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Policy & Politics

How much land reform policies have helped India: A thorough analysis

The land reform can play a major role in shaping the development of the country as more than half of the population depends on farming; the change in land reforms and the development can help the major chunk of the population to grow. This majorly includes the poor and the weaker section of society. These people have been exploited through ages by various sources. Hence proper implementation in these reforms can prevent exploitation and help in their growth.

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INTRODUCTION

Agrarian structure refers to the way during which man-land relationship are governed. It covers the way during which land is held and cultivated and therefore the rights and privileges enjoyed by different categories of individuals who have access to land. In every political and financial system, pattern of land holding and its use bears significant influences on socio-economic development of the state. Rapid economic developments altogether sector of the economy with rising population land is possessing greatest importance. Land resource is vital because humans not only live but also perform all economic activities ashore. Land provides a way of security among rural population. Policies concerning the reworking agrarian structure during a desired way are called as Land Reforms. Land reforms include regulation of ownership, leasing, sales, operation and inheritance of land (indeed, the redistribution of the land itself requires legal changes). Simply speaking we will say that reform may be a change within the system of land ownership especially when it involves giving land to the people that actually farm it and taking it far away from people that own large areas for profit.

BACKGROUND

The need for direct intervention within the sort of land reforms emanated in India from the exploitative nature of the tenure system prevailing during the pre- Independence period. The colonial rule by British saw a dramatic shift within the land ownership pattern of India. British cultivators and Zamindars harassed many tribal/forest communities by seizing their lands and then they started collecting taxes like property tax via systems like Zamindari, Mahalwari and Ryotwari. The Zamindari system supported exploitation. It created a parasitic class of zamindars which didn’t do any work ashore but snatched away whatever surplus above the minimum subsistence the cultivators produced. The latter were forced to steer a wretched lifetime of slavery and deprivation. Under the Ryotwari and Mahalwari system also the tenants were exploited. This exploitative nature continued even after Independence of India. As the land stayed in the hands of Zamindars, they started becoming more and more powerful and wealthy and with passing time the condition of peasants and workers started deteriorating and after India adopted socialistic principles after Independence then it became important to adopt a policy that can divide the land equally to every category of people so that India can achieve equality in all the spheres.

OBJECTIVES

As put within the words of Second Five Year Plan, the target of reform was to make conditions for evolving as speedily as possible the agrarian economy with high levels of efficiency and productivity and to determine an egalitarian a society and eliminate social inequalities. An equivalent objective was repeated in Fifth Five Year Plan Draft. So we will say that the aim of reform policy was two folded. On one hand, it aims to form more rational use of the scarce land- resource by affecting conditions of holdings in order that cultivation are often wiped out the foremost economical manner i.e. with none waste of labour and capital and on the opposite hand it had been basically done to prevent the exploitation of the particular tillers of soil and to expire the ownership of land to them, the reform policies were introduced within the Independent India because labour class is extremely important for the economy of any county and that they must tend the credit for an equivalent . Gandhi ji also stated that- “The land belongs to him who labours on it”Emphasizing the role of land Reforms, the Seventh Plan clearly states: Land Reforms are recognized to constitute an important element both in terms of anti- poverty strategy and for modernization and increased productivity in agriculture.”

METHODS ADOPTED

Land reform legislation in India consisted of 4 main categories:

1. ABOLITION OF INTERMEDIARIES: Abolition of zamindari and comparable delegate residencies amid 1950-55 basically included evacuation of mediator levels or layers of various indistinct and parasitic gatherings in arrive between the State and therefore the genuine cultivators.

2. TENANCY REFORMS: The Tenancy enactments have taken three structures:(I) Regulation of lease- The initial Five-Year Plan began that the instalment of lease by the occupants of all classes and therefore the rate of lease is to be controlled by enactment and it ought not surpass one-fifth to one-fourth of the mixture create. The law thusly has been authorised in all of the States. The foremost extreme rate of lease ought not to surpass that recommended by the design Commission altogether parts of the States. Greatest rents varied starting with one State then onto subsequent – Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat settled one-6th of the create as most extreme lease. In Kerala, it runs between one-fourth and 33% and within the Punjab 33%. In Tamil Nadu, the lease shifts from 33% to 40 for each penny of the deliver. In Andhra Pradesh it’s one-fourth for watered land. The lease might be paid in real money instead of kind.

(I)Providing security of residency.

(II)Conferring privileges of proprietorship for occupants. To diminish the present variations within the example of land-proprietorship and make some land accessible for appropriation to landless farming specialists, the Second Plan (1956- 1961) prescribed the inconvenience of roofs on horticultural property. It had been visualized that land over a selected point of confinement would be gained by the State and redistributed among the landless laborers and tiny agriculturists so as to satisfy their long for land and, therefore, to empower them to form monetary property.

Consolidation of Land Holdings- Divided and subdivided landholdings and tiny measured property have made Indian agribusiness un-gainful. So, union of those grounds is vital to support proficiency and economy in India’s horticulture. It’s been finished within the conditions of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Till December 2001, about, 163.3 lakh sections of land of land or 1/third of the mixture developed region are solidified.

The previous Prime Minister, Gandhi, accentuated: «Land Reforms are that the most vital test which our political framework must attend survives.» Land changes during this manner ended up one among the elemental parts of the farming improvement strategy particularly after the thought of the Five-Year Plan came to stay. The Ninth five-year plan states: “All possible efforts would be made to detect and redistribute the excess land and to enforce ceiling laws with firmness. Absentee landlordism must be eliminated by plugging the legal loopholes, tightening the implementation machinery and providing for quick adjudication of disputes in revenue court. Rights of tenants and sharecroppers got to be recorded and security of tenure provided to them.”

EVALUATION

After 73 years of independence, one notices some achievements within the sphere of land reforms. At an equivalent time, our efforts during this direction haven’t yielded desired results. Most of the areas of reform measures are indecisive and there are large gaps between policy making and legislation and between legislation and implementation.

“Land reform measures were conceived boldly but were implemented badly”

Land changes are weakly endeavourat different circumstances and this has clothed to be an instance of the cure being more terrible than the sickness. Remarking on the procedure of land changes, Prof. M.L. Dantwala says; “All things considered land changes in India ordered up until now and people examined sooner instead of later, are within the correct bearing; on the other hand, due to absence of execution the real outcomes are an extended way from tasteful”. Joshi sees: “There is nearly certainly that amid the previous 1 / 4 century arrive changes in India haven’t expected the sort of tremendous progressive change as in China, or that of a sensational change realised from above as in Japan. In any case, from this to bounce to the conclusion that the land changes program has been a scam or an aggregate disaster is to substitute declaration for some extent by point observational examination. India has additionally seen imperative changes within the agrarian structure, which have gone unnoticed as a result of the nonattendance of a practical approach in surveying these progressions. And one among the most important reason for all this poor implementation of this plan is that the resistance of landowners in implementation of those reforms and to prevent these they directly used their political clout and also various other methods of evasion and coercion, including registering their own land under names of various relatives to bypass the ceiling, and shuffling tenants around different plots of land, in order that they might not acquire incumbency rights as stipulated within the tenancy law.

Talking about the opposite aspect then we see that the laws for the abolition of intermediaries had been implemented fairly well and as a result of that 20 million cultivators were brought into direct relationship with the State. But at an equivalent time, this reform led to large-scale ejectment of tenants from land which that they had been cultivating for generations because the laws did not offer any protection to those masses.

In a forthright analysis, the design Commission task force headed by Mr. P.S. Appu mentions the subsequent because the reasons for poor implementation of land reforms-

• Lack of political will;

• Absence of pressure from below because the poor peasants and agricultural workers are passive, unorganized and inarticulate;

• Lukewarm and sometimes apathetic attitude of the bureaucracy;

• Absence of up-to-date land records;

• Legal hurdles within the way of implementation of land reforms.

Giving an overall assessment of the reform, the Sixth Plan (1980-85) mentioned: “If the progress of reform has been but satisfactory, it’s not been thanks to flaws in policy but to indifferent implementation. Often the required determination has been lacking to effectively undertake action, particularly within the matter of implementation of ceiling laws, consolidation of holdings and in not so vigorously pursuing concealed tenancies and having them vested with tenancy rights as enjoyed under the law.”

CONCLUSION

The land reform can play a major role in shaping the development of the country as more than half of the population depends on farming so the change in land reforms and the development can help the major chunk of the population to grow. This majorly includes the poor and the weaker section of society. These people have been exploited through ages by various sources. Hence proper implementation in these reforms can prevent exploitation and help in their growth. This will be seen by taking the samples of some states just like the most notable and successful land reforms happened in states of Kerala and West Bengal (Operation Barga). Only pockets of India like Jammu and Kashmir witnessed commendable steps in reform. Every policy has its own benefits but at an equivalent time that policy even has some flaws in it. And this is often what happened with this policy also. It’s just this policy need a touch more concentration from the side of state to offer it’s best to the people and country. It can also be seen that Land reform is mostly influenced by political factors as the lack of political will, delay in the decision making results in bad implementation. The evidence mentioned suggests that land reforms have some negative impacts on the poor section, while the effect in productivity is mixed. We can also see that the states in which these measures are strongly implemented have shown positive effect on land reform productivity.

The laws for the abolition of intermediaries had been implemented fairly well and as a result of that 20 million cultivators were brought into direct relationship with the state. But at an equivalent time, this reform led to large-scale ejectment of tenants from land which that they had been cultivating for generations because the laws did not offer any protection to those masses.

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Policy & Politics

Builder hardware products from India have considerable global demand, says Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash

Tarun Nangia

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Builder hardware industry is linked to the construction equipment industry where the revenue was valued at US$ 6.5 billion in 2020 and construction market is expected to be the third largest globally by 2025: MSME Secretary B B Swain

India is the 17th largest supplier of builder hardware products and is on its way to fulfil the government ambition to become a global manufacturing hub of builder hardware products.

Builder Hardware is another performer making India as one of the top 20 suppliers with a 1.2 percent share in the world builder hardware export pie, said Som Parkash, Minister of State of Commerce & Industry

While addressing the Builder Hardware Expo, organised by EEPC India, virtually today, the Minister noted that builder hardware products from India have considerable demand across the continents.

Indian builder hardware product is one of the best performing segments in the Indian engineering goods sector which has been the key driver of merchandise exports from the country.

“Builder hardware industry is linked to the construction equipment industry where the revenue was valued at US$ 6.5 billion in 2020 and the construction market is expected to be the third largest globally by 2025,” said Mr B B Swain, Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

India is the 17th largest supplier of builder hardware products and is on its way to fulfil the government ambition to become a global manufacturing hub of builder hardware products.

Swain stated that EEPC India with more than 60 per cent of its members representing MSME sector took several initiatives even during pandemic to provide global interaction opportunities to small players in the form of webinars and virtual Expos.

“The Government of India has been proactive to ensure that all the benefits of the MSME schemes reach the intended beneficiaries in time,” said Mr Swain.

EEPC India Chairman Mahesh Desai said that the four-day virtual Expo would provide opportunity to the Indian exhibitors to display an array of over 200 domestic builder hardware products to overseas buyers from nine focus regions and trade blocs.

“The buyers would comprise contractors, builders, building engineers, architects, landscape artists, interior designers, consultants and project management professionals,” he said.

Speaking at the Expo, EEPC India Vice Chairman Arun Kumar Garodia said India belongs to the league of leading builder hardware manufacturing and exporting nations.

“The Government of India has now set a National Mission of merchandise exports to reach US$ 400 billion within this fiscal, US$ 500 billion by FY-24 and US$ 1 trillion by FY-28 by making Indian products the only choice for global buyers,” he said.

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Policy & Politics

MOU SIGNED BETWEEN J&K AND GOVERNMENT OF DUBAI FOR REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT, INDUSTRIAL PARKS, SUPER SPECIALITY HOSPITALS

MoU will give UT a big developmental push: Piyush Goyal

Tarun Nangia

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Jammu and Kashmir administration has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Dubai for real estate development, industrial parks, IT towers, multipurpose towers, logistics, medical college, super specialty hospital and more.

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal highlighted the significance of the day and said that with the signing of the MoU with Dubai Government, the world has started to recognize the pace with which Jammu and Kashmir is traversing on the development bandwagon. This MoU gives out a strong signal to the entire world that the way India is transforming into a global power, Jammu & Kashmir is having a significant role in that as well.

This MoU is a milestone after which the investment will pour in from entire globe and is a big developmental push. Different entities from Dubai have shown keen interest in investment. Development has to be aspired on all fronts and we are on track, he added.

Goyal thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Shri Amit Shah for their focus and commitment towards the development of UT of Jammu & Kashmir. Recent industrial package of 28,400 Crore rupees is a testimony towards ensured development.

Terming it a momentous occasion for the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Shri Manoj Sinha said that this development journey will help the Union Territory to scale new heights in Industrialization and sustainable growth.

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal highlighted the significance of the day and said that with the signing of the MoU with Dubai Government, the world has started to recognize the pace with which Jammu and Kashmir is traversing on the development bandwagon.

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India is working towards bridging digital divide in Africa: V. Muraleedharan

‘India has adopted an approach that facilitates development of human capital in the continent with the larger objective of harnessing socio-economic growth,’ said V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India

Tarun Nangia

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‘India is working towards bridging digital divide in Africa and has adopted an approach that facilitates development of human capital in the continent with the larger objective of harnessing socio-economic growth”, mentioned V Muraleedharan, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India while addressing the Inaugural Session at the 2nd edition of the India Africa Higher Education and Skill Development Summit organised by Confederation of Indian Industry in partnership with Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India today.

Muraleedharan elucidated that India is best positioned to partner Africa as we can offer affordable and high-quality education and skill development opportunities and make the young population employable and allow them to participate in growing economies of African countries. Elucidating on the strong Indo-African partnership in the domain of higher education and skill development, the Minister stated that capacity building and providing higher education opportunities with for the socio-economic development of our partner nations is a major element of our Foreign Policy.

India has long standing ties in education with Africa and over 2000 Indian faculty members have been involved in teaching and research activities of Ethiopian nations. Further, defence academies and colleges are being set up in nations like Nigeria and Tanzania. With a view to promote students from African nations to study in India, several initiatives have been undertaken like the Study in INDIA, ITEC programmes, Sir C V Raman Scholarship, collaboration of Department of Science & Technology with the World Bank to develop centres of excellence in African countries and the launch of e-VidyaBharti and e-ArogyaBharti Project, among others.

Dr Sarah Ruto, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Education Republic of Kenya, emphasised that Kenya is working towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals with a special focus on select education-based SDG Goals. She mentioned that Kenya has a competency-based curriculum to meet the rising demands for tertiary education and there is focus on alumni network funding as well as partnerships to promote skill development.

Buti Kgwaridi Manamela, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science & Innovation, Government of Republic of South Africa informed that a bilateral cooperation treaty is being negotiated in education for exchange of students as well as to share best practices. He added that forums like IBSA and BRICS have also provided opportunities to address the developmental needs of the nations.

Dame Diop, Minister of Employment, Vocational Training, Apprenticeship and Inclusion, Government of Republic of Senegal informed that the Plan for an Emerging Senegal (PES) which harmonises national policies particularly for human capital development and vocational training is a major step towards promoting employability. The Minister commended India for committing 130 million Rupees to Senegal to create science and technology institutes.

Dr Douglas Letsholathebe, Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Government of Republic of Botswana highlighted that the commonality of English language based higher education system offers scope for greater cooperation between the countries. The Minister stated that the Botswana Vision 2036 aims at transformation from a resource-based to an all-ingredient knowledge-based economy focussing on education, training, and human resource development systems. Expressing the commitment to the youth, Botswana has joined the Generation Unlimited initiative as a leader thereby, playing a crucial role in forging multisector partnerships across geographies to provide greater access to skilling and livelihood opportunities.

S Kuppuswamy, Co-Chair, CII Africa Committee & Advisor-Group Finance & Special Projects, Shapoorji Pallonji Group, said that the Indo-African collaboration has strengthened in the post pandemic era as the nations are collectively focusing on new age learning models and enhancing the role of technology in education. Emphasizing on the strong multilateral cooperation with Africa, it was highlighted that one of the most popular programs, the Study in India commonly called EDCIL offered by Ministry of Education offers around 900 scholarships to African students to study in India and Indian universities are also investing in promoting their services to the African community.

The two day Summit organised in partnership with Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India will focus on Online education, Study in India and Skills Development programmes. Over 6 ministers from Africa and India participated at the Summit and event saw online registration of 600 delegates from India and Africa.

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Policy & Politics

INDEX NUMBERS OF WHOLESALE PRICE IN INDIA FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2021(BASE YEAR: 2011-12)

Tarun Nangia

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Note: P: Provisional, F: Final, * Annual rate of WPI inflation calculated over the corresponding month of previous year

The month over month change in WPI index for the month of September, 2021 (as compared to August, 2021) was 0.07 %. The monthly change in WPI index for last six-month is summarized below:

Annex-I

All India Wholesale Price Indices and Rates of Inflation (Base Year: 2011-12=100) for September, 2021

Annex-II

Note: * = Provisional, Mf/o = Manufacture of

Note: * = Provisional, Mf/o = Manufacture of

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One nation one election: From inception to constitutional/logistical issues

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‘The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity.”

In the yesteryears, when Late Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was injecting the idea that India will awake to life and freedom, he certainly would not have had any idea that the same speech, to the same public and with the same zeal will be delivered by dissecting few of the words and adding spice wrapped in polarized feelings. Those occasions were five yearly festival of Indian democracy- elections where such speeches jumbled every now and then – could be heard and read.

But one could never fathom of a situation where complex electoral processes does not go simultaneously for the centre and state and in fact, takes place at intervals of every few months in the diversified though unified country like India. And the saga of speech would start once again, every second, for months. It took 20 years of independence and 17 years of first general election to break the chain. 1967 was the last time when India had near simultaneous elections.

The Constituent Assembly had scholars like Dr. BR Ambedkar who raised the issue of deciding the status of election commission i.e. whether it has to be a permanent body or a temporary one, giving logic for his take on the issue. At the same time, the far-sightedness of ones like Prof. Shibban Lal Saxena, threw light on the issue that mid-term dissolution of assemblies would push us to a situation of having elections before completion of five years and hence we cannot have such a commission which sits free for five years after conducting one and waiting for other election, and hence we have Article 324 in our constitution.

Kerala Assembly made debut for the mid-term dissolution and elections were held in the year 1960, unlike for rest of the country which was held in 1962. Nagaland and Pondicherry should also be kept under exceptions because assemblies here were formed only after 1962. Like every beginning has an end, similarly every end has a beginning. The end of simultaneous election had its beginning in 1970 when, on the wishes of Indira Gandhi, there was a premature dissolution of Lok Sabha on December 27, 1970 and mid-term elections were held in February 1971. The next political event was declaration of National Emergency, 1975. General Elections were held in the year 1977 and the newly formed Janta Parivar started to focus on dissolution of assemblies of few states after the 1977 victory. Such attempts, both at centre and state level, were rusting the greased process of simultaneous elections. The 1998 and 1999 dissolution of Lok Sabha acted as a catalyst for such rusting of simultaneous elections and now only three to four states go for elections with the Lok Sabha polls for last few years. Thus, the Election Commission now conducts state elections once or twice every year and so we get to hear the saga of speeches discussed earlier every few months.

The Hurdles in the path

The Representation of People Act, 1951 is relevant to throw light on the legal aspect of the possibility and shortcomings faced by the authorities for conducting simultaneous elections. Section 14 and Section 15 talk about notification for general elections to House of People and State Assembly respectively. These provisions are empowering in nature and hence the Election Commission, by virtue of these provisions, can notify elections keeping a gap of six months from the end of tenure of the house and this gap period has to be strictly adhered to. Usually, the election schedule is announced a few days before the notification is issued so that the individuals and institutions involved in the process gear up. Hence we can surmise that for the present state of affairs regarding elections of different states and for those assemblies ending their tenure in the span of less than six months, simultaneous elections are legally possible. But, this is not the only changes that shall be required.

Our constitution’s basic structure not only includes parliamentary democracy but also federalism. Also, the tenured elected legislatures are equally important to sustain parliamentary democracy. By bringing the scheme of simultaneous elections, tampering of constitutional accountability shall take place. This shall further deteriorate the structure of federalism that we uphold.

As we have a quasi federal state, our President and Governor neither reigns nor governs unlike United States where the President both reigns and governs and England where the King reigns but does not govern. Thus, by bringing simultaneous elections, we shall be indirectly bringing Governor and President at the pedestal to govern and reign, as when the Lok Sabha or the State Assemblies would be dissolved, the President and Governor shall be appointed as head of the executive. This was even suggested as one of the proposals in The Niti Aayog discussion paper, 2017.

The Paper and the Draft Report of the Law Commission in 2018 also suggested to shorten the tenure of few legislative assemblies and to extend the same of the others in order to synchronize the cycles. This would lead to chaos as why would an elected assembly would want a tenure of two years in place of the earlier promised five years. Similarly, it was also proposed to conduct only two sets of election in a time span of five years. This action in itself is anti-democratic as it goes against the right of citizens to elect their leaders at regular intervals.

This anti-democratic action can be curved into a democratic one by bringing the necessary constitutional amendments. In order to sync the tenures and terms, amendments shall be needed in the following Articles of The Constitution of India, 1950

Article 83(Duration of Houses of Parliament) and 172(Duration of State Legislatures) – These article provides for fixed tenure of five years of the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly. It shall need to be amended to match the requirements of flexible tenures in case of synchronizing elections.

Article 85(Sessions of Parliament, prorogation and dissolution) and 174(Sessions of the State Legislature, prorogation and dissolution) – These sections empowers the President and governor to dissolve the Lok Sabha and Legislative assembly respectively. it shall need to be amended to include synchronization as a reason to dissolve.

Article 356(Provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery in States) – This article provides for when president or governor can act as head. This shall need to be amended to include manual tampering of tenures so as to create a path to shorten the tenures and also provide for a way to president or governor to act in situations.

In addition to these constitutional issues, there are logistical issues too. The logistical issues which are of major economical value bring with itself the shortage of the number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM). Presently, the complete set of single EVM including the voter-verifiable paper audit trial can be used for different elections taking place at different time and places for so long as is the recommended life of an EVM. One EVM can have the names of 16 candidates at maximum. Hence for those constituencies where candidates are even one more than 16, the second EVM has to be used. As a precautionary measure, few of the EVMs are kept as reserve and they are to be used in case the once installed earlier face issues. The number of polling stations in India is more than one million. Now the calculation has to start from providing every polling station with EVMs, that too double in number in case of simultaneous elections for centre and state. The procurement of such large number of EVMs does not limit the expenditure. Storage and security of the EVMs adds to the expenditure which undoubtedly counts to thousands of crores and this does not adds to decrease in the expenditure as is the view of proponents for simultaneous elections. As far as local body polls are concerned, the polling stations, the superintending authority and the judicial authority for taking cases of local elections are different from those of state or centre elections. Hence such issues only add to the logistical issues already faced by the election commission.

Conclusion

The idea of one nation one election is not alien to India. 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967 pave way for the history of simultaneous elections. The synchronization shall definitely bring stability and strengthen nationalism. In long run, it might also help to cut expenditure and speed up development but the immediate expenses seem to be more than the cost benefit analysis. Moreover, the authors are of the opinion that one election might make the country more centralized and lead to tangential behavior towards local issues and regional parties. It might also transform our democracy to a managed democracy like in Russia. It might give the pretence of free and fair elections but the reality shall be far from it.

Thus, it is imperative that electoral reforms are needed but one nation one election is not the correct scheme to embrace under the ambit of electoral reforms.

The Constituent Assembly had scholars like Dr. BR Ambedkar who raised the issue of deciding the status of election commission i.e. whether it has to be a permanent body or a temporary one, giving logic for his take on the issue. At the same time, the far-sightedness of ones like Prof. Shibban Lal Saxena, threw light on the issue that mid-term dissolution of assemblies would push us to a situation of having elections before completion of five years and hence we cannot have such a commission which sits free for five years after conducting one and waiting for other election, and hence we have Article 324 in our constitution.

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Policy & Politics

MAKING IT HAPPEN: HIGH SCHOOL TRANSFORMATION IN GANJAM

Anil Swarup

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With the sole motto of ‘Desire for excellence in School Education’, the concept of transformation of high schools into Centre of Excellence (CoE) is based on the vision of Chief Minister of Odisha. The school transformation initiative aims to revolutionize the high school education paradigm of Odisha by upgrading the existing school infrastructure at par with the best of the private schools in the country. This has helped provide a highly conducive learning environment for the students from humble background and would also ensure the delivery of best quality education and training.

The major challenge of community participation and ownership was addressed through regular coordination meetings with PRI members, Block Administration, parents, alumni, School Management Committee (SMC), teachers and students. This also helped identify the needs and priorities of the school for imparting quality education. After several rounds of consultations, it was decided to bring about holistic changes in the existing infrastructure of the high school and re-establish it with Smart and Digital Class Rooms, e-Library-cum-Reading Room, Modern Science Laboratory, Hygienic Toilet, Safe & Pure Drinking Water and upgradation of Sports facilities.

After finalizing the above-mentioned priorities, the next challenge was to work out the finances to implement the said work. This is where the ‘Mo School’ initiative of the State Government played the role of a game changer. Under this programme, contributions were to be invited from alumni, donors and organizations for every school and the State Government would provide twice the matching grant against each donation received. For example, if a CSR contribution of Rs. 1 Lakh was received for a particular school, the State Government would provide Rs. 2 Lakhs for the said school and a total amount of Rs. 3 Lakhs would be made available for the development of the school.

In addition to the aforementioned, the local self-governing bodies such as Gram Panchayats and Blocks also earmarked their funds for transforming the local schools which would turn into an asset for capacity building of their children. The overall transformation work was closely monitored by the School Management Committee (SMC) in coordination with Block Technical Team in order to maintain a higher degree of transparency, accountability and timeline.

The main aim was to improve quality of education in high schools by using latest technology, upgrading infrastructure by means of smart class rooms and creation of interactive learning environment with audio-visual facilities. In order to inculcate the practice of reading and to develop soft skills among the students, a well-furnished Library-cum-Reading Room has been setup where students not only develop practice of reading books related to their syllabus but also various informative and motivational books.

To inculcate a sense of scientific temper among students, a modern integrated science laboratory has been setup. To facilitate easy understanding of various science concepts and theories, students will now get a first-hand learning experience by performing various experiments in the laboratory. The modern science laboratory will improve scientific reasoning abilities and practical skills of the students.

In addition to all the above, separate hygienic toilets for boys and girls were also ensured in the high schools. The idea is to ensure that students remain free from infection by developing good sanitation habits. The toilets are fitted with colored & designed tiles and with modern sanitary fittings to minimize wastage of water. Installation of napkin incinerators in girls’ toilet is also ensured to dispose the sanitary napkins in a hygienic way. It is also ensured that the teachers and students use the same toilet so that they take personal interest in maintaining cleanliness & hygiene. Special and dedicated toilet for students with special needs are also made an integral part of the new toilet pattern.

As a top priority, pure and safe drinking water facilities are being ensured in all schools under the ‘Nal Se Jal’ campaign of the State Government. Provision of water purifier is ensured in every high school for safe and pure drinking water. It has also been decided to upgrade the school playground with modern playing equipment in order to nurture young sporting talents.

An additional initiative called ‘Water Bell – The reminder’ has been launched by Ganjam Administration with a vision to inculcate the habit of drinking water at regular intervals among the students so that they stay hydrated and fit. As students spend most of the time in schools, water bell is a reminder for a strategic break for the students during the school hours to take a break and drink water in between the school sessions. Students are also encouraged to carry water bottle to schools

The efforts being made have the potential of transforming high school education in the entire state of Odisha, including Ganjam District . The idea of upgradation of Government high schools driven by 5T principles has not only resulted in the transformation of infrastructure but also developed self-confidence and motivation among students, teachers and parents coming from very humble background in rural areas. This ambitious initiative has become a reality only because of the concerted efforts of various stakeholders, especially the field level functionaries like BDOs, AEs, JEs, SMCs, Teachers, parents, students, etc. The success can be attributed to ‘Team Ganjam’ led by a young and dynamic Vijay Amruta Kulange. This team made it happen. All this could not have been achieved without political support from the top. The beauty of the model is that it is replicable, scalable and sustainable because all the stakeholders are on board.

Anil Swarup has served as the head of the Project Monitoring Group, which is currently under the Prime Minister’s Offic. He has also served as Secretary, Ministry of Coal and Secretary, Ministry of School Education.

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