The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Flock spoke in SFI reforms

Kozhikode, Feb. 21: The central leadership of the Students Federation of India, an arm of the CPM, may want to give up the lofty goal of “establishing socialism”, but the rank and file is not yet ready.

This was the message that emerged from the organisation’s national conference, forcing it to postpone the adoption of the “updated programme, constitution and policy statement on education”.

The draft had suggested radical changes such as deletion of socialism as one of the primary aims of the organisation, removal of the word ‘revolution’ while referring to the concept of ‘people’s democratic revolution’ and adoption of the concept of ‘people’s democratic transformation’.

The draft had also tried to come to terms with private enterprise in education by stating that the SFI was not totally opposed to the idea.

However, strong opposition from a large number of the 750 delegates who attended the conference forced the leadership to decide in favour of convening a special conference shortly to push through the reforms.

The leaders also assured the delegates that one more round of discussions would take place at all levels of the organisation to draw up a revised draft.

The conference decided to separate the policy statement on education from the draft on programme and constitution. A new policy note will be presented at the proposed special session.

The delegates who participated in the discussions apparently demanded “greater clarity” on crucial issues like dropping socialism from the SFI’s charter of objectives, and the new role it envisaged for the private sector in running educational institutions.

The majority of the delegates are reported to have said that the draft could not be accepted in the present form as it would jeopardise the basic principles and ideology of the SFI.

As many as 134 amendments were moved to the draft. The central committee will process the amendments on the statement.

Outgoing general secretary Samik Lahri said one of the amendments accepted was to express explicitly the SFI’s commitment to socialism.

The new president, K.K. Ragesh, told reporters that all opinions expressed at the conference would be given due weightage while preparing the revised draft.

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