SHOULDN’T EDUCATION BE MADE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT IN REALITY?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A sovereign country stands on fundamental rights of the citizens. We have our set of fundamental rights enshrined in our constitution. They are: right to equality (art 14-18), right to freedom (arts 19-22), right against exploitation (art 23-24), right to freedom of religion (art 25-28), cultural and educational rights (art 29-30) and right to constitutional remedies (art 32)

But there is no Right to Education in this list. The educational right is not right to education. It is limited to the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions “of their choice” (Article 30). So, this Article does not grant the general citizenry the fundamental right to education.

The eighty sixth amendment that brings in education to the list of Fundamental Rights, is nothing but a trick played by politicians on our peoples. The very language used, “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine” needs no elaboration on its frustrating design.

Government of Orissa has admittedly not posted Principals in 5491 Upper Primary Schools. Over and above this, there are 43,198 teaching posts vacant in Lower Primary Schools by the end of 2008. A posting in these pages on February 13 carry the official version placed before the Orissa Legislative Assembly that shows that the number of vacancies has increased from 27,840 vacancies noted in 2004. There are three thousand plus single teacher schools which means only one teacher is taking up classes from one to five in those schools in rural Orissa. When teachers are not there to teach, how is primary education being imparted to all the children of the age of six to fourteen? Is the Government taking education as a fundamental right of the children of this age group?

It is clear from the above sample instance that even the Government does not consider education a fundamental right.

The 93rd Amendment effected on Article 15 has given power to ruling politicians to reserve seats in government and/or private educational institutions for “any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes” and obviously, as witnessed, with a design for the vote box.

It is interesting to note that Right to Equality, which is the first Fundamental Right, under Article16, has guaranteed equality of opportunity to all in the matters of public employment. The purpose of this Article is being defeated. For all sorts of public employment the authorities have prescribed a corresponding minimum education. For example to become a teacher in a government college, the minimum education required is a doctoral degree. How can an uneducated person take advantage of equality in opportunity for the post of a college teacher? So, this fundamental right to equality in opportunity for public employment is defeated unless education is included in the list of fundamental rights sans any restriction such as age.

It is to be noted that education is placed under the Directive Principles of State Policy, which is not enforceable under the laws.

So the problem of lack of education in case of most of the Indians will continue to defeat the fundamental right to opportunity till education is not declared a fundamental right.

Let the lawmakers think of this afresh.

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CAN THE CM TELL THE FARMERS WHAT HIS AGENT TOLD THE ASSEMBLY?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Chief Minister was noticed to answer. He did not. On his behalf Urban Minister K.V.Singhdeo replied. In the floor of the Assembly, which always is ravished by the magic of majority, the reply of Singhdeo might have given the CM the relief he must have desired.

But can the CM go into the midst of the cultivators of Orissa and tell them that what his agent has told the Assembly on February 13?

No, he can never. If he dares, there shall be no rampart of privilege like the Assembly to protect him from the wrath of farmers that are distress selling their paddy.

Distress sale of paddy was the crux of adjournment motion noticed by the Opposition. Initiating the debate, Arun De made categorical mention of how farmers of Balasore district, even of other districts like Bhadrak, are being compelled to distress sale their paddy for five to six hundred rupees a quintal as against official rate of Rs.850. He estimated the annual loss of farmers of his district to be no less than Rs.75 crore. This loss to farmers is direct gain to millers who share the loot with government functionaries in the food supply department, he alleged.

Netranand Mallik, Nalinikant Mohanty, Padmalochan Panda and Anant Sethi, who placed the share of the loot that goes to the functionaries at Rs.58 crore, supplemented him.

Treasury bench members Niranjan Pujari, Brundavan Majhi, Pradip Maharathi and B.B.Harichandan linked the problem to failure of the Food Corporation of India in procuring paddy from the farmers.

Even as the Minister was hinting at how the FCI has neglected paddy procurement, the Opposition wanted to know as to whose responsibility it is to eliminate the environment of distress sale. And, Singhdeo, acting as agent of the Chief Minister in answering the debate, thundered that there is no distress sale of paddy by farmers at all.

The Chief Minister as well as his agent is in advantage because the parting Assembly has no time to act on such foul play of falsehood. But if he dares to repeat this statement before the general public at the time of election, BJD will disown him or will be thrashed into doom, no doubt.

I am sure, Navin will never tell the people what his agent has told the House.

SHAME! GOVT. STRANGULATES PRIMARY EDUCATION IN ORISSA

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Had MLA Shambunath Nayak not put the question, Orissa’s School and mass education Minister Sanjiv Sahu would never have voluntarily informed the Assembly this session that more than one third of the Primary Schools in Orissa are running without Principals. Out of 15,741 Government Upper Primary Schools, there are no Head Masters in 5491 Schools, he has said.

To another question from MLAs Chiranjibi Biswal and Ramesh Chandra Majhi, his answer has revealed how shamelessly the Government has strangulated Primary Education.

By end of 2008, there were 43,198 vacancies against sanctioned posts of Primary teachers, he has confessed.

He has admitted that the vacancies have increased thus massive from 27,840 of 2004.

In 2004 Navin Patnaik was the Chief Minister. In 2008 the Chief Minister was he only. And, he is the Chief Minister as on today.

Why fellows of such incorrigible nonchalance are getting support in politics when they play havoc like this on education of our future generation?

BOLANGIR ADDS FUEL TO TURMOIL IN ASSEMBLY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
To the turmoil going on in the Orissa Legislative Assembly over the Chief Minister’s black money, Police brutality in Bolangir has added fuel.

A Police van driven by a drunkard had hit a man from behind in the town of Bolangir yesterday. That had infuriated the local public leading to mass assault on the driver ans putting the vehicle to fire.

The Police resorted to brutality in retaliation. Passive onlookers were beaten up and tear gas was lavishly fired at private houses.

The Police was so mad in wrath that media persons were thrashed and TV cameras were snatched away and damaged.

The entire town has gone into a band hartal today in protest against Police brutality having its logical repercussion on the participation of members in the House. The Opposition has sharpened its stance and has stopped the House to take up scheduled business without a discussion on Police brutality at Bolangir.

ASSEMBLY IN UNABATED IMPASSE OVER CHIEF MINISTER’S BLACK MONEY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Orissa Assembly is in continuous impasse over the Chief Minister’s black money.

Two of the cabinet colleagues of Chief Minister Navin Patnaik, Samir De and Golak Bihari Nayak publicly raised the allegation against him. Reluctant to stay a Minister De has resigned and his resignation has been accepted even as Nayak continues in the cabinet.

When the Assembly began its 16th session just when the allegation was rocking the State, the Opposition wanted the CM to react. He shied away. That has given birth to the impasse that continues to the total embarrassment of the Government.

Different members of the cabinet are so disturbed over the black money matter that a senior colleague of the CM has instigated the Opposition to enforce a debate in the Assembly over the issue through a no confidence motion. The Opposition has revealed his name. He is Surendranath Nayak, who was even a cabinet colleague of the CM’s father Biju Patnaik. The Speaker has added fuel to the stalemate by refusing to admit the motion on ground of paucity of time, which is being seen by the Opposition as ploy to protect the CM. There is no problem in extending the life of the session to discuss this issue which is not only an issue of accumulation of black money by the CM but also of use of black money by the CM to bribe the voters of Cuttack and Baripada urban bodies during the just concluded Municipal elections.

This is a very serious situation. The CM is clearly shying at discussion on the issue. He is so demoralized that he has not dared to use his prerogatives to drop Golak Nayak, the other minister to have raised the allegation of black money against him from his cabinet.

Unless doubts are cleared the CM would continue to be looked at askance as a man that has committed offence against democracy.

In view of this, the Speaker should review his ruling and admit the no-confidence notice given by the Opposition.

The motion will fail, because the CM has a coalition, the partners of which know that unless they stand with him, they are of such stuff that none of them will return to the Assembly again. So, the no-confidence motion will fail. Even Golak Nayak, who has raised the allegation of black money against the CM will certainly vote against the no-confidence motion.

Why the CM is not accepting the challenge? He certainly does not want a discussion on his black money on records of the House. What next?

THE SPEAKER SHOULD SUMMON SAMIR DE AND TAKE STOCK OF THE REALITY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Speaker of Orissa Legislative Assembly has rejected the notice of no confidence against the Chief Minister on the ground of paucity of time. In fact, the Assembly is in the last days of its life. This is the session, which, if not extended, after three days, will compose for itself its requiem as every Assembly in the last day of the session preceding normal dissolution does. So, the adopted time schedule for the session does not encourage the Speaker to admit a no confidence motion against the CM. We find no fault in the Speaker in refusing the Notice.

But the Speaker would do disservice to democracy if he does not summon Samir De to the Hall of the House with binding direction to elaborate as to why has he alleged that Chief minister Navin Patnaik has hijacked the Cuttack Municipal Corporation by using black money in electioneering.

De was a minister when he raised this allegation. He has resigned after the poll debacle that his party BJP faced in CMC election specifically as he was in charge of his party campaign, himself representing the constituency comprising this city in the Assembly. And, since then he has not participated in the Assembly session.

His allegation about use of black money by Chief Minister Navin Patnaik to procure votes for BJD candidates in CMC was not a private allegation. It was an official allegation raised by De when he was in office as a Minister and was vested with the authority to safe guard democracy. So his allegation cannot be sloughed over by the Speaker when the House is in session and his duty is to make the Government answerable to the House.

In the circumstances, the minimum that one can expect of the Speaker is that he must summon Samir to the hall of the House and ask him to confirm or disown the allegation of black money use by the CM in CMC elections which the media, specifically electronic media has attributed to him on records and on the basis of his reply, should take the next logical step to ask Navin Patnaik to put forth his side of the story.

Let there be no admission of no-confidence motion against the Chief Minister if time does not permit; but let the Assembly not die with the smear of black money pasted on the face of its leader.

The Assembly deserves a dignified death.

As we know it cannot live beyond its constitutional life span, let us not allow the future to look at it as a nasty Assembly that died while bearing with the allegation that its leader had used black money to win Municipal wards.

Hence, let the Speaker summon Samir De to the Hall instantly and take his statement to records and if he confirms his allegation, let Navin Patnaik counter or confess the same.

Let the obituary for this Assembly not be written in filthy terms.