worsening of the situation. That the riots occurred just around the sowing season in what is the rice country of Assam is a worrying sign. Traumatised people are now crowding 250 ill-equipped relief camps set up by the government.

But this isn’t the first time such violence has hit Assam. The strife between ethnic groups and Muslims, who are labeled as ‘Bangladeshi immigrants’, has been going on for several decades. In 2003, the Bodo Territorial Autonomous Districts were formed following a peace treaty between Bodo activists and the government. The districts included Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalgiri. Estimates put the percentage of Bodos in these districts between 22 and 29. The rest are Tribals and Muslims. Despite being in minority, Bodos, with full powers in the region, initiated policies which have kept non-Bodos largely out of the social framework. Over the years, local disputes have been painted as problems between legal citizens and illegal immigrants with parochial politicking under ‘Assam for Assamese’.

The first major catastrophe in this occurred in the 80s, when the All Assam Students Union (AASU) demanded exclusion of Bangladeshi immigrants from the electoral rolls. In 1983, at least 2,000 people were killed in Nellie, near Guwahati. Those killed were Muslims, said to be illegal migrants and occupants of land that belonged to Lalung tribals. Tribhuban Das Tiwary Commission was constituted into the Nellie massacre, but the AASU, now Assam Gana Parishad (AGP), after coming to power dropped all the criminal cases against the culprits and the report of the Commission was never made public. A decade later occurred another series of violence, the victims of which are still living in relief camps. Last week’s carnage was preceded by a rumour that people from Bangladesh have brought in a huge cache of armaments and it soon got triggered into violence that left lakhs with nothing.

Perhaps the real problem lies in the stressed land and job scenario due to a rising population. Lopsided development has put employment under pressure all over the country. In Mumbai, Shiv Sena presents it as a non-Marathis vs marathi issue. In Assam, the problem is deflected by making it an India vs Bangladeshi immigrants issue. Politics aggravates things in Assam by bringing in the foreigner angle, when actually Bangla speakers have made up a sizeable chunk of the state population for over a century.

In the early 20th century, Assam was grossly underpopulated and generated little revenue. The neighbouring Bengal, on the other hand, was overpopulated, which resulted in frequent famines. To counter the problem, the British resorted to ‘human plantation’ encouraging people from Bengal to migrate to Assam. But to maintain the core policy of ‘divide and rule’, the immigrants and the natives were kept in separate areas. This migration of Bangla speaking Muslims went on for several decades and by 1930s, the Muslims comprised a sizeable chunk of Assamese population. Post partition, divided Bengal became East Pakistan and then Bangladesh, but even then both Hindus and Muslims continued migrating to Assam.

The question here is how is this immigration is looked at. Why are Nepalese immigrants to India never looked down upon or demonised here? Why even the Hindus coming from Bangladesh are treated as immigrants, while Bangladeshi Muslims are seen as infiltrators and a threat to our security?

THE PROPAGANDA by communal forces about so call infiltration by Bangledeshis has assumed alarming proportions. It has been the backdrop of many agitations in Assam. Surely the basic issue of lack of development in Assam has been deflected by political groups as the issue of displacement of locals from their lands by infiltrators. Right from Nellie to the present violence, in which displacement is the most dominant factor, the infiltrator propaganda has prepared the ground for carnage.

What is required today is to disarm the criminals, to rehabilitate the refugees and to ensure that they return to their homes for the sowing season. If this is not met, surely a bigger disaster of food deprivation is staring at us. We also need to debunk the myth of ‘infiltrators’ for good. The word has been misued for far too long. And lastly the wounded psyche of communities needs to be healed through a process of dialogue and justice.

Ram Puniyani is a communal harmony activist based in Mumbai. The opinions expressed are his own.
ram.puniyani@gmail.com

 

Myanmar censors publication of magazines #Censorship


 

Icon for censorship

Icon for censorship (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s censors have suspended two weekly magazines indefinitely in the latest confrontation between the government and the newly aggressive press.

The Press Scrutiny Board informed Voice Weekly and Envoy editors Tuesday that their publications have been suspended for violating regulations. The authorities did not explain the reasons for the bans.

Reporters at the publications said privately they suspected they were linked to articles speculating about the details of an anticipated Cabinet reshuffle.

President Thein Sein eased censorship as one of his reforms after decades of repressive military rule. The flourishing of press freedom has brought serious investigative reporting and sensationalism, both of which make the government uncomfortable.

Voice Weekly also faces a defamation suit over a story alleging irregularities in several government ministries’ accounts.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

Court Battle- Denial of admission to MBBS course in AFMC


 

girl student from the Capital has moved the Delhi High Court challenging denial of admission to MBBS course by Pune’s Armed Forces Medical College(AFMC) to her on medical grounds.

On the plea by Vidushi Gupta for the court’s directions to the Centre and the AFMC for consideration of her candidature for admission, Justice G S Sistani issued notices to the medicalcollege, the Directorate General Health Services (DGHS) and the Medical Council of India (MCI). The court asked them to file their replies by August 8 and also directed the college to keep a seat vaccant for her till disposal of the matter.

Having regard to the fact that petitioner is otherwise eligible for the seat and the respondent, having granted provisional admission to her, will not fill up till the next date of hearing the one last seat, which is stated to be lying vacant/available as of today,” said Justice Sistani. Gupta, who claimed to have qualified in the merit list for admission against the vacant seats for the academic year 2012-13, was disqualified by the college on the ground of medical unfitness as a mass was found in her ovary during medical examination.

Her counsel Ashok Aggarwal submitted before the court that the act of college is illegal, unjustified, arbitrary, discriminatory, punitive, unconstitutional and violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution. The lawyer said the prospectus for the MBBS Entrance Examination, 2012 has failed to mention ‘medical unfitness” as a ground for disqualification.

In her petition, Gupta said the mass which is inactive could be removed by a minor surgery and her father’s request to college to provide 2 weeks’ time to remove the mass was also arbitrarily denied. “The mass in the left ovary is merely a dormant minor cyst which would not affect the healthy life of the petitioner in any manner whatsoever and therefore, the college was not justified in rejecting the candidature of the petitioner,” her lawyer argued. The court slated the matter for next hearing on August 8.

 

The media’s handling of #sexworkers and marginalised has been patently insensitive


Festival with a difference
NUPUR BASU reports on the deliberations of a congregation from 42 countries in Kolkata.
Posted/Updated Tuesday, Jul 31 , The hoot.org
Meena (name changed) came from a middle-class family in Baroda. Like millions of girls in our country, she had an arranged marriage and had children. One day her husband left her for another woman, leaving her holding onto three small children. Unable to find a job, Meena got trapped into sex work. With the money she earned, she was able to send all her children to school and put food on the table. A year ago, the police raided her house and threw her into jail. She was there for nine days and finally managed to come out on bail after paying Rs. 10,000.
“The local television channels and newspapers published my picture; my parents, my brothers, and my entire family came to know, and I became an outcaste from my family. Why does the media put so much masala and make a laughing stock of us in society? Do they not have a conscience? Are we not human beings who have feelings and a sense of honour?” she said sobbing as she addressed a Media Plenary at the recent Sex Workers’ Freedom Festival in Kolkata.
All those on the dais, including the media persons, were moved to tears by Meena’s story. Among the 700-odd sex workers in the auditorium, some were seen openly crying. Meena had told a story that had a strong parallel in their lives.
Mumtaz Begum (name changed) of Ajmer district recounted how when three young sex workers from their community went to attend a party on Valentine’s Day on February 14, the police arrested them and put them behind bars. The police had informed the media earlier, and the latter took pictures of the women and splashed them in newspapers and on television channels.
“The entire day the local Sarera channel kept repeating in a loop the faces of these young women and people watched them in tea shops, hotels, and street corners. These women had done nothing wrong. They had just gone to attend a party. Finally we had to go and get them released on bail by paying Rs. 6000 each”, Mumtaz Begum recounted. “Sometimes these girls end up committing suicide because they cannot face the stigma from the media and the community”, she said with tears in her eyes.
“You don’t show the faces of dacoits and thieves in the media. Why do you show ourfaces?“ a sex worker from Maharashtra asked angrily. They were speaking at a plenary on “Media response to sex workers’ rights agenda” at the XIX International AIDS conference hub in Kolkata from July 22 to July 27. Nine hundred female sex workers, men having sex with men, and transgender persons had come from 42 countries to hold the Freedom Festival in Kolkata after having been denied visas to attend the main conference in Washington, DC.
Dominant theme
Invasion of privacy and violations of rights of marginalised communities by the media was a dominant theme at the historic Kolkata hub.
“I need to emphasize that the havoc that media can create in the lives of marginal communities is enormous and despite all the support that media render to such communities there is no way that they can compensate or undo the damage they have inflicted on the community”, says Akhila Sivadas, founder of Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), one of the co-sponsors of the festival. She added, however: “Today the marginalised communities are strengthened by the presence and their knowledge of regulatory bodies such as the News Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Press Council of India. They have learned to file complaints, approach the authorities, and get heard in places that matter.”
They quoted a hidden camera sting by the TV9 channel conducted in the houses ofDevadasis in Kudligi village in Bellary district in Karnataka in December 2009. Undercover reporters posed as clients with hidden cameras and talked to sex workers and their families. Their faces were revealed and the script for the story titled “Hanumana Hendthiru” (Wives of Hanumantha) was full of crude innuendos.
To add insult to injury, the report got the Goenka Award for Best Investigative Report and it was given away by the Vice-President of India. Several organisations have now written to Vice-President Hamid Ansari to withdraw the award for its exploitative coverage. A complaint was also filed with the News Broadcasters Association (NBA), a self-regulatory body of TV channels.
“Self-regulation by electronic medium is a new initiative and when it comes to violations by the media, it is not easy to ensure a level playing field for vulnerable groups. The media feel they are invincible, especially when it comes to marginalised communities” says Sivadas.
They quote several examples of such violations by the media in recent times:
  • A person from the transgender community was portrayed negatively on December 6, 2012 in Chennai on an entertainment channel, Zee Tamizh. They depicted her as the cause of marital break-up. The social ostracism against her was instant. The victim contacted the channel to stop telecasting the promo, but the producers refused to respond and allegedly went to the extent of abusing her. A protest letter drafted by CFAR demanding redress from the channel drew a blank. A formal complaint was then launched with Indian Broadcasters Foundation (IBF), a self- regulatory body set up to regulate entertainment channels. They agreed to take action against the producer who had wronged the transgendered woman. They assured the community that in the future they would be sensitive about their portrayal.
  • Another defamatory depiction of MSM/transgender community using unethical means was reported in Jagtiyal, Warangal, Andhra Pradesh. A sensational report was allegedly aired on NTV on October 31, 2011 accusing NGOs and CBOs in Warangal of “trapping” and “luring handsome men” and forcing them to undergo sex change. The half-hour programme, according to CFAR, was full of falsehood. A rejoinder was drafted and sent to the channel. When they failed to respond, a complaint was filed online to NBA on January 21, 2012. They were informed that since NTV was not a member of NBA, it had written to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting requesting the Ministry to direct the channel (NTV) to cooperate with NBA in its inquiry.
According to CFAR, a programme they conducted between April 2011 and March 2012 with community-based organisations across four States–Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra–used diverse pegs to strengthen media messaging on reducing stigma and discrimination against People Living with HIV, and promoting social inclusion. The media addressed incidents of stigma and discrimination against PLHIV and marginalised communities in many ways. As many as 677 news reports emerged as a result of this effort.
The message given out at the conference was clear: Don’t take false portrayal by the media silently. Be proactive and contact the agencies that are there to look into excesses.
Gulnaar (name changed) from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh summed it all up very well: “Some media people are good and some are bad. Our message to the media is, ‘please do not look at sex work with a bad eye. We do this for our children, our family, our husbands’. Behind every sex worker is a very sad story.”
But despite the poor news stories, the gathering at the Kolkata hub was upbeat. As sex workers on the dais sang: “Hey Ho- Let’s go! Our right to say ‘yes’! Our right to say ‘no’ !”, Lakshmi Narayan Tripathi, a transgender sex worker from Mumbai, who sat on the stage holding a red umbrella over her head, to symbolise that they were all under one roof (see picture), said the news from the media stable was not all gloom and doom. “It is thanks to the support of the media on many issues in the last decade that we have been able to effect changes in the law; without them we could not have done it alone.”
Clearly the media has the ability to drive progressive policy and fight discrimination. The tragedy is when they become the object that drives discrimination.

MUMBAI-Woman stabbed 20 times while people look on #WTFnews


, TNN | Aug 1, 2012

MUMBAI: A gym instructor stabbed a woman 20 times on Monday evening in the middle of a road in Andheri (East), notwithstanding the presence of scores of bystanders. The woman, a 24-year-old accountant, had refused to marry him, the police said.

Pradeep Patel (30) used a sharp weapon to repeatedly attack Deepti (name changed) in the back, hands, chest and abdomen, but onlookers stood frozen on the spot at the sight of the horror playing in front of them. “No one came forward to rescue her. Patel warned witnesses to keep away from him, threatening to kill them all. Some people ran to the nearest buildings when Patel started his orgy of attack. Many went inside their homes,” said senior inspector S L Hujband of the MIDC police.

The incident occurred between 5 and 5.15pm close to a school in Malpha Dongri, where Deepti is employed.

Around 4.30pm, Deepti signed off and went over to her aunt’s house, which is near the school. “Around 5pm, she left our house to go to Mahim, where she lives,” said a cousin in the police complaint. “Patel attacked her when she had hardly walked 100 metres away from our home. He must have been waiting there on the roadside. He accosted her and asked if she would marry him. When she refused, he became furious. Then he forced her to step aside and started stabbing her.”

Had her cousins not rushed to the spot, Deepti could have bled to death, the police said. She was taken to Cooper Hospital and from there to Nair Hospital, where she was operated upon. “Her condition is stable. She has been kept under observation. The abdominal injury was severe and any delay in admitting her to hospital could have cost her life,” said Hujband.

Patel fled the spot for a relative’s home in Borivli. After a nine-hour search, the police traced him there. He has been arrested and booked for attempt to murder and wrongful confinement.

Inspector Shobha Pise said Patel used to be a gym instructor but had taken to drugs and was unemployed. “He used to harass Deepti in the middle of the road every now and then. While stabbing her, he was raving and ranting like a mad man.”.

CBSE tweaks ‘Open Book’ concept, comes up with PAT


, TNN | Aug 1, 2012,

NAGPUR: In what could be the biggest change made to the country’s education system, CBSE has decided to introduce the ‘open book exam’ concept for its board exams (Std X, XII) from the 2013-14 academic session. The central board’s chairman Vineet Joshi informed TOI that the new system will test “higher order thinking skills of students rather than their current reliance on a rote-based methodology”.

“But it won’t literally be an open book exam. It will be called the ‘Pre-Announced Test’ (PAT) and will be applicable for all Std X subjects and some major ones of Std XII,” he said.

Explaining the features of PAT, Joshi said, “Four months before the exam, students will be made aware of the test they are going to appear for. But the questions will not be simple and straightforward, they will test the students’ analytical power.”

A formal announcement with complete details regarding the new system is expected to be made in December this year. The HRD ministry had initiated the process and a reforms committee had been constituted to look into the concept. Sources in the board said that Joshi was heading the committee and its brief was to improve the education system to make it more ‘student-friendly’.

The committee tweaked the open book concept, followed in some western countries, to make it more relevant and acceptable here. “We were apprehensive about the reaction from other state boards if books are allowed inside exam halls,” said a highly placed source in the CBSE board. He was referring particularly to Maharashtra which had created a fuss over CBSE’s school-evaluated board exam for Std X students and refused them admission in state colleges.

PAT functions like the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) system that some education boards, including Maharashtra, are implementing. In the SSC exam, an out-of-syllabus passage is given to students and they are asked questions that cannot be answered word-for-word just by looking at the matter. For example, if the passage has a line saying, ‘Rajesh goes to school everyday and learns about animals, new countries and math formulae’, the question would be ‘Why does Rajesh go to school?’ The expected answer would be he goes to school to increase his knowledge about the world around him.

Under PAT, the same passage would be taught to students four months before the exam. S/he is expected to analyse various relevant questions that could be asked. On the day of the CBSE exam, PAT will not produce the passage but there will be questions based on it.

It is still not clear yet how the board will implement PAT for Mathematics where formulae and values are part of almost every topic. By the time a formal announcement is made in December, the CBSE Board expects to iron out all issues.

Local schools in the city were unaware of board’s plan but say it does seem to be a step in the right direction. A school principal, who did not wish to be named, said, “Today, what matters on exam day is how well a student is able to recall what he has learnt. PAT will force a change of approach. Students will not be able to depend on guides.”

Another teacher said that teachers will now face a “new challenge”. “Having the test available in advance will certainly help and the focus will be on how well the student can comprehend the lesson,” she said. Those who set the question paper also face a challenge, according to this teacher. “No question will be repeated in successive exams and that requires a lot of innovative thinking,” she added.

In 2008, the Gujarat government had decided to implement the open book exam concept for its board exams but has not done yet. Also, some schools in Gujarat had experimented with the concept but it proved to be very tough and few students passed.

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