Gehlot government decides to change brown uniform in public schools; courts controversy

The Rajasthan government’s decision to change the colour of its school uniform has stoked a controversy with the opposition BJP calling it a move to please the Congress high command.

The earlier BJP government led by Vasundhara Raje had in 2017 changed the uniform colours to shades of brown. The Congress back then had alleged these colours resembled the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s uniform.

Nearly three years after coming to power in December 2018, the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government has now issued orders to revise the colours from the next academic year.

As per the school education department’s order on December 8, boys will be seen in surf blue shirts and dark grey trousers while the girl students will wear surf blue kurtas or shirts and dark grey salwars or skirts. Former education minister Vasudev Devnani said the previous government had changed the school uniform colour to give a new look and a proud experience and that the change was introduced after discussions with students and teachers.

Calling the Gehlot government’s decision “very shameful”, he said it was to please the party high command.

The decision will put a financial burden on 98 lakh parents, Mr. Devnani pointed out.

“There is no rule of law in the State. Serious crimes are being committed against girls in government schools and the level of education is deteriorating. But, the attention of the government is maliciously focused only on the change of colour of the cycle, uniform and curriculum,” he said.

Mr. Devnani also alleged that the enrolment in government schools was on the decline.

Another BJP leader, who did not wish to be named, said that Congress government’s decision was illogical and that it would further burden the parents who are reeling under financial distress due to COVID-19.

Rejecting the BJP’s allegations, School Education Minister B.D. Kalla said the change should not be seen in political light.

He said the process of changing the uniform was approved by his predecessor Govind Singh Dotasra.

“There is nothing political. It is the BJP which always works on an agenda,” he said. Mr. Dotasra, also the Congress chief, said the decision to change the school uniform was taken on the recommendation of a six-member committee.

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