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How the ‘revadi culture’ label has turned a fiscal debate into a political slugfest

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 ‘Revadi culture’ or freebies by political parties to woo the electorate has triggered a major political controversy in the country.

The raging debate on ‘revadi’, (a sweet often distributed during festivals) was kicked off after Prime Minister Narendra Modi used it as a metaphor for freebies promised by political parties to grab power.

Sri Lanka’s economy hitting the rock bottom, has set off alarm bells for several developing countries. The Indian government has, however, ruled out the possibility of a Sri Lanka-like situation in the country, but advised the states to introspect their respective economic situation.

On July 19, in an all-party meeting during the Monsoon session of Parliament, the Centre had warned about the state-wise debt and the expenditure being incurred by them. Several leaders of regional parties present in the meeting had objected to the Central government raising the issue.

However, a few days before this meeting, on July 12, Modi ignited a political debate on freebies while addressing a rally in Deoghar, Jharkhand, after inaugurating and laying the foundation stone of various development projects worth more than Rs 16,800 crore.

In Deoghar, Modi had said that people should stay away from the ideology behind shortcut politics as it can cripple the state’s economy and harm the country.

He added that it is very easy to get votes from the people by making populist promises while adopting short-cuts. Those who adopt short-cuts do not have to work hard nor do they think about the far-reaching consequences it can cause to the country.

But the truth is that the country whose politics is based on short-cuts, is sure to collapse one day. Short-cut politics destroys the country. Citing the example of how electricity is a necessity, Modi said that today one cannot think of a life without electricity.

“Without electricity, we will not be able to charge our mobile phones, watch TV, or get water. There will be no choice but to light a lamp or lantern during evenings. If there is no electricity, tomorrow all the factories will permanently shut down. But this electricity cannot be generated by short-cut. To generate this electricity, power plants have to be set up and thousands of crores of rupees have to be invested,” the Prime Minister said.

On July 16, at the inauguration of the Bundelkhand Expressway in Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh, Modi once again targetted the freebies culture and said that there is a challenge before the new India which if not taken care of now, will destroy the future of youth in the country. That’s why it’s important to remain alert of the danger of freebies culture. “Nowadays, every effort is being made in our country to promote the culture of getting votes by distributing free ‘revadi’ (freebies).”

Political leaders who promote it will never build new expressways, airports or defence corridors. Those promoting the culture feel that they can buy people’s trust by distributing free ‘revadis’ to them. The people have to unite together to defeat this mindset from the political discourse of the country.

Apparently, the Prime Minister was taking a dig at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders for promising free electricity in every upcoming poll-bound state after forming the government in Delhi and Punjab.

Responding to the allegations, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal slammed the Centre for “mismanaging’ the country economy. Kejriwal said that the welfare schemes provided by the AAP government cannot be “freebies”.

Condemning the Prime Minister’s statement calling the welfare schemes of the Delhi government as freebies, Kejriwal said that free education and health services cannot be called freebies.

In retaliation, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra accused Kejriwal of deceiving people by offering them freebies to fulfill his poll ambitions and win elections.

The benefit of the Centre-launched welfare schemes is being directly provided to the poor sections of society, while Kejriwal, who pretends to work for the people, is busy giving freebies just to win elections, he alleged.

However, not only AAP, but the TRS government in Telangana and the DMK government in Tamil Nadu have also objected to the Central government’s claims and strongly criticised the BJP government.

The issue has become more political than being viewed from the prism of the economic state of the country. Therefore, political rhetoric is bound to hog the limelight in the coming days as well.

National News

Delhi HC allows impleading city govt, CBSE, NCERT in plea seeking common syllabus, curriculum across India

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The Delhi High Court has allowed the petitioner to implead the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and the Delhi government as parties to his plea challenging the syllabus and curriculum varying for each strata of society and seeking common syllabus for children across the country.

A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Yashwant Varma allowed petitioner advocate Ashwini Upadhyay to move an application to implead the above-mentioned three parties.

The court listed the matter for the next hearing on March 10.

Upadhyay argued before the court that all competitive examinations be it engineering, law and the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) should have a common syllabus.

He said: “But we have multiple syllabus at school level, how will it provide an equal opportunity for students? In Kendra Vidyalayas across the country, we have a common syllabus. Every developed country has a common syllabus in schools. It is unfortunate we are under pressure from the coaching mafia.”

He contended that as per the concerned Articles of the Constitution, students do not get equal opportunities.

Upadhyay’s plea read: “Education mafias are very powerful and have a very strong syndicate. They influence rules, regulations, policies and examinations. The bitter truth is that school mafias do not want one nation-one education board, coaching mafias do not want one nation-one syllabus, and book mafias do not want NCERT books in all schools. That is why the uniform education system up to the 12th standard has not been implemented yet.”

Provisions under the Right To Education Act which excludes madrasas, Vedic pathshalas and educational institutions imparting religious knowledge, were also challenged as per the plea.

“It is necessary to state that the purposive and harmonious construction of Articles 14, 15, 16, 21, 21A with Articles 38, 39, 46 confirms that education is a basic right of every child and the State cannot discriminate against this most important right. Right of a child should not be restricted only to free education, but must be extended to have equal quality education without discrimination on the ground of the child’s social, economic and cultural background,” the plea read.

The plea further said: “Therefore, the court may declare Sections 1(4) and 1(5) arbitrary, irrational and violative of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 21 and direct the Centre to implement common syllabus and common curriculum for the students of I-VIII standard throughout the country.”

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Teachers scam: WhatsApp chat hinting question paper leak recovered

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 The Enforcement Directorate (ED), probing the multi-crore teachers’ recruitment scam, has recovered WhatsApp chats hinting at possible advance leaking of question papers to select candidates who took the written examination for primary teachers’ posts in West Bengal in 2016.

Sources said that the selective leaking of question papers were mainly done by the youth Trinamool Congress leader, Kuntal Ghosh, who was arrested by the ED from his residence on January 21.

The probe agency has also recovered Whatsapp chats indicating that Ghosh enjoyed the patronage of former state education minister and Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee.

From the documents seized from Ghosh’s residence, the central agency officials have also recovered copies of the admit cards of certain candidates who appeared for the recruitment examination for primary teachers in 2016.

The ED sleuths have come across the names of 35 individuals who secured jobs as teachers in state- run schools by paying money to the arrested youth leader and all of them are currently employed with different schools. Each and every one of them will be questioned to take the investigation forward.

“The recruitment scam seems to be in multiple layers, which again have sub-layers involving multiple players and multiple angles. The uncovering of one layer is leading to other layers. That’s why the investigation process is getting prolonged,” said a legal associate of ED.

The fact that question papers were leaked to select candidates was established after the ED sleuths noticed that some extremely below-average candidates, as per their academic records, scored exorbitantly in the recruitment examination.

Sources said that the marks secured in their academic examinations did not justify their scores in their optical mark recognition (OMR) sheets.

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National News

Goa Police intensify night patrolling for women’s safety

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 In a bid to curb street crimes and to increase safety for women, the Goa Police on Friday announced a special four-wheeler patrol ‘Operation Jagruti’ in the state’s north district.

North Goa Superintendent of Police Nidhin Valsan told media persons that night patrolling will be intensified under this initiative.

“This exercise includes 38 Jagrut North District vehicles having 100 staff deployed from North District and other various units. There are 10 vital routes identified along with additional 40 internal routes in North Goa District in which these vehicles will be patrolling daily from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.,” he said.

Valsan said that besides this, they will attend to all the other calls received from the control room.

“The main intention of this exercise is to assist and help any distressed woman and child during odd hours,” he said.

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