Wednesday, 25 May 2016

MeritTrac’s Technology Solutions to Plug Various Vulnerabilities in Education Sector

Bengaluru, May, 2016: The increasing population and Gross Enrolment Ratio has resulted in most examinations in India becoming large. The large volume and high stakes has brought examinations under constant threat resulting in inconvenience to students and dent to the examination body’s reputation. MeritTrac, India’s premier Testing and Assessments Company has introduced a suite of technology enabled solutions that are designed to mitigate the risks in examination. MeritTrac has launched “Just in Time - Question Papers” (JIT-QP) - a solution that aims to address the vulnerabilities in the traditional model and eliminate question paper leak in high stake examinations by applying innovative technology in the examination process.

JIT-QP is designed to secure examinations from vulnerabilities arising at Question Paper development, printing, logistics and storage before it reaches the test taker. JIT-QP ensures that the final Question Paper is decided randomly from a set of questions based on pre-defined rules or set of Question Papers. The final Question Paper is selected and made available at the exam centre in an encrypted mode just few hours before the exam. The authorized personnel will decrypt the Question Paper and get it securely printed by authorised representatives in a secure zone at the test centre. This ensures that the final question paper is available, even to the authorized personnel, only a few minutes before the examination for distribution to the Invigilators and then to the test takers.

1.       The questions are authored by Subject Matter Experts in a computer from a highly secure and monitored facility allocated by the examination body.
2.       The Question Bank manager then creates multiple sets of Question Papers based on the questions that have been authored. Alternatively, the Controller of Exams office may choose to upload multiple Question Papers in to the system directly.
3.       All the data uploaded in to the system are securely stored in a Data Centre with access available only for the Controller of Examinations or the authorized personnel.
4.       The Controller of Examination would then select the final Question Paper on the day of examination and create encrypted Question Packs which are sent to the pre-allocated computers in the test centres.
5.       The Controller of Examination would also send passwords to pre-registered mobile numbers of authorised representative (principals) at test centres an hour or two before the start of the exam.
6.       The authorised representatives can access the Question Pack with the password and these question papers are then printed according to the classroom and seat allocation.
7.       The printed papers are packed classroom wise and are available only at the time of examination.
8.       The access to question paper and its printing is done in a ‘strong room’ which is continuously under surveillance.

JIT-QP is one among the series of technology based exam reform solutions that MeritTrac has introduced. MeritTrac’s Question Bank management solution, AuthenTrac – a biometrics based candidate authentication solution and TracMARKS – its On-Screen Marking solution have been helping customers enhance quality and experience of examinations.

Question Bank Management solution allows examination bodies to create a bank of questions authored by Subject Matter Experts and randomly develop question papers on the fly. This helps the exam body to anonymize the final question paper till it is selected on the day of the examination.

Impersonation in high stake examinations is a perennial threat faced by exam bodies. AuthenTrac – a patent pending in-classroom biometric based candidate authentication solution prevents impersonation by ensuring that the biometric records are registered during the examination and verified during admissions. This solutions has been successfully used in prestigious examinations in the country.

Evaluation of descriptive answer scripts have been a challenge for examination bodies. Lack of sufficient number of evaluators, errors in evaluation, errors in totalling & posting, attempts to tamper answer books post examination, speed of evaluation and the need to respond to RTI queries on quality of evaluation has been posing reputational risks for examination bodies. TracMarks, MeritTrac’s On-Screen Marking (OSM) solution helps examination boards and Universities to apply technology in the process of evaluation. The process involves scanning of the answer scripts, storing digitized answer scripts in secure locations and utilising the evaluation software to digitally evaluate the answers. The quality assurance features in the solution ensures that evaluations are carried out without human errors. This includes scientific marking quality assurance methods like evaluator practice and readiness, seeding of scripts, forced annotations, automated totalling and tabulation of scores. 
Steps involved in On-Screen Marking include,
1.       Scanning of Answer Scripts at secure scanning centres
2.       Secure transfer of electronic scripts to data-centre and its storage
3.       Scripts made available to evaluators at centralised evaluation centres or at their home
4.       Evaluation of scripts on screen by evaluator
5.       Marked scripts converted in PDF form with annotations
6.       Result publishing followed by instant readiness for subsequent evaluations when needed
Speaking at the press conference, Nagendran Sundararajan, Executive Vice President of MeritTrac mentioned that the susceptibilities in the current model of conducting examination has been exposed in the recent years. “The traditional approach to examination and question paper management has multiple vulnerabilities that are typically exploited. Question paper leaks, delays and errors in result processing cause unrest and displeasure among all stake holders in examination. In today’s generation, it is important to leverage technology in the examination process that eliminates possibilities of such fraudulent activities. MeritTrac’s Just in Time Question Paper Management (JIT-QP) and TracMARKS – On-Screen Marking solution addresses this very specific requirement.” he added.
MeritTrac’s knowledge of the examination process coupled with its understanding of technology has helped in the development of innovative solutions that has enhanced security, quality and stakeholder experience of examinations.

For further details log on to the website

Avasarala Technologies handing over 3000th Heat Pipe to ISRO

Bengaluru, May 25, 2016: Avasarala Technologies Ltd, head quartered in Bengaluru, today announced handing over 3000th Heat Pipe manufactured in Avasarala’s facility in Bommasandra to Padma Shri Dr. M. Annadurai, Director, ISRO Satellite Centre to commemoratethe long-standing relationship with ISRO.
Heat Pipes are very importantand critical components for Aerospace Applications for the spacecraft cooling and temperature stabilization due to their low weight penalty, zero maintenance, and reliability. Maintaining thermal uniformity is an importanttask with respect to orbiting satellites under adverse solar heating.
M.D & CEO T.T.Mani- Avasarala Technologies said “Today, Avasarala is one of the leading manufacturers of specialized and critical systems and components to Strategic Sectors under Make in India Program and we are extremely happy to receive
Dr. Annadurai to our facility and equally honoured to hand over our 3000th Heat Pipe to him endorsing our longstanding association with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)”.
Knowing the strength of Avasarala, ISRO entrusted the challenging task of development of Heat Pipes for their Satellite programs, which were being imported in those days. Avasarala started working on the development of Heat Pipes in the year 2001 and successfully manufactured and delivered Space Qualified Heat Pipes in the year 2003. A dedicated facility was established at Bommasandra Industrial Area to meet the needs of ISRO. Since then Avasarala has supplied 2986 Heat Pipes to ISRO for their 58 programs of which 38 satellites have been launched. These have completed a cumulative of 179 Years in space with Avasarala supplied Heat Pipes. Avasarala started working with ISRO since 1997 for indigenization of some of the critical capital equipment for their requirements. Heat Pipes are used in Thermal Management of Electronics in Satellites; it is a Thermal Device which transfers heat efficiently from one location to another with minimum thermal resistance. This is a very critical and important component of a satellite. Avasarala expressed that it is exhilarated to be a strategic part of the country’s Space Program and other sectors like Nuclear Power, Defence Labs and Domestic and International R&D Programs. The company was promoted by 8 Technocrats, from Bharat Electronics with an objective of building capital machineries for import substitutes mainly for Electronic Industries. Apart from Strategic Sectors; Avasarala also caters to the needs of Automotive & Electronic Industries in India by supplying Automation Systems.

Economically challenged students achieve outstanding results in Karnataka 2nd PUC exam 2016

-         25 out of 34  students score more than 90%
-         30 out of 34 students bag distinction (> 85%)
-         Joint initiative of Rashtrotthana Parishat & BASE
-         TAPAS : First of its kind educational initiative in Karnataka
-         Free PU Education & IIT- JEE Training
-         A unique opportunity for deserving X Std students

Bangalore, May 25, 2016: 25 of the 34 students from TAPAS program have scored above 90% in Karnataka 2nd PUC, the results of which were announced today. It has successfully stood up to the expectations with a remarkable achievement this year. The toppers from TAPAS program are Yashavantha C (97.17%), Praveen Gouda N Patil (97%), Sujith D Dixith (96.33%), Sudheer D G (95.33%), Avinash Kumar Mishra (95.17%).
‘TAPAS’, a free residential program initiated in 2012 by Rashtrotthana Parishat and BASE is a pioneering initiative in the field of education. It aims to train deserving students from economically challenged sections of the society such as children of daily wage earners, cobbler, auto driver, house maid etc for national level competitive examinations. This course is provided with free PU education and IIT entrance training.

Tapas selects around 30 – 40 bright students each year from economically weaker sections across Karnataka and offers them free PU education & IIT JEE training, free food & hostel accommodation. A selection test is conducted at all district headquarters and additional towns in Karnataka. Based on the performance and subsequent assessment, final selection of students is conducted. Many of these students are from Kannada medium till their class X. The selected students are admitted to the Pre University course at Rashtrotthana PU College in the city. Experienced teachers from Rashtrotthana PU College train them for the board exam and the IIT training is provided by BASE faculty.

“Reaching the unreached and bringing them to main stream is key objective of TAPAS. This outstanding achievement of the young ‘Tapas’ achievers have paved a strong path for many other bright students from economically challenged sections of the society to dream of higher accomplishments. There are lots of students in the weaker sections of the society from rural areas who really deserve in their field of studies and are waiting for the right platform to create aspirations and achieve them.” said N Dinesh Hegde, General Secretary, Rashtrotthana Parishat.

“As a leader in student training in Karnataka, BASE prepares students to take on various competitive exams. This is a unique initiative by Rashtrotthana and BASE to provide free training to the deserving students who have excelled well in their studies. We are delighted and proud to be a part of this exceptional program. We hope that these students will keep weaving such success stories and we will continue to make a difference with the dedicated efforts of our faculty. We are glad to take up this initiative and help economically weaker sections build their career”, said Dr H S Nagaraja, Founder Director of BASE.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Mahindra Finance announces Public Issue of NCDs

 Left to Right Mr.Vinay Pai, Senior Vice President, Edelweiss; Mr. V.Ravi, Executive Director CFO, Mr.Raveendran EK, Head Fixed Deposit ,Mahindra Finance, Mrs. Hani Jalan Business Development Head, Trust Investment Advisor Pvt Ltd
·         NCDs of face value of Rs.1,000 each for an amount of Rs. 25,000 lacs (“Base Issue Size”)
·         Along with an option to retain oversubscription up to Rs. 75,000 lacs aggregating up to Rs. 1,00,000 lacs (Rs.1000 Crores) (“Tranche 1 Issue”)
·         Issue opens on May 25, 2016 and closes on June 10, 2016**

Bengaluru: Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited , one of the leading non-banking finance companies with customers primarily in the rural and semi-urban markets of India, plans to raise debt capital with a public issue of NCDs opening on May 25, 2016.

The NCDs proposed to be issued under this Tranche 1 Issue have been rated ‘IND AAA’ for an amount of Rs. 1,00,000lacs, (Rs.1000 Crores) by India Ratings and Research Private Limited and ‘CARE AAA’ for an amount of Rs. 1,00,000 lacs (Rs.1000 Crores), by Credit Analysis & Research Ltd. . The rating of NCDs by India Ratings and CARE indicate that instruments with this rating are considered to have highest degree of safety regarding timely servicing of financial obligations and carry lowest credit risk. The NCDs are proposed to be listed on the BSE Limited (“BSE”) within 12 Working Days from the Issue Closure Date.

These NCDs, bearing a fixed rate of interest, are being offered under nine different Series. For Category I (QIB Portion) and Category II (Corporate Portion) holders, the coupon rate for Series I, Series II and Series III having tenure of 66 months, 84 months and 120 months, respectively, shall be 8.34%, 8.44% and 8.53% p.a., respectively payable quarterly. The coupon rate for Series IV, Series V and Series VI having tenure of 66 months, 84 months and 120 months, respectively, shall be 8.60%, 8.70% and 8.80% p.a. respectively payable annually. The effective yield for Series VII, Series VIII and Series IX having tenure of 66 months, 84 months and 120 months, respectively, shall be 8.60%, 8.70% and 8.80% p.a. respectively from the Deemed Date of Allotment.

While for Category III (HNI Portion) and Category IV (Retail Individual Investor Portion) holders, the coupon rate for Series I, Series II and Series III having tenure of 66 months, 84 months and 120 months, respectively, shall be 8.44%, 8.53% and 8.72% p.a., respectively. The coupon rate for Series IV, Series V and Series VI having tenure of 66 months, 84 months and 120 months, respectively, shall be 8.70%, 8.80% and 9.00% p.a. respectively payable annually. The effective yield for Series VII, Series VIII and Series IX having tenure of 66 months, 84 months and 120 months, respectively, shall be 8.70%, 8.80% and 9.00% p.a. respectively from the Deemed Date of Allotment.

**The Tranche 1 Issue shall be open for subscription from May 25, 2016 to June 10, 2016 with an option to close on such earlier date or extended date may be decided by the Board of Directors of the Company or the Debentures Public Issue Committee. In the event of an early closure or extension of the Tranche 1 Issue, our Company shall ensure that notice of the same is provided to the prospective investors through an advertisement in a reputed daily national newspaper on or before such earlier or extended date of Issue closure.

Investors have an option for allotment of NCDs in both dematerialized form and/or physical form.

The funds raised through this Tranche 1 Issue will be used for onward lending, financing, refinancing the existing indebtedness of the Company, long-term and working capital and general corporate purposes.
ICICI Securities Limited, A. K. Capital Services Limited, Edelweiss Financial Services Limited, JM Financial Institutional Securities Limited, SBI Capital Markets Limited, Trust Investment Advisors Private Limited and Yes Securities (India) limited  are the Lead Managers to the Issue. Axis Trustee Services Limited is the Debenture Trustee, while Karvy Computershare Private Limited is the Registrar to the Issue.
Capitalized terms not specifically defined above shall have the same meaning as assigned to them in the Shelf Prospectus and Tranche 1 Prospectus.
About Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited

Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited (Mahindra Finance), part of the Mahindra Group, is one of India’s leading non-banking finance companies. Focused on the rural and semi-urban sector of India.The Company was registered as a deposit-taking NBFC in 1998 and has since established a pan-India presence, spanning 26 states and 5 union territories through 1,167 offices as of March 31, 2016.

The Company's Insurance Broking subsidiary, Mahindra Insurance Brokers Limited (MIBL), is a licensed Composite Broker to undertake broking of life, non-life and reinsurance products. 

Mahindra Rural Housing Finance Limited (MRHFL) a subsidiary of Mahindra Finance provides housing loans for purchase, renovation and construction of houses to individuals.

Mahindra Asset Management Company Private Limited (MAMCPL) a wholly owned subsidiary has been granted registration for mutual fund, ‘Mahindra Mutual Fund’.
The Company has a JV in US, Mahindra Finance USA LLC, in partnership with De LageLanden Financial Services Inc., a subsidiary of the Rabobank group, for financing Mahindra tractors in US.

IIMB ranks among Top 50 Global schools for Executive Education

Image result for iim bangalore
Bengaluru: Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB) is the only Indian Management School to be featured in the 2016 Financial Times Executive Education Top 50 Rankings announced today. IIMB takes the 47th position in the overall Financial Times Executive Education 2016 Ranking, moving up one spot from last year and is ranked alongside prestigious universities like London Business School, IESE, IMD, Harvard Business School, University of Oxford, among others.

“IIMB’s consistent ranking, year on year, in the Financial Times Rankings reflects our ability to adapt to the rapidly evolving business and economic ecosystem. It is an acknowledgment of our commitment to design and offer top-notch programmes for senior executives from industry and government,” said Professor Shyamal Roy, Chairperson, Executive Education Programmes, IIM Bangalore.

After making a debut in the Financial Times Customized Executive Education Rankings 2015 with a rank of 57, IIMB has moved up 10 spots this year (2016) to 47th rank, thus positioning itself among the Top 50 in Customized Education as well.

“At IIMB, we focus on building leaders and work with organizations to cultivate creative leadership by designing programmes that have real impact on their business.  It is a delight to be recognized and rewarded for our endeavours in Executive Education Programmes,” added Madan Mohan Raj, Chief Programmes Officer, Executive Education Programmes, IIM Bangalore.

IIMB’s Executive Education offers non-degree programmes to corporations and working professionals which are either ‘Customized’ according to the requirement of the organization or ‘Open’  for all professionals for enrolment. IIMB occupies the 57th position in the Open Executive Education Ranking this year.

The FT 2016 rankings are based on the participants’ and clients’ satisfaction, the diversity of participants and faculty and the schools international exposure. The participant schools are marked on different parameters by the companies that commission executive courses, participants of these courses and the data reported by the business schools.