The Congress party has said that replacement of Union Human Resource (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani by Prakash Javadekar was aimed at accelerating the pace of saffronisation and commercialisation of education system to benefit private sector.
In a major rejig of the Narendra Modi government, Smriti Irani was made the Textiles Minister in place of Santosh Gangwar, who will be now be the Minister of State for Finance. Javadekar is the new HRD Minister.
“It was due to saffronisation. May be the pace of saffronisation was not to the satisfaction of the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and, therefore, you have an incumbent who possibly will accelerate that pace,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told the media .
“Given the fact that there is a clear attempt to try and commercialise the education system in India so as to hand over the sector to private interests and also the manner in which some decisions were taken in the Environment Ministry, especially the withdrawal of Rs 200 crore fine imposed on a particular corporate house considered very close to powers that be, the appointment becomes all the more ominous and sinister,” Tewari said.
The Congress had earlier accused the Modi government of giving concessions to Adani Port and SEZ Ltd., alleging it had withdrawn the Rs 200-crore fine imposed on the company for ‘environmental damage’ caused during the construction of the Mundra port in Gujarat.
Tewari took a dig at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for calling a meeting of Vice Chancellors in Chhattisgarh to review the education system in the state.
Questioning the locus standi of RSS in the matter, Tewari said: “This is not saffronisation of education. This is far more sinister. This is fascistising education.”
“A very systematic attempt has been made to completely emasculate India’s public education system and hand over everything over to the private sector,” he added.
He said the previous United Progressive Alliance government had increased the budgetary allocation to the HRD Ministry from Rs 11,000 crore to Rs 82,000 crore.
“The moment this government came into office, they rolled it back to about Rs 69,000 crore. In the last fiscal, there is an increase by 4.8 per cent, taking the figure to Rs 72,394 crore,” said Tewari.
“The University Grants Commission budget was slashed by 55 per cent from Rs 9,315.45 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 4,286.94 crore in the current fiscal,” the Congress leader added.