Who are the beneficiaries of politics? Who are the beneficiaries of governance? While the answer to the first question could be subjective, the answer to the second question is very precise because governance is to serve the people.
Every day with the news-clutter of communalism, economic slowdown, national security issues. The narrative of governance in India is changing. Amid this clutter, the definition of the welfare state has sunk, and the shift of narrative of governance has become the usual.
However, amid all this clutter the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government has come up with a new scheme of giving free coaching for the competitive examinations to the economically disadvantaged children of the state. The scheme is known as “Jai Bhim Mukhyamantri Pratibha Vikas Yojana”. The scheme which earlier covered only students from the SC and ST communities of Delhi has now been extended for the OBC community and others too.
The Delhi Cabinet on Tuesday decided to include students from the OBC community and those from unreserved sections in its “Jai Bheem Mukhyamantri Yojana”, and enhance financial assistance from ₹40,000 to one lakh for coaching for various competitive exams. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that earlier, the scheme was only for students from the OBC community under which financial assistance of up to ₹40,000 would be provided.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched the scheme in December 2017. Under this scheme, the Delhi government decided to fund 75% of the coaching cost for students from the SC community for the competitive examinations through known and established institutions. It started with nearly 100 students thereafter the number increased with time.
According to media reports, “Of the 107 students who got free coaching for engineering and medical entrance exams under the “Jai Bhim Mukhyemantri Pratibha Vikas Yojana”, 13 have been declared successful in the JEE Main and 22 in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET). Four students have already secured admissions to leading technical institutions such as IIT Delhi, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, National Institute of Technology Delhi and IIT BHU.”
After taking the free coaching 16-year-old Vijay Kumar, who is a son of a tailor, cracked the IIT in his first attempt. “Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has said a free coaching scheme under his government has given a tailor’s son the same opportunity as his son and both of them will now study at IIT, the premier engineering institute of the country,” observed a report published in the Hindustan Times.
Among many other beneficiaries of the scheme like Vijay, another one was the 19-year-old daughter of a daily wage earner, Shashi.
A report in the New Indian Express noted, “A 19-year-old daughter of a daily wager, who earns barely enough to make ends meet, has secured admission to the prestigious Lady Hardinge Medical College after clearing NEET and thanked a Delhi government scheme for underprivileged students for her success. Shashi is the fifth student and the first girl who has successfully secured admission to college after availing benefits under the “Jai Bhim Mukhyamantri Pratibha Vikas Yojana”, aimed at providing free coaching to needy students from Scheduled Castes and low-income groups.”
Delhi’s Vidhan Sabha election is around the corner and expected to take place in February next year. The announcement by the Delhi government got criticized by the oppositions claiming that this is nothing but a pre-poll politics to get votes.
However, reality looks like a bit different. In the year 2016, the Central Government came up with a similar scheme for students from the SC community. According to the reports, the Centre urged every state government to implement the scheme. However, reportedly, no such implementation has taken place. The Centre’s scheme did not include the students from EWS or those from the OBC community, but it was only restricted to students from the SC and ST community.
The fundamental goal of governance in India should be the empowerment of the marginalized people; thereafter, it becomes the duty of every government to bring schemes for the benefit of the people. In today’s context, as politics has become ruthlessly communal and polarized, the propaganda machinery always takes a stand that the welfare schemes have a political motive.
It is beyond any question that every government in India has a political agenda because democracy allows the political parties to fight the election, win and to form a government. There could not be any apolitical government scheme. However, it is for the people to see if the schemes are to empower them or are just in papers.
The said scheme of the AAP government has already proved the benefits, and with time, the number of beneficiaries will increase. If all the beneficiaries of the scheme are children from low-income families, then the politics should not take the central stage, but the welfare needs to get applauded.