After cycles, govt bid to bag kids and their parents
The Mamata Banerjee government on Monday unveiled its vision for education, one of the sectors requiring its urgent attention, rolling out a slew of both populist and long-term measures intended to help her party win votes, her state more seats in higher education and improve job prospects for students.
But the most eye-catching of all the decisions would have to be the one that would give canvas, waterproof bags to 61lakh Bengal schoolchildren studying from Class V to Class VIII. There was a decision on having one more mining engineering institute in the state’s coal belt, offi cials were asked to revamp both undergraduate and postgraduate curricula and make them more relevant for the current job market and prepare fiveand 10-year vision documents but all these long-term measures were overshadowed by the decision to provide free bags.
A decent canvas bag costs around Rs 300 in the market and a back-of-the-hand calculation puts the cost of the scheme at Rs 183 crore. Bulk orders can, of course, bring down the cost substantially but, still, the government would be spending a hefty sum on this proposal. And those among 54 lakh schoolchildren from Classes I to IV , who are yet to get the free shoes, too, can expect to get them over the next few weeks.
Officials put the bag decision at par with the decision to give cycles free to more than 25 lakh schoolgirls of Classes IX to XII. The recent polls have proved how big a hit the cycle scheme has been and the Trinamool government would be hoping for a similar political windfall from the bag scheme.
anandabazar patrika epaper 07/06/2016 : http://www.anandabazar.com