CM not sure of MoI bill on grants coming up in the winter session

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 18 December 2015 22:41 IST

The controversial bill legalising government grants to Church-run English medium primary schools may not come up before the five-day winter Assembly session, beginning from 11 January.

While reiterating his stand that his government will not back out on the promise given to continue grants, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar hinted to today that the bill may not come before the House during the winter session.

“Bringing the bill before the House doesn’t depend on me alone, it’s a collective decision of the committee. Let’s see what the committee decides”, he said.

The Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch has however flexed its muscles to oppose passing of this bill by organising demonstration in all the talukas tomorrow, the Goa Liberation Day.

In retaliation, the Forum for the Right of Children’s Education (FORCE) had a massive rally in Margao yesterday, demanding passing of the bill in the winter session.

Following hunger strike at the Azad Maidan in Panaji and one-day flash road blockade at several points in Goa by the FORCE during monsoon session in August this year, Parsekar had assured to make it a law in the next session.

Information gathered from the Legislature Secretariat however reveals that neither the eight-member select committee has met nor any meeting has been convened so far.

The session however is hardly three weeks away, which, according to sources, is not enough time to meet and prepare a report to submit before the House.

The committee, headed by the education minister (Manohar Parrikar when the select committee was constituted on 21 August last year), comprises of seven members:

Nilesh Cabral, Pramod Sawant, Kiran Kandolkar and Rajan Naik of the e BJP, Lavoo Mamledar of the MGP and Mauvin Godinho and Digambar Kamat of the Congress.

It is presumed that by virtue of being the education minister, chief minister Parsekar is now the chairman of the committee. pointed out to him that the committee could easily decide by majority what the government wants since five members of the committee belong to the ruling BJP.

“Is there no democracy existing here? Can’t our own members have different opinions?” he asked

He was reminded that he has assured the House to pass the bill in the winter session.

“True, but everything is not in my hands”, expressed helplessness the chief minister.

What happens in that case?

“Don’t worry, there is another session coming up shortly, the budget session by March”, he replied.

However, he did not fail to reiterate that he would not withdraw the grants to the Church-run schools though his government firmly believed in the policy that primary education should be held in the mother tongue of a child.

Section 5 of the Goa School Education (Amendment) Bill 2014, seeking amendment to Goa, Daman and Diu School Education Act 1984, states as under:

(5) No grants or aid in any form whatsoever shall be given or extended to any primary school within the State of Goa unless it has Konkani/Marathi or any of the languages envisaged in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India, as its medium of instruction imparting education:

Provided that the State Government may consider providing grants to minority schools having English as a medium of instruction and imparting education at the primary level subject to compliance with other provisions of this Act.

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No decision should be taken without considering choice and opinion of the child. No parents, no govt, no ngo should meddle in the children's life and future. Children of Goa rise and fight for your right.

- Madhav Bastodker, Ponda | 19 th December 2015 15:49


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