Rajasthan: After backtracking college students' dress code, Raje regime targets government employees’ attire

Are Jeans and T-Shirts a vulgar dress to wear? This debate has escalated in BJP-led Rajasthan after another novel effort by the Vasundhara Raje Government has provoked a controversy.

Published: 27th June 2018 06:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2018 03:51 AM   |  A+A-

Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje (File | PTI)

Express News Service

Are Jeans and T-Shirts a vulgar dress to wear? This debate has escalated in BJP-led Rajasthan after another novel effort by the Vasundhara Raje Government has provoked a controversy.

The Rajasthan labour department has banned its employees from wearing Jeans and T-shirts through a special circular last week. Just three months back, the Rajasthan Higher Education department had issued a similar notification to impose a dress code for college students - a move that led to widespread protests which forced the Raje Government to withdraw its plan.

Now, the current move has angered the State Employees Association and some social organizations who call it a totally undemocratic and unacceptable effort.

The Circular released by the state Labour Dept. last week reads: "Often it is seen that the officials /personnel come wearing Jeans and T-Shirts or other dress that does not look proper and is against the dignity of the office. It is expected that all officials come to office wearing trousers and shirts which is more appropriate".

Labour Commissioner Giriraj Singh Kushwaha defends the decision: "A proper dress code is essential to differentiate between visitors and employees." But this directive and argument is unacceptable to various state employee associations.

President of the state employees union, Mahesh Vyas, raises a crucial question : "If this is the case then why limit it to just labor dept.? If the Government is so sure about this, it should decide a dress code for all the employees of the state and that kind of dress should also be applicable to all senior officers in the state."

President of Rajasthan Karamchari Mahasangh, Gajendra Singh Rathore objects strongly: " The dress code for government employees can't be strict. We will soon issue a memorandum to the state labor commissioner and register our protest."

This is not the first time that the Raje Government has tried to impose a dictat that critics consider as moral policing.

In March this year, the Higher Education Department issued a notification for the imposition of dress code for college students in over 200 colleges in the state and asked College Principals to decide on the colour code for the dress code.

Salwar suits and Sari for all female students and Shirt and Trousers for male college students was made mandatory. But after widespread protests and anger in the student community and social activist that decision was taken back.

The current move has outraged Human Rights groups and activists. a leading social activist Rajiv Gupta says: "Why does the Govt. keep trying these stunts? How can they decide what is proper to wear or not ? It is an agenda, they want to everything, one nation, one religion and one language They are trying to do the homogenization of culture its dangerous, its an attack on diversity and versatility."

Dress code row has become another issue to indulge in a verbal battle for ruling BJP and Congress in election-bound Rajasthan.

"They are imposing RSS ideology on Govt. employees and on everyone instead, first they should impose a dress code for their party leaders who lacks the sense of what to wear when. " says chief media spokesperson of Rajasthan Congress.

BJP defending the move is questioning Congress in return "Why Congress is promoting khadi and suti mala from decades, are they not imposing a dress code? Dress code in offices is a must and it should be according to Indian culture. A uniform dress code aware employees about their duties and responsibilities in a better way."

Says Vikas Somani Spokesperson at state BJP. However, the effort to regulate is not restricted only to designing a dress code for its employees.

Last year, the Department of Personnel (DOP) in Rajasthan had also issued a circular which proposed disciplinary action against those employees who are found to be writing on Social Media in a way that damages the image of the government.

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