Free, as long as someone else pays for it

The sorry tale of free secondary education for the single girl child

Badri Sheshadri tells the story of how yet another item from the UPA government’s entitlement agenda fell flat for the want of, you guessed it, careful consideration.

A few months ago the Central Board of Secondary Education announced free secondary education for the single girl child. Although the policy may have had laudable goals, the amount of thought that should have gone into it, but didn’t, is remarkable.

All parents had to do to avail this benefit was to produce an affidavit saying as much. The government had to do even less. Nothing, as it turns out, apart from issuing the order. It was left to the school managements to verify the parents’ claims and take action in the event of their being false. There’s more — the central government left it to the school managements to find the funds to pay for the government’s largesse.

Ironically, it required one system of entitlements to challenge another. Carmel Convent successfully challenged CBSE’s decision at the Delhi High Court on the grounds that its decision impinged on the autonomy granted to educational institutions of minority communities. Badri writes that CBSE has now revoked its order.

At this stage it is useful to remember that all this happened despite the prime minister being a well-regarded economist.

5 thoughts on “Free, as long as someone else pays for it”

  1. Nitin and Jagdish,

    Prime Minister Ship is a political job, whether (s)he is a astronaut or kucchipudi dancer is besides the point and mostly irrelevant.

    I am aghast with the way Middle class is absolving UPA government for its sins of omissions and commission, just because of gentle doctor.
    Whereas it is as obvious as it could be that he is just keeping the seat warm for Mr Rahul “I could have been Prime Minister at 25, if I wanted” Gandhi


  2. Gaurav, I don’t think we’re absolving the UPA government at all. On a side note, I read Ramachandra Guha’s claim last week or so about the likes of Arjun Singh and Shivraj Patil being in the race for the Presidency! I look at this in 2 ways: They’re a disgrace to the office of the President. Alternately, they’ll have a lesser impact on policy making than currently when they’re ministers.

  3. Jagadish,

    I didn’t mean you personally.
    What I meant was the general attitude, which is “So what UPA is violating constitutions and following regressive economic policies at least Manmohan Singh is a decent guy”

    I will take Narsimha Rao any day over Manmohan Singh.


  4. I know, Gaurav. You did say ‘middle class’ and not ‘Jagadish’. My ‘we’ was meant to be more all-encompassing than just myself 🙂

    The problem with the latest elections is that the Cong(I) isn’t really a factor in any state other than as the UDF in Kerala. My worry is that if the commies win in Kerala, they’ll have an even greater influence.

    I suspect Congressmen would dearly also love the AIADMK to win in TN so that the DMK’s bargaining power doesn’t shoot up!

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