We have elected our 16th parliament which is largely controlled by BJP and its allies. Congress led UPA is decimated in this election, thanks to its inefficient, corrupt and non-responsive government. However, the newly elected government is not necessarily going to resolve all of our problems which we as nation have been facing for a long time!
We have been struggling for a coherent Education Policy which give equal opportunities to all sections of the Indian society. We have also seen that in last six decades after independence, basic services such as education, health services, livelihood and a dignified life for all sections of the society is still a dream. Caste and religion based discrimination; corruption and criminalization of politics are key factors responsible for this state of the nation.
When SIO released its students’ manifesto on the eve of election, we actually tried to influence 65% youth voters to vote for an agenda which helps the country to get education accessible to every citizen of the country, with increased state funding from 3% to 6% of total GDP.
It is time to reclaim that India is a country which recognizes the deep rooted diversity of religions, languages, regions, ethnicities and cultures and the idea of India is that we respect each other always. We also recognize that we the people of India have done many mistakes or there has been historical wrongs in our chequered history. It is we the Indians who have inflicted inhuman practices against the Dalit communities of India. Yet we tried to correct these historical mistakes by introducing a Constitution which was based on justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. These are the basic foundation of our constitution which have strengthened a plural and democratic political institution.
However several reports have been established that discrimination against marginalized section, minorities and tribal people has increased in these years. State institutions have become more indifferent and insensitive to the basic issues of common people, right from the delivery of basic services to land grab, etc. It is the State institutions which protected criminals, corrupt leaders and corrupt bureaucrats. Recent agitations against rape cases, against corruption and against violation of human rights are some struggle to reclaim our Constitutional rights. India’s political parties, regardless of their names and ideologies, have never been serious to address these issues.
With new Government in power, I once again appeal student community, youth of the nation and common people of this country to be vigilant against violation of our rights, against incidences of corruptions and against violation of students’ rights to get quality education and better jobs. We must not allow the new government to cut state spending on education and health. We must keep pressure on the government to spend 6% of entire GDP on education, to ensure free and quality education to every citizen of the country, with reaching to deprived and marginalized section on priority basis.
Research scholarships for scheduled class and minority students must increase; quota for all deprived sections must be filled in all universities and colleges. Security of women students must be guaranteed. The new government will perhaps be keen to commercialize education system by introducing private universities offering low-quality education at 5-star rates and thereby making education a commodity. It may also allow foreign direct investment in education and other sectors as well. We have to see what constructive role we can play in this regard.
We must also be aware that gaps between different sections of the society are going to affect us badly. Youth must escalate interaction and dialogue between communities at every level. And this will begin from nowhere else but from your campuses and offices. Student struggle has many challenges in this period and we must direct our energies towards protecting our democracy, our constitution and to ensure social justice.
SIO resolves to be at the forefront of student struggle, our struggle for social justice and education rights will continue. We request you to intensify this struggle at every level and to reach out all communities, and sections to be part of our struggle.
We share the problems and we share the responsibilities. Together we will make a better country, a better India where youth enjoy the freedom to pursue their vocations and career without any fear or pressure.