Kangra: The new Government of Himachal Pradesh and the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur were ridiculed for allegedly playing “politics of paying tribute” over the dead bodies of 23 children killed in the school bus accident near Nurpur in Kangra on April 9, 2018.
The Chief Minister also faced the wrath of the public on social media. The people termed it as the “most degraded level” of politics that the nation has ever witnessed.
This widespread criticism compelled the Deputy Commissioner of Kangra, Sandeep Kumar and the local MLA Rakesh Pathania to come out in their defence. The DC on April 12 released a media statement in which he refuted the allegations labelled against them regarding the deliberate delay in handing over the dead bodies deceased children
The DC termed it as an act of irresponsible reporting. The local MLA Rakesh Pathania also came out with an explanation and said that it was decided to transport all the bodies together to avoid inconvenience due to crowdedness.
However, the Daily, in its April 13 edition, has produced a statement of an aggrieved family member and stood by its report.
As per the daily, Gulshan, a resident of Chamba, alleged that everytime the parents asked for the body, they were told to wait for the Chief Minister’s arrival.
Meanwhile, a video of Gulshan repeating his statement has also appeared on the social media.
It is an illogical explanation of the administration that the parents of the children were not available early morning, the Daily said. All the parents had rushed to the hospital on the evening the accident took place. They waited till morning at the hospital, added the report.
In its April 11 edition, the Daily had alleged the district administration and Pathania of keeping the parents of the victims waiting for about three hours to claim the bodies.
It was further alleged by the Daily that the bodies which already handed over to the parents were also brought back so that the Chief Minister and the Union Minister JP Nadda could perform a political drama of paying tribute to the victims.
A stage was set and mike was installed for the Chief Minister, the report alleged.
As per the report, the post-mortems of the victims including four adults were completed between 7:30 AM to 8:00 AM on April 10. However, the parents were told that the Chief Minister will be arriving to distribute the cheques of the relief money, alleged the report.
When the Union Minister Nadda was asked about the incident, he denied having any knowledge regarding the delay. He said the local administration and the MLA were responsible for all the arrangement.
हिमाचल के मलकवाल, काँगड़ा में हुई स्कूल बस दुर्घटना के मृतकों को भावभीनी श्रधांजलि अर्पित की और घायलों से अस्पताल में उनका हाल-चाल जाना। pic.twitter.com/clirsBkrlg
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) April 10, 2018
While the mourning parents had lined up outside the mortuary to claim the bodies, they were made to wait until the Chief Minister and Union Minister arrived at 10:30.
The daily also alleged that the DC, Kangra, and local MLA Rakes Pathania were seen directing the staff regarding Chief Minister’s reception. While there were only two nurses to look after four survived children during the previous night, all the staff along with the district administration swarmed upon next morning to receive the Chief Minister.
However, on April 12, the DC issued a press statement terming the news as false and misleading one. He said an elaborate inquiry was conducted and it was found that no delay was made deliberately. He claimed that the post-mortems were completed at 10:30 AM, and not at 7:30 AM, as alleged by the Daily.
Opposed to the allegation, the DC further claimed that no post-mortem was conducted on April 9. He said as per the rules a post-mortem should be conducted in daylight, therefore, it was not possible to hand over the bodies to the parents on April 9.
The post-mortems were conducted in the morning only in the presence of the parents and they were not available on the evening the accident took place, the DC claimed.
However, the DC did not say anything regarding legal action against the Daily for publishing such defamatory news.
If the report was, in fact, misleading, then we will be soon reading an apology published in the same Daily or a legal action by the administration. If none of the two situations appears, then it would suggest the ugly allegations made in the report were true.
Social Media Platforms Agree to Come up With Code of Ethics, says ECI After a Meeting With Representatives
New Delhi-The usage of Social Media ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 is one of the biggest causes of worry for the Election Commission of India as well as the people. The social media platforms do not have any provisions like the Model Code of Conduct.
The role of social media in helping spread information as well as curbing misinformation cannot be underestimated. There is a desperate need to come up pro-actively with deterrents like some punitive action against users misusing the platform.
Considering this issue of ethics, the Election Commission of India today had an interactive session with representatives of various Social Media Platforms and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The representatives from social media organizations such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Google, ShareChat, TikTok and BigoTV attended the meeting.
The Chief Election Commissioner cited Model Code of Conduct as a unique and historic document, which is followed by all political parties /entities from the date of declaration of schedule of elections till the election process is concluded.
Arora said the Social Media Organizations are formidable force-multiplier and asked them to come up with a similar Code for the ongoing election process in the immediate context and a lasting document in the long run.
Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa pointed out that today’s has been a momentous meeting for the evolution of ‘behaviour’ of Social Media platforms on Social Media.
Voluntary restraint is a hallmark of civilized society and works as effectively as any regulation, he said. He suggested that the management should consider a clear clause on users’ voluntarily agreeing not to misuse social media platforms for election or political purposes.
The need for the appointment of dedicated grievance channel for expeditious action by the organizations, pre-certification, and transparency in the expenditure of political advertisements was also raised in the meeting. The meeting focused on evolving a notification mechanism by social media platforms for acting upon the violations of Section 126 of R.P. Act, 1951 and preventing misuse of these platforms.
Manohar Parrikar Was ‘Chief Minister of Commoners’, Says Cabinet condoling his demise
New Delhi– The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today condoled the sad demise of Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister on March 17, 2019, at Panaji, Goa. The Cabinet observed silence for two minutes in his memory. Parrikar had been in and out of hospitals since February last year after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
He was cremated with full state honours at Panjim’s Miramar Beach this evening. He was 64-years-old.
The Cabinet had also approved observing one day of mourning by the Government of India and flying the National Flag at half-mast on March 18, 2019, in all the States/UTs Capitals including Delhi and throughout the State of Goa.
The Cabinet expresses profound sorrow at the sad demise of Shri Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa in the evening of 17th March 2019 at Panaji, Goa. In his passing away, the country has lost a veteran and distinguished leader, affectionately called as the Chief Minister of commoners,
said a condolence Resolution of the Cabinet.
The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, also condoled the passing away of Parrikar.
Extremely sorry to hear of the passing of Shri Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa, after an illness borne with fortitude and dignity. An epitome of integrity and dedication in public life, his service to the people of Goa and of India will not be forgotten.
the President said
About Manohar Parrikar
Born on December 13, 1955, at Mapusa, Goa, Parrikar was educated at Loyola School, Margao and later graduated in Metallurgical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai in 1978. Before entering politics, Parrikar had joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at a young age and became a Mukhya Shikshak (Chief Instructor) in the final years of his schooling itself. After graduating from IIT, he resumed RSS work in Mapusa and became a Sanghchalak at the age of 26.
As a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Parrikar was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Goa in 1994. He became the Chief Minister of Goa for the first time on 24th October 2000 and continued till 27th February 2002. He was re-elected as Chief Minister on 3rd June 2002 and served till 2nd February 2005. He became Chief Minister of Goa for the third time on 9th March 2012 and continued till 8th November 2014. On 9th November 2014, Shri Parrikar became Union Minister of Defence and continued till 13th March 2017, he was again sworn in as Chief Minister of Goa on 14th March 2017.
He is credited with the building of modern Goa and to the modernization of India’s Armed Forces as well as improvement to the lives of ex.-Servicemen.
Parrikar was awarded the ‘Distinguished Alumnus Award’ by IIT Mumbai in 2001, Honorary Doctorate by National Institute of Technology, Goa in 2018, and the Dr. S.P. Mukherjee Award in 2018, among others. He is survived by his two sons.
Parents Protest Loot by Himachal’s Private Schools, Education Minister Advises Sending Children to Govt Schools
Shimla- Levying of
Now, their free booklets have removed the
Distressed parents have organized under the banner of Parent-Student forum and are again out on the roads to protest against private schools and incapability of the government to take appropriate action. They are asking the government to regulate private schools and make them accountable and responsible. Three main demands of the parents include regulation of fee structure, syllabus, and admission process.
On March 11, 2019, parents gathered outside the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, to hold a protest. On March 13, the forum staged another protest outside the Directorate of Higher Education. The protests are likely to continue until the government addresses the issue, suggested the convenor of the forum, Vijender Mehra.
Parents complained that schools did not consult them before implementing fee hikes for the current session. They also alleged that schools flaunted all regulations while doing so. After extracting hefty fees, some schools were charging an additional Rs. 35-40 in the name of tours, parents alleged. If that was not enough to burden the parents, the schools charge money for their events too, the convenor of the forum said.
My son was in the second class last year, and I paid about 50,000 to the school as various fees. This year, I will have to pay more,
a father told Himachal Watcher on the condition of anonymity.
Schools have imposed compulsions on parents regarding purchase of books and uniforms. Parents are strictly ordered to buy them from shops selected by schools, where books and uniforms are sold at thrice or four times the normal cost, the convenor said.
Vendors selected by schools set stalls inside the campus and parents must buy books from these vendors. It’s a strict instruction given by the school. These vendors sell books at a higher price as parents are rendered helpless by the school,
said another parent on the condition of not mentioning the name of the school.
Schools tie up with these vendors and fetch fat commissions from them every year on the sale of stationary and uniforms, the parents allege.
If the number of students enrolled in these schools is considered, then they are earning almost over Rs.6 crores per year. Including the commissions from books and uniforms, this amount increases to almost Rs. 7 crore. Their expenditure including salaries of teachers doesn’t exceed Rs. 3 crores. Rest of the amount is their surplus,
the convenor of the forum said.
Himachal Watcher talked to some parents of children enrolled in various private schools in Shimla. It turned out that Rs. 30,000 – 50,000 per annum is a common amount for the majority of schools. For reputed ones, this cost reaches
I have two sons
enrolleda reputed private school in Shimla. Elder one is in class II and younger one is in LKG. Last year, I paid about Rs. 90,000 as their fee,
a mother – resident of Summerhill- told HW.
The schools justify annual hike and hefty charges saying that they are fully self-funded. To hike
According to Right to Education (RTE), all private schools are supposed to reserve 25 percent of the seats for children hailing from economically weaker sections. In 2014, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) had also issued fresh guidelines to private schools. The parents alleged that schools are not following these rules. The government, they alleged, is behaving like a mute spectator.
It is seen that MLAs, bureaucrats, leaders of the ruling, as well as the opposition, enroll their children in reputed private institutes because they don’t believe in the quality of education and facilities provided in government institutes. While
I won’t send my children to government schools because I want them to explore their full potential and develop their personalities. I want them to develop enough self-confidence and communication skills to face the modern, tough competitive world. Currently, government schools are just not able to offer much to children,
said a father of two and resident of New Shimla.
What Does Education Minister Says?
The Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, in response to these protest, told media that he is well aware of this loot. His advice to parents was to send their children to Government schools. As per the Minister, the Government schools are tip-top and quality of education is at par with private schools.
Since assuming the office, the Education Minister was reluctant to accept that a decline in enrollments in government schools is a result of the degrading quality of education. As per his statement in February 2019, parents send their children to private schools for it has become a status symbol. He also claimed that introducing p
It’s pertinent to mention that the HP Private Education Institutions (Regulation) Act does exist, but its hardly playing any role in regulating schools.
The school aren’t even following the instruction given by the Directorate of Higher Education to submit records of their annual charges for the session 2018-2019.
Other states have developed their own regulatory mechanism to deal with loot by private schools. For example, the State of Gujarat has the Self Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act. It makes State Government competent of forming laws for state boards, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE).
However, it appears that the Government in Himachal is trying to delay forming and implementing any such regulatory law.
Parents also question the government’s disinterest in the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
Moreover, irrespective of political parties in power, private schools are hardly audited.
In January 2018, right after coming into power, the Education Minister had assured the people that a policy would be introduced to check arbitrary fee structures of private schools in the State. The laws formed by other states to prevent private schools from exploiting parents financially would be studied, he had said. He had also said that very soon these schools would be brought under the Regulatory Commission.
In March 2019, the Education Minister has again given an assurance that the Government would make provisions to regulate private schools. The Government did not mention any deadline or estimated time it would take to frame laws and implement them. Meanwhile, schools have already begun extorting this year’s fees.
The parents also said that they would be meeting the Education Minister during the current week with their plea. The parents have warned the government of more such protests if no action was taken to tighten the noose around these schools.
What Does Law Say?
Operation of private schools and commercialisation of education has long been a matter of litigation across the country. The Supreme Court in December 2018 had ordered a 20 per cent decrease in fees charged by upscale private schools. The schools were ordered to return half the fees they had charged for summer vacations. This order was applicable across the country whose fees were in excess of Rs 5, 000.
The apex court had also ordered that private schools can only increase their fee by five percent each year.
Before it, cases like Islamic Academy of Education versus State of Karnataka (2003) and Modern School versus Union of India (2004) have clearly stated that educational institutions should be allowed to make only ‘reasonable surplus’. The schools were expected to use this profit to provide better facilities and not for profiteering by the school management.
Apparently, the welfare of society lies in putting a check on the commercialisation of education. Good education lies at the foundation of a strong, healthy democracy. At least, education must not be put on sale.
HW Community4 weeks ago
Students Arrested, Stone Pelting Breakout in Himachal: Is Internal Tension Required?
Misc News/Press Release1 month ago
Martyr Tilak Raj Cremated with State Honour, Crowd Throngs to Pay Last Respects
Misc News/Press Release1 month ago
HP Budget 2019-20 Highlights
HW Community2 weeks ago
Shimla Police’s Two Friendly and ‘Ready to Help’ Cops
Misc News/Press Release1 month ago
HP Budget 2019-20: Govt fulfilled all poll promises in one year, says Governor
Misc News/Press Release1 month ago
Himachal braveheart among 40 CRPF jawans martyred in Pulwama attack
HW Community2 weeks ago
Video of Minor Himachali Schoolgirls, Boys Smoking Making Rounds on Social Media: It’s Time We Realise Reasons, Law & Ethics
Misc News/Press Release13 hours ago
Video: On Duty Policemen Thrashed by Group of Miscreants in Shimla