Updated: December 10, 2021 12:17:00 pm
The Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan has issued an order changing the colour of uniform for government schools in the state. The present uniform –light brown shirt or kurta, and brown trousers or shorts, salwar, skirt – was introduced by the previous BJP government, in 2017.
At the time, the Congress had accused that the uniform brought in by the Vasundhara Raje government – the first time it was changed in 20 years – resembled the dress of the RSS.
In an order issued Wednesday, the School Education Department said students in government schools would now wear a uniform that is a combination of surf blue and dark grey. In winters, dark grey coats and sweaters would be added. While the new uniform wouldn’t be enforced in the present academic session, it will be mandatory from academic year 2022-23.
Education department officials said students are entitled to Rs 600 each for uniform, and they hoped to have them ready in enough numbers in three months. The government will soon float a tender for the new uniform, officials said.
There are 66 lakh students in Classes 1 to 8 in government schools, who are entitled to free uniforms. The senior students have to buy the same.
Criticising the Gehlot government’s move, BJP MLA and former education minister Vasudev Devnani said: “This is an authoritarian diktat. There is no logic in changing the uniform within three-four years, without any demand from students or parents. The extra monetary load for buying the uniform will have to be borne by parents, who are already financially hit after the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Before the BJP government introduced new uniform colours in 2017, the last time this had been changed was in 1997. “The new uniform will closely resemble the one in place earlier,” said Ramkrishna Agarwal, the president of the All Rajasthan School Teachers’ Union.
Rajasthan Education Minister B D Kalla, who was given the portfolio in the recent reshuffle, denied any politics behind the move. “The minister before me introduced the plan. I simply approved it. It is the BJP who did politics over the uniform, distributed saffron colour cycles to students, imposed the colour of their party flag. Blue and grey, the new colours of the uniform, have nothing to do with politics,” Kalla said.
While Kalla’s predecessor and state Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra declined to comment on the issue, a senior Congress leader said the decision was taken last year on the recommendation of a committee set by the government.
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