24 October, 2020

Raj By Ordinance

A dubious ‘education’ push by BJP govt

P. Lashkari
Raj By Ordinance

Norti Bai has never been to school. But she has been active in rural governance since 1981, even travelled abroad to represent India. She says she can ‘operate’ a computer, printer and fax machine. But she was recently rendered ineligible to contest the panchayat elections this year.

In December, days before the model code of conduct came into force, and during a time the courts were on vacation, the state government promulgated the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2014, prescribing minimum educational qualifications for candidates­—Std VII for panchayats, Std X for zila parishads and panchayat samitis, and Std V-pass in scheduled areas. The ordinance also requires that candidates submit proof that they have a toilet at home. These are in addition to the requirement that candidates do not have more than two children. All this leaves thousands unable to contest. Moreover, it has sparked a debate: some see the move as exclusionist, though the government would have people believe it is aimed at encouraging education in rural areas....



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