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Kharge writes to President Murmu against ‘privatisation’ of Sainik schools | India News


Mallikarjun Kharge

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge | (PTI: Photo/Ravi Choudhary)

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday wrote to President Droupadi Murmu, demanding a complete rollback of the policy and the annulment of MoUs signed by the Centre to “privatise” Sainik schools.

Kharge, in his letter to the President, referred to an investigative report based on an RTI reply, which claimed that Sainik Schools are being privatised using a new PPP model introduced by the government, and “now 62 per cent of these schools are said to be owned by the BJP-RSS leaders”.

The Congress President said that there are 33 Sainik schools in the country and they were fully government-funded institutions operated under the aegis of the Sainik Schools Society (SSS), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Indian democracy has conventionally kept armed forces away from any partisan politics, but the central government has “broken” this well-enshrined convention, Kharge added.

“In 2021, the central government brazenly initiated the privatisation of Sainik Schools. As a result thereto, Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) have been signed for 40 out of the 100 new schools, based on this model, where the Union Government provides “an Annual Fee Support of 50 per cent of fee (subject to an upper limit of Rs.40000/- per annum for 50 per cent of the class strength (subject to an upper limit of 50 students) per year from Class 6 onwards till class 12, on Merit-cum-Means basis”. This in effect means, that for a school that has classes till 12th standard, SSS offers to provide support of maximum Rs 1.2 crore per annum, among other incentives,” Kharge said.

Kharge claimed that the report also found that out of the 40 MoUs that have been signed, 62 per cent have been signed with individuals and organisations belonging to the RSS and BJP leaders.

“This includes a Chief Minister’s family, several MLAs, BJP office-bearers and RSS leaders,” Kharge said.

Alleging that the move by the Centre is a “blatant” step to politicise the independent Sainik Schools the Congress leader said that the Sainik Schools, established by India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1961 play a leading role in sending cadets for the National Defence Academy (NDA) and Indian Naval Academy and they have been the beacon of military leadership and excellence since then.

Noting that successive Indian governments have kept armed forces and its affiliate institutions away from the shadows of varying political ideologies, he said one would appreciate the widely accepted fact that this deliberate clear compartmentalisation was in line with the highest democratic values and based on international experiences.

” It is not surprising that the union government has broken this well-enshrined convention. Having undermined institution after institution, in the grand plan of RSS to hurriedly thrust its ideology, they have dealt a body blow to the very nature and ethos of the Armed Forces. Imparting ideologically slanted knowledge in such institutions shall not only destroy inclusiveness but also damage the national character of the Sainik Schools, by influencing their character through partisan religious, corporate, family, social and cultural credos,” he added.

The Defence Ministry, in its recently released statement, trashed reports that the new Sainik Schools were allocated to institutions based on their political or ideological affiliations.

“Articles have appeared in certain sections of the press insinuating that new Sainik Schools are being allocated to institutions based on their political or ideological affiliations. Such insinuations are unfounded,” the ministry said in a statement on April 3.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Apr 11 2024 | 9:45 AM IST


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