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'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' Scheme Sans Bengal: Central and State Babus Accuse Each Other Of Playing Politics

The programme was launched in October last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promote cultural exchange among people from different states and Union Territories.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:October 16, 2017, 2:20 PM IST
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'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' Scheme Sans Bengal: Central and State Babus Accuse Each Other Of Playing Politics
An MHRD official said West Bengal was the only state which didn't show any interest in 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' programme.
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Kolkata: Amid media reports that West Bengal government has refused to take part in Ministry of Human Resource Development's 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' initiative, Madhumita Roy, secretary (state higher education), said she was not aware of any such circular.

"I am not aware of any circular from the MHRD on celebrating 'Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat'. Therefore, the question of denying or accepting does not arise," she said.

The programme was launched in October last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promote cultural exchange among people from different states and Union Territories.

An MHRD official, on the other hand, said West Bengal was the only state which didn't show any interest in the programme.

The circular was signed by R Subrahmanyam, additional secretary of MHRD. While West Bengal was earlier paired with Rajasthan, the state's name was missing for the list.

When asked, Subrahmanyam said, "I would like to clarify that it was not an order from us. It was a proposal which was sent to all states, including West Bengal. It is up to them to decide. We just suggested them to participate but they showed no interest. Total 32 states and UTs have signed MoUs with us, except Bengal. It is a harmless event on cultural integration and I don’t know why they showed no interest."

When asked to comment on state higher education department’s denial, Subrahmanyam said, "We issued the proposal long time ago in November 2016 and we also arranged video conferencing. But Bengal never participated. I think they are against anything coming from Delhi."

Defending state government, Madhumita Roy said, "It's not a fact that we oppose all central government schemes. For example, Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA). This is an MHRD scheme and our performance is best since 2013 among all states. This was appreciated by Ishita Roy, joint secretary and national mission director of RUSA."

"Yesterday, we had an event on RUSA. It is already implemented in eight universities and 76 colleges in Bengal. We are planning to include another 143 colleges under the programme. There is another central government programme called Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP) in which Jadavpur University and Bengal Engineering College at Sibpur are actively participating."

Interestingly, Bengal-based central institutes like IIT-Kharagpur are planning to participate in 'Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat' scheme. "Since Bengal is not participating in the event scheduled in November, we have decided to pair our Bengali students with students from other states."

Last month, Mamata Banerjee government had confrontation with the Centre over University Grants Commission’s instructions to universities across the country to telecast PM Modi's speech live on 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda's address at Chicago.

On May 31, she objected to broadcast of PM Modi's 'Mann Ki Baat' in some private schools in Kolkata.

On April 25, Mamata government issued a circular to change names of various schemes which are seen as PM Modi's pet projects. For example, the sanitation drive is known as Mission Nirmal Bangla, unlike Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in other states.
| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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