Friday, 31 March 2023

Mayukh Biswas
For every single country, the bed rack of future is paved in the campuses of school, college and universities. As the future defenders of our countries from every walks of life evolves from the campuses. If these future brigades are neglected, country’s fate really renders in plight. For such majestic significance, student community are accredited with the vehement importance by the revolutionaries across the globe. On the other hand, conservationists or centrists always tend to restrict the emergence of student community. Naturally, they are the scathing critics of student movement. Our dear organisation SFI always encourages to build political environment amidst the campuses and prompts the student community to scrap the bondages of repression and exploitations. Consequently, the brave-hearts like Com Rohith, Sajin Sahul and K. R. Thomas become the martyr of Hindu fundamentalist atrocities. On the other hand Muslim fundamentalist forces snatched the life our comrade Abhimanyu. Secessionists butchered Niranjan Talukdar and Surya Debbarma. The autocratic rulers stifled the voice of Sudipta Gupta and Saifuddin Mollah. Actually these firebrands dreamed of a new India with a radiant provision of education and employment for all. Unfortunately in contemporary India, reality marks the opposite picture!
In a country like ours, 73% of the total resources are accumulated into the fold of 1% people. At the same the gross resource increment of the 67 crore people of India figures to only 1%. In fact on the last year, 17 new billionaires took entry into the club of billionaires of the country whose properties got increased from 15774 crore to 20678 crore in Indian rupees which is worth to 85% of total state budgets in the sector of public health and education. The tenure of “Acche Din” has gifted the 50% growth in the deposits of Swiss Bank on behalf of India. But while in his election campaign, our PM Narendra Modi committed to salvage the black money deposited in the Swiss Bank and also declared to distribute that restored money through crediting Rs 15 lakhs to the banks accounts of each of the citizens. When it is just few months left to complete his tenure as a PM, those commitments are simply sounding like fake promises. Day after day, discontents are arising out of the student community regarding the issues of scholarships. Youths have dumped by the void promises of creating 2 crore employment per annum. Central Government is suggesting to the youths fry pakodas instead of creating scopes for their employment. A lion share of the Indian demography is currently belonging to the age group of under-forty. Unfortunate the scopes of employment are gradually getting reduced. Foreign Financial Corporations have already withdrawn an amount equals to 70 crore from the Indian market. Last year 4.4% of production has been reduced at the manufacturing sector. The prices of basic equipments and ingredients essential for the agrarian sectors like seeds or fertilizer has been hiked vehemently in the recent times. Even for the first time in the history after the independence, this year India witnessed the lowest production of kharif crops. The poor and middle class are currently under the severe plight. Naturally, it has become a notion of luxury before them to afford their wards’ education to be pursued from the private institutions. In this circumstance while student movements are seeking questioning the government addressing their plights and Government is trying to destroy democratic space of the campuses. They are keen to put down the battle of ideas amidst the campuses.
We observed that the Governments of all colours since 1991 have been arguing that at least 20% of the total expenditure on higher education should be recovered from students through higher fees which would tremendously increase the hardships on the students. The real motive behind the withdrawal of state from education sector is to give free hand to private corporate houses to use education as a profit making venture. As we know that India has now one of the signatory to the GATS and has provided special provisions in the education sector in the negotiations through the commerce ministry. The private corporate houses target higher education mostly. But the interference of these private players would alienate a large section of students who would not be able afford the high fees in such institutions and would rob the higher education off its social values. The festival of loots in education sector is now reaching at the utmost point in this era of Modi raj.
Recently Modi raj is eager to introduce New Education Policy which is one of such tools to eradicate the constitutional rights guaranteed earlier under the aegis of education system. Modi government declared to enact the new Education Policy within the next 100 days of just after coming into the power. Their draft education policy tends to communalise, privatise and centralise the entire education system of the country. They draft policy revealed their meticulous blue-print of educational plunder in the name of privatisation and simultaneously their forceful introduction of the manuwadi in the courtyard of the Indian education system. They are consciously letting the lanes of education to be shrunk before the students coming from the lower income groups. Consequently, budget allocation in the educational sector is gradually brought down by the government. The budget allotted for the purpose of education has been reduced to 0.45% of GDP in the academic year 2018-2019 as compared to that of figuring to 0.71% in the academic year of 2014-2015 denigrating the recommendation of Daulat Singh Kothari commission to spend the 6% of GDP for the purpose of education. Likewise, Modi government has reduced their budget allotment for education to 3.7% of the National Budget in the financial year 2017-2018 while they had allocated an amount of 6.15% for that purpose in their very first National Budget. Even in the academic year 2017-2018, 29% of budget allotment has been reduced in the schemes like ‘Sarva Siksha Avijan’. These directly affect the classrooms across the country.
Scenario of school education has been rendered under threat. In many places, provisions of mid-day meals are getting closed. Troubles are also arising out of the issue of digital ration card. In such a perilous predicament schools are offered to the hands of private ownership by the government through the scheme of PPP (Public Private Partnership) Model. In Rajasthan BJP government has put 225 government schools into the private hands following such model. 15000 government schools in Madhya Pradesh and 13905 government schools in Maharashtra has been occluded by the BJP led state governments in those states. The state governments of Himachal and Haryana are the sincere followers of them. Although there necessitates at least a separate school for each of the separate villages, government majestically declaring of ‘Ekalabya Schools’ out of each blocks. As per considering the current socio-economic scenario and the state of security of the students in the rural India, it is of next to impossible before the parents to send their child to a school located far from their place. It has brought the school education in remote parts of the country before an uncertain question. Teacher crisis is perpetually getting acute as both the state and the central government are displaying serious indifference. It is near about 105000 schools across the country where there is no single other teacher. In the state like West Bengal has set a record before rest of the country through completely collapsing the process of appointing new teachers from the primary to the higher education. Few appointments which had been conducted under her tenure also resulted in wide corruption. At the same time,text-books provided by the state government are found with seriously mistaken information where saffronisation is given highest priority. Manuwadi outlook of BJP government is aimng to scrap the numbers of hostels and schools at the Adivasi-dominant areas. In the remote areas of country, the picture is much more pathetic. In accordance with the NCDHR report, since the last three years provision of various scholarships for the tribal students has been largely decreased. There is lack of permanent teachers in the colleges as the process of appointment has been stayed off since the last few years. Contemporarily, many colleges are in front of the crisis of expertise teachers for diverse subjects offered to be taught.
A large number of seat-cuts have been taken place in the field of research in the universities including JNU as per the UGC gazette notification 2015. Under the tenure of this government, budget allocations have been ruthlessly cut for purpose of higher education and research. This government is deliberately enabling to ease the advent of privatization and centralization of education through dismissing other various autonomous institutions which decides the policies of education. As a consequence, MHRD is eager to collapse UGC through replacing it by Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency (HEERA). ‘Choice Base Credit System’ (CBCS) and ‘Rashtriya Ucchatar Siksha Avijan’ have been introduced also. These are gradually becoming the regulating authority on the issue of monetary sanctions. It is solely depending upon them whether they will grant monetary support to any state or academic institution. The condition is that corresponding institution must have to be run in accordance with the conditions applied by these authorities. Naturally, that in turns curbs the autonomy of those aided institutions. So far, central government has granted autonomy in favour of 60 academic institutions including 5 central universities, 21 state and 24 deemed universities and let them to introduce and run new courses and to set up new centre or campuses without any support from the government. Instead the government is clearly mandating them to manage the financial resources by their own. They are widening the avenues for privatization of education before all and sundry thus easing the inevitable introduction of tuition fee hikes through the mode of self-financing.
Central Finance Ministry on their 2018-2019 budget, has declared that the government will sanction credits not aid to the educational institutions. Terms have been imposed in such a manner that the corresponding institutions are responsible to pay off those through fee hiking or selling research-patents. Thus the government institutions will also eventually be commercialised and that in turns will pursue the commoditisation of education. Meanwhile, government has sanctioned a grant of rupees 1000 crore to the proposed ‘Jio University’ of Ambani Groups before the foundation from the tax payers’ money.
Government has taken the strategic stance of ‘divide and rule’ in order to suppress the rage of discontent into the classrooms. Modi government tends to play communal cards among the campuses and classrooms. In cases of most of the Central Educational Institutions, government is appointing RSS members or sympathisers. Intentionally they are highlighting the ‘Puranas’ through deforming the history of our country. RSS-led schools and ashramas have been largely expanded all over the country since last few years. Mainly in adivasi belts, students from the lower economic groups are invited through the allurement of money. RSS organs have been followed a massive growth in Bengal at this TMC regime. Even armed rallies have been conducted by the children for observing the religious occasions on the soil of Bengal. Across the country, girl students and the students belonging to dalit and minority groups are paying the price of their manuwadi communal violence in the campuses. Few years back, in Hyderabad Central University, dalit scholar Rohith Vemula had been compelled to commit suicide. Caste and communal violence are rapidly rising among the campuses. While the government is keen to popularize the slogan of “Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao” at the same time Yogi Adityanath government in UP had backed the predators of sexual harassment on the girl students of BHU. Blue print was prepared to shut off the only university for women in Assam. Finally they discarded their decision before the movement of SFI. Also, in Bihar, UP, Haryana and Bengal the consistency of sexual violence is accelerating gradually. Wrath of privatization in the education sector of Andhra Pradesh-  Telengana took several lives of the students. In West Bengal, Mamata regime added an additional peril of donation in the ruling party fund while taking admission into the colleges and universities. In accordance with the hikes of petro-goods, downfall of currency and introduction GST, donation rates for honours courses are gradually increased following a consistent growth! At the same time we observed the attack from the ‘Gestapos’ of this Modi government. The ABVP goons attacked our comrades from Kanshmir to Kanyakumari as the SFI comrades has always been taking the front role to resist fundamentalist forces in all battlegrounds.
Such circumstances have given birth of densely organised student movement through-out the country demanding for educational rights under the banner of SFI. Locally, struggles are carried on a large of local issues. Our comrades are marching on the streets against the bus fare hikes in Tamil Nadu or tuition fee hikes in Himachal and struggling for the demands of students’ hostel in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh or raising voice for the security of girl students in Assam. In Kerala, SFI comrades have raised their hands beside the flood affected people. Naturally, the student communities from JNU, Maharashtra, Kerala, Rajasthan has casted their verdict in favour of SFI and organised student movements during the union elections. Although, being attacked every time by the tyrant state government, the students of Bengal leading this battle of ideas following the legacy of indomitable spirit of organised student movement. Since the last few months, students from the Jadavpur University, Presidency University and Medical College have snatched their attainable demands from the despotic government. United student movement has won in such battles. SFI is raising the day to day demands of the students in districts to metropolitan centres. Recently SFI completed its jatha which was started from the four corners of India,demanding ‘quality and scientific education without discrimination’. The growing consciousness of the students are being now seen as a threat to the government, while the PM blabbers about making India the best in the world, his followers are on a run to challenge the spirit of the students. From the City of Joy to the Pink City, from the Paradise on earth, to God's own country, the attack on the minds continues to uphold a gimmick of superiority without free thinking. SFI has been meticulously and tirelessly fighting for the students and building a scientific temperament across the country. In times, when the shadows of the Rightist minds tend to overtake our thoughts, SFI stands out with a beacon of hope.
Time has come to fight the battle on the demands of education and employment. Vehement unity of students-teachers-researchers-non-teaching-staffs and guardians is the need of hour. Our patience, humanity, creativity, courage and most importantly our ideology will guide to fulfil our goals. The ideals of ‘study, struggle and sacrifice’ will defeat the money muscle power, and will bring back a brighter dawn. Heralding the message of resistance, SFI 16th All India Conference will start from October 30th to November 2nd has added an additional strength to the voice of resistance and alternative ideas across the country. We have pledged to save the education, the country and defeat communalism. So, we have promises to keep. We have miles to go otherwise history will not pardon us.