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Politics In Education:STATES DIFFER ON OBC RESERVATIONS, by Insaf,24 October 2006 Print E-mail


New Delhi, 24 October 2006

Politics In Education


By Insaf

The States are divided on party lines on the controversial issue of OBC quota in private, unaided educational institutions.  Differences were evident at a meeting in New Delhi last week between the Centre’s Group of Ministers on Reservations, headed by Pranab Mukherjee, and the Education Ministers of the States.  The meeting was called to seek the opinion of the States on the subject. But no decisions were taken or attempted. Disagreement mainly emerged on whether or not the creamy layer should be included in the ambit of OBC reservations. The issue generated much heat, thanks to a coincidence wherein the Supreme Court ruled out the same day inclusion of the creamy layer in reservations. The States governed by the Left wanted this select class to be kept out.   Those like U.P. however favoured quota for it.

More and more States have demanded greater say in regulating not only the reservation policy but also the fee structures and admissions. Kerala’s Education Minister, M.A. Baby, for example, made a forceful plea for another Central legislation to empower the States, especially in controlling admissions and the fee structure in private educational institutions and deemed universities, some of which have greatly commercialized education. At the same time, Baby wanted minority institutions to be kept out of the reservations. He also demanded that the State Governments be given the right to define as to what constituted minority institutions. A majority of the higher educational institutions in Kerala are owned by various Christian organisations.  Clearly, it is more and more politics in education, a State subject under the Constitution.

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DMK drubs AIADMK In Civic Polls

The ruling DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) has almost swept the local body elections in Tamil Nadu, leaving the opposition AIADMK and its supremo badly mauled.  It has captured all the five municipal corporations in the State and 116 municipalities and 28 district panchayats. The DMK’s  remarkable performance in these elections has special political significance in the Dravidian politics of the State.  The party has, by and large, gained at the expense of Jayalalitha’s AIADMK, which lost several of its strongholds like Madurai, Theni, Erode, Coimbatore and Tuticorin. Remember, the AIADMK had won a majority of its seats from these districts in the Assembly polls in May last.  What is more, Jayalalitha’s party, known for its rural vote bank, performed poorly in the panchayat polls and could capture only the Tuticorin Panchayat. These performances clearly show that the people have reposed their faith in the DMK supremo Karunanidhi and rejected Jayalalitha and her governance.

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Stalemate In Naga Talks

Insaf’s apprehension in regard to the ongoing Naga talks has regrettably come true.  The status of the prolonged parleys between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) to continues to be the same. The latest round at Amsterdam over the week-end made no headway. Both sides however expressed hope of achieving “something concrete” in the next two-three rounds.  The Naga leaders, Issac Swu and T. Muivah, have not yet climbed down from their demand for the unification of all Naga-inhabited areas of the North-East.  At Amsterdam, they raised it again, even though the Group of Ministers, headed by Oscar Fernandes, reaffirmed New Delhi’s stand that such unification was not feasible. Surprisingly, the NSCN (IM) leaders raised for the first time a demand for a separate representation at the UN. They also wanted “greater rights” over national resources, finance, defence and policing.  The Government side is still hoping to clinch a “package” deal in the next few rounds, notwithstanding the Naga leaders’ intransigence.

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Farmers’ Suicides Cross Thousand-Mark

Vidarbha’s six cotton-growing districts continue to present a tragic and gloomy picture. The toil of farmers’ suicide crossed the one thousand-mark since June 2005.  Seven more suicides were reported in the two days of Diwali celebrations across the country. The farmers in Maharashtra, particularly in its Vidarbha region, are greatly agitated by the State Government’s “insensivity”.  It has recently announced that it would throw open its procurement centres only from November 15 and that it would pay only the price fixed by the Centre.  This announcement has led to a collapse of open market price. Not only that, the farmers would get paid only 15 days after they sell the cotton at the procurement centres. That means the farmers will have to wait for more than a month from now to get any cash in hand, leading to a crisis.

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RSS Cadres For BJP In UP

The BJP can now hope for better performance in the upcoming Assembly election in UP, now that the RSS leadership has decided to pull all stops for the party’s success in the battle of the ballot. The RSS move, despite the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s decision not to support the BJP in next year’s elections in UP, is obviously intended to have a better grip over the BJP’s affairs.  The organization is trying to re-assert the imperative of taking the party “back to the basics”.  Moreover, the BJP Chief, Rajnath Singh, has been making persistent efforts to get full support of the RSS for its candidates.  The process started when the RSS leadership decided at its recent meeting in Varanasi to depute its four Pracharaks to take care of BJP affairs in the States.  These full-time Pracharaks will now be actively involved in planning strategies for the UP poll.

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AFSPA: Centre May Pass The Buck

Pressure is building up on the Centre and the State Government ahead of the Assembly polls in Manipur early next year to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).  Since there is opposition from the Army and the Defence Ministry to the dilution of the forces’ powers in the insurgency-hit State, the UPA Government at the Centre is planning to put the ball in the State’s court.  It is likely to leave it to the Okram Iboti Singh Government to lift the controversial Act.   Under the AFSPA both the Centre and the State Government are empowered to declare areas within the State as disturbed and review the same whenever considered necessary. The Manipur Government may soon review the State’s coverage by the AFSPA, so as to reap electoral dividends in the Assembly elections, possibly in February next.

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Tension On Indo-Bangla Border

Tension is once again growing on the India-Bangladesh border.  A night-long exchange of fire between the Border Security Force (BSF) and Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) took place last week when some Bangladeshi youth tried to enter India by cutting the fencing wire. When the BSF jawans tried to stop them, the infiltrators became aggressive and lewdly abusive, prompting the BSF to open fire.  The BDR soon retaliated.  More than 400 rounds were then fired in the pitched gunbattle. Two Indian citizens were seriously injured and one Bangladeshi died, resulting in tension all along the border. The BSF has been put on high alert in the wake of intelligence reports that the ISI of Pakistan is increasingly trying to use the Indo-Bangla border for infiltration of militant groups into India.

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Criminal Trial In Five Hours

A district judge of Rohtas in Bihar has created a record in the annals of free India’s jurisprudence.  He completed a criminal trial in one sitting of five hours, and gave a rape- bid accused five years of rigorous imprisonment.  The court concluded the deposition of the victim, six witnesses, including the victim’s father and brother, the investigating officer and the defendant in about four hours.  The judge took the next hour to deliver the judgment. The court’s feat came close on the heels of a meeting in Patna of district magistrates, district police chiefs and district judges, convened jointly by the State Government and the Patna High Court.  All underlined the importance and the need for speedy trial of cases.  What the district Judge of Rohtas has achieved should be an eye opener for others in dispensing justice in India.---INFA


(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

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