GS Paper II- Governance, Social Justice.

Gender Gap Narrowing In Higher Education: HRD Survey.


  • Gender gap in India’s institutes of higher studies has reduced by nine lakh in the last five years with girl students outnumbering men in eight disciplines in 2016-17 academic session, according to a survey of the HRD ministry.
  • While in master’s of arts, there are 160 women for every 100 men, in bachelor’s of science (nursing) has 384 women for every 100 men.
  • Even in the postgraduate classes of science and commerce, women have handsomely outnumbered men with 167 and 158 respectively per 100 males.
  • However, in undergraduate and technical and professional courses like BTech, law or management, the enrolment is skewed in favour of males and the gap is significant.


Highlights Of The Development-

  • The All India Survey on Higher Education, released by the HRD ministry on 5th January, 2018, says the gender gap in higher educational institutions decreased by over nine lakh from 2011-12 to 2016-17 (31.5 lakh to 21.5 lakh). The survey shows the Gender Partiy Index increased to 0.94 in 2016-17 from 0.86 in 2010-11 with women participation in certain disciplines very high and increasingly sharply in courses like MA, MSc, and MCom.
  • The enrolment by the end of 2016-17 academic year stands at 3,57,05,905 with a Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 25.2. GER is counted from the number of students enrolled in higher education institutions out of the total population in the age group of 18 to 23 years.
  • Women continue to outnumber men in bachelor’s of arts and education. In MBBS there are 99 women per 100 male students, up from 86 in 2012-13, and in BCom up to 93 from 79 in the same period.
  • At MSc level, mathematics, physics and zoology are subjects where the number of women is over 60% while in chemistry it is 56.3%. At postgraduate level, the highest number of enrolment has been for mathematics with a total of 1,43,762 students of which 62.1% are women. In social sciences and specially in courses like political science, 52.2% students are women.
  • However, as per the survey, even though the GER of female is higher, there is still significant gap in BTech, MTech, law and MBA programmes. In BTech, there are only 39 women per 100 men, hardly any improvement from 38 women in 2012-13. Barring MPhil and PG levels, the gap is also significant in diploma level courses with 70% male enrolment. India aims to attain a GER of 30% by 2020.

Sources- TOI.


GS Paper III- Technology, Economic Development.

BharatNet Project: Centre May Achieve Early Completion Of 2nd Phase.


  • Having completed the first phase of BharatNet project to provide broadband connectivity to 1 lakh gram panchayats, the Centre is expecting to preempt its original target of March 2019 for the second phase by concluding it ahead of schedule by December 2018.
  • Under the first phase, one lakh gram panchayats have been provided with high-speed broadband connectivity.
  • Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said on 8th January that the second phase of the project has been initiated for connecting the remaining 1.5 lakh gram panchayats.


Highlights Of The Development-

  • The objective of the government’s flagship project is to provide affordable broadband services in rural and remote areas, in partnership with states and the private sector.
  • Describing Bharat Net as the world’s largest rural broadband project, Sinha said that the project will generate massive employment opportunities, both direct and indirect, in the country in the coming days. The infrastructure is expected to catalyse digital delivery of services for the rural poor in crucial areas like health, education, livelihood, skills, e-agriculture and e-commerce.
  • Furthermore, the tariff for BharatNet has been revised to get more service providers on board to use the infrastructure for high-speed broadband services through wi-fi and Fibre-to-the-Home. Stating that the tender process for the second phase has already started, Sundararajan said that state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has floated its tender. Wi-fi tenders are there whereby from 38,000 Wi-fi hotspots, by the end of implementation that is planned for December 2018, India will go to half a million Wi-fi hotspots.
  • Later, on the sidelines of the Bharat Net event, Sundararajan also informed that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is expected to hold separate meetings with the telecom operators and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to discuss the deteriorating call drop situation in the country.

Sources- The Indian Express.


GS Paper IV- Aptitude.

India Unveils Pratyush, Its Fastest Supercomputer Yet.


  • India’s supercomputing prowess moved up several notches on January 8, 2018 after it unveiled Pratyush, an array of computers that can deliver a peak power of 6.8 petaflops.
  • One petaflop is a million billion floating point operations per second and is a reflection of the computing capacity of a system.
  • According to a statement by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pratyush is the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world dedicated for weather and climate research, and follows machines in Japan, USA and the United Kingdom.
  • It will also move an Indian supercomputer from the 300s to the 30s in the Top500 list, a respected international tracker of the world’s fastest supercomputers.


Highlights Of The Development-

  • The machines will be installed at two government institutes: 4.0 petaflops HPC facility at IITM, Pune; and 2.8 petaflops facility at the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast, Noida.
  • The government had sanctioned ₹400 crore last year to put in place a 10-petaflop machine. A key function of the machine’s computing power would be monsoon forecasting using a dynamical model. This requires simulating the weather for a given month and letting a custom-built model calculate how the actual weather will play out over June, July, August and September.
  • With the new system, it would be possible to map regions in India at a resolution of 3 km and the globe at 12 km.
  • While inaugurating the facility at IITM, Pune, Union Science Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said Pratyush would be India’s “premier” HPC (high performance computing) and was a step up from India’s current peak capacity of 1.0 PF.

Sources- The Hindu.