The decision of the government to appoint an incapable education minister will certainly send a wrong message among the Indian masses.
By Rakesh Raman
The chattering classes in India went into a sudden state of shock and disbelief last week when they heard that an uneducated female – Smriti Irani – has managed to become the education minister under a larger portfolio of human resource development (HRD) in the newly formed BJP government .
Although other ministers in the BJP government headed by Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister (PM) are also not quite qualified to handle their jobs, this Smriti Irani thing has crossed all limits of nepotism, as it’s said she is not even a graduate.
Worse, it’s alleged that she lied in her affidavit while contesting the election (she lost the election) that she is a graduate. Worst, despite her illiteracy, she has been made an education minister.
As coming events cast their shadows before, you can imagine what kind of governance the new BJP government can offer to the Indian citizens with such a naïve bunch of ministers.
Like its predecessors in the Congress-led UPA government, BJP government has resorted to another form of favoritism. While Congress was running the government like a family fiefdom with all top positions reserved for the sons and daughters of old politicians, BJP (or Modi) has handpicked certain favored persons without following any transparent and measurable criteria.
While many of them are not even elected members, the ministerships were distributed to them like a largess, ignoring all norms of fair selection. And BJP has done the most deplorable act by appointing an almost uneducated person as the HRD minister while the education standards in the country are already falling in a way as if there is no bottom.
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Education and HRD have never been the priority areas of any government in India. As most politicians are corrupt here, they fear that educated people will be able to know about their nefarious designs and will never vote for them.
So, they never worked seriously to develop and improve the archaic education systems in the country. As a result, the literacy levels in the country are pathetic. According to a UNESCO report, India has by far the largest population of illiterate adults — 287 million or 37% of the global total.
Although official figures state that the literacy rate in India is around 60%, the definition of literacy is flawed. A person who can just read or write is counted as a literate person while the truth is that such a person cannot contribute anything toward the development in the country and is as good as an illiterate.
Actually, not more than 10% people in India’s population of 1.25 billion are educated. And the trouble is that even these educated people are not employable in the current modern environment because India’s education systems are full of flaws.
This fact is manifested in the country’s ranking in the world human development index (HDI), which indicates the level of skills in a country. Currently, India stands at a dismal rank of 136 in the world. You will be surprised to know that countries like Iraq, Syria, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and many other smaller countries have better HDI than India.
And because of the poor levels of education in India, India can never hope to grow and will continue to struggle as one of the worst countries in the world. As most of its people are either uneducated or unemployable (most educated people are not even trainable), the growing youth population has already become a burden on India’s economy.
Joblessness is so severe that it’s almost impossible to get a job even with the academic degrees in your hand. A few government jobs may be there. But you can hope to get the government job only if you belong to a lower caste (strangely jobs are reserved for lower castes) or you have higher connections like Smriti Irani has. Joblessness has resulted in extreme poverty. Consequently, a whopping 20% of the world’s 4 billion poor who live on less than US$ 2.50 per day, are in India.
The shortage of educated people in India is now highlighted by Narendra Modi, as he could not find an educated, well-qualified person to spearhead India’s education and HRD initiatives and selected Smriti Irani who needs to go for her own education in an educational institution instead of heading the education ministry of India.
This is another form of corruption in which BJP government has promoted inability and incompetence by selecting a person for the top position simply because they are close – and close enough – to a political boss. You would agree that squandering of public money by incapable government officials is equivalent to embezzlement of public money by corrupt officials.
The decision of BJP to appoint an incapable HRD minister will certainly send a wrong message among the Indian masses. Then why should young people spend years to complete their education? And why should poor parents spend huge money on their children’s education when even an illiterate person can trample their dreams to grab the highest position?
Now the future of India’s youth is in the hands of God, as Smriti Irani will take her time to get educated before she could help spread education in the country. For now, perhaps only prayers can help the struggling Indian students, as their future is not in the safe hands. Believe me.
This article is part of our editorial initiative called REAL VOTER that covers political developments in India. Click here to visit REAL VOTER.