Adapting To The Unprecedented: NITR Rewind 2020-21

Adapting To The Unprecedented: NITR Rewind 2020-21

Team MM | Apr 26, 2021

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Walking past those mellow trees into the dynamic classrooms to attend the spirited lectures, sipping these electrifying cups of coffee thereafter...Cut!... Wrong script!... Rewind!... Enclosed within virtual classrooms attending monotonous lectures, with boatloads of assignments thereafter, the Academic year 2020-2021 wasn't what we all expected or hoped for. Despite the doom and gloom, we saw many notable events and accomplishments over the year. 

Clubs fared well, the long-awaited Golden Jubilee building was inaugurated, the institute was graced by the visit of the President of India, and students achieved acmes, unfazed. NIT Rourkela maintained its sturdy standing at the NIRF Rankings 2020 (16th rank in Engineering Category) and bagged the position of the best NIT in various international rankings.

Team Monday Morning brings you some of the important yet memorable happenings of this year, which has been unconventional in all respects. 

July 2020

Grade Normalization 

NIT Rourkela came up with the strategized grading system to remove the hindrance and promote the students to the next semester. The Senate concluded that the end semester marks for each theory subject would be awarded out of the following two alternatives, (higher of the two):

TA (out of 20) + mid-semester marks (out of 30)

{(CGPA-0.5)*10}/2

The overall marks obtained in the theory subject would be: calculated end-sem marks + mid-sem marks +TA marks, and the grades will be awarded accordingly. Simultaneously, the laboratory courses’ marks would be awarded based on the continuous evaluation done until the last class by scaling it up to 100. Check out the article below to know more about Grade Normalization for the spring semester 2019-20.

Grading Amidst Pandemic

August 2020

Tragedy Strikes

With the onset of lockdown all over the country due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the entire NIT Rourkela fraternity was enveloped in grief following the demise of an able administrator and a diligent instructor, Professor Smarajit Sarkar, former Head of Department, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. Professor Sarkar left for his heavenly abode in the early morning of 15th August 2020 after battling with the Covid-19 virus. Hearty tributes poured in from every department in the loving memory of Professor Smarajit Sarkar. Read about it at

Rest in peace Prof. Smarajit Sarkar 

September 2020

NITR Codes and Preptember Series

NITR Codes, a practical and progressive Competitive Coding series, was jointly organised by Developer Student Clubs (DSC), NIT Rourkela and various clubs registered under SAC, namely, Microsoft Campus Club(MCC), Spawn, Code Red, and Code Hub. With each week focused on specific topics, the initiative provided budding coders with hand-picked quality resources, mentorship and an opportunity to test their skills. 

Preptember Series, a month-long event, was collaboratively conducted by DSC NIT Rourkela and the clubs: OpenCode, Design Tab, She Coders, ML4E, Webwiz, Spawn, Code Hub, Code Red and MCC. The series provided a common platform for all tech enthusiasts of NIT Rourkela to learn, collaborate and grow. Numerous beginner-friendly workshops and sessions were organised through online mode to kickstart the Open Source journey of interested students. Check out the article below to know more about NITR Codes and Preptember Series.

Raising Coding Culture with NITR Codes and Preptember series

October 2020

Open House Discussion

An Open house discussion (OHD) was organized by Team Monday Morning on 3rd October 2020 via MS Teams to resolve students issues regarding the fees issues of the autumn semester of 2020-21. The fee structure hosted on the official site of NIT Rourkela under the announcement section brought a certain agitation and discontent among the students, especially with the UG and PG community. The OHD was graced by the Hon’ble Director of the institute, the Registrar, Dean Academics, Dean Student Welfare, and the Chief Warden along with all the Class Representatives (CRs) of each department across each batch, Hall Representatives, SAC Student Representative, ICS Coordinators, Hall Secretaries, Team MM, and other interested students.

Click on the link below to know what unfolded on the day.

Open House Discussion on Fees Issues

AI Expert Prof Anup Nandy In BRICS Young Scientist Conclave 2020

Prof Anup Nandy from the Department of Computer Science & Engineering represented India at the 5th BRICS Young Scientist Conclave-2020, Russia. The conclave was organised by the National Research University, South Ural State University, Russia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and the Secretariat of the Russian BRICS STI Cooperation Council. He and PhD scholar Joyeeta Chakraborty and some other students developed a software tool to detect neurological disorders like cerebral palsy. Using sensors, a wearable device, and AI techniques, the device can detect the diseases by analysing its user's gait (walking pattern/ manner). Click the link below to know more:

Prof Anup Nandy to BRICS Young Scientist Conclave

Golden Jubilee Building Inauguration by Union Education Minister

Inauguration

Commemorating the 50th anniversary (in 2011) of the esteemed institute, this Golden Jubilee Building located at the heart of NIT Rourkela stands tall and unparalleled. The inauguration ceremony for the same took place on the 19th October 2020 via virtual mode by Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Hon’ble Union Cabinet Minister, Ministry of Education (MoE), Govt. of India. The detailed event coverage can be found below.

Golden Jubilee Building Inauguration

November 2020

Six researchers of the institute feature in the World’s Top 2% of Scientists.

Based on different standardized citation indicators, namely, information on citations, H-index, co-authorship, and a composite indicator in their respective fields, a database of over 100,000 top scientists of the world was released in the journal PLOS (Public Library of Science) led by Dr John PA Ioannidis of Standford University. Six researchers of the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela (NIT Rourkela), featured in the World’s Top 2% of Scientists.

They are as follows:

  • Prof. Santanu Saha Ray (Department of Mathematics) – Numerical & Computational Mathematics (Rank – 136) (Rank 1, India). 
  • Prof. Bankim Chandra Ray (Metallurgical and Materials Engineering) – Materials (Rank – 1528)
  • Prof. Dayal R. Parhi (Mechanical Engineering Department) – Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing (Rank 3968)
  • Prof. Surajit Das (Department of Life Science) – Biotechnology (Rank-901)
  • Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty (Department of Mathematics) – Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing (Rank 1862)
  • Prof. Santanu Paria (Chemical Engineering) – Chemical Physics (Rank-1587)

Team Monday Morning got opportunities to conduct elaborate interviews with some of the eminent professors from the list, such as– 

Prof. Bankim Chandra Ray - A Metallurgists sojourn through books and beyond

Prof. Dayal R. Parhi – Exploring future of AI and Image Processing

Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty -  Exploring computational hub of books

December 2020

The Institute Orientations

Owing to the Covid Pandemic, the orientation session of the newbies of NIT Rourkela was conducted via a Live stream on Youtube on 3rd December 2020. The freshers were given an insight into various aspects of life at NIT Rourkela by various dignitaries of the institution. This was followed by the release of the Monday Morning’s 4th edition (Digital) of NITR 101, Annual Mini Print Issue and an introductory session by Institute Counselling ServicesTo know more about what happened on the day, check out the article-

Unravelling the institute to freshers

Conference on Processing and Characterization of Materials (CPCM-2020)

The Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, NIT Rourkela successfully organized the Conference on Processing and Characterization of Materials (CPCM-2020) from 18th – 20th December 2020. CPCM aimed to provide an opportunity for the exchange of research work, ideas and insights among notable scientists, eminent personalities from the field of research, faculty and students for the betterment of society.

The conference theme included foremost topics of interest like Materials Processing, Advanced Materials, Surface Engineering etc. To know more about CPCM 2020, check the following article -

A Symposium of revolutionary ideas CPCM '20  

January 2021

The outset of the Diamond Jubilee

Embracing your past is necessary to let yourself be guided into the future. Established in 1961, National Institute of Technology, Rourkela is one of our country's finest technical institutes. Stone by stone, NIT Rourkela has grown from a single building housing everything to a mega facility that supports more than 6000 people including students, faculty and staff and now entering the 60th year of its existence! To have a detailed outlook on the journey, check the following article.

NIT Rourkela entering its Diamond Jubilee

Diamond Jubilee Celebration

The diamond jubilee celebrations, which were to be conducted in 2020, were postponed due to Covid-19 and conducted on the eve of Republic Day, i.e. 26th January 2021. Various government officials, namely Hon'ble Education Minister of India Sj. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Hon’ble Chief Minister Of Odisha, Shri Naveen Pattnaik and Shri Ganeshi Lal, the Hon’ble Governor of Odisha, had sent their virtual messages on this auspicious occasion.

The celebration was graced by various distinguished alumni, namely Mr CP Gurnani, Madam Soma Mandal, Mr SM Vaidya and Prof. Prasant MohapatraTo know more about the above Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, check the following article. 

Inauguration of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

February

Inauguration of Poverty Alleviation Research Center (PARC)

The diamond jubilee also saw the inauguration of the Poverty Alleviation Research Centre or PARC at NIT Rourkela by NIT Rourkela alumnus Mr Venkata Narasimham Peri (batch of MCA, 1991, Distinguished Alumnus, 2013). PARC is an initiative that Mr Peri personally funded to learn more about why families slip into chronic poverty. This would be headed by Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty from the Department of Mathematics. The research centre will pool in resources from other departments as well, such as Computer Science, Management and Humanities and will closely work with local and state administration too. It will collect data about the families who sleep in chronic poverty and will go back to them with precise recommendations of policy interventions. For more insights into the noble venture, click on the link below-

Insights into PARC

Installation of Washing machines by NIT Rourkela Alumni Association (NITRAA)

One of the biggest benefactors of the institute, the NIT Rourkela Alumni Association (NITRAA), invested massively for enhancing student amenities in the hostels, especially for a post-Covid scenario. NITRAA bore the entire cost of 150 fully automatic washing machines installed across the hostels and 30 coffee/tea vending machines for faculty and staff in the academic departments of NIT Rourkela. To broaden the decision-making process for a project of this scale, a seven-member committee was formed with an undergraduate from NIT Rourkela, a faculty member who was an alumnus of NIT Rourkela, a senior alumnus from Rourkela and four alumni for representation from all the geographic zones of India. The historic move having no precedence to it accentuated the dynamic and supportive alumni network and fostered greater trust in student-alumni ties. Get to know more about this remarkable initiative of NITRAA below:

Upgradation of Student Amenities by NITRAA

March

Womens’ day celebration at NIT Rourkela

As an ode to womanhood, NIT Rourkela organised the event ‘AAHANA’ virtually to celebrate International Women’s Day on 10th March 2021 (The celebration was rescheduled because of ISRO’s visit to the institute on 8th March 2021). The women's day celebration- a daughter event of the Diamond jubilee celebrations, was graced by eminent people from inside and outside the institute. Prior to the celebrations, a Daycare centre for the children of staff and faculty members, especially aiding female employees at the institute was inaugurated.

A very fruitful and enlightening panel discussion was conducted on the topic, ‘Women empowerment and gender equality at the workplace.’ This discussion reflected upon the stated topic from various forefronts, as per the experience of the people from diverse fields. A cultural extravaganza involving dance, song and a ramp walk was organized and performed by the women of the institute. 

Amongst other developments of the occasion, a daycare centre was inaugurated for the employees of the institute and was perceived with applauds from the working mithers of NIT Rourkela. To know in detail regarding the graceful as well as entertaining events, go to:

Women's Day celebration at NITR

XVIII ANNUAL CONVOCATION

On 21 March 2021, NIT Rourkela observed its 18th Annual Convocation amidst the global pandemic. The event was organized in the Bhubaneswar Behera Auditorium (BBA), abiding by COVID-19 rules and regulations' norms. The entire ceremony was live-streamed on YouTube as well.

Shri Ram Nath Kovind, Hon'ble President of India, graced the occasion as the revered Chief Guest for the convocation ceremony. Guests of Honor for the event were Prof. Ganeshi Lal (Hon'ble Governor, Odisha), Shri Dharmendra Pradhan (Hon'ble Minister of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Steel), Shri Naba Kishore Das (Hon'ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha), and Shri Jual Oram (Hon'ble Member of Parliament, Sundergarh).

In total, 544 B.Tech Degrees, 10 B.Arch Degrees, 117 BTech+ M.Tech Dual Degrees, 75 Integrated M.Sc (5 Years) degrees, 424 M.Tech Degrees, 125 M.Sc Degrees, 21 M.A degrees, 25 MBA Degrees, 4 MTech by research degrees and 118 PhD degrees were conferred at the convocation. Some special medals like Gold Medals, Branch Topper medals and Endowment Medals were also awarded. The link for the above article can be found below:

18th Annual Convocation of NIT Rourkela

MOU for Setting up ISRO Space Tech Incubation Centre (STIC)

Online MoU signing event

On the 18th of March 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and NIT Rourkela in online mode for setting up the Space Technology Incubation Centre (S-TIC) for the Eastern India region covering Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Andaman and Nicobar. The MoU mentioned the opportunities that this collaboration with ISRO will provide for research & development and space start-ups. A project book named ‘Yukti Sanchita’ was also launched in the event by Dr K Sivan (Chairman, ISRO) that enlists pioneering research proposals in space technology. Read the detailed article covering this momentous event and what it envisages in the article below: 

Opening Up New Opportunities: ISRO's S-TIC at NITR

Student Protest and the Online Examination Decision

Even after the delays and the challenges, the institute was keen on conducting examinations with students appearing the same physically. The final year students were called to the campus, followed by the pre-final year students. However, the institute (like the entire nation) saw the second wave of COVID-19. A schedule of practical classes was changed in a way that, although hastened the process, didn’t provide enough time for the lab work.

Following this, the students rose to protest, and an emergency senate meeting was called. It was finally decided that the mode of examination would be entirely online. The students were allowed to return to their hometown after getting a COVID-negative report in the tests conducted on campus. Being one of a kind event for NIT Rourkela, this garnered huge media coverage as well. 

After a week, the circular entailing the mode of examination and the dates were promulgated, and the examination dates for only the B.Tech final year students were decided. Check the article on students’ protest and the associated modalities of online examination:

The Emergency Senate Meeting

Exam Modalities Clarification

Gender-based Preferential Lockdown Of Female Halls

Following an unauthorised souvenir photoshoot among students on campus, on March 31, the Hon’ble Director Prof Animesh Biswas directed Hall Administration to seal both female Halls(CVR and KMS Halls of Residence) while the directive wasn’t extended to the Male Halls. KMS Hall of Residence broke out to protest against this and demanded clarification from the Hall Administration while calling for the undoing of the preferential lockdown. Following a deliberation with the Chief Warden and an almost break-out by female students at CVR Hall of residence, the curfew was finally lifted in the evening hours.

Adding On To The Year:

Soma Mondal Appointed Chairperson of SAIL

In August 2020, the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) took a historic decision to appoint Ms Soma Mondal, a graduate of the batch of 1984 from the Department of Electrical Engineering as the first lady Chairperson of Steel Authority of India Ltd. One of the most distinguished alumni of our institute, Madam Mondal has made NIT Rourkela proud with lots of her achievements. Click on the link below to know more about her-

A force to reckon with Ms Soma Mandal

Techie Alumnus Pranav Khaitan behind WFP's Nobel win

Proving the feat of NIT Rourkela alumni globally this time, Mr Pranav Khaitan, a 2009 B.tech. graduate in Computer Science and Engineering turned heads when his team assisted the World Food Programme (WFP) in winning the Nobel Peace Prize 2020. A Senior Engineering lead at Google USA, Pranav guided the Innovation Advisory Council of WFP to develop an artificial intelligence tool to alleviate hunger. The NIT Rourkela Junta was exulted to witness this tech geek give a TED talk at the much anticipated TEDxNITRourkela. His Talk- 'Can AI solve a Humanitarian Crisis?' focused on solving major humanitarian problems with AI. Contrary to the popular belief that AI might work against humanity, Pranav explained how it could become one of the most excellent tools at our disposal.

Pranav Khaitan's Noble pursuits

ACADEMIC INITIATIVES: SWAYAM COURSES, SIX-MONTH INTERNSHIPS AND FAST PACE PROGRAMME

SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds), a programme initiated by the Government of India, was introduced at NIT Rourkela this year. This allows the students to take up various electives, which the institute does not offer. Students can choose any of the SWAYAM courses visible on their NITRIS portal to substitute an elective course. Any student of any year can take up a maximum of up to 20 per cent of the total credits in SWAYAM courses. Read this article to know more about these courses. 

Introduction of SWAYAM courses

Another breakthrough decision of this year was when the Senate passed a resolution allowing M.Tech and Dual Degree students to pursue a six-month internship in their final year. They are required to continue their project work under an institute guide parallelly during the internship period.

The Senate also passed a resolution that approved the Fast Pace Programme for B.Tech and Int. M.Sc. students. As per this programme, students need not stay on the campus during the final semester, thus enabling them to pursue internships or research studies during that period. Any student with a CGPA of 8 and above can avail of this programme. Students can either take an extra course from the 3rd semester onwards or take an equivalent course in SWAYAM. The article below would help you know why the six-month internship and the fast pace programme are necessary.

Provision of six-month internships

GATE and CAT success

The GATE and CAT results called for celebrations yet again as the students of NIT Rourkela managed to overcome every other hurdle in their way and managed to ace the notoriously tricky entrance examinations opening pathways to higher education institutions of stellar reputation. Read the article by clicking on the link below to know more.

GATE Achievers Part-1

GATE Achievers Part-2

B-School Admits

Club Flagship events

SWARANJALI

The auspicious occasion of Teachers' Day, 5th September 2020, saw SPIC MACAY organising a Classical Music Extravaganza-'Swaranjali' along with HeartBeats and Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat. The sole objective of the event was to acknowledge the hardships endured and the challenges faced by the teachers. Click on the link to know all the details of the event:

Swaranjali: Endorsing the roots of music

EPREUVE 4.0

The Diamond Jubilee kickstarted a series of events in February, and EPREUVE 4.0 was the first to be conducted under the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The Online Tech hunt was conducted from 26th-28th February 2021 that saw over 1100+ registrations from colleges all over India. The 48 hours event was conducted by Cyborg, the Robotics and Automation club of NITR. To know more about the above Epreuve 4.0, check the article below -

Deciphering the VR story with EPREUVE 4.0

Edge 2.0

The second edition of EDGE, the flagship event of Steellun club, the official Material Advantage Chapter of NIT Rourkela, was successfully conducted in virtual mode over Microsoft Teams from Feb 26-28 February 2021. Featuring the participation of teams from over 10 institutes, it was pretty successful and insightful. The full coverage of the event can be found here:

Learning on the Edge 2.0

TEDxNITROURKELA

On the 13th and 14th of March,2021, TEDxNITRourkela was hosted by a team of students from NIT Rourkela, held virtually over an interactive platform Airmeet, the official license of TED. The theme of this year's TEDx talks was 'Learning from The Past,’ and speakers from varying fields gave short, powerful talks, covering each aspect of modern society. The talks were relevant to everyone across the seven seas, igniting the spark to find innovative and revolutionary ideas that defined history. Read the detailed article covering this event.

The inception of the spectacular TedxNITRourkela

HackNITR 2.0

Organised on 19-21 March by many tech enthusiasts from Developer Student Clubs (DSC), NIT Rourkela in collaboration with OpenCode, HackNITR 2.0, one of the largest hackathons in India's eastern region, saw a total of 1180 individual registrations. To know more about the speakers and the details of the hackathon, head over to

A sneak peek into the Technical Extravaganza: HackNITR 2.0

Prajwalit and Navdhara

In this session, AIChE NIT Rourkela Chapter hosted the Student Regional Conference titled “Prajwalit”. The event spanned over three days and had multiple competitions, guest talks, workshops, entertainment activities, etc. The event was a massive success as it saw tremendous and enthusiastic participation from several institutes and sister chapters. Apart from this, AIChE NIT Rourkela had come up with an innovative objective to rejuvenate the rural parts of India. The event called ‘Navdhara – A Rural Development Outreach Program’ had several competitions and guest talks. Read on to know more about these events - 

Igniting young minds: AIChE's Prajwalit

Navdhara: A rural development outreach program by AIChE

International Film Festival

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Campus Club conducted 'SDG International Film Festival 2020', a two-day event that screened award-winning films based on Sustainable Development Goals and guest talks by the Directors. Accompanying the event, a pre-and post-festival webinar was also organized to give better sights to the audience. The festival's organizer summoned prominent personalities worldwide to make the event enthralling, interactive, and informative for the participants. Link to the above article:

Relaying through the Reels: SDG International Film Festival

Club Achievements

The clubs of NIT Rourkela have not allowed the COVID-19 pandemic to hamper their functioning in the last session. Despite not being on campus and not having allocated funds this year, they have made most of the current situation. They have managed to stay active and have also successfully conducted various events and have brought laurels to the institute. Here are some of the laurels that the clubs of NIT Rourkela have brought in this year.

Clarion, the literary and debating club of NIT Rourkela, has had a marvellous series of achievements in several debating tournaments that the members have been to. Clarion members have utilised the pandemic in the best way possible to practice debates and attend different tournaments. As of 22 March 2021, Clarion had been to 36 tournaments at both national and international levels and achieved success in 20 of them. For that matter, it was for the first time that Clarion could participate in international-level tournaments and send contingents to circuits that were otherwise impossible in normal times. Read this article to get a detailed description of all the tournaments in which Clarion has set a legacy – 

Loud and clear: Clarion's success during lockdown

AIChE NIT Rourkela Chapter represented NIT Rourkela at the 2020 Annual Student Conference (ASC) of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. The club members had represented the chapter at the Executive Student Committee meet, Global Presidents Meet, and many other events, which added accolades to their sheer dedication to take the chapter to new heights. AIChE NITR Chapter bagged 5 International awards for their hard work and commitment, including the Outstanding Student Chapter Award (2019-20). Read this article to get insights about all the awards and the efforts that went behind them – 

AIChE: Setting up a new legacy

Inquizzitive, the official quizzing club of NIT Rourkela, outshined in the ‘Tata Crucible- The Campus Quiz 2021’ (The first virtual format of the Campus Quiz). Tata Crucible seeks to bring together the brightest young minds to take on the heat of the country's most prominent business quiz. Three Inquizzitive members were marked as finalists and one among them emerged as a runner-up. Check the article below to know more about Inquizzitive's grand victory in the tournament:

Inquizzitive's prowess at Tata Crucible

TEN LETTERS, an original short film written, shot and produced by RITVIC - the official cultural club of NIT Rourkela, has won Best Short Film at Rendezvous ‘21 - the annual cultural fest of IIT Delhi. Rendezvous is one of the largest cultural fests in Asia that attracts numerous participants from various countries. The Short film was specifically appreciated for its screenplay and cinematography and was awarded the first prize. Link below:

Rendezvous With Success: RITVIC Wins Big at IIT-D

To Wind Up

The session of ups and downs has finally become a full circle. In these tough times, how the NIT Rourkela Junta has kept their head high with undying spirits is truly worthy of praise. The readers, the NITR Junta inspired and motivated the entire Monday Morning team to be in the best of their spirits. Your presence gave us constant motivation and your support gave us strength. Humility, Integrity and Righteousness. These pillars of Monday Morning has stood strong and with these three in mind, we hope that we remained true to it this year as well. Monday Morning will be always happy and proud to serve you. Nevertheless, everyone is expected to follow guidelines, get vaccinated as staying safe and strong has become the new normal.

Team MM wishes good health and strong will power to the entire community during these testing times. Stay Safe!

DISCLAIMER: The content, opinions or views expressed on the Monday Morning's website and its social media platforms, including, but not limited to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, are strictly the property of Monday Morning and represent the extensive research and work of the working team of respective academic year of Monday Morning and not those of the institute. The reports and statements published are consolidated from the collected background research and interviews. The institute's official statements can be found in the press releases published by the institute or via an RTI application.

No article or any statements by Monday Morning is to be reproduced, presented or distributed in part or whole without prior permission of the Executive Body of Monday Morning for any purposes, including, but not limited to print and electronic form.



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