BHOPAL: Eyeing a fourth successive term in power in Madhya Pradesh, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promised on Saturday to provide free education from Class I to Ph.D to children of the poorer sections among the general as well as and other backward castes (OBCs) categories.
The Vision Document (manifesto) of the party, released for the November 28 polls, promised that the government will fund the education of children of poor among general category and OBCs, from Class I to Ph.D.
So far, the government has been funding the education of only children belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs).
The promise is being seen as a possible fallout of the resentment among the so called ‘upper castes’ and OBCs (which comprise around 65% of the state’s population) over the amendment of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, released in August this year, for reversing the March 2018 judgment of the Supreme Court, which aimed to dilute some of the provisions of the stringent law.
According to former Union minister Vikram Verma, who is the head of the BJP’s manifesto committee, those sections of the general category and OBCs, who carry Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards, will be benefitted by the promise.
The Vision Document, released by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also promises the set up of a statewide Management Information System (MIS) for monitoring cases under the amended SC/ST law.
The party also released a separate ‘Nari Shakti Sankalp Patra’ (manifesto on women issues) in which it focused on education, increasing the number of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), creating new job opportunities, skill development and better health facilities for the women.
It included a promise of scooters to those college-going girls who secure over 75% marks. The registration cost of the scooter would also be borne by the government, the document said.
In light of the rampant cases of sexual and physical violence against women reported from across the state, the document had a separate section on women safety. It includes devising a statewide ‘Female Access to Justice’ plan for women, providing every police station with forensic examination (rape kits), identifying and cracking down on hotspots for crimes against women and starting a special programme to sensitise men. The document also promised to set up a dedicated corpus to fund the education of children of single mothers.