The supply of free educational items to the students from civic schools was further delayed, as the standing committee at BMC rejected the proposal to hand out cash in place of items such as school bags and tiffin boxes.
Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta had mooted the direct cash transfer option after the civic body failed to provide the 27 free items before the beginning of the academic year. The proposal faced a stiff opposition from the ruling Shiv Sena and was eventually shelved after Sena’s coalition partner in civic house BJP, too, opposed it.
Sena corporators opined that instead of purchasing school items for their children, some parents might spend the money elsewhere. They also contended that the corporation must provide the items to ensure uniformity among the students.
“Most of the families who send their children to municipal schools, often live in a hand-to-mouth condition. There’s a strong likelihood that they will utilize the money for domestic purposes, instead of spending it on their children’s education,” said Shiv Sena’s Trishan Vishwasrao, the leader of the house.
While BJP had no qualms about the cash transfer, per se, it nevertheless joined its ruling partner in opposing the proposal. Its corporators alleged that the administration didn’t take them in confidence before tabling the proposal.
The opposition Congress and MNS gladly supported the cash transfer motion, in an effort to show the ruling parties in a bad light. “I think the ruling corporators must support the cash transfer, as it will compliment prime minister’s Jan Dhan Yojna and will help bring down the corruption,” quipped Congress corporator Pravin Chheda. The students will now have to wait for the corporation to bring a proposal to supply the remaining school items.