Friday, January 24, 2014

MP govt stops circulation of RSS magazine in schools

MP govt stops circulation of RSS magazine in schools

TNN Jan 22, 2014, 03.29AM IST

(The government was forced…)
BHOPAL: Accused of taking its saffronization drive to more than one lakh government schools across the state, the Madhya Pradesh government has stopped the circulation of a children's magazine published by an RSS-affiliated trust.
The government was forced to suspend its lifelong subscription of 'Devputra' following objections raised by the human resource development (HRD) ministry's National Plan Approval Board.
Then education minister Archana Chitnis had taken the decision to subscribe to the monthly magazine in 2009-10. The Congress had continually protested against the move, calling it another attempt to saffronise school education in Madhya Pradesh. Congress MLA from Bhind, Govind Singh, had even lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta. The party had demanded a CBI inquiry and raised the issue in the Vidhan Sabha.
"The subscription was discontinued in October 2013, as soon as the model code of conduct came into force before the assembly elections," a government official said. The state government scrapped the tripartite MoU signed among the Rajya Shiksha Kendra (RSK), the management of 'Devputra' and a branch of the Allahabad Bank. The trust was asked to return the unspent amount.
Government sources said after deducting Rs 2.26 crore — the subscription amount for 32 months — the remaining Rs 10.98 crore was deposited in RSK's bank account. But Vikas Dave, managing editor of 'Devputra', contested this. "We haven't received a single penny and we've to settle the account with the government," said Dave. "It was a fixed deposit in the name of the RSK, 'Devputra' and the bank."
The MoU was signed in 2009-10 for lifelong subscription (15 years) to the magazine for about 1.10 lakh government schools after a decision by the general body meeting of the MP Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Rs 13.26 crore was earmarked for the subscription. The amount was transferred to the bank account of 'Devputra', the sources said. The subscription began in March 2011 and continued till last September, when it was stopped.
The HRD ministry had raised objections against the subscription move last April. "Why should there be a lifelong subscription?" an HRD official said. "Better reading material can be published in between." After the ministry's disapproval, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan agreed to stop the subscription last July. Two months later, 'Devputra' and the bank were also apprised of the decision.
"'Devputra' is a good magazine, but its subscription has been discontinued," education minister Paras Jain told TOI. "I'll have to find out why this has been done."

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