A decision of the Congress government in Rajasthan to change the colour of the uniform for school students has generated a controversy with the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) questioning the move. The uniform’s colour was last changed in 2017 to shades of brown during the BJP’s rule.
The Congress had accused the Vasundhara Raje government at that time of making school uniforms similar to the dress code of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The then State Government had justified the decision by affirming that it had furnished a new look to the uniform and given a “proud experience” to students.
The Education Department’s order has stated that students in Government schools will wear a uniform in a combination of “surf blue and dark grey” colours. During winters, dark grey coats and sweaters will be added to the uniform. Students will wear the new uniform from the next academic session of 2022-23.
Education Minister B.D. Kalla, who was given the portfolio in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, said the process of changing the uniform was approved by his predecessor Govind Singh Dotasra and there was “no politics behind the move”. The decision was taken following a recommendation made by a six-member committee.
BJP leader Vasudev Devnani, who was Education Minister in the previous Government, alleged that the ruling Congress wanted to please the party’s top leadership with the decision and said it had “no logic”. “The Congress government is not paying attention to the deteriorating quality of education. The decision will put an additional burden on parents who are already in financial distress because of the pandemic,” he said.
The State Government will provide the uniforms free of cost to about 66 lakh students in Classes 1 to 8, while senior students will have to purchase them. The Government expects that the supply of free uniforms will help increase the enrolment percentage of children in schools and reduce the dropout rate.