‘Sangh Parivar & BJP land 62% of the new Sainik school agreements’

‘Sangh Parivar & BJP land 62% of  the new Sainik school agreements’

In a startling revelation, it has come to light that the Centre has handed over 62 per cent of new Sainik schools to Sangh Parivar, BJP politicians and allies, according to The Reporters’ Collective who got the information through an RTI response.

“Collated information from the union government’s press releases and Right to Information (RTI) replies show a concerning trend. Our findings reveal that of the 40 Sainik school agreements so far, at least 62 per cent were awarded to schools linked to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its allied organisations, politicians of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its political allies and friends, Hindutva organisations, individuals, and other Hindu religious organisations,” the Collective said on Wednesday.

In the history of the Sainik School education system, this was the first time the government allowed private players to get affiliated with the Sainik Schools Society (SSS), receive “part financial support” and run their branches, the Collective said. Sainik Schools were introduced in 1961 as part of an initiative of the Union government under the Ministry of Defence. In 2021, the Union government opened doors for private players to run Sainik Schools in India. In their annual budget that year, the government announced plans to set up 100 new Sainik schools across India.

On October 12, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a cabinet meeting that approved a proposal to run the schools ‘as an exclusive vertical which will be distinct and different from existing Sainik Schools of MoD.’ According to the policy document, the government provides, through SSS, “an Annual Fee Support of 50 per cent of fee (subject to an upper limit of Rs 40,000 per annum for 50 per cent of the class strength (subject to an upper limit of 50 students) per year from Class 6 onwards till class 12, on merit-cum-means basis,” which means, for a school that has classes till 12th standard, SSS offers to provide support of maximum Rs 1.2 crore per annum. This is given as partial financial support to the students. Other incentives offered to the schools include “an amount of Rs 10 lakhs as training grant given annually based on academic performance of the students in class 12.” Despite the government support and incentivisation, The Reporters’ Collective found that the annual fee for the senior secondary ranges from a nominal Rs 13,800 a year to as high as Rs 2,47,900, indicating a significant disparity across fee structures of the new Sainik schools, the

report said.

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