CPI(M) ignites debate on leaving aided school appointments to PSC

Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI (M)] central committee member and former Law Minister A.K. Balan appeared to trigger a bitter social debate by stating that the government should, ideally, leave appointments in State-funded educational institutions to the Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC).

Speaking to a television news channel, Mr. Balan had said the move would ensure social justice. He also accused institutions controlled by caste and religious organisations of extorting bribes from job aspirants.

Mr. Balan said money and not merit or economic or social backwardness were the criteria for appointment in aided institutions. The public was in the dark about where the bribe went.

Somewhat combatively, Mr. Balan said the government did not fear a replay of the 1957 "liberation struggle": the coming together of caste, communal and revanchist forces against land and education reform initiated by the first elected Communist government under E.M.S. Namboodiripad. The current political situation was not conducive to such upheavals.

Mr. Balan's comment drew flak from the Syro Malabar Church. It said Mr. Balan had attempted to damage the reputation of aided managements by raising false accusations. He had overlooked the contributions made by socio-religious organisations in education.

The NSS and KCBC were reportedly opposed to the move. The SNDP has welcomed it. The Muslim Educational Society was yet to reveal its thinking. The Congress and the BJP were yet to react.

Mr. Balan's comment could hold some political import for the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the Thrikkakara byelection, where the Church has a significant say.

In contrast, SNDP union general secretary Vellappally Natesan said he was willing to accord the privilege of making appointments in schools and colleges to the PSC. If the government paid the salary, management had no right to make the appointments.

Mr. Balan also found unlikely support in Congress leader K. Muraleedharan, MP, who said he had argued for leaving aided institution appointments to the PSC when he was a member of the State legislature.

Optimally, the government should call an all-party meeting to discuss the issue. It should not bulldoze the decision through. The administration should talk to all stakeholders and accommodate their views before taking a final call, Mr. Muraleedharan said.

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Printable version | May 25, 2022 9:23:01 pm |