Kolkata: IIT Kharagpur will launch an Undergraduate Research Programme (UGRP) from the upcoming Autumn semester of 2019-20, to encourage the spirit of research among undergraduate students. The UGRP will fund select research ideas proposed by the students on a competitive basis and each successful proposal will be guided by a member of the institute’s faculty, an IIT KGP statement said on Thursday. “The undergraduate students are extremely talented and motivated. As teachers, we have observed for years that the innovative ideas, they come up with, can address many real- life challenges. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess Durga “The ability to carry out research is a key capability for all graduates today. Through UGRP we are promoting the idea of research challenge among them, which will germinate their potential as innovators and problem-solvers,” institute Director Prof P P Chakrabarti said in the statement. Twenty such proposals will be accepted each year and a portal is going to be set up for project submission. The funding for the UGRP programme will be generated from alumni donation fund resources. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers “IIT Kharagpur launched an endowment campaign in 2012 and every year one or two alumni batches have been raising Rs 50 lakh- Rs 1 crore. It has been decided that part of the earnings from this fund will be utilized towards funding the Undergraduate Research Platform,” Dean Alumni Affairs Prof. Subrata Chattopadhyay was quoted as saying in the statement. Students who have completed four semesters at IIT Kharagpur can form departmental or interdisciplinary groups and submit project proposals under faculty supervision. “The project submission needs to be completed 30 days prior to the beginning of the fifth semester,” Dean Prof. Sudhir Kumar Barai said in the statement.
At the same time, the UN refugee agency released figures showing the level of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the violence-wracked country had reached nearly 3 million, but was rising more slowly than in previous years. Staffan de Mistura, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Iraq, “hopes the return of calm will allow the Iraqi Government, the United Nations and other bodies to accelerate the delivery of emergency aid into the affected areas,” according to a press release from the UN mission there – known as UNAMI. Mr. de Mistura added that the Government’s quick response to Mr. al Sadr’s stand-down call was a positive step and welcomed the Iraqi Government’s creation of an emergency cell to deal with the humanitarian situation following the recent violence. “Coordination with the international community is essential in order to support Iraqi-led efforts to reduce suffering among the civilian population,” he said. The UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, David Shearer, arrived in Basra yesterday to work with the Iraqi authorities and the emergency cell to assess the situation and develop an appropriate response. Expressing concern over human rights violations committed during the armed clashes, Mr. de Mistura emphasized to all those involved their obligations to minimize harm to civilians, urging all parties to promote the rule of law in the country, UNAMI said. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that of the estimated 2.8 million IDPs in Iraq, 1.2 million were displaced before 2006 and more than 1.5 million were displaced in 2006 and 2007. “Less than one per cent have been displaced in 2008,” spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis said, introducing the new report of UNHCR’s working group on displacement. The large increase between the current count and that released on 31 December 2007 – a difference of 300,000 people – was due to an improved database. Displacement is continuing at a much lower pace because communities had become more homogenous, media campaigns had begun, security incidents had decreased and many families simply could no longer afford to move, among other factors, she said. New secondary displacement has been reported in Baghdad, however, involving Iraqis who decided to return from neighbouring countries at the end of last year – often after having run out of resources – and could not reclaim their properties. The report estimates that the number of IDPs in need of adequate shelter and food is now higher than 1 million, with an equal number having no regular income, and some 300,000 with no access to clean water and other basic services. “In January UNHCR appealed for $261 million for Iraqi refugees and internally displaced. So far, we have received just over a third of that amount,” Ms. Pagonis noted, adding that assisting many of the IDPs is still extremely difficult because of insecurity. 1 April 2008The top United Nations envoy in Iraq today welcomed Shiite leader Muqtada al Sadr’s call for a “stand-down of armed presences” in Basra and other areas where fighting has flared in the past week.