Corporates classrooms
What we have today is a growing skills gap reflecting the slim availability of high-quality college education in India. It has thus become imperative for India Inc and academia to collaborate for preparing a world-class, competent, talented and innovative workforce, writes Lokesh Mehra

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had once mentioned that India needed to ensure greater availability of opportunities at the higher-education level so that we could have not just literate youths but skilled youths, with skills which could lead to gainful employment. However, he expressed concern about the fact that as a country endowed with a huge human resource, we cannot let the imminent shortage of skilled employees be a constraint to our development.

As countries like India race to embrace the next phase of growth and become more globally competitive, it is technology that will provide the advantage. Every country today is vying for a place in the global economy and the network can give them the edge they need. According to ‘ Gartner’s Market Trends: Industry Analysis, India 2004-2009’, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) investments in India are expected to double by 2009, which implies that the need for a skilled workforce is growing exponentially.

Employment vs employability

Given India’s 1.1 billion population it maybe difficult to imagine how we can face a shortage of talent. However, with literacy at 52 per cent, high poverty levels (319 million live below USD 1 per day), India’s wide rural-urban divide, and the quality of education available, the paucity of talent is indeed becoming a cause for concern. In particular, this demand-supply gap is already being felt by India’s burgeoning IT industry and fears of the gap widening in the future are being examined carefully.

In fact, according to Nasscom, each year over 3 million graduates and postgraduates are added to the Indian workforce. However, of these only 25 per cent of technical graduates and 10-15 per cent of other graduates are considered employable by the rapidly growing IT and ITES segments. Hence, what we have today is a growing skills gap reflecting the slim availability of high-quality college education in India and the galloping pace of the country’s service-driven economy, which is growing faster than most countries in the world.

Bridging the divide

In this demand-supply gap scenario, a look at the Indian education system will reveal that the number of technical schools in India, including engineering colleges, has actually more than trebled in the last decade, according to the All India Council of Technical Education. Part of the skills-gap problem is that only a small percentage of India's youth pursue higher education. No more than 7 per cent of Indians aged 18-25 go to college, according to official statistics. Even a more fundamental level of education is proving difficult with nearly 40 per cent of the people over the age of 15 being illiterate (Source: The Economist, “A Survey of Business in India”; June 2006.)

Looking at north India alone, studies reveal that there are a significant number of engineering institutes: Delhi 14; Chandigarh 5; Haryana 38; Himachal Pradesh 5; J&K 5; Punjab 45; Rajasthan 56. However, problems associated with a dearth of skilled teachers, funding, language, outdated syllabi, etc are commonly faced by educational institutions. Furthermore, today there is a situation wherein the best and most selective universities generate too few graduates and new private colleges are producing graduates of uneven quality leading to an imbalance.

Hence, we see that it is becoming more and more difficult to create a robust and continuous pipeline of talent. The university systems of only a few countries would be able to keep up with such a demand and India is certainly having trouble.

Tailor-made talent

As businesses propose to double and treble their workforces and Indian companies strive to maintain their position in the global marketplace, it has become imperative to prepare and plan for a world-class, competent, talented and innovative workforce. It is estimated that India would require a workforce of 5,00,000 capable IT professionals in the IT and IT-enabled services sectors by 2010, according to the Economic Survey. However, over the past 15 years, India has produced 1.6 million professionals and faces the uphill task of producing another 0.8 million in the next two years.

Many of the IT MNCs, viz Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Infosys and Wipro, have alliances with academic institutions on specific initiatives covering skills-based ICT education, faculty upgradation, internships, curriculum workshops, research incubation, etc. aggregating the architects of the new global economy. For instance, institutions like Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Science in New Delhi, Chitkara College of Engineering, Chandigarh, and Banasthali Vidyapith Women’s University have tie-ups with Cisco, Red Hat, etc.

The time is ripe for us all now to reboot the Indian education system by various programmes, joint initiatives and other measures by individuals, the government, industry and academia. Such activities have the potential to play an important part in plugging the talent gap in the years to come. Training individuals for the jobs of the future and allowing them to visualise what it possible today will not only make a difference in their lives but will enrich our communities now and for years to come.

— The writer is regional manager-CR, Cisco-South Asia



Career Hotline
Stage manage
Pervin Malhotra

Q. I am in my final year of graduation. I wish to join the National School of Drama. Can you please tell me about the selection procedure at the NSD, New Delhi? I am very interested in stage design but I have a polio-afflicted leg. Will I qualify?

— Radhika Mehra

A. The National School of Drama (NSD), established by the Sangeet Natak Academy, offers a 3-year PG Diploma in Dramatic Arts which is recognized as equivalent to MA in Dramatics by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU).

The course comprises Dramatic Literature & Aesthetics (Eastern and Western), Theory & Practice of Acting, including components of Mime & Movement, Martial Arts, Yoga and Music and Theory & Practice of Stage Technique such as Costume and Scenic, Lighting, Make-up and Theatre Architecture. In year 2 & 3, students can opt for specialized training in the subject of their choice, i.e. ‘Acting’ or ‘Theatre Techniques’ and ‘Design’.

Eligibility for admission to this programme is a bachelor’s degree in any discipline with experience of active participating in at least six theatre productions and working knowledge of Hindi and English. Age: 20-30 years.

As there are only 20 seats for this course, the selection procedure is pretty rigorous. After the initial screening, written test and medical test for physical fitness which is held in five centres (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Guwahati and Kolkata), about 80 applicants are short-listed for a 5-day workshop at NSD that forms part of the selection process. For the written test it is best to read up and attend drama festivals to supplement your knowledge on film, television, culture and of course theatre.

I don’t see why you can’t apply. After all, four seats (out of 20) are reserved for the physically challenged/SC/ST (preferably from communities traditionally connected with performing arts).

Make sure you avail of every opportunity to participate in college plays, street theatre to hone your singing, dancing, mimicking and acting skills. In the auditions you will be asked to enact dramatic passages, speak dialogues from plays. Apart from assessing your natural talent and interest in theatre, your creativity and spontaneity will also be put to test.

No tuition fee is charged. Instead, students receive a stipend of Rs. 3000 p.m. While doing an internship in the final year, the scholarship goes up to Rs. 6000.

Watch out for the admission notification which has just appeared (See this week’s Deadlines Column). For further information, you could log on to the NSD website: 

No NET for Ph.D holders

Q. What is the final decision regarding UGC NET for lectureship? Is it mandatory? What is the age limit for lectureship/JRF? I am in my final year of LLM.

— Vivan Lohani

A. Accepting the recommendations of the NET Review Committee the University Grants Commission (UGC) has relaxed the rules for appointing college and university teachers. Ph.D holders no longer need to clear the screening exam or National Eligibility Test (NET) to be appointed as lecturers in PG or UG educational institutes.

Similarly, MPhil holders are exempted from NET for appointment as lecturers at the undergraduate level.

Those who passed the UGC/CSIR JRF exam before 1989 are also exempted from taking the NET.

Moreover, PhD-holders who completed their Masters by September 19, 1991 will get a relaxation of 5 per cent (50 pc instead of 55 pc at the PG level) if they wish to take the NET. As for your second query, there is no upper age limit for Lectureship.

(While the age limit is 28 years for JRF, there is 5-year relaxation for reserved categories and 3-year relaxation for LLM degree holders).

These moves will open up opportunities for M.Phils and Ph.Ds who failed the NET earlier while enabling universities to fill thousands of vacancies at technical institutes. The UGC has announced six new scholarships — 3 each in the sciences and social sciences stream for which the scholarship amount has been increased to Rs 60 crore. A Junior Research Fellowship for Rs 1500 will be offered in both streams. To encourage research, the Fellowship amount has been increased to Rs 12,000 p.m. from Rs 8000 earlier, (from April ’07), Similarly, the JRF/SRF (Professional) Fellowship has been increased from Rs 9,500 to Rs 14,000.

Incidentally, the application deadline for the next NET (June 29 ) is May 2, 2008.

Finding a voice in BPO

Q. I have been an English teacher for the past five years. Am I eligible to become a voice and accent trainer in the BPO sector?

— Simran Johri

A. Yes you are. Voice and accent trainers teach you how to roll your r's and soften your d's, fix your accent, spruce up your grammar to enable you to breeze through a five-minute conversation with an American or European. Their services range from hiring the suitable candidates to training them in the requisite voice and accent. This is a new breed of professionals who have come up as a result of the ever-increasing call centres in the country. Whereas earlier, call centre executives needed to be trained to use a specific American or British accent, now a neutral Global English is the acceptable norm.

A single call centre can hire between 20 to 60 voice and accent trainers who take training sessions with the executives, monitor calls and identify agents who need a refresher course.

Accent trainers are handpicked for the job because of their clarity of speech and fluency. Starting at Rs.30,000 pm or thereabouts your remuneration could go up to Rs 50,000 or more. Needless to say, the timings may be erratic and you may need to work night shifts. To become a voice and accent trainer you need to have an excellent command over English which you must have since you are a teacher of English. Besides, you must have a passion for training, good people skills and oodles of patience and enthusiasm. A graduate/ postgraduate degree in any discipline is a mandatory requirement. A Certification in Teaching English to Adults would be a good add-on. It would go a long way if you have traveled abroad and are familiar with Western cultural nuances. Many companies prefer to hire candidates with BPO experience. But anyone -- be it a housewife, fresh graduate or even retired personnel -- can join the industry if they have the requisite skill set.

Most V & A trainers grow from the ranks after having worked for a few years in the BPO sector.

Besides call centres you can seek employment with `BPO finishing / training schools’, which have sprung up all over.

The writer is a noted career consultant 

Limit to teaching

Q. Is it true that even those who have taken the SET can teach anywhere in India?

— Girish chawla

A. Yes and no. As a rule, the (State Eligibility Test for Lectureship (SET) entitles you to teach in any college or university in the state from which the test is taken. There is an exception however. Those who cleared the SET before June 1, 2002, are exempted from taking the NET as they are eligible to apply for lectureship anywhere in India.

Steps are afoot to increase trained manpower in hospitality 
Check in

In the wake of a huge shortage of trained manpower in the hospitality sector, the government has launched fresh HRD initiatives to fill the shortfall by increasing capacities at different levels. "There is a huge shortage of trained manpower in the hospitality industry in the country. The output of manpower at the skill level which forms bulk of the demand, falls grossly short on the supply side," Union tourism secretary S. Bannerjee said in New Delhi recently.

"It has been established that there is requirement of nearly 2,03,300 trained manpower per year, of which 66 per cent alone is at skills and operational levels to enable effective discharge of services," Banerjee said.

"The thrust areas have, therefore, shifted to craft courses and short-term specialised programmes in trade specific areas. At present, there are only six Food Craft Institutes (FCI) with combined output of only 500 students.

The ministry has sanctioned four new FCIs at Garh Mukteshwar, Hassan, Jammu and Nagaon," Bannerjee said and added, "Stress is being laid to increase intake in short courses being run at hotel management institutes." Last year, we affiliated four institutes from the private sector and are in the process of affiliating more such institutes, said Banerjee.

Banerjee was speaking at the National Tourism Awards for academic excellence ceremony. Currently there are 21 central and five state-funded Institutes of Hotel Management (IHM) in the country. The existing IHMs have been given further impetus to modernise and increase their training capacities. New institutes have been planned in Bihar, Arunachal, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, while those at Raipur, Jamshedpur, Sylvassa, Kurukshetra, Kozikode and Aizwal would start functioning shortly, he said.

We are also trying to boost HED initiatives in the north-eastern states by sanctioning four institutes, he said.

The Tourism Ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Labour and the HRD Ministry in utilising their existing network of ITIs, polytechnics and schools.

The supply of trained manpower would further get a boost when CBSE will also introduce hospitality as part of their Plus Two curriculum under their vocational stream.

The National Council for Hotel Management will provide all necessary technical expertise, Banerjee said. PTI

The writer is a noted career expert

Please send in your query, preferably on a postcard, along with your full name, complete address and academic qualifications to: Editor, Jobs and Careers, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160030, or at



Loan rangers
A proposed student loan body will facilitate sanction for the poor
S.C. Dhall

Now that India is on the threshhold of becoming a knowledge superpower, the government has called upon the banks to provide sustained acceleration to realise the goal.

The government may announce the setting up of the National Student Loan Guarantee Authority (NSLGA) in order to help students from economically weak backgrounds to go for higher education. This is in line with the government’s focus on higher education and a commitment that nobody is deprived of these opportunities for lack of financial resources.

No doubt, banks are providing loans to students, but these have certain operational problems. It has always been easier for students at premier institutions to access bank loans, but for students in other institutions the loans are often linked to collaterals. Now, the Planning Commission is understood to have advised the government to take up the matter with public sector banks to lend freely to students who have achieved admission to certified institutes against a loan guarantee given by the proposed NSLGA. Under the proposed authority, the government would help students get educational loans and finance students rather than funding universities directly.

Under the Union Budget of 2001-2002, the government had come out with the educational loan scheme and subsequent to that, the finance minister, after meeting the heads of the commercial banks on April 7, 2001, had formally announced it. Though the scheme was in vogue in many public sector banks under different names, the loans were beyond the reach of the common man with no means.

According to banking industry sources, despite the RBI guidelines, the private sector banks have given a lukewarm response to this scheme an educational loan is not on the priority list of private banks.

Meanwhile, the RBI has also advised the banks to bring all the data of education loan scheme on a website so that students should have an access to all formalities and they can fill up the forms online and sanction can also be given to the students online. This will help the banks in sanctioning a loan in the shortest possible time. All banks have to complete these formalities by April, 2008. The system would facilitate banks to increase the flow of credit to education loan scheme.

Now the defaults under the scheme have reached a level which is causing serious concern within the industry. Consequently, the issue had come up for discussion during the recent meeting of the finance minister with the chief executives of the public sector banks.

Having acquired the loans with no strings attached, many students, after completing their studies, are in no mood to repay their debts. In many cases, they simply vanish. The Indian banking system is often helpless in tracking down the defaulters. In some instances even the parents who have signed as guarantors for the loans have been unable to provide the address of their children.

So, for an education loan scheme, the banking industry should be prepared for a tight-rope walk. While it should not withhold the credit delivery, at the same it should also ensure that nobody takes it for a ride. Hence, it is imperative that the banking sector continues to lend the needy and maintains vigilance over this segment of loan assets.

It has been learned that private sector banks are planning education loan products. Even the SBI, which has the largest share, is revamping its portfolio to make this scheme more attractive.



Power play at workplace
I.M. Soni

What is it you have that others want, so that you might try to get what you want from them? Money? Information? Some special expertise? Access to resources that are appealing to them?

There are many types of power. Even though we are comfortable using power on a daily basis, we are not always aware of the different types that are available to us. Some of them are listed below. What they all have in common is that they represent something you might have that others find useful or appealing.

Reward/award: You can reward others if they do what you want. The reward can be social, monetary, plaques, trophies, or anything the person values. Reward power is based on others’ expectations of receiving praise, recognition or income for complying with your wishes and functions as a reinforcer for the behaviour or actions you want.

Status: You have the job title or the informal position that causes others to listen to and take directions from you. Positional power is derived from your position in the group or organisational hierarchy.

If you are the boss, you demand more from others than if you do not have a recognised position in the organisation. New managers and parents tend to overstep their position or power; old-timers often do not fully utilise it.

Expertise: When you have a social skill, expertise, or knowledge and others believe that expertise is relevant to their needs and exceeds their own, they want to get it.

You are special and what you are good at is not something that is really available. You may have a great knowledge in one particular area the causes others to regard you more highly, but only when that particular expertise is needed.

Charisma: Although somewhat intangible, charisma is universally recognised. People are drawn to you. It is not one thing, but the unique combination of personal traits you possess. Sometimes referred to as natural leadership, it is based on the attractiveness of other traits you possess. Followers admire and get attracted to you. Strangers find themselves watching you and intrigued by you. If your charm almost has a magnetic appeal for some people, you are charismatic.

Information: When you know something others need to know, you have informational power. Perhaps you know when a certain decision is going to be made, or who is going to take action, or where the fish are biting, or where the sale is going to be held. This is not expertise as much as information, perhaps fragile or transitory in nature, and your power, which may also be temporary, is based on knowing or having access to this information because it has high potential value to the others.

Maybe people need to know what you know before they can proceed, or to determine whether they are on track. Information can be power.

Crisis: When a crisis occurs, you have an opportunity to be observed by many people if you can take appropriate, helpful action. Based on emergency or non-routine situations, opportunity power can be demonstrated when a natural or man-made dilemma creates anxiety and uncertainty in other people.

If you are projected into the spotlight temporarily due to some circumstance, your choice determines your future. If you perform well, the attention you receive can lead to additional opportunities and increased influence long after the crisis has passed.

Access: If you have access to key persons, commodities, goods, and services valued by others, even though the things you have access to are not neccessarily yours, you may become very powerful. This gatekeeper, or keeper-of-the-keys, role is often seen in organisations when an assistant or second in command regulates who gets to see the boss. You may not have what they want, but if you can help them get it, your utility power can be great.

Can-do ability: You are a can-do person, who has the capacity to get things done, mobilise others, get a group moving, or take needed action when there is an impasse. Based on your ability to make these important things happen, you may find yourself with instrumental power.

Assessment: Appraisal power is based on your capacity to give informative or corrective feedback about the quality of an effort or performance.

Feedback can be critical because it allows others to improve their performance, become more effective, or attain important goals.

If your appraisal encourages as well as informs them about how they are doing, you may become very important to them, and they may agree to your requests just so they can get this feedback.

Relational: When you know someone who is powerful, you may by association borrow some of their power. Relation power exists as long as you maintain that relationship with someone (family member, executive, celebrity) who is powerful. The other person may be powerful for a number of reasons. But your power comes from your proximity to them.



Smart Skills
Engineered to succeed
Usha Albuquerque

It is said that while scientists discover the world that exists, engineers create a world that never was. The shape of the modern world has been credited to the advancements in science and technology. The engineering field has been the major contributory factor towards achieving the scientific marvels that have made our life easy. Practically everything we use from simple bicycles to airplanes and rockets, from highways to dams, from the radio to the modern blackberry—all are built by engineers.

The basic purpose of engineering is to design and manufacture the hardware of life. Engineering today is not confined to the obvious spheres of mechanical, chemical and electrical but has vast scope in advanced areas such as nanotechnology, thermal engineering, electronics, ultrasonics, robotics, polymer technology, and many more areas.

Work profile

All engineers primarily perform four main tasks. These include: research & development, production, management and maintenance.

Research & Development: Research engineers are essentially involved in investigating new materials, processes and principles, which can be put to practical application.

Production: R &D work is followed by production. The production process involves the development of design, selection and production of materials, planning of the use of machines and methods to be used and other factors determined through research.

Management: Management follows as a natural progression from the process of production. Managers serve as a link between the industry and the consumers.

Maintenance: Maintenance is the most essential aspect of an engineer’s work. In all engineering industries this is an inevitable requirement since equipment and machines have to be kept functional at all times.

Branching out

Engineering has several branches, and often the knowledge in one branch can be applied to many fields. Among the areas likely to see a major part of the growth include:

Civil engineering: With the current boom in the construction industry, civil engineers are possibly the most in demand and can be seen on all construction sites and projects.

Electronics and communication engineering: Electronics Engineers design, fabricate, maintain, supervise and manufacture electronic equipment used in the communication industry, entertainment media, in the equipment used in hospitals, in the computer industry, for aerospace, and in defence.

Computer engineering deals the design and development of the computer (the hardware) its control systems and also develop computer software (computer programmes).

Automobile engineering is concerned with the design, planning, manufacture, repair, maintenance and upgradation of all moving vehicles such as cars, trucks, motor cycles, scooters, and so on.

Aeronautical engineering: Aeronautical engineers are concerned with the design and maintenance, construction, testing and operation of aircraft and aircraft components. In addition, there is mechanical engineering, the largest branch of engineering concerned with the production of all types of machinery, chemical engineering that converts raw materials and chemicals into useful products, and electrical engineering, for the generation, transmission and distribution of electrical energy and telecommunication.

New fields such as polymer engineering, textile engineering, instrumentation, nanotechnology, bio-medical engineering and many other specializations are also growing in demand. To be an engineer you need to do a diploma or degree in engineering. For a diploma in engineering, one must clear the Class X board exam successfully with at least 50 per cent marks. Various polytechnics offer diplomas in various disciplines of engineering.

To be eligible for a bachelor's degree course i.e. B.E or B.Tech, one must clear the plus two board exam with at least 50 per cent marks (60 per cent for IITs) in the science stream with physics, chemistry and maths as compulsory subjects.

There is also the Associate Membership Examination of the Institute of Engineers (AMIE), which enables working people in the private and public sector, or diploma holders to acquire a bachelor's engineering degree through distance education.

Entry points

There are 36 universities and 1195 colleges offering undergraduate and postgraduate engineering courses in various branches in all states in the country, except for Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. Students from these states are accommodated against reserved seats at the NITs at Silchar, Assam, the Tripura Engineering College, and in other engineering colleges of the country. The major entrance tests for admission to an engineering college include:

n A Joint Entrance examination (JEE) is conducted for admission to courses at the IITs in Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Mumbai and IT-BHU, Varanasi, ISM, Dhanbad, Roorkee, IIIT Allahabad, IIIT Gwalior and National Institute of Foundry and Forge Technology (NIFFT) at Ranchi. You require at least 60 pc (55 pc for SC/ST ) in (Class XII) or equivalent qualifying examination.

n All-India Engineering Entrance exam (AIEEE) for Engineering/ Pharmacy/ Architecture is conducted by CBSE.

n Birla Institute of technology and Science, Pilani -333031, (Rajasthan)Website : Students who have obtained an aggregate of 80pc marks in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in Class 12 examination, with at least 60 pc marks in each of these subjects are qualified to sit for the entrance test BITSAT.

n University of Delhi (Faculty of Technology), C/o Delhi College of Engineering, Delhi 110 006. Website : The University of Delhi holds a Combined Entrance Examination (CEE) for admission to the Bachelor of Engineering course at the Delhi College of Engineering and Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology. You should have passed plus two exam or equivalent examinations and secured 60 pc or more marks.

n GGSIPU (Guru Govind Singh Indraprastha University) conducts Common Entrance Test (CET) Lateral entry to Engineering Diploma holders in different B.Tech. programmes is also offered through GGSIPU CET.

n Manipal Institute of Technology, Madhavnagar, Manipal - 576104 (Affiliated to Mangalore University). Website : For general category, admissions are on the basis of rank in the all India MAHE Under Graduate Entrance Test (UGET 05).You should have passed your plus two, or A Level, or IB, American 12th grade or equivalent with Physics, Mathematics and English with Chemistry or Biotechnology or Computer Science or Biology or Engineering Drawing as optional subjects and a minimum of 50 pc marks in Physics, Mathematics and any one of the optional subjects. Non resident Indians may also apply for NRI quota seats.

n Army Insitute of Technology, Dighi Hills-411015. Website : (affiliated to University of Pune) (For children of serving and retired regular army personnel.War widows are also eligible) Admission is done through the AIEEE conducted by the CBSE. You must be an Indian citizen or PIO and should have completed plus two with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics with minimum 50 percent marks. You should also be between 16 -21 yrs on July 1.

n In addition there are State Level Engineering Entrance Tests for admission to 85 per cent of seats in the engineering colleges of that state.



Fortnightly Quiz-306

1. Name the four Indians who feature in the latest Forbes list of the top 10 richest people of the world.

2. Which Indian bank recently opened its 10,000th branch?

3. Which national park is the largest habitat of the endangered one-horned
 Asiatic rhinoceros?

4. Who is the only Congress president to have completed 10 years in office?

5. Which country is known as the roof of the world?

6. Name the human rights minister of Pakistan.

7. Which parts of north India remained without electricity on March 7 due to deposit of pollution particles on power transmission lines?

8. What is the full form of CFL?

9. Name Indian navy’s sole aircraft carrier ship.

10. Which country is the largest consumer of gold according to the World Gold Council?

11. Name the Indian team that made its debut in F-1 racing recently.

12. Who recently won the Bangalore Open women’s tennis championship?

13. How many times has India won the annual tri-nation One-day cricket series held in Australia?

14. How many times has India won the hockey Olympic gold?

15. How many times has India failed to qualify for the Olympics in hockey since making debut in 1928?

Winners of quiz 305: The first prize by draw of lots goes to Ujjwal, XII-A, DHD SD Public School, Ambala Cantt-133001. Second: Rishabh Gupta, IX-C, DAV Sr Sec Public School, BCW Surajpur, pin-133301, dist Panchkula, Haryana Third: Ankush, 6th, St Carmel School, Katli, Ropar-140001.

Answers to quiz 305: Virat Kohli; Graeme Smith and Neil Mckenzie; Virgin Atlantic; 87; ‘No Country for Oldmen’; India; Appu Ghar (New Delhi); Rs 50 crore; Raul Castro; Robert Gates; West Bengal; M.F.Hussain; One; Eight; England & New Zealand

Cash awards of Rs 400, 300 and 200 are given to the first, second and third prize winners, respectively. These are sent at the school address.

Note: Kindly mention the pincode of your place to facilitate the delivery of the prize money.

Answers can also be sent at

— Tarun Sharma