C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU staff confused over pension scheme
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Confusion has replaced the euphoria which marked the introduction of a pension scheme for Panjab University employees. With very little information available with the university regarding the new scheme, the employees are faced with a tough choice between retaining the contributory provident fund collected over years of service and pension as a security for retirement years.

Employees have been asked to fill in the requisite forms and give in their choice before April 3.

To sort out this problem, the Punjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) has asked Deputy Accountant-General to deliver a lecture on March 22 for the university faculty before they give in their forms.

The pension regulations would apply to all employees who joined university service before January 1, 2004.

Only those receiving a regular salary from the university and on duty are eligible for pension. Temporary employees would be eligible for pension only if they have uninterrupted employment.

Work-charged employees, who have been in a full-time job and whose service is followed by regular employment, too will be eligible for pension.

All periods of service which count towards increment shall also count towards pension.

Those who had retired from service prior to January 1, 2004, can chose to be a part of this scheme provided they return to the university the monies obtained through the Contributory Provident Fund Scheme on their superannuation. They need not pay any interest on this amount.

But they will get their pension only from the date that such monies are deposited in the Pension Corpus. No arrears of pension will be paid. Those who joined service later are not a part of this scheme.

An employee would have to pay the total contribution of the university to his Contributory Provident Fund Account as on October 24, 2005, or on the date of his retirement if earlier, to the Pension Corpus of the university.

The employees own contribution to the CP Fund, along with the interest earned on it, as on October 24,2005, too shall be transferred to the Pension Corpus.

This effectively means that the entire corpus of Contributory Provident Fund in the name of an employee will be simply transferred to the Pension Corpus.

Essentially, this will be a book transfer in case of those still in the service of the university.

After the cut-off date, the CPF would be collected as GPF wherein the university would not contribute its share but only maintain the account and this collected GPF amount would be taken by the employee on his or her superannuation.

After 10 years of pensionable service, an employee will be entitled to a service gratuity equivalent to half month's salary for each six months of service.

This means that for 33 years or more of service, the pension will be 50 per cent of the average emoluments earned during the last 10 months of service.

For less than 33 years of service, the pension amount will be proportionately reduced.

The family of a deceased employee will get a family pension. This will amount to a minimum of Rs 750 in case of the lowest paid employees and a minimum of Rs 1200 in case of the highest paid employees, but subject to an upper limit of Rs 2500.

This amount would be given only for the period till the deceased employee would have achieved the notional age of 67.

After that the family pension would be reduced, subject to a maximum of Rs 1,500.

In case where both husband and wife were employed by the university, the eligible children would get two family pensions subject to a maximum of Rs 3,000 per month for the first 7 years and Rs 2,250 thereafter.



Let’s have norms for mobile use in public
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
There is a need to lay down norms for mobile use in public places. This was stated by Dr Nilika Malhotra of the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, JNU, New Delhi, at seminar held at Panjab University here recently.

She said Japan had banned verbal communication on mobile phones at public places.

Speaking on “Youth’s obsession with cell phones: implications for parents and teachers”, Dr Navneet Kaur of the Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, said from a mere telephone, mobile phone had become a companion.

Students carried mobile phones to the classrooms. The technology that had brought human beings together defying the physical distances between them had at the same time made it possible for the youth-the adolescents-to raise a completely private world for themselves, pushing both parents and teachers behind, she said.

Ms Mohanmeet Khosla of the Department of Mass Communication, Panjab University, said the Internet addiction had become a reality. In fact, efforts were on to classify the Internet addiction as an official health disorder recognised by the American Psychiatric Association, she said.

Basing her observation on a study conducted on 500 Internet users, Ms Khosla said it would be wrong to say that the Internet was addictive, rather many of the Net users behaved as addicts. Research revealed certain personality traits such as emotional sensitivity and reactivity, low-self esteem, low self-disclosure and non-conformist characteristics as the triggers of addiction whereby unmet real life psychological needs were gratified through on-line stimulation, she said.

Ms Khosla added that while the percentage of persons using the Internet excessively was still low, the number was increasing alarmingly.



Seminar on orchid opens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The north-eastern part of the country could become a global hub for orchid cultivation and export, said Dr V.P. Kamboj, president of National Academy of Sciences, during a national seminar on orchid today.

The seminar was inaugurated at the ICSSR Complex, Panjab University, by Dr Kamboj.

Dr Manju Sharma, former secretary, Department of Biotechnology, and president of the Orchid Society of India, who presided over the function stressed the ecological role of orchid and called upon the scientific community to help farmers grow the plant through modern methods.

Addressing the gathering, Prof Akhilesh Tyagi said in future biotechnology would play an important role in producing more spectacular orchids and in enhancing their shelf life.

He demonstrated how genetic engineering could help in producing more colourful and aromatic orchids.

Dr S.P. Vij, former professor and Head of Department of Botany, Panjab University, said the Orchid Society of India had developed new varieties and technologies for its cultivation and promoting scientists-farmer interaction.

More than 150 plant scientists, horticulturist, orchid growers and exporters were present at the three-day seminar and an orchid show.

The orchid show will be open to the public till March 20.

A painting competition for school children will be organised.



SGGS toppers honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The 36th annual convocation function of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, here was organised today within the college premises.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister of State for Finance, was the Chief Guest on the occasion.

He delivered the convocation address and conferred degrees on the students.

A total of 416 degrees were awarded to the students of M.Sc IT (29), M.A. Punjabi(21), PGDCA (25), B.Com (124), BCA (34), BA (88) B.Sc (61), B.Com Hons. (30) B.Sc Hons.(8) and BA Hons.(4).

Six students were awarded the Certificate of Merit for holding high rankings in the university exams.

These were Navneet Sahota (BCA) — first in PU for 3 consecutive years, Parneet Kaur (PGDCA) — first in PU and BCA(Hons) in the previous year,Geetanjali (PGDCA) — 10th in PU and Shikhadeep Gill (BSc Electronics) — 8th in PU and first in UT with 94 per cent marks.

Navjot Kaur Sidhu (MA I-Punjabi) — first in PU and Shelly Goyal (M.Com) —12th in PU were the other two awardees.

Earlier, the Principal, Dr Kuldeep Singh, declared the convocation open and read out the annual report.

Mr Bansal, in his convocation address, congratulated the achievers and called upon them to face the challenges of life with a positive attitude while striving for excellence in every sphere of life.



220 students get degrees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The 21st annual convocation of the Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, was held here today.

Prof G.K. Chadha, member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Committee and Former Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, was the chief guest on the occasion.

He awarded degrees to 220 graduates in arts, commerce and computer application streams. Ten meritorious graduates were also given prizes.

Deepika Bhandari and Anupreet Kalsi received the golden certificate for sharing the ninth position in the PU BCA III examination.

Seven graduates were awarded certificates of merit for doing well in PU examinations.



Lecture on framing of public policies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
On the third day of the ongoing “Project Citizen” at DAV Public School, Sector 8, Prof Paramjeet S. Jaiswal, Director, Ryat Law College, Ropar, and former Head of the Department of Law, Panjab University, today delivered a lecture on need and importance of framing public policies.

The lecture was followed by a presentation by class IX students of the school on problems related to child labour and adolescents. The presentation was prepared on the basis of a report framed after a year-long survey conducted by the students. The survey involved interviews of judges, IAS officers and Members of Parliament.

Ms Balachandran, director and country coordinator of the project, was present on the occasion to monitor the proceedings of the workshop.

The project is being organised by the Centre of Civic Education, Calabasas (USA) with an objective to bring awareness among people, regarding their rights and responsibilities.



From Schools and Colleges
Debate on ‘Rang De Basanti’
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, March 18
FACT (Faculty for Critical Academic Thinking), a discussion forum of Lecturers of Government College, Sector-46, today held its annual seminar on “Youth and Violence — a take on ‘Rang De Basanti’”.

The session was chaired by Prof Sherry Sabharwal of the Department of Sociology, Panjab University, with Prof Atulvir Arora of the university’s Department of Hindi (Evening Studies), and Meenakshi Sharma, script writer for Govind Nihalani’s film “Dev” as panelists.

The discussion focussed on various aspects of the film ranging from its cinematic excellence to its thematic issues in the context of contemporary society.

Professor Sabharwal highlighted the sociological significance of the film and gave a critical assessment of its theme.

Prof Atulvir Arora analysed the multi-layered narrative and traced the historical moorings of the film in his own inimitable style.

Meenakshi Sharma elucidated the technical aspect of the film and stressed its ability to capture the mood, anxieties and dilemmas of youth today.

The seminar was attended by faculties from other colleges of the city. The function concluded with college Principal Dr A.N. Garg presenting mementoes to the guest speakers.

Works on display

Aanchal International School, Sector 41, today organised an annual exhibition of creative work done by students.

Innovative methods of modern classroom teaching were the highlight of the exhibition.

Various projects with the assistance of teaching aides were displayed to help parents understand the modern concept of classroom teaching and to encourage their children to think, reason and develop independent problem solving skills.

Abacus learning was the main attraction of the day. Various 3-D projects like Taj Mahal, volcano, village scene, etc. were displayed.

Impressive Power Point presentation was given by students on the current topics. In the art and craft section, students of kindergarten displayed photo frames of ice cream sticks, paper weights of stones, gold chains, table mats, magical star sticks, wind chimes, ‘diyas’ and candles.

A natural habitat was created where wild animals were displayed. A number of articles made out of waste things like egg trays, shoe boxes, etc. were also showcased.

World Forestry Day

Suwanjana, the eco-club of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46, observed World Forestry Day on the school premises here today.

Mr Ishwar Singh, IFS, Deputy Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden-cum-Director Environment of Chandigarh, was the chief guest. He, along with the Principal, Ms H.K. Bhatia, and in charge of the Suwanjana Eco-Club, Mr Om Parkash, and other members of the club planted medicinal plants like bael, brahmi, kalmegh, harar, satavari, akraha, satevia and suwanjana.

Around 131 student members of the club participated in a competition on ornamental and medicinal plants. A group song was presented by the girl students to encourage people to conserve forests and wild life. Mr Ishwar Singh said every one should protect, preserve and propagate plants on public/private land.

Ms H.K. Bhatia thanked the chief-guest. Mr Om Parkash highlighted the achievements of the club.



Sculpture Park inaugurated
Tribune News Service

A sculpture park was inaugurated at Government College, Sector 11, here, by Aditya Prakash, Chairman, Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi, today.

College Principal Pahlad Aggarwalsaid the sculptures had added to the beauty of the college campus. The college was the first in the City Beautiful to have sculptures created by artists from the region .

After going round the park Aditya Prakash lit a candle on a stand created by the artists.


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