Backed with data and numbers, ministers gave Parliament a look into the country’s state of affairs. Here is the takeaway from Thursday’s Q&A session from both the Houses.
22 fake universities are functioning in the country
22 ‘fake’ universities are functioning in the country, with a maximum of nine in Uttar Pradesh and five in Delhi, HRD Minister Smriti Irani told the Rajya Sabha, adding that states have been asked to initiate action against these.
Besides UP and Delhi, there are two in West Bengal and one each in Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha, she said.
India currently has 34 operational satellites
There are 34 operational Indian satellites at present, of which 13 are for communication, 12 for the purpose of earth observation and seven for navigation purpose, minister of state of the department of space, Jitendra Singh told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
Of the 13 communication satellites, five are of INSAT series-3A, 3C, 4A, 4B, 4CR and eight of GSAT series GSAT-6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15 and 16. There are 12 earth observation satellites namely Resourcesat-2, RISAT 1 and 2, Cartosat 1, 2, 2A, 2B, Oceansat-2, SARAL, Kalpana-1, Megha-Tropiques and INSAT-3D. Seven navigational satellites which are operational are Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (INRSS)-1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F and 1G. Apart from these, there are two space science satellites namely the Mars Orbiter Mission and Astrosat, he added.
272 Indian fishermen currently lodged in foreign jails
272 Indian fishermen are currently lodged in foreign jails, including 220 in Pakistan and 34 in Sri Lanka, minister of state for external affairs VK Singh told the Rajya Sabha.
“As on date there are only 34 fishermen and 19 boats which are in custody of Sri Lanka. From time to time, government secures the release of Indian fishermen. The last release that took place was of 99 Indian fishermen on April 9 in exchange for 9 Sri Lankan fishermen,” he said.
23.6 per cent of sanctioned posts in KVs lying vacant
In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, HRD minister Smriti Irani said that as of March 1, 2016, 10,644 teaching positions – or 23.6 per cent of total sanctioned posts -- are lying vacant in Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs).
“252 posts of principal and 133 posts of vice-principal were among the vacancies,” she said.
Dropout levels in NE states far above national average
Nagaland has the highest dropout rate at primary level of 19.4 per cent in the country while most other north eastern states have a dropout rate far above the national average. In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said, “Overall the annual average dropout rate at primary level has reduced from 5.6 per cent during 2012-13 to 4.3 per cent during 2014-15.”
In a written reply to a separate question, Irani said lack of toilet facilities in schools for girl child has been one of the reasons for girls to dropout from schools.
According to details of the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) shared by the minister, in 2014-15 Nagaland had the highest annual average dropout rate of 19.4 per cent closely followed by Manipur at 18 per cent.
Corporate houses owe Rs 5 lakh crore to PSU banks
Corporate houses owe about Rs 5 lakh crore to PSU banks, a JD(U) member said in Rajya Sabha.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Pawan Verma contended that PSU banks are influenced to give loan to the people who are not able to repay them. “PSU banks are owed about Rs 5 lakh crore by corporate houses and of this roughly Rs 1.4 lakh crore are owed by just five companies, which include Lanco, GVK, Suzlon Energy, Hindustan Construction Company and a certain company called the Adani Group and Adani Power,” he said.
Govt to build 1,000 km of expressways for Rs 16,680 crore
To ensure quicker connectivity, the government plans to build 1,000 km of expressways at an investment of Rs 16,680 crore under its National Highways Development Project programme, which include the Vadodara-Mumbai project, minister of state for road transport and highways, Pon Radhakrishnan told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
The high density corridors approved under NHDP phase VI are Vadodara-Mumbai stretch (400 km) in Gujarat and Maharashtra, Delhi-Meerut (66 km) on NH 58 in Delhi/UP and Bengaluru-Chennai (334 km) on NH 4 in Karnataka-Tamil Nadu, the minister said.
The remaining projects include “Delhi-Jaipur (261 km) on NH 8 in Delhi-Rajasthan, Delhi-Chandigarh (249 km) on NH 1 and NH 22 (now changed to Delhi-Ludhiana-Amritsar-Katra expressway) in Delhi/Punjab/J&K, Kolkata-Dhanbad (277 km) on NH 2 in West Bengal/Jharkhand and Delhi-Agra (200 km) on NH 2 in Delhi/UP,” he added.
541 board-level posts lying vacant in central public sector enterprises
541 posts -- including those of full-time and part-time directors -- are lying vacant in various central public sector enterprises, G M Siddeshwara, minister of state for heavy industries and public enterprises, said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
“As per available information, 101 posts of functional directors and around 440 positions of non-official directors are presently vacant in various CPSEs,” he said. Several vacant posts are those of CMDs of companies such as MTNL, Hindustan Cables, ITI Ltd, Oil India, Eastern Coalfields, Scooters India, Hindustan Paper Corporation, Jute Corporation of India, among others.
182 PhDs awarded by IITs in humanities, social sciences
IITs awarded 182 PhDs for research in subjects like literature, art, culture, history, economics, psychology, sociology, which are taught under humanities and social sciences, in the last three years, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.
According to details provided by the minister, the maximum 43 PhDs were awarded by IIT Bombay followed by 23 by IIT Delhi.
Number of RTI applications have declined
The number of RTI applications has come down to around 7.55 lakh in 2014-15 from over 8.34 lakh a year before as departments and ministries are putting more information in public domain on their own, minister of state in PMO, Jitendra Singh said in Rajya Sabha during the Question Hour.
To this, Congress member Rajni Patil asked the Minister whether incidents like murder of RTI activists were responsible for the decline in the number of applications.
Over 3.26L passengers got upgraded on AI flights in the last three years
Air India has upgraded a total of 3,26,195 passengers to higher class on its flights in the last three fiscals and in April this year, minister of state for civil aviation, Mahesh Sharma told the Lok Sabha.
During this period, the national carrier has flown 5,08,62,223 passengers across its domestic and international network and the number of upgrades do not constitute even 1 per cent of the total number of passengers flown during this period, he said.
These upgrades are done subject to availability of higher class seats and payment of the prescribed amount by the passenger, wherever applicable, he said. Such upgrades are done by the authorised executives of Air India at different levels depending upon the nature of upgrade, he added.
1,700 Indian workers arrested or deported from Kuwait
About 1700 Indian workers who were arrested and deported by Kuwaiti authorities were found violating visa or residency laws of that country, minister of state for external affairs VK Singh said during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.
“There is no problem in the case of people who have valid work visa as their problems are solved under the agreements (with foreign countries),” he said. However, the task becomes difficult when workers reach foreign countries on tourist visas and then get them converted to work visas “through dubious means,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI and Reuters)