Letter to MoHRD

Dated 23/06/2004, also forwarded by President's Secretariat for appropriate action as per letter of 29/06/2004 

Secretary, Ministry of HRD,
GoI, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi

Sub: National Common Minimum Programme Opportunities and Imperatives – Common School System in Delhi (note enclosed1)

Ref: "HRD Minister ask Delhi Govt to conduct survey", The Pioneer, 23.06.04 and my letters of 10.11.03 and 09.12.03 about the NDA education Bill drafts

Dear Madam / Sir,

  1. The news item under reference mentions some things that are inconsistent with other facts, as follows, and I seek clarification:
    • Union HRD Minister has asked Delhi Government to conduct a survey of children aged 6 to 14 years deprived of free and compulsory education, even as, according to news reports in September 2003, such a survey has already been conducted by Delhi government fairly recently.
    • There are an estimated 61.5 thousand such children in the capital, even as the survey by Delhi government had reportedly found nearly 850 thousands.
    • Union Minister has urged in letter of 28.05.04 Delhi Chief Minister to identify such children and take steps to provide them education whereupon she has directed a special drive from 01.07.04 and suggested Central Government funds for awareness campaign, even as Delhi government is duty bound by law and court orders to approach its Constitutional obligation for universalizing education in more optimal and holistic ways.
  2. The news item also mentions modified Education Bill, 2004. In case this refers to the third version (of 08.01.04) of the NDA Bill, I also seek to know why the following were rejected:
    • (a) my suggestions for overall architecture, etc, of the Bill for it to be based on the Common School System principle (sent to JS HRD-EE vide letter of 09.12.03)
    • (b) my ‘objection’ (sent apropos first and second drafts vide letters of 10.11.03 and 09.12.03) that s.14 of first / s.31 of second / s.35 of third version of the NDA Bill (requiring maximum of 20% free seats for BPL students) is in conflict with Delhi Development Act, 1957, and pre-requires modification of Delhi Master Plan (statutory document approved by Parliament) by due process of s.11A of DD Act, inclusive of Public Notice. (Delhi Master Plan requires a Common School System and free seats as and if required in the overall schema for that).
  3. Lastly, I wish to place on record that I read in UPA’s Common Minimum Programme a rejection of NDA’s Bill and opportunities for the historic commitment to a Common School System, especially in Delhi, as set out in the enclosed note. I request, besides comment on my note, the following clarifications, with urgency due to possible implications for budget proposals for school education:
    • (a) If Delhi government’s propensity to implement provisions of the NDA Bill in disregard of the DD Act (cf, its order of 27.04.04 about free seats to private schools, reiterated in Public Notice on 09.06.04) bears any relation to what MoHRD has asked / urged it to do.
    • (b)Details of the National Commission for Education for allocating resources and monitoring programs, now that resource commitments are on course and at least Delhi government has reportedly sought central funds (for what is arguably sub-optimal expenditure).

Thanking you and looking forward to hearing from you,

Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner

encl. note2, as above, along with covering letter3

cc: as per covering letter of 16.06.04; mailing-lists