In Sanskrit Sammelan at JNU


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Dielectric Modulated Field Effect Transistors for DNA Detection: Impact of DNA Orientation


In this letter, we present a study that highlights the importance of electrostatic effects on DNA sequence orientation, and the subsequent influence on the functioning principles of nanogap embedded dielectric modulated field effect transistor (DMFET) biosensors. We find that the orientation of DNA molecules is responsible for governing the sensitivity and the dominance of charge or dielectric constant effect in nanogap embedded FET devices. Using 2D TCAD simulations, the study not only provides a correct explanation for the observed trend of threshold voltage shifts for DNA detection using n-channel DMFET which has been loosely attributed to the dominance of the charge effect, but also gives insight into the reason of higher sensitivity of p-channel over n-channel DMFET biosensors.
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‘Jan Jan JNU’ to showcase varsity’s contribution to school children

Manash Pratim Gohain | TNN | Updated: Sep 19, 2016, 08.41 PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Jawaharlal Nehru University, which has been in the centre of controversy since February this year is going to organize its first open day to showcase it’s contribution. The announcement was made by its vice chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar on Twitter on Monday.

Seen as an image building excerise, the “Jan Jan JNU” will inform school children about the university’s contribution to various fields.

The open day will be held on Novermber 21, 2016 and schools will be required to register for the event through the website which will be launched for the event.

Kumar Twitted the concept note which stated, “The university has made outstanding contributions to the society both in humanities and sciences through its renowned academicians and researchers. It would like to highlight and share its achievements with public.”

“The primary objective of the event is to showcase JNU’s contributions to school children which can serve as an inspiration for carrying out their career as future researchers, academicians and engines of social change,” it added.

An exhibition will be set up for the visitors and they will be allowed to visit various academic and research units.

“Each academic unit will showcase their activities by setting up stalls and posters. A JNU movie will also be screened for visitors,” the note said.

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‘Our current model of higher education is very rigid’


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Interview with Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar, Vice Chancellor, JNU

(Published in JNU NEWS, Issue 1, 2016)

JNU NEWS: Welcome to JNU. The first thing we would like to know is how you feel about this transition from being a ‘Scientist’ to being the ‘Vice Chancellor’ of this University, which is an exclusively administrative job?
As a scientist and technologist, during the last several decades my life has revolved around mentoring students, teaching and research. As a Vice Chancellor, I now see myself playing multiple roles as a mentor, an educator, a facilitator, a conflict resolver, a resource mobilizer and also a risk taker. It would be my endeavour to be the most accessible VC to all in the campus– students, staff and faculty.

JNU NEWS: Are you planning to take any academic role in the University as well?
I am passionate about teaching and research. This provides me an opportunity to mentor my students and see them grow into positive contributors to the society. Therefore, even after taking over as the VC of JNU, I am continuing to teach and guide my PhD students at IIT Delhi. Three days in a week, I teach from 8.00-8.50 AM at IIT Delhi and soon after that I am back in JNU. During weekends, I spend time with my PhD students.

JNU NEWS: So, what are the major targets you have in mind for JNU?
We need to explore close collaborations with other higher educational institutes, in India such as IITs and abroad, to carry out more collaborative research. Emphasis needs to be put on research for Indian needs and starting of new master’s programmes in technology in different areas such as IT and renewable energy resources. India needs job creators not job seekers. Why not we start a post-graduate program which focuses on entrepreneurship so that students get trained in how to launch and sustain start-ups?

We also need to focus on (i) generating solar energy to meet JNU energy requirements, (ii) reducing power consumption by using solid-state lighting, (iii) water harvesting (need to collect every drop of rain water that comes into JNU) and (iv) reuse of treated waste water for non-drinking applications.
I would like to have an external audit of all the academic and administrative procedures to improve the Universities functional efficiency.

JNU NEWS: What do you think can be done in the short and long terms to preserve the traditions and ethos of JNU?
To retain its national character, it is important to reach out to the prospective students across the country, particularly the north eastern states. I would like to look at means to make JNU known among the prospective students. We must create and preserve an environment in which the JNU community can freely and fearlessly debate and discuss various issues that affect our country. I am a strong believer of freedom of expression as enshrined in our constitution. However, I also put equal emphasis on the fundamental duties defined by the Indian constitution. We must also ensure that multiple opinions are respected and nurtured. No single opinion should dominate over the others if we want to build a strong and progressive JNU.

JNU NEWS: One of the problems that the students are facing today is the conditions and scarcity of hostels. Many of the hostels are not maintained well and are falling apart. The facilities are not good at all. They have problems from ‘no hot water’ to ‘no water’ at all. Have you looked into such issues so far?
This is very unfortunate. We have a serious shortage of staff quarters and hostel accommodation. We are looking at various ways of raising funds to rectify the situation. Considering the fact that many poor students join JNU, I would like to seek the support from our alumni in meeting the hostel requirements in addition to knocking the doors of various ministries for providing funds. We have also started constructing some new hostels using pre-fabricated structures to partially meet the immediate student accommodation issues. I want to emphasize that we also need to run the hostels more efficiently by introducing various measures which we are examining.

JNU NEWS: What is your academic vision for JNU? What would you like to achieve during your tenure of five years as the Vice Chancellor of JNU?
I will strive to improve the learning environment by promoting excellence among teachers and students. There have been significant changes in the pedagogical approaches. Teaching should be more learner specific than teacher specific. A strong ethical and spiritual connection should be the basis for education. We should also improve the research output and bring global recognition to JNU through enhanced research culture. I will make efforts to provide access to better research facilities to the younger faculty.

I will proactively put my efforts to attract the best talent to fill the faculty positions. We need to shorten our appointment procedures and proactively identify prospective candidates and encourage them to apply.

While JNU is strong in Social Sciences, it is also important to establish close links with industry since JNU has several basic science faculties whose research can lead to innovative products or processes for human welfare. JNU is such a huge campus, why not we have a technology incubation center and help young entrepreneurs to start companies in the areas of expertise that JNU has.

JNU has several courses which can be extremely useful to students across the country. JNU can make a repository of these lectures as online videos. Perhaps JNU can partner with NPTEL (National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning) and make these video lectures available to students across the country. This is another way of reaching out to the prospective students.

JNU NEWS: How do you perceive JNU’s social role in future?
An important characteristic of JNU is its inclusive nature. Students of JNU come from different social, economic and regional backgrounds including a large number of differently abled students. I think JNU, its faculty and students should be known for their scientific and social contributions and it should not be in the news for the wrong reasons. While being aware of the problems our country faces, students of a university should be more focused on the strengths of this country so that we can build a better India.

JNU NEWS: How would you compare the campus environment of JNU and IIT Delhi, the two premier academic institutions?
The intrinsic characteristics of students at IIT Delhi and JNU are the same – inquisitive, passionate about learning and determined to succeed in life. However, unlike many other institutes, JNU is a happening place. Everyday different seminars and workshops take place and frequently ambassadors, University Presidents, delegations from different countries visit our campus making JNU a vibrant place. As compared to IIT Delhi, JNU is a huge campus with a natural forest. This makes living on JNU campus very interesting.

Early life: My father worked as a teacher in a small village school and my mother had never gone to a school. I was witness to how my parents braved the economic hardships to educate me. I used to walk long distances in the city to reach the college since I could not afford other modes of travel. Adversities in my early life only strengthened my resolve to succeed.

Academic life: I studied in Telugu medium government schools until I went to the University in Hyderabad. My lack of English medium education up to 12th standard did not deter me from getting a first rank in the University. I then moved to IIT Madras where I finished my Master’s and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering.

Professional Experience: After PhD, I worked at University of Waterloo for three years before returning to India. I have been a part of the IIT system for more than three decades both as a student and faculty. Teaching, research and mentoring students are my passion.

Hobbies: I like being fit. I enjoy jogging and doing fitness exercises. One of my hobbies is to walk long distances along with my wife Lakshmi.

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Will work towards making JNU more attractive: V-C


Will work towards making JNU more attractive: V-C

Monday, 06 June 2016 | Rahiba R Parveen

In an exclusive interview with Rahiba R Parveen, Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar talks about the controversy that led to a major chaos in the varsity in February. He also underlines the efforts of his team in handling the students and initiating a barrier-free, environment-friendly campus. His plans as an academician for the university and his immediate experience in dealing with the temperament in and outside the university.

Since you joined office, so much has happened in JNU. How do you feel when you look back?

*In a university many things keep happening and that is how it remains vibrant and lively. I will work towards making JNU even more attractive to the prospective students and make sure that JNU continues to fulfill the societal goals for which it has been established. Universities should be progressive and futuristic by expanding their programmes and using technology for outreach to the most disadvantaged sections of the society.

What makes you happy about it and what has saddened you?

*The experience of meeting students, professors and staff and getting to know their aspirations for the university is something I cherish. The fact that there are so many good ideas coming from the JNU community to take it to the next level makes me happy and confident that we can work together to transform JNU into a word class university.

Lack of adequate funds is a major stumbling block. We need additional hostels, faculty housing and research labs. There is lot of expertise within JNU in different areas. We need to synergize this to raise funds. This requires collaboration with industrial partners and starting of new programmes with a significant outreach.

What makes me sad is when I encounter the “frog in the well” attitude. It is not right to say that since something has worked for years, we should not change. We should keep introducing changes in a system to improve its performance. The most undesirable thing to do in a university is to maintain status quo.

What all have you been able to concentrate on in terms of academic and other goals in the varsity?

* Improving the quality and quantity of research in the university is our primary concern. We are working on creating new research facilities which are both inter-disciplinary and product oriented. We have appointed a new Director (Research and Development) who will focus on getting more research projects to the university so that additional research facilities can be created. We are creating more hostel seats to accommodate the new batch of students, who will be joining in the coming session. We are planning a 2 Mega Watt solar project to generate electricity. This will be provided to research labs which require round the clock power supply. We are working on making JNU a green campus. JNU has certain intrinsic strengths. We should take advantage of this to generate funds. For example, our language programmes are excellent. Why not we start online certificate and diploma programmes to educate those who cannot afford to join JNU? There are various programmes in School of International studies, which are unique and not available in any other university. We should leverage this expertise not only to outreach but also to generate internal funds.

Do you think, the way you handled the entire situation since February 09 event, was fair enough? Could it have been better?

* The JNU administration works as a team which includes senior professors of the university. Solutions to the situations that arise in the university are thoroughly discussed and decisions are taken. We, of course, should always learn from experiences and improve our approaches to solving problems. As far as February 09 event is concerned, the high level enquiry committee, which followed due university procedures, had given certain recommendations. When these punishments were announced, students went on an indefinite hunger strike which was unlawful and harmful to health. We appealed to the students to break the hunger strike and come for discussions. However, they chose to go to the court. The court has asked the students to break the hunger strike and appeal to the Vice Chancellor, who is the appellate authority and has mandated that they should not go on strike or dharna on this issue. We are now in the process of forming a committee to look into their appeals and take a final decision. I have absolutely no regrets on how we have handled the issue. This could not have been handled any better since my decisions are always based on the collective advice of my colleagues.

What are the reforms that you are looking to bring in the university?

* JNU conducts an all India entrance examination to select the students. We want to bring some reforms in this exams. For example introducing an on-line exam and conducting the exam in December instead of May. We are aggressively working on faculty recruitments. We have almost 30 per cent vacancies. We are also working on making JNU a green campus. We are planning to introduce e-rikshaws and install a 2 Mega Watt solar power system to cater to the power needs of critical research laboratories.

Do you have any plans on  widening the research platform any further?

* We have plans to upgrade some centres into schools and introducing inter-disciplinary master’s programmes such as MTech in VLSI design and Microelectronics. We have recently created a position Director (Research & Development) who will act as an interface between the faculty, administration and the funding agencies and facilitate getting more project funding to the university. This gives an opportunity to hire research scholars and establish new facilities. We are also strengthening the Placement Cell.

Would we ever see increment of seats for courses like PhD in JNU?

* JNU is primarily a research-oriented university. Out of 8,432 students, who are currently enrolled, 5,219 are research scholars doing their MPhil or PhD. Every year, we are adding new programmes to the list of existing programmes. This is bound to increase the number of students. For example, the total number of students enrolled four years ago was 7,677 but now it is 8,432. We also would like to reach out to the foreign students and increase their number from the current 338. Our International collaboration unit is working on this and we are signing a number of MoUs with foreign universities.

What are your ideas of dissent in an academic institution? 

* I welcome dissent which is expressed in a peaceful manner and is within the boundaries of law. Dissent should only be used as a grievance redressal mechanism to result in a progressive change in a university and should not degenerate into disruption of normal academic life of the university.

What was your instant reaction to the February 09 event?

* I never react in a knee jerk fashion. As a professor of electrical engineering, my mind is conditioned to control transients and bring stability to the system. A university is a system consisting of human beings. I use a similar approach whenever I face a crisis and remain calm during the crisis.

How much interaction have you been able to do with the students? Were there any barriers? If yes? How do you plan to break them?

* There are no barriers. Throughout the day students, staff and faculty keep meeting me. On the first Monday of every month, I meet the students from 2 to 5 pm without any appointment to listen to their suggestions and problems.

Was it depressing as an academician to see students getting arrested?

* No university administrator wants their law abiding students to be arrested. At the same time, we must remember that no one is above law and no one, who has committed a serious crime, can expect not to be arrested just because they are within the protected walls of a university.

How did you manage through days when JNU situation went out of the hands of the administration? 

* When there is a crisis, it is important to remain cool and calm. We were in complete control of the situation by continuing to be in dialogue with the student and teaching community. A large number of students, teachers and staff worked hard to bring normalcy to the university. Our teaching and research activities continued without interruption. To give you an example, during the agitation when there was a dharna going on outside my office, I went around all the eight floors of JNU central library. It was jam packed with students immersed in their studies. Students continued to work late night in their labs. Is that not an indication that JNU community is not interested in disrupting the academic life on the campus?

There is a clear-cut chasm between JNU administration and the students. How are you going to bridge the gap?

* On many issues, the university is on the side of the students. We regularly receive their feedback and discuss in our Academic Council and Executive Council meetings and implement their suggestions as long as they are within the ordinances and rules of the university. Any such decisions based on students’ suggestions should be rational and based on wide ranging consultations. Dialogue and discussion are the only mechanisms which are fundamental to JNU ethos. We will continue to do it.

Now the students who were given punishments have approached the High Court? What are your thoughts about it? 

* All of us have to abide by the court’s verdict. We are glad that the students are no longer on hunger strike which we have been requesting them all along. The court has also instructed the students not go again on dharnas or hunger strike on this issue. The court has asked the university to look into their appeals which we will be doing shortly and take final call.

The student’s have spoken anti-administration and accused you of not coming out in their support. What would you like to tell them?

* If students break university rules, we cannot support them. The law will take its own course. However, it is the fundamental right of any student to criticise the university if it is not able to meet the objectives for which it is set up. This criticism acts as a feedback to the administration to improve the functioning of the university.


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VC steers clear of rows, invokes JNU values

VC steers clear of rows-07-April-2016-TOI-current-view

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