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regular-article-logo Thursday, 23 May 2024

Mallikarjun Kharge writes to President against privatisation of Sainik schools

Kharge referred to a news report that appeared last week on The Reporters Collective website, which cited documents sourced through RTI to show that 62 per cent of the 40 Sainik Schools for which MoUs were signed under the new PPP model were “owned by BJP-RSS leaders”

Anita Joshua New Delhi Published 11.04.24, 05:10 AM
Mallikarjun Kharge

Mallikarjun Kharge File Photo

The Congress on Wednesday called for a rollback of the policy to privatise Sainik Schools and annulment of the agreements signed allowing ownership of these institutions to be passed on to people with links to the RSS and the BJP.

In a letter to President Droupadi Murmu, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said the privatisation policy should be rolled back and the MoUs annulled “so that children studying at Armed Forces Schools retain desired character, vision and honour required for the service of the nation”.

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Kharge referred to a news report that appeared last week on The Reporters Collective website, which cited documents sourced through RTI to show that 62 per cent of the 40 Sainik Schools for which MoUs were signed under the new PPP model were “owned by BJP-RSS leaders”.

Pointing out that successive governments had conventionally ensured that the armed forces remained insulated from politics, Kharge said what was happening under the new policy was a “blatant step to politicise the independent Sainik Schools…”

“It is evident and therefore I ask if this has been effected to ideologically indoctrinate Armed Forces at the entry level. No political party has ever done this, as there is general national consensus to keep the valour and courage of our Armed Forces away from partisan politics,” Kharge wrote.

In 2021, the central government initiated the privatisation of Sainik Schools through the PPP model to increase their number across the country beyond the existing 33 fully state-funded schools that act as a preparatory ground for entry into the National Defence Academy and the Indian Naval Academy.

Under the PPP model, the Centre only provides annual support of 50 per cent of the fee (subject to a limit of Rs 40,000 per annum) for 50 per cent of the class strength (subject to an upper limit of 50 students) per year from Class VI to Class XII on a merit-cum-means basis.

This, Kharge pointed out, entails an expenditure of Rs 1.2 crore per annum by the government for a higher secondary school.

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