Inside JGU 2017 - Issue 7 (Sep)

JGU celebrated its eighth anniversary and University Day on September 30, marking the day that the University’s first academic session began in 2009.

Mr. Kewal Kumar Sharma, IAS, Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, was the Chief Guest, and H. E. Ms. Mariela Cruz Alvarez, Ambassador of the Republic of Costa Rica, was the Guest of Honour at the day’s event. As part of the celebrations, a roundtable discussion on “World Class Universities” was held to examine the key issues and challenges in global higher education.

(L-R): Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor, JGU; Mr. Kewal Kumar Sharma, IAS, Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development; and Professor (Dr.) YSR Murthy, Registrar, JGU at the eighth anniversary and University Day celebrations on the JGU campus.

The event also included the Eighth Anniversary Exhibition on “Institution Building for Nation Building” and the University Day programme with an address by the Chief Guest and presentation of awards to faculty, staff and students.

Read the full story at: http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/o-p-jindal-global-university-celebrates-eighth-anniversary-117093000580_1.html

Faculty members of the Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences (JIBS), led by Principal Director, Professor (Dr.) Sanjeev Sahni, undertook a 4-day visit to Australia to explore a range of mental health interventions, programmes for potential adaption in India, including joint psychology programmes, focusing on medical and paramedical professional training and development, mental health promotion in schools, the forensic system, elderly populations staying with families and in old age homes, and workplace mental health.

Read the full report here: [http://jgu.edu.in/sites/default/files/jibs-report-05-10-17.pdf]

(L-R): Dr Mahesh Jayaram, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne; Dr. Sanjeev Sahni, Principal Director, JIBS and Professor Helen Herrman, Incoming President-Elect, World Psychiatry Association.

Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor, JGU and Lt Gen Dr Rajesh Kochhar (Retd), Chief Administrative Officer, JGU accepting the award at the Swachhta Ranking Award Ceremony.

JGU was awarded the First Rank on the Swachhta Rankings of all Higher Educational Institutions in India.

The Rankings were announced at the Swachhta Ranking Award Ceremony held on 14 September 2017 in New Delhi. Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Government of India, Mr. Prakash Javadekar, presented the awards at the ceremony.

More than 2,600 institutions participated in the ranking exercise. Based on marks obtained in the notified parameters, JGU was one of the 170 institutions that was selected by the MHRD for field inspection. A three-member team visited the campus on 24 August 2017 and interacted with us on issues including overall campus upkeep, quality of essential services, greenery, waste disposal mechanisms and extension work carried out by JGU in neighbouring communities. The ranking exercise is part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan initiative of the Government of India.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has accorded a special and unique status to JGU under Section 12B of the UGC Act, 1956. JGU is the first and only private university in the State of Haryana to have received this important recognition from UGC.

This recognition by the UGC enables the University to be eligible for receiving government/UGC funds for research projects and education programmes for the benefit of faculty and staff. 

The UGC Committee visited JGU on 12-13 August 2017, following which it made a unanimous recommendation for conferring the Section 12B status to JGU. This recommendation of the UGC Committee was accepted by the UGC in its 525th meeting held on 4 September 2017. 

The recognition marks an important milestone in the short history of JGU.

JGU is launching the Jindal Oxford Programme on Liberal Arts which will be held during 10-23 December 2017 at the University of Oxford. The programme is a two-week intensive residential programme at Oxford and is based on the renowned Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) course that has been taught at Oxford for a hundred years now. This course is constructed keeping in mind the interdisciplinary potential of all three disciplines.

The programme will provide students with an opportunity to reside and study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Students will be taught by some of the leading academics and experience the unique tutoring system at Oxford. During the course of the two weeks, the students will attend 30 lectures of 90 minutes each. Ten lectures will be devoted each to the triad of subjects being taught in PPE.

Apart from the lectures, tutors from Oxford will be assigned to students to help them engage with the academic material provided and answer any questions that may remain. For the successful completion of the course, students will be required to submit an academic essay at the end of the course which will be graded accordingly. The course carries 4 credits and can also be counted as a winter internship.

Alongside intensive studies, a number of extracurricular activities will ensure that students enjoy their time in Oxford and have an opportunity to visit London.

The programme is open to students from multiple programmes across JGU and will complement JGU’s vision to offer strong interdisciplinary academic programmes.

Third Arjun K. Sengupta Memorial Lecture

13 September 2017

The Third Arjun K. Sengupta Memorial Lecture began with an address from Prof. Stephen P. Marks, François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Member, Governing Board of JGU. He welcomed the audience and briefed them as to the broad themes of the lecture. Prof. Marks was followed by Prof. R. Sudarshan, Dean, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, who introduced the keynote speaker, Swami Agnivesh. Prof. Sudarshan explained the transformative role that Swami Agnivesh had played in particular with the Bandhua Mukti Morcha case, which changed the standards for locus standi before the Supreme Court and in the words of Upendra Bakshi, transformed the Court into a court for all the people of India.

The keynote speech by Swami Agnivesh elaborated on the need for a human heart to bring about structural and systemic change and actually benefit the poor. Without emotional involvement, any law would remain mere paperwork and not actually bring about change. He noted that the deep inequality caused by the caste system in India was still prevalent and that 86-87% of the bonded labourers that he has freed have been SC/ST. This is despite the efforts of stalwarts such as B.R. Ambedkar who had made it their life’s work to destroy the caste system.

(L-R) Professor (Dr.) Stephen P. Marks, François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of Health & Human Rights, Harvard University & Member, Governing Body, JGU; Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, JGU; Swami Agnivesh, Founder, Bandhua Mukti Morcha; Ms. Jayshree Sengupta; and Professor (Dr.) Y.S.R. Murthy, Registrar, JGU at the Third Arjun K. Sengupta Memorial Lecture

Seminar on Human Rights and Development: Transforming Legal Norms into Social Justice

14 September 2017

Inaugural session

The Third Arjun K. Sengupta Memorial Lecture was followed by the seminar on the next day. The inaugural session of the seminar began with an address from Prof. Stephen P. Marks. He welcomed the audience and briefed them as to the broad themes of the Conference. Prof. Marks was followed by Prof. R. Sudarshan who introduced the keynote speaker, Swami Agnivesh. Prof. Sudarshan explained the transformative role that Swami Agnivesh had played in particular with the Bandhua Mukti Morcha case which changed the standards for locus standi before the Supreme Court and in the words of Upendra Bakshi, transformed the Court into a court for all the people of India.

The keynote speech by Swami Agnivesh elaborated on the need for a human heart to bring about structural and systemic change and actually benefit the poor. Without emotional involvement, any law would remain mere paperwork and not actually bring about change. He noted that the deep inequality caused by the caste system in India was still prevalent and that 86-87% of the bonded labourers that he has freed have been SC/ST. This is despite the efforts of stalwarts such as B.R. Ambedkar who had made it their life’s work to destroy the caste system.

Swami Agnivesh emphasised the importance of the Gandhian ideal in modern India. He addressed this on two fronts. The first was to do with the abandonment of classist prejudices of work that is ‘acceptable’ for a person to do. In particular he narrated the story of him being arrested during the Emergency. The latrines in the jail that he was in were rarely cleaned. He realised that unless he was willing to clean the toilets himself, no one would and therefore cleaned them by hand emulating Gandhi’s similar effort in South Africa. Even today, he said, he insists on cleaning toilets before the unfurling of the flag on Independence Day.

The second front was his approval for Gandhi’s sound rejection of trickle-down economics. He repeated Gandhi’s talisman which exhorts the listener to keep in mind the very poorest person in India when making decisions. If those decisions were to help that person, it should be implemented in full no matter what. If it failed to help the poor, it must be rejected right at the start.

Swami Agnivesh ended the speech stressing the importance of being able to speak truth to power. All attempts to bring about structural change, he said, must come from inner strength and the ability to hold a clear conscience.

Session I: Implementation of Right to Development: Rhetoric or Reality?

Panelists:

  • Prof.(Dr.) Stephen P. Marks
  • Prof.(Dr.) B.B. Pande
  • Prof. Rajeev Malhotra
  • Prof. Rashmi Raman

Prof. Stephen Marks explained the legacy of Prof. Arjun Sengupta and Mr. Keba Mbaye in the field of right to development and their role in the evolution of this right. He referred to the core norm of the right to development is the constant improvement of the well-being of others and a human-centred development agenda that respects human rights. He then alluded to the three main attributes of the right to development: first, it must be human-centred; second, must be based on participatory human rights process; and third, must be aimed at achieving outcomes that reflect social justice within the development process (the most important attribute).

Prof. B B Pande spoke about the reality concerning various aspects of the right to development in India in the last few years. The central government’s arguments in the recent Manipur extrajudicial killings case and in the right to privacy case, he opined, underlined its hostile attitude towards human rights. He acknowledged that there were several legislative developments in fields like education, domestic violence, right to information, right to food, employment/wages in the last decade that boosted the evolution of the right to development in India. While agreeing that the Supreme Court of India has shown appreciable judicial zealousness in upholding the right to life and other individual rights, he argued that in cases of socio-economic rights, the apex court has been vacillating. He pointed out that the lack of developmental focus in recent years on issues relating to children such as healthcare, education, child labour and child marriage has been appalling.

Prof. Rajeev Malhotra said it may not be apt to emphasise too much on setting specific standards regarding the right to development that are of binding nature because it would make the right too narrow and restricted that would hamper its expansion later. He emphasised on the importance of having a rights-based framework of development in materialising the utility of the right to development. He raised a few concerns that must be kept in mind such as, first, should all individual constituent rights of the ‘umbrella’ right to development be defined internationally via a convention or contextually in each state? Second, if we identify such individual constituents, how do we prioritise those different elements? He said these concerns can be resolved only by practitioners working on the ground and by international organisations which are politically disarrayed.

Prof. Rashmi Raman pointed out the problems with the characterisation of the right to development as a third generation right because all such rights are non-justiciable and therefore, become less appealing for the states to implement them in practice. She emphasised that social justice lawyering cannot happen at a transnational level; it must happen in each state. It is only through such local social lawyering that the right to development can be materialised. She underscored about the need for identifying the ‘de minimis’ core of the right to development and pinpointing those rights in the first and second generation categories that would fit in as individual constituents of the right to development which is considered as an ‘umbrella’ right.

Session II: Constitutionalisation of Social Rights: A Blessing in Disguise?

Panelists:

  • Prof. (Dr.) Upendra Baxi
  • Prof. (Dr.) M. P. Singh
  • Prof. R. Sudarshan
  • Prof. (Dr.) Sarbani Sen

Professor Upendra Baxi echoed Mahatma Gandhi’s sentiments when he said ‘I do not just want freedom, I want a just freedom.’ He called for developing a theory which takes into account various logical, ideological, cultural, civilisational contradictions relating to social equality and polity as well as a theory of modern evil. The theory of modern evil is as Duryodhana once said ‘I know that which is dharma (righteous) but I cannot do it, I know that which is adharma (wrong), but I cannot desist from doing it.’ The theory of modern evil needs to be developed to understand that in this world, there is not just the absence of good, but there is also the presence of doing determinative actions which are not good. Professor Baxi addressed the idea of two types of expectations: normative expectations and contingent expectations. Contingent expectations are those which perish due to non-fulfilment; for example, if the right to food is not met, the expectation that it will be met reduces. On the contrary, normative expectations are strengthened by disappointment. If the people in a society demand that there should be ‘rule of law’ and this expectation remains unmet, the more society will believe in its necessity and fight for it to come to fruition. Normative expectations cannot be achieved in a single generation; similarly the right to development cannot be achieved in a generation, but normative expectations can be raised in the public mind, and eventually, be fulfilled in the society. Professor Baxi opined that instruments such as ‘social action litigation’ or its more prevalent counterpart, public interest litigation can be a means to arouse these expectations in the mind of the public; as Babasaheb Ambedkar believed, there must be a means to create a ‘counterpower’, the ability to make contradictions visible to the public. His refrain was ‘educate, organise, agitate’.

Industrial capitalism manufactures, according to Professor Baxi, more than the product itself. It produces a desire for the product. Similarly, we must create a desire for change through these normative expectations, and the desire for change can only be created by viewing the dissatisfactory nature of status quo. He pointed out that instead of using the term ‘poverty’ we should be using the term ‘impoverishment’ as it denotes much more adequately that impoverishment is a process by which people are made and kept poor. The word ‘poverty’ accustoms us to its existence in nature, rather than the reality, which is that impoverishment is created and sustained by public policy decisions. The Constitution of India envisages the ‘right to development’ in many forms and it recognises that development is a practice which ought to disproportionately benefit the impoverished. Using means such as social action litigation, the judiciary can practice ‘demosprudence’ and create these normative expectations in the minds of people, installing them in the public mind, and setting the foundation for their fulfilment. Prof. Baxi ended by saying that in India, it is not only the Parliament that governs the people, it is equally the judiciary which is a co-governor. The Constitution envisages social rights, bur the questions we must ask ourselves are: what are the normative expectations created by the Constitution? What are the contradictions involved? What is the theory of modern evil that is to be developed?

Prof. (Dr.) M P Singh stated that to a student of constitutional law, there is an understanding that both civil and political as well as social and economic rights are part of the ‘basic law’ and as such should be addressed through the Constitution. He stated that recently, Dworkin had established a distinction between rules and principles, and that rights (civil and political) could be considered a matter of principle whereas non-rights (social and economic) could be considered a matter of policy. On that ground, Dworkin viewed social and economic rights as falling outside the scope of the Constitution. Prof. Singh critiqued Dworkin as having been ‘miserly’ in his determination of what are rights, because he believed that since social and economic rights require significant expenditure for their realisation, so not everything can be considered rights, and expanding into social rights is going too far into policy rather than remaining within the bounds of the law.

Prof. Singh contrasted Dworkin’s views with those propounded by the German thinker, Robert Alexy, who distinguishes between rules, principles and norms. Norms are a diffused and abstract concept, in Alexy’s view, and from these norms arise various principles. Principles by their very nature are flexible and capable of being balanced. There is no rigid understanding of principles and in any situation where there is a contrast between two principles, a balance is always possible to be achieved. By that understanding, there cannot be total distinction between civil and political rights, on the one hand, and social and economic rights, on the other. The two will necessarily be reconciled. In many countries, ‘dignity’ forms the basis of the Constitution; such is the case in India and in Germany as well. Given that dignity necessitates civil and political rights be included within a constitution, dignity also requires the inclusion of social and economic rights. If civil and political rights are considered too fundamental to democracy to be left in the hands of legislators, so must be the case with social and economic rights. Prof. Singh emphasised that these rights are as basic as civil and political rights. If the Constitution was formed by a country of people who were newly independent, naked, hungry and illiterate, and yet if the Constitution is a valid document produced by a sovereign people, then the entitlement of these people to basic rights like food, welfare, minimum education, housing, healthcare must also be recognised, because these rights are essential and without them, there cannot be any dignified living.

In the European understanding of rights, wherever there is a right, its violation must be remedied and to that extent, justiciability of a right is irrelevant. It is the common law principle which works in the opposite direction, that there cannot be any right if there is no remedy provided for. There is an assumption that negative rights like civil and political rights do not need to use funds of the state for their enforcement whereas social and economic rights do. Even civil and political rights require legislation, as do social and economic rights. International instruments have understood the need for both through UDHR, ICCPR and ICESCR, and if the UN has recognised these social, economic and even cultural rights, there is a need for them to be understood in the Indian context as well. The Indian judiciary has been recognising and legislating on various social rights: food, education, social security for the unorganised sector, prohibition on manual scavenging and the protection of Scheduled Tribes and forest-dwellers. Jurisprudentially, Alexy’s writing and the truth of the European view of rights makes it clear that civil and political rights, and social and economic rights are merged and equally enforceable, and this distinction should not be so relevant under the Indian Constitution.

Prof. R. Sudarshan spoke about a need to change the lens through which rights are viewed. He spoke of the idea that initially there were two types of freedoms envisaged: freedoms from (the negative conception of rights: civil and political) and freedoms to (the positive conception of rights: social and economic). This conception of rights was predicated to some extent on the liberal, Kantian idea of ‘self’, an autonomous and independent self which is separate from its relationships with others. Prof. Sudarshan compared this idea with the Eastern, Confucian idea of the self, which is entirely relational, and in which there is no scope for a disparate being who can be stripped of their relationships with others in order for the true self to emerge.

Given this idea of a community and a relational self, there is a need to think of rights also in this community sense rather than a purely individualistic sense. This idea, according to Prof. Sudarshan, is also present in the Preamble of the Constitution, the idea of ‘fraternity’, although it needs explication. Fraternity is the feeling of caring for, being connected to and empathising with others, and this idea jives well with our communitarian understanding of self and rights. The content of rights has always been seen as the minimum standard that can legitimately be demanded from the state, but there is a whole world related to rights which needs to be seen not from an individual sense, and on this planet we can impact and affect the lives of people living elsewhere and unconnected with us.

Given this understanding, the essence is that we are one species on this planet with others, and we need to be considerate and caring of others. Economics also assumes the presence of an individual making rational choices, which eventually lead the individual to a good result. In reality, that invisible hand leading individuals to good results may not actually exist. Given that there is something left to be desired in the present conception of rights and the idea of the ‘self’, Prof. Sudarshan opined that there is a need to return to classical roots of these ideas and explore once again what is meant by the conceptions of self and personal identity.

Prof. (Dr.) Sarbani Sen explained the tension that exists between social rights and economic realities. She opined that constitutions are primarily ideological texts which seek to balance the normative expectations, goals and realities of the people. In essence, she spoke about the difference between a liberal democracy and a socialist democracy. The liberal democracy has limitations on its idea of rights, predicated on first generation rights, the negative conceptions of civil and political rights which place lesser burdens on the state. Socialist democracies are more concerned with an active state and constitutional imposition of duties on the state, the balance of power in private relations and the second generation rights: the positive conception of social and economic rights. The idea is reflected in erstwhile Prussian thought, where the state was an agent of social happiness responsible for caring of the needy.

Although the socialist struggle in the first two decades of the 20th century went a long way to gain recognition for social and economic rights, Prof. Sen pointed out that there were a number of critiques levelled at the recognition of social and economic rights (the ‘second generation’ rights) at the same level as civil and political rights, known as ‘first generation’ rights. Some critiques are centred on the idea that in upholding social rights, the judiciary would be unduly interfering in the arena of the legislature and executive. For one, it is no easy determination to uphold social rights in the first place through litigation, and second, even if such a right could be upheld, the issue would arise in terms of its enforcement: whether there should be a national-level enforcement of one right, whether the remedy should be in terms of specific relief or in terms of compensation, and so on. The eventual issue would arise that the judiciary, in determining these social rights, would essentially impinge on the executive’s power to distribute state resources according to its own policy decisions.

Another critique of the second generation rights arises from the idea that their implementation is burdensome and onerous on the state and its resources. Unlike the negative rights which are primarily the ‘right to be left alone’, the second generation rights impose a positive obligation on the state which can only be fulfilled through the use of its resources. This could create a second problem, that of under-enforcement of the social rights, especially where social rights of two persons must be balanced against each other, and if there is an issue of curtailing the rights of one person in order to protect the rights of another, there might be a situation where no remedy is possible, if the judiciary felt that a strong enough case had not been made out for the curtailment of the former right.

However, Prof. Sen also pointed out counter-arguments to these critiques. On the issue of overburdening the state and under-enforcement, she opined that negative rights also require the use of state resources for their protection. For instance, the right to a fair trial with adequate legal representation necessitates that the state provide for access to legal aid and unbiased and fair judiciary. Similarly, even negative rights may lack enforcement if a situation arises where the judiciary feels that a negative right such as protecting someone’s right to free speech would involve too much of a curtailment of another’s right. On the critique of the judiciary interfering too much into the executive and legislature, Prof. Sen pointed out that there is not only the possibility of strong-form judicial review, but also weak-form judicial review, which centers on having ‘a weak right but a strong remedy’. She stated that the judiciary, executive and legislature can be partners in implementing these social rights, where the judiciary holds the right to ask the other limbs of the state to justify a policy decision they take regarding providing resources for a social right, but the judiciary would not impose the burden on the executive and legislature by making an autonomous decision as to the funding of social rights.

Professor Tapan K. Panda, Dean, JGBS with Professor Ravi Agarwal, JGBS, Professor Pankaj Gupta, JGBS, Mr. Sanjay Gupta, President, ICAI, Mr. Gaurav Vohra, Partner, KPMG, Mr. Varun Jain, MD, Miles Education, Mr. Shikhar Jain, Head Sustainability, CII at the inauguration of the B.Com (Hons.) programme and panel discussion with industry experts.

The B.Com (Hons.) programme was launched on 31 August 2017 in the presence of leading names from industry and academia. The programme is currently housed within the Jindal Global Business School (JGBS). To inspire and encourage the founding batch, Mr. Gaurav Vohra (Partner, KPMG), Mr. Sanjay Gupta (President, ICAI), and Mr. Shikhar Jain (Head, Sustainability, CII) and Mr. Varun Jain, MD, Miles Education, made their presence felt alongside Dr. Tapan K. Panda, Dean, JGBS.

Given the track record of the School, the newly joined batch can expect a comprehensive learning experience during the course of the programme. The inaugural ceremony turned out to be a great learning experience for the founding batch as they witnessed industry and academia leaders engaging in a discussion on “Innovative Management Control System for Effective Performance & Sustainability.” Moderated by Professor (Dr.) Pankaj Gupta, the panel discussion constituted ideal stimulation for students.

Professor Ravi Agarwal started the proceedings by talking about the genesis of the B.Com. (Hons.) programme. According to him, the key distinguishing factors of the programme are “100% industry integration including collaborations with KPMG and IMA, USA, three mandatory research and internship opportunities, and eight different specializations: Sales & Marketing, Advertising and Promotion, Financial Management, Personal Finance Planning, Auditing, Wealth Management, Entrepreneurship and General Management.”

Clearly the program holds a lot of promise for aspirants and the Dean of the School underlined its significance: “We have offered India’s No. 1 B.Com. (Hons.) programme and we are ensuring we deliver the best through our industry associations with IMA, USA and KPMG, global collaborations with foreign universities and a multidisciplinary university environment.”

The panel discussion on “Innovative Management Control System for Effective Performance & Sustainability” underway.

Mr. Gaurav Vohra shared an interesting theory: “One who knows ‘how’ will always have a job and the one who knows ‘why’ will always be their boss. We have to make bosses out of you.”

The programme has been designed to offer students practical insight along with cutting edge classroom learning experience. Mr. Shikhar Jain focused on its importance: “The major difference between the Indian and foreign education systems is the latter’s focus on practical application. Understand the practical applications of things that you learn.” The founding batch students will do well to follow this significant advice.

Reminding the students they were at a top university, Mr. Sanjay Gupta stressed on the need to make the most of the opportunities and platforms offered here. “Business Intelligence is required from a finance professional today. You should spend at least one hour watching Business News every day. It will bring the business world closer to you,” he said to a round of applause. And the stage was set for the thought provoking panel discussion.

Mr. Varun Jain made interesting observations as he talked about Analytics and Big Data, the latest trends in Management Control Systems. He also stressed on the importance of having business practices in place from the onset. The students had done their research and quizzed the speakers about systems implemented by top names in the industry. A healthy discussion throughout the panel session ensured the day ended on a high note.

The Jindal School of International Affairs hosted a public lecture on “Conspiracies, Fake News and Disinformation – Instruments of Russian Information Warfare in Europe and Beyond” on 14 September 2017 on the JGU campus. The lecture was delivered by Professor (Dr.) Kiril Avramov, Department of Political Science, New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria.

The lecture focused on the serious spike in circulation of disinformation, fake news and proliferation of conspiracy theories tied to contemporary foreign and domestic policy issues and security dynamics that Europe and the West in general have witnessed.

Most of these instruments of propaganda and general information warfare are part of the contemporary Russian doctrine of hybrid warfare.

The lecture discussed different aspects and key elements of the Russian information warfare, as part of the wider arsenal of hybrid warfare in accenting on their deployment, as a foreign policy tool in achieving meta-policy goals for the current Russian administration.

About the Speaker

Prof. Kiril Avramov, Ph.D. is a part of the Department of Political Science at the New Bulgarian University. He has received his education at Gustavus Adolphus College (U.S.), University of Aberdeen (Scotland), University of Sofia (Bulgaria), Central European University (Hungary) and the New Bulgarian University (Bulgaria). Until 2005 he has taught at the Department of Political Science the University of Sofia and from 2006 to 2010 was the Director of the international consultancy and research institute “Political Capital” in Bulgaria. In 2010-2011 period was appointed as the Director for International Relations of the same consultancy and research institute at their HQ in Budapest, Hungary. His main research interests are concentrated in the areas of political elites, political economy, political extremism, electoral systems, political communication, transitions in Eastern Europe, political leadership and international political economy. Additional research interests lie in the fields of art and politics, political protest, political radicalization and radicalization prevention. Teaching interests include elites, institutions, representative government, and international political economy. Dr. Avramov is a member of the Bulgarian Political Science Association, member of the ECPR’s standing groups of Extremism & Democracy, Central and East European Politics, Elites and Political Leadership, Politics and the Arts, South East Europe. He is also a member of RAN-DERAD network under Migration and Home Affairs Directorate of the European Commission (EC).

Dr. Avramov is a former Fulbright Senior Visiting Research Scholar at The Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES) at the University of Austin at Texas (U.S.) in the academic 2015/16 year. He was also a holder of a full scholarship for the entire duration of his PhD research at the University of Sofia and a recipient of an “Open Society Institute-Sofia” scholarship for his year-long PhD specialization at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary in 2005.”

Jindal School of Government and Public Policy (JSGP) recently launched its student blog, the Policy Corner.

The weekly blog founded by two students of JSGP’s Masters in Public Policy programme, Geetika Khanduja and Aparna Sivaraman, runs through contributions from the JSGP student community.

The Policy Corner aims to inculcate a culture of writing and to develop the analytical abilities of the students. It also aims to create a platform for JSGP students to discuss local, national and global policy issues with a wider audience. So far, the blog has published some interesting and thought-provoking articles that have provided a refreshing take on a myriad range of issues.

Refer for more: https://policycornerblog.wordpress.com/

The Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities kicked off the second year of its Peer Tutoring Program in September. The program is a collaborative effort between students and faculty to help improve the overall academic performance of the student body.

Within this program, a team of Peer Tutors, selected on the basis of exemplary academic performance, teaching ability, and faculty recommendation, assists students currently enrolled in foundation courses to understand, practice, and revise course material for assignments and examinations. In consultation with faculty members, they also work with students preparing for re-sit examinations at the end of the semester.

During the inaugural year of the program, in 2016-17, fifteen Peer Tutors and two Head Tutors held sessions in subjects ranging from Quantitative Skills to Spanish to Philosophy. Despite the challenges of scheduling sessions, students’ reception of the program was positive. A student who attended tutoring sessions last year commented, “The classes were a great help into understanding the course better.” Praising the teaching style of 2016-17 Head Tutor Harjot Singh (JSLH 2015), another student said, “I was for the first time in my life excited to give a mathematics paper.”

Arushi Jain (JSLH 2016) assists her junior Nikunj in studying Spanish.

Based on student feedback from the inaugural year of the program, the program’s Faculty Coordinators, Sean P. Bala and Isabel Salovaara, introduced a number of proposed program improvements this term. The program is now led by a team of four Head Tutors—members of the second- and final-year batches of JSLH, Vedika Jain (JSLH 2015), Kanika Dabra (JSLH 2015), Manya Sawhney (JSLH 2016), and Harnoor Kaur (JSLH 2016). The pedagogical emphasis of the program has also shifted from revision and doubt-clearing to active practice sessions wherein students attempt the kinds of questions they will encounter in course assessments and receive feedback from the tutors.

An Academic Writing and Communication Skills tutorial.

A new tutorial in Academic Writing and Communication Skills, spearheaded by Ashwin Malik (JSLH 2016), Manya Sawhney (JSLH 2016), and Nikhil Ayyagari (JSLH 2016), emphasises skill development rather than course-specific knowledge. The objective of this tutorial is to equip students to tackle the diverse tasks of academic writing that they encounter across their courses.

Harnoor Kaur (JSLH 2016) conducts a Spanish lesson.

As it enters its second year, the JSLH Tutoring Program aspires to demonstrate the potential of peer-to-peer learning to enhance the undergraduate academic experience.

On 27 September 2017, two cricketing greats addressed students and faculty at O.P. Jindal Global University. With over 2,000 First Class wickets between the pair, Mr. Bishan Singh Bedi, former Indian Test cricket captain, and Mr. Michael Kasprowicz, former Australian Test cricketer, shared stories from their cricketing careers.

In an event organised by JGU’s Centre for India Australia Studies (CIAS), the pair shared inspirational stories about the life lessons that they learnt during their respective careers and how these lessons can be applied in everyday life. Mr. Bedi spoke about the importance of integrity in sport. He spoke about cricketing legend, Sir Donald Bradman, and how he extolled the virtues of acting with integrity on and off the field. Modern day cricketers and athletes can learn a lot from the cricketers of old.

Mr. Kasprowicz spoke about his love of India and the strong connection he has developed with the country over the past 19 years. He spent a week at the JGU campus in connection with a course on Sports Law and Governance organised by the CIAS. The course saw JGU students and students from the University of Queensland (UQ) learn about sports law and governance across both jurisdictions. Mr. Kasprowicz mentioned that he thoroughly enjoyed his time on campus and spoke of the importance of such collaborations between India and Australia.

Launch of the JGU-University of Queensland joint course on “Sport Law and Governance”

The following morning, students and faculty from JGU and UQ competed in a cricket match on the JGU campus led by Vice Chancellor, Professor C. Raj Kumar and Michael Kasprowicz. While Team India narrowly won this fixture, a great time was had by all.

The Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences (JIBS) collaborated as knowledge partner with Sampurna and UN-Habitat in organising Urban Thinker Campus on ‘Making Delhi a Women Friendly City’ on 22 -23 September 2017 at the Constitutional Club, New Delhi.

On behalf of JIBS, Ms. Garima Jain, Assistant Director, JIBS, coordinated in organising the event with Sampurna and UN-Habitat. The event discussed recommendations for local governance, urban planning, public places & criminal justice system, safer working places, role of media, and social education in the context of enhancing women’s security in Delhi.

Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor, JGU delivered the Chief Guest Address at the Inaugural ceremony. Professor (Dr.) Sanjeev P. Sahni, Principal Director, JIBS, chaired a session on ‘Current Policy and Legal System on Women Safety.’ Dr. Rakshi Rath, Assistant Director, JIBS delivered a talk as part of the session, ‘Planning approaches in Workplace in Urban Areas.’ Dr. Manjushree Palit, Assistant Professor & Deputy Director, JIBS, gave a talk in the session, ‘Pathways to make Delhi a safe city for women’. Ms. Garima Jain presented the recommendations in the valedictory session.

The Jindal School of Journalism and Communication had organised a panel discussion on 11 September, 2017 at the University campus. The theme of the panel discussion was, “Future of Indian Newspapers: Survival Strategies and the way forward” which was organised by Prof. Suruchi Mazumdar and was moderated by Prof. Kishalay Bhattacharjee. The guest speakers for the discussion were Mr. Bharat Bhushan who is the Editor of Catch news and Mr. Sandipan Deb who is Editorial Director in Swarajya magazine.

In this panel discussion both the speakers highlighted the fact that the readership of newspapers is declining around the world, especially the West. But if one compares India it is still doing better than other countries as far as the newspaper readership goes. A huge contributor to this sustainability of newspapers are the regional newspapers which people read across India. They are not only well connected with people’s local or regional language that they are comfortable with but also have far better issues and content for its readers. The speakers said that newspapers are becoming more and more commercial in the sense that they are more revenue based nowadays and also with the changing time newspapers have to adapt with the changing trends and technology. The discussion also gave an insight to the functioning of media house, how and why are certain news published, what ideologies newspapers follow, etc.

The discussion also rotated around the new technology and how the new generation reads the news, how do they decide the content, the sites where they read from as reading habits of new generation are changing as fast the trends in media are changing. The role of peer groups and how the peer group option matters were other topics of discussion.

Sandipan Deb – Editorial Director, Swarajya magazine

Newspapers have an impact in India from the day newspaper was born. But, there has been a general decline in newspaper readership especially in the West where newspapers sale has fallen by 12% last year. All this is happening because of the growth of Internet in today’s world. Nowadays, the idea of consuming news or event is quite different. The attention span has declined, no one has time to read, and people have very hectic schedules than earlier days, where things use to happen with ease. Newspaper reading earlier was a part of daily routine, but today it has declined drastically as online media has taken over the market.

The best example is The New York Times which makes more money out of their website other than their actually selling newspapers. But, in India newspapers still have comfortable future for at least next 5-10 years, but saying this the newspapers have to adapt to new realities. He further, supported the growth of regional newspapers and said that regional newspapers are doing better than the general newspapers as the regional papers are better in terms of content, reporting the issues as they are closer to reality, writing courageous news, reporting reality, etc. regional newspapers have a lot of hope among them than big newspapers in the country.

Also, today the new trend of blogging is speeding up at a fast rate and so, unfortunately a lot of bloggers start thinking themselves as journalist. So, all the bloggers who are blogging on various websites are not journalist. The problem with blogging is that there is no quality control as anyone from any part of the world can blog anything at any given point of time without any filters. So, such things in media creates a lot of fake news. Whereas, newspapers are more trust worthy and credible as there is some sort of quality control. Newspapers are any day better, than news on social media. The reason why newspapers are more reliable is because newspapers have some ideology with which they function and publish certain news in their newspapers. But, saying all this, newspapers have to adapt to the new technology that has come or is coming.

Mr. Bharat Bhushan – Editor, Catch news

He highlighted that when one talks about future of newspapers two questions come into account one is the profitability of newspapers. Profitability in newspapers is affected by advertisements, circulation, cost of production, wages, etc. The profitability crisis of newspapers firstly and majorly concerns the newspaper owners and then journalist. The second question is about what newspapers contain in other words, the crisis of content in newspapers. So, the question of future of newspapers leads to long term trends i.e. profitability of newspapers as well as relevance or irrelevance of news content in newspapers today.

The new generation is use to free news which deturates the newspapers further. But, India has the highest print growth rate in the world. Regional newspapers growth rate in India is increasing at a good rate. English newspapers as compared to regional papers are also increasing at a fair pace. The reality of profitability in India is that, there are no real profitability crisis in Indian newspapers as they are working at a profit margin of 30%.  To add on to this, is that newspapers are restructuring their revenue streams, so that revenue is not only dependent on advertisements. Furthermore, revenue generation is coming from content re-selling, customized content generation, controversial paid news, private treaties, organizing conclaves, conferences, seminars, publishing books and collective issues, monitoring news archives, expanding into digital media, customized content to mobiles, brand expansion, etc.

Seeing all this it shows that alternative revenue generation are being put into place in case, profitability in print falls. There are further two aspects to the crisis of content in newspapers. The first, is the competition that the newspapers face from other news sources and the second one is the crisis of newspapers which relates to the mindset, where the mindset becomes part of the dominant content that exists in that society at that particular point of time. Even with coming of the digital media the content in the newspapers have not changed. Further, the content crisis is also because of erosion of news in newspapers and this is because of three reasons: – one is rapidly increasing marker for newspapers in readership, changing outlook of the editor and thirdly growing ideology consensus between state, corporates and the media.

According to the owner’s point of view one has to deliver certain kind of readership profile to advertisers. People are writing news only for certain sections or society, this process has led to descaling of journalist. Now-a-days, editors see their self-affirmation not in running goof newspapers, but in being recognized by the state. So, the main problem is not profitability, but it is the content which has declined drastically.

According to Mr. Bhushan television is a big medium which influences a lot of people. It does not matter if the viewership is low because the main thing is the number of people that have been influenced. He further, highlighted in accordance with what Mr. Deb said about local newspapers, that local newspapers have their issues and their own shortcomings. The further discussion continued discussing the news reading habits which changes after every 4-5 years. In today’s generation are thee two segments one of them is older generation (26-28yrs) which go on news sited to read about news and the other segment which is younger to the depend on their news from news aggregators.  Today, the peer group decides what one has to read and from where and which place or site. So, the trust has shifted from reliable sources to peer groups in youngsters’ life and this is how they decide the news reading and the content of news.

The Jindal School of Journalism and Communication had organised a panel discussion on 11 September, 2017 at the University campus. The theme of the panel discussion was, “Future of Indian Newspapers: Survival Strategies and the way forward” which was organised by Prof. Suruchi Mazumdar and was moderated by Prof. Kishalay Bhattacharjee. The guest speakers for the discussion were Mr. Bharat Bhushan who is the Editor of Catch news and Mr. Sandipan Deb who is Editorial Director in Swarajya magazine.

In this panel discussion both the speakers highlighted the fact that the readership of newspapers is declining around the world, especially the West. But if one compares India it is still doing better than other countries as far as the newspaper readership goes. A huge contributor to this sustainability of newspapers are the regional newspapers which people read across India. They are not only well connected with people’s local or regional language that they are comfortable with but also have far better issues and content for its readers. The speakers said that newspapers are becoming more and more commercial in the sense that they are more revenue based nowadays and also with the changing time newspapers have to adapt with the changing trends and technology. The discussion also gave an insight to the functioning of media house, how and why are certain news published, what ideologies newspapers follow, etc.

Team Sahityam – Faculty and student organisers of the JGU Literary Festival

The University’s first footstep into Literary Festivals – Sahityam organised by the JGU Book Club was an occasion where writings that influenced and inspired generations across time, authors from different genres and their creative expression was celebrated. With the vision of promoting love for literature, and various art forms and expressions, the occasion saw a confluence of the six schools of O.P. Jindal Global University, with students, staff and faculty members enthusiastically coming together to celebrate the three days of a Literary Festival, ‘Sahityam’ between 1st to 3rd of September, 2017.

The first day witnessed an Author’s talk by Sami Ahmad Khan who specializes in Science Fiction and spoke about his novel, ‘Aliens in Delhi.’ A panel of poets, discussing the craft of poetry, Uttarandas Gupta, Akhil Katyal and Nandini Dhar graced the second day with their verses that helped etch the day in our memories forever. On day three, graphic novelist, Vishwajyoti Ghosh transported us across the tides of time with his talk on Partition.

The Theatre Society of JGU staged a Comic Play based on the Complete Works of Shakespeare. The festival also marked the first of its kind stand-up comedy performance in the premises of the University by Amar Comedywala of the Canvas Laugh Club with an opening act by a student Veer Shetty from the Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities.

The Complete Works of Shakespeare, a comic play performed by the Performing Arts Society on 1st September 2017

All three days saw the presence of Book Stalls from Penguin Random House, and  Dorling Kindersley Publication buzzing with members of JGU, ready to bury themselves in works of literature.

Book displays by various publishing houses during Sahityam, JGU Literary Festival, between 1-3 September 2017

This was accompanied by competitions such as Nukkad Naatak, Poetry Writing, Half-A-Minute, Taboo, Story Writing, Declamation, and Debate to name a few, spread across the three days of the event.

Poetry Discussion and Reading on Craft of Poetry with Uttaran Das, Akihil Katyal and Nadidni Dhar held on 2nd September 2017

Students from JGU along with twelve colleges across Delhi and NCR participated in these competitions. They were awarded certificates, books and gift hampers.  At the end of it all, volunteers and participants found that the Literary Festival was not only a celebration of Literature but also an occasion where they made memories and celebrated themselves.

Stand-up comedian (JGU student) Veer Shetty felicitating Amar Comedy Wala from Canvas Laugh Club, post the stand comedy act at JGU on 2nd September 2017

Some words build houses in our throat and live there – content and on fire. We wrote that, which we were most afraid of writing. We debated that, which was the most contentious of debates. We read – not only books and lines but beyond books and between lines. Sahityam, JGU’s first Literary Festival, became a platform for everyone to give up their need to ‘fit in’ and display what makes them special.

Several JGU sports teams participated in the National Law Tournaments, Spiritus 2017 and Yuvardha 2017, at the National Law University, Bangalore and the Banyan League 2016-17 at BML Munjal University. The teams performed exceedingly well despite several rain affected matches. The wins mark a prestigious moment for JGU as some of the best universities of India participated in the tournaments. The JGU swimming and squash teams in particular showed exemplary stamina, courage and sportsman spirit to outshine all the other sports contingents.

  • The overall results are as follows:
  • BANYAN LEAGUE 2016-17
Date – 29th August 2017                    Venue – BML Munjal University
S.NODisciplinesPosition
1.Football1st Position
2.Basketball (Men’s)1st Position
3.Basketball (Women’s )3rd Position
4.Cricket1st Position
5.Volleyball2nd Position
  • SPIRITUS – 2017
(National Law Tournament) Date – 20th to 22nd August 2017            Venue – National Law University, Bangalore
S.NODisciplinesPosition
1Swimming- 50 Meter BS1st Position
2Swimming- 50 Meter FS1st Position
3Swimming- 100 Meter FS1st Position
4Swimming – 50 Meter BS2nd Position
5Swimming- 50 Meter BS1st Position
6Swimming 50 Meter BFLY2nd Position
7Swimming – 100 Meter FS2nd Position
8Swimming- Men M Relay1st Position
9Swimming- FS relay3rd Position
10Squash (Men’s)1st Position
  • YUVARDHA -2017
(National Law Tournament) Date – 21st to 24th September 2017       Venue – National Law University, Jodhpur
S.NODisciplinesPosition
1.Volleyball (Men’s)2nd Position
2.Volleyball (Women’s)1st Position
3.Basketball (Men’s)1st Position
4.Basketball (Women’s)1st Position
5.Football (Women’s)2nd Position
6.Tennis (Men’s Individual)1st Position
7.Tennis (Men’s Team Event)1st position
8.Badminton (Men’s Individual)3rd Position
9.Badminton (Men’s Team Event )1st Position
10.Table Tennis (Women’s)3rd Position
11.Throw ball (Women’s)3rd Position
12.Long Jump (Women’s)1st Position
13.Triple Jump (Women’s)1st Position
14.4x100m Relay (Women’s)1st Position
15.Shotput (Women’s)1st Position
16.1500m (Women’s athletics)1st Position
17.1500m (Women’s athletics)2nd Position
18.400m (Women’s athletics)1st Position
19.Marathon (10000m Women’s athletics)1st Position
20Football (Men’s)3rd Position