Worried over the southward graph of the state schools’ performance in the board examinations, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has virtually intended to take the command in his hands, rather than depending on his Cabinet colleague assigned with the education portfolio. Amarinder Singh is keen to improve the system and for that he wants to promote the government schools in the state more than those functioning in private sector and charging hefty fees and other funds It is learnt that the Chief Minister has asked the Education Secretary Krishan Kumar to come up with a detailed policy to achieve the target. Following the mandate, the Education Secretary has reportedly engaged a team of 10 school principals, whom the CM himself congratulated for giving 100 per cent results in matriculation examination with also making numerous students of their schools achieve positions in the merit list.The team has reportedly drafted a policy highlighting the dire need to make all government servants bound to send their children to primary and secondary schools run by the state. The Education Secretary is learnt to have agreed with the proposal in principle but the policy, once finalised, will be put up before the CM as he is the only competent authority to approve and implement the same. It is learnt that the team involved in policy drafting has also desired to see the implementation of policy while awarding the promotion and increments to the officers. The proposal which is yet in the drafting stage in Punjab has already been implemented in some states, like Uttar Pradesh but, given consideration to the prevalent situation, the chances to get it implemented in Punjab seem too bleak.This is an open secret that bureaucracy in the state has turned highheaded and the problem has reached to such an extent that the officers don’t even like to get addressed as public servants’ in media reports With the deterioration in the system and dependency of political people increasing on them, we have seen numerous instances in the recent past where the public servants didn’t mind embarrassing the public representatives in public view. One such shameful instance was witnessed at Faridkot two months back, where an IAS officer virtually showed the door to local MLA as the latter, while reminding him of the protocol in his office, claimed to be above the ADC.Amid such circumstances, will the government officers succumb to the CM’s pressure and enroll their children in government schools, which are already facing acute shortage of staff and facilities. I remember an instance, when Parkash Singh Badal, during his previous stint as Chief Minister of the state, openly said that he knew how avariciously the officers were minting money in developmental works. As the then chief minister just acknowledged the illegal trend but didn’t take action against the guilty ones, the officers simply took it as a compliment. In 2017, the people of Punjab gave a clear mandate to the Congress party to form the government but the situation, afterwards, turned murkier.With Congress MLAs themselves complaining of not being adhered to, the officer lobby, headed by the CM’s chief principal secretary (not the Chief Secretary of the State), has started virtually ruling the roost. Amid such circumstances, pushing these ‘untamed public servants, who have now amassed enormous wealth, to send their wards to government schools seems a distant dream.It will be good for the policy drafting team if before finalising the draft they go through the Facebook and Instagram pages of these influential bureaucrats who are these days enjoying vacations overseas with their families, whereas the common man is still juggling hard to make both ends meet with the regular increase in the prices of daily needs commodities, including fuel and food items. And in any case, the policy is submitted to the Chief Minister as and how it is being prepared with clear intent, it is unlikely to get through the CM’s highly powerful secretariat staff as it will also have implication on their families too. Without going into much debate on the issue, let’s recall that despite CM’s repeated requests, neither his cabinet colleagues (except one or two) gave up the subsidies nor did they yet reveal their actual incomes sources.And otherwise too, Amarinder Singh is unlikely to be able to push the bureaucrats to send their wards to government schools as a number of MLAs sitting on treasury benches as well as in the Opposition own schools and ahead of that, the CM’s grandchildren also study in one of the most expensive educational institutes of the country. So, dear Education Secretary kindly ask your policy drafting team to think of something viable without wasting time on a project which is unlikely to bear any fruit!
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