Jaipur, Sep 21 (IANS) The Rajasthan government has suddenly decided on a new uniform for students in government schools even as these are shut due to Covid-19, just because the earlier one was similar to that of members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Speaking to IANS, Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara confirmed that the new uniform for government school students will be adopted by the start of the next academic session.
He did not give any reason for the change in uniform, maintaining that these will be known soon. “Basically, we are changing the uniform on the recommendation of a six-member committee,” he added.
The decision is likely to affect around 75 lakh students enrolled in government schools as many people are still struggling to cope up with the financial crisis due to the pandemic. Purchasing new dresses for the next academic session would put an extra burden on the parents.
State BJP President Satish Poonia said that the Congress is “playing an agenda-based politics” to please one family in the country. “They have to present a report card to this family, which is running on a political legacy in India. The said initiative shall put additional financial burden on the parents, many of whom are struggling to find jobs,” he said, adding that even those earlier donating uniforms to the poor kids have stopped doing so owing to financial constraints.
Former Education Minister Vasudev Devnani said that the BJP government had three years ago changed the uniform to instil confidence in government schools’ students and help them be proud as their counterparts in private schools were.
“It’s shameful that the Congress is politicising education too. The decision to change the school uniform holds no logic, that too amid the pandemic. We will take up the issue once schools reopen for the new academic session,” he said.
BJP MLA Madan Dilawar said that this is an “atrocity” committed on the poor and hence the party was against this decision. As per the norm, the uniform cannot be changed within five years, he claimed.
Poonia said that the Congress is simply playing vendetta politics. The BJP government, in its last term had started free distribution of bicycles among schoolgirls. A lot of those bicycles were not used by the Congress government as these were painted in orange colour.
Even Bhamashah cards launched by the BJP government were scrapped by the Congress government, which resulted in a huge loss to the state exchequer, he added.
Since 1997, the school uniform in Rajasthan government schools was blue shirt and khaki shorts or trousers for boys and a blue kurta and white salwar or skirt for the girls. In 2017, it was changed to light-brown shirt and brown trouser or shorts for boys and light-brown kurta or shirt with brown salwar or skirt for girls.
A government official said that the Congress decision to change the uniform came as it was similar to the RSS uniform introduced in 2016. With this change in uniform, the total additional burden on all parents will be around Rs 450 crore, he added.
Meanwhile, an RSS worker said: “The school uniform’s colour is quite different from that of the RSS dress but still the Congress is taking this step amid tough times. Our question is — how will they remove saffron colour that is found in nature, literature, and diverse aspects of our lives.”