GS Paper –Current Events.

Manipur yet to sway to the rhythm of the ballot

What’s Happening-

  • Political parties and Independents in Manipur are yet to launch electioneering for the March 4 and 8 Assembly elections.
  • The reasons are obvious.
  • People in Manipur, as in other parts of the country, have been hit hard by the demonetisation.
  • Meanwhile, there is still a shortage of small value currencies.

Key sectors discussed were:

Galloping prices:

  • A bigger problem is the indefinite economic blockade since November 1 imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) that has brought the State to a grinding halt.
  • UNC supporters have completely blocked NH 2, the lifeline of Manipur.
  • Activists stop and rummage through even military trucks along this highway.
  • Though the government has been bringing some essential items under armed escort, prices have sky-rocketed to ridiculous levels.
  • Medicines, baby foods and many consumer items are not available in the market.

Candidate Lists are not out yet:

  • While the politicians dread going to the angry voters, the parties themselves are not releasing their official lists fearing resignations by those who miss the bus.
  • HRD Minister Prakash Jadvadekar said the BJP had received a list of recommended candidates. “The national committee will take some time to finalise the names.”
  • On an average, there are five contenders for a BJP ticket in each of the 60 constituencies.
  • The situation is not very different in the Congress either.

Sources-The Hindu, The Indian Express. Page 22

GS Paper II– Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
Education, Human Resources.

One in two Indian students can’t read books meant for three classes below: ASER

What’s Happening-
India continued to fare badly in the well-regarded Annual Status of Education Report (ASER).
The report for 2016, released on Wednesday, said the overall learning level among Indian students is “pretty disappointing”.

Key Points from ASER report:

  • According to ASER 2016, the 11th edition of the report that collected data from 589 rural districts of India, the proportion of all children in Class V who can read a Class II level text (book) declined to 47.8% in 2016 from 48.1% in 2014.
  • This means every other student is unable to read something meant for someone three classes below.
  • ASER 2016 underlines that this situation has remained unchanged since 2009, when the Right to Education, or RTE, Act was passed by Parliament.
  • Arvind Subramanian, chief economic advisor to the Union finance ministry Development doesn’t just mean “expressways” but also “educating millions of students”.
  • India’s performance should also be seen in the light of the Right to Education law and many promises made by both by the Centre and state governments.
  • And states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Tripura, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh have shown some promise in individual indicators.

Enrolment level in schools:

  • remains near universal with 97% enrolment in schools.
  • Over the past two years, the reach of private schools has remained largely unchanged.

Background-
ASER:
measures overall learning level among Indian school students, highlighting the challenges in school education.

ASER 2016 is yet another reminder that even as governments change, very little changes for India’s school-going children.

Way Ahead:
We have to move out of the curriculum cycle and address the learning issue in schools.
The problem has to be dealt with from the bottom-up.
This needs political will.