Maharashtra schools gets no fund from Govt under EWS scheme

Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, which has two schools in the city suffered the total loss of Rs 5 crore after the introduction of the mandatory 25 percent quota admission for children of the economically weaker sections (EWS) under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

There are many other schools in the state that have been suffering losses due to no compensation from the government.

“I have a total of 600 seats, adding both my schools and their shifts together. We give admission to 150 RTE students every year since 2013. However, we haven’t received a single penny in terms of reimbursement from the government towards these admissions, which means we are bearing the entire cost of their education. We are a school, not a profit-making business and our fees are anyway not that high,” Nandkumar Kakirde, secretary of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, said.

Bharat Bhendarge who is a school owner from Aurangabad, sat on a protest about a fortnight ago outside the office of Director of Education in Pune because his school had lost Rs 37.5 lakh because of non-collection of fees from the 25 percent reserved seats for RTE admissions.

“I have 50 seats under RTE. Most of the time they are not filled, but the government does not allow us to take admissions on the vacant seats. They can be wasted, but not filled through regular admissions,” he claimed.

Jagrutti Dharmadhikari, president of the Independent English Schools Association (IESA) had organised a strike to demand the payment of EWS dues.  Jagrutti told to Indian Express, “We had given it in writing that we will not take EWS quota admissions from next academic year if our dues are not cleared by September 30”.

Sources: Indian Express

 

7 stray forts given ‘protection status’

The seven stray forts in Maharashtra have been granted ‘protection status’ by the State Archaeology department. Under this, the forts are –  Sangram Durg or Chakan fort in Pune, Yashwantgad (Redi) fort in Sindhudurg and Bandkot in Ratnagiri, among others, with plans to protect 48 more.

These forts are built by the Marathas in the 18th century, many of these forts are a part of over 56 stray monuments in the State that neither come under the state archaeology department nor the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Currently, there are 400 forts in the State, with only 90 under protection.
According to the Times of India, Tejas Garge, director, state department of Archaeology and Museums, told that with the help of Maharashtra’s Fort Conservation Committee, the department had proposed protection to close to 56 forts and temples, which are currently neither under it nor the ASI. He also added, “Of the 56 monuments, seven have been granted protection status, while the remaining 48 may also get this status in future.”

Garge said that the procedure to get protection for monuments as long as revenue recorded from the concerned district collectorates have to be obtained. He said, “In most cases, the monuments are under the ownership of the government. But there are some cases in which we need the transfer of ownership”.

Sources – Times of India

Mughal history is irrelevant, Maharashtra dumps it from syllabus

In a decision taken on the first week of August this month, the BJP led Maharashtra government decided to revise the history syllabus of the state board to make it more Martha centric. While the move was appreciated for Maratha Empire is not given a significant amount of exposure in history even though they were politically the strongest empire in the 1760’s; a section of the educated society raised its eyebrows for the parts that were left out.

While a chunk of history including the rise of Islam and French movement was excluded an entire chapter on Mughal history was also cut out. While the official line of the ministry is to make students aware about their native history the backdrop of this entire practice reveals something entirely different.

To put things into perspective, there were three syllabus changes in the last two years that made a little amount of buzz in the national media. While Maharashtra State Education Board has deemed the history of Mughals and western countries ‘irrelevant’ for Class VII and IX students, Rajasthan Board last year, excluded the former Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru from its history books and quoted Savarkar as the greatest hero of the Indian freedom movement who tried to stop partition till the very last moment, “only brave revolutionary to be sentenced not just to one but to two terms of life imprisonment … and he made tremendous efforts to stop the Partition.” It doesn’t even bother about the fact that Savarkar had begged for forgiveness from the British authorities when he was imprisoned in the Cellular Jail in the Andaman Islands. In a mercy petition to the British, “The Mighty alone can afford to be merciful and therefore where else can the prodigal son return but to the parental doors of the Government?”

A disappointed Ram Swaroop, political science teacher of a Rajasthan Board school doesn’t look forward to teaching his class anymore “I’m sad about it. Even if political parties make changes, there has to be some balance, some logic. How can you compare Savarkar’s contributions to that of Gandhi’s or Nehru’s?”

Last year all the Kendriya Vidyalayas were forced to write all the official letters in Hindi, while the government hide their face behind promoting the native language, there is no escaping the fact that there is an aggressive manipulation of the history to create books the instil a sense of nationalism in the students.

Most of the schools under the state boards are for students that are not from a very affluent class of the society; their parents are not highly educated and send their children for a formal education with the hopes that they achieve success in life.

Last time when the BJP government tried to change syllabus under Atal Bihari Vajpaye, they did not have the numbers in the states, but now omitting the fact that India lost the war to China in 1962 has become easier.

But what happens when these children are exposed to false narratives? Some fear that the party is turning an entire generation into foot soldiers of Hindu nationalism to fight its battles in future elections. With an entire generation growing up with nationalistic ideology where no one knows who Nathuram Godse was and what he did, there will be no one to oppose a totalitarian regime.

Strike when the iron is hot, BJP’s targeting of young minds that needs shaping is probably the best and the worst exercise of propaganda the country has seen in current times. In these turbulent hours of the Indian democracy an old Chinese proverb comes to mind.

May we live in interesting times.

 

Sources: FirstPost, Indian Express

Allow cops to raid homes if citizens possess beef: Maharashtra to SC

In another bizzare move that could spark yet another controversy, the Maharashtra government has appealed to the Supreme Court for the revival of a provision that makes possession of beef (cow, bullocks and buffalo) at home from outside the state illegal.

A law, Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act was struck down by the Bombay High Court that allowed any police officer to stop and search any person suspected of possessing beef slaughtered outside Maharashtra. It also empowered the police to carry raids in the suspect’s houses.

The keyword being suspect, it would be important to note that this move from the state government comes right when the Supreme Court concluded that right to privacy is not a fundamental right but a part of right to personal liberty.

Joachim Colaco, trustee of the United Christian Community Centre told the Hindustan Times that they would certainly go by the rules, but this was certainly not the right way.

Last year the Bombay High Court struck down the law in a strongly worded 245 page judgement, the court believed that the law was an intrusion into a citizen’s home and preventing from possessing and eating the food of his choice.

News Source: Hindustan Times, Huffington Post

Image Source: Reuters

Centre rules out farmers’ loan waivers, asks States to fund it themselves

Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, has stated that the Centre will not provide any farm loan waivers. He further ascertained that the Centre will adhere to its fiscal targets. “I have already made the position clear that states which want to go in for these kind of schemes (farm loan waivers) will have to generate them from their own resources”, he said.

This statement comes after Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra governments announced loan waivers to the state farmers. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, delivered on his poll promise by waiving off farmer loans worth Rs 36,359 crore in April this year. Following similar demands, Maharashtra followed suit by waiving off loans of marginal farmers worth around Rs 35,000 crores. On June 20, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh announced crop loan waiver up to Rs 2 lakh for small and marginal farmers with less than five acres of land, and another Rs 2 lakh for marginal farmers with larger pieces of land.

Jaitley further stated that he would not comment on the loan waivers by the states, having made the Centre’s decision clear on June 12, 2017. He directed the states to find their own resources to fund such schemes and that the states should not expect any assistance from the centre.

The UPA government previously had waived farm loans worth Rs 74,000 crore in 2008.

 

Sources: The Hindu, Livemint

Pune is ready with Metro plans

With the permission of the central and state government, Pune city is now set to get its first metro rail. After Nagpur, Pune is going to see the most desired metro rail project turning into reality. The metro rail project has begun with utmost seriousness hoping that it will solve the traffic issues.

Managing Director (MD) of Maha metro, Brijesh Dixit stated that both the metro projects of Nagpur and Pune will come under the umbrella institution of Maharashtra Metro.

He also said that 44 acres of land will be used in different sectors of the city. Further, he added that they will create beautiful landscapes at all the vital points through which metro will travel. Metros’ will cross 31 stations and each station will reflect the beauty and glory of Pune’s great history. They have taken the challenge to preserve the old charm of the city leaving it completely untouched.

Covering an area of 31 km, the project is believed to be completed by 2021. The total expenditure is Rs 11,400 crore. External agencies, like World Bank and European banks, are going to fund 60% of the total cost.

Dixit also assured in his statement, “The USP of the project will be state-of-the-art carriages and stations that will compete with the best metro stations across the world”. He also said that during the journey people will fall in love with the stretch, along and across the rivers, Mula and Multa.

Source: Times of India 

 

Seven dead after fire breaks out in Maharashtra’s Gondia

At least seven people lost their lives in a fire that broke out at the Bindal Palaza hotel in Gondia, Maharashtra on Wednesday. The fire is thought to have originated in a shop located on the premises of the hotel. “The blaze was noticed around 3.30 am when the victims were fast asleep. Six men have been charred to death. Some others are feared trapped inside,” said Gondia police officer Jitendra Borkar.

15 fire engines from the neighbouring regions of Balaghat, Bhandara, Tumsar, Lanji and the Adani Power Plant were sent to the location when officials learned of the fire. However, there was significant delay in their arrival due to the fact that the hotel is located in an extremely congested market area near Gorelal Chowk. The flames were brought under control after fire tenders and tanks spent seven hours fighting the blaze.

There were fifteen guests at the hotel when the fire broke out, and six of the seven victims were guests. One man was killed due to severe injuries sustained after a fall from the second floor of the hotel, and four others were found dead in their rooms. Several people were also trapped inside the hotel due to structural collapses, and rescue operations are being carried out to locate and extract these people.

Sources Hindustan Times  Livemint