Do you know about the Cheerag Scheme?
From Class II to XII, government school students whose parents have an annual verified income of less than Rs 1.8 lakh are eligible to enroll in private schools under the Cheerag scheme. This article explains the concerns and controversy surrounding the Haryana government’s initiative.
Several senior politicians and teachers’ groups in Haryana have questioned the government’s Cheerag scheme, which offers “free education” to EWS students of government schools in “budget” private schools.
The government of Haryana’s Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar recently launched the “Chief Minister Equal Education Relief, Assistance and Grant (Cheerag)” scheme. In 2007, Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s government launched a similar scheme under Rule 134 A of the Haryana School Education Rules, 2003.
Under the Cheerag scheme, government school students whose parents earn less than Rs 1.8 lakh a year can enroll in private schools from Class II to XII. In Classes II to V, Rs 700 will be reimbursed per student. In Classes VI to VIII, Rs 900 per student; and in Classes IX to XII, Rs 1,100 per student.
There were 533 “budget” private schools that applied to offer seats to EWS students under the Cheerag scheme, most of which were located in villages and small towns. Nonetheless, the authorities found only 381 schools to be eligible for the program due to a variety of technical issues.
The 381 private schools offered 24,987 seats to EWS students from government schools. Nonetheless, only 1,665 students have opted for the scheme, which represents just 6.66 percent of the total number of seats available.
Students have chosen not to attend private schools because of the wide range of facilities offered at government schools; the distance between private schools; and the fact that ‘good’ private schools have not taken part in the scheme.
A group of government school teachers, the Haryana Vidyalaya Adhyapak Sangh, has already protested against the Cheerag scheme. In the opinion of union leaders, the scheme may encourage private schools at the expense of government schools.
Former union president Wazir Singh said, “Instead of offering free education in private schools, the government should strengthen infrastructure at government schools and hire teachers.” Government schools have nearly 85,000 teachers, including guest teachers, while nearly 50,000 positions remain vacant.
In the event that the government continues to reimburse private schools instead of admitting students to government schools, one day the government schools will be empty,” Singh added.
In addition, he claimed that 90 percent of government school students fall under the Cheerag scheme, which is for parents with an income over Rs 1.8 lakh per year.
“If a student attends a government school, he or she has to pay Rs 500 monthly; if the student attends a private school, he or she gets Rs 1,100 monthly,” a woman says in a video clip shared widely on Twitter.
According to the video clipping, several senior opposition leaders, including Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and Haryana Congress MLA Kiran Choudhry, have raised questions about the government’s intentions.
The woman in the video clip seems to be talking about the government’s ‘Model Sanskriti Schools,’ where a “nominal fee” is charged to students in Haryana’s government schools.
In order to bring qualitative improvements to education, some schools have been developed as ‘Model Sanskriti Schools.’
Furthermore, officials say that Rs 1,100 will not be given to students who opt for the scheme but will be reimbursed to private schools that offer admission to the EWS students.
As per one of the officials, Cheerag is an optional scheme; those who wanted to go to private schools have done so. Government schools are open to students who wish to continue their studies. It is possible that students had limited options since they could only attend schools that offered seats. It speaks well for the education department as well if the students wish to continue in government schools.”
According to CM Khattar, government schools do not charge tuition from Classes I to XII. In Classes, I to VIII, uniforms, textbooks, workbooks, stationery, school bags, and lunch are all provided free of charge. In English medium schools, bag-free Model Sanskriti Schools, free education is provided to students whose parents’ verified income is less than Rs 1.80 lakh per year. Children whose families have an annual revenue above Rs 1.80 lakh are required to pay a nominal monthly contribution.”
The Cheers scheme is also meant to last only a few years before it is replaced by a scheme under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. Under the RTE Act, families from EWS and Scheduled Castes may apply for admission to private schools up to 25 percent of their strength without incurring any expenses. To qualify for free education under the RTI Act, students must enroll in Class 1 in private schools.
Beyonce changed the lyrics.
The song used a word considered by disability activists to be an ableist slur. The team Beyoncé clarified that it wasn’t intended to be hurtful and it would be changed.
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter – better known as Beyoncé – released her seventh studio album, Renaissance, last week, one of her most ambitious projects since Lemonade (2016).
A few hours later, she was in the middle of a social media backlash for using the words “spaz” and “spazzing.”
According to the artiste, the “ableist slur” will now be removed since he took the matter seriously on Monday (August 1).
Beyoncé and Canadian rapper Drake collaborated on ‘Heated,’ a song spanning six decades that features the words “spaz” and “spazzing” amid Afro beats, brisk bars and the singer’s fiery vocals.
People use “Spaz” as a shorthand for spastic, particularly when describing spasms medically. People with cerebral palsy and other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, are often affected by spasticity. In these cases, muscle movement cannot be controlled, and the afflicted person is unaware when her body wobbles and when the stiffness becomes painful.
The word ‘Heated’ has been used as slang, implying restlessness and hyperactivity. Nevertheless, many disability advocates claim that the issue is not the interpretation but the casual use of the word. Many social media users highlighted the disparaging nature.
Hannah Diviney, a Sydney writer and disability advocate, called out American singer Lizzo, who used the word “spaz” in GRRRLS, a single from her album Special. The singer responded almost immediately by saying that she had been hurt in the past by hurtful words. A lyric change was made to the song when she re-recorded it. In a statement, Lizzo said, “I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting for in the world as an influential artist.”
“Feels like a slap in the face to me, to the disabled community & to the progress we tried to make with Lizzo,” Diviney tweeted after Renaissance was released. “I guess I will just keep telling the entire industry to ‘do better’ until ableist slurs disappear from music.” She also wrote an article for The Guardian entitled ‘When Beyoncé dropped the same ableist slur as Lizzo on her new album, my heart sank.’
Beyoncé changed the lyrics on Monday after taking note of the issue. According to Beyoncé’s team, the word, which was not used intentionally, will be replaced.
Who will be the next successor of Al Qaeda?
Last weekend, a drone missile killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul. According to experts, these are some of the most likely candidates to lead the militant group.
U.S. officials said a drone missile killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri while he stood on his balcony in downtown Kabul, Afghanistan, the biggest blow to the group since Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.
According to experts, here are some top contenders to lead the militant organization.
Despite his low-key appearance, the mysterious ex-Egyptian special forces officer holds a high-ranking position in Al Qaeda.
For information leading to his arrest, the United States is offering a reward of up to $10 million.
In 1981, Al-Adel was suspected of participating in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and he fled to Afghanistan in 1988 to join the mujahideen fighting Soviet occupation.
Al-Adel, who was often called al Qaeda’s third-ranking official, helped plan bomb attacks against the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar as Salaam in 1998 and set up al Qaeda training camps in Sudan Pakistan, and Afghanistan in the 1990s.
During a raid in Saudi Arabia in 2004, al-Adel’s diary was recovered. As a trainer, military leader, and member of bin Laden’s security detail, he served the organization for many years.
A member of Egypt’s Islamic Jihad organization before joining Al Qaeda, he was bent on overthrowing the government.
In a report, U.S. investigators said Al-Adel was responsible for the killing of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002.
Pearl Project investigations revealed that al-Adel discussed Pearl’s abduction with Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the suspected 9/11 mastermind.
Al-Adel was appointed caretaker leader after bin Laden’s death.
After running one of the group’s leadership councils and sitting on another, Yezid Mebarek succeeded his predecessor as emir of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in 2020 following the death of his predecessor during a French raid.
Mebarek, an Algerian citizen, ran media operations for AQIM and, in a 2013 video, called for global attacks against French interests after Paris helped quell a Mali militant insurgency.
The 53-year-old, pictured in one photograph with a full gray beard and green turban, is a veteran of Algeria’s 1990s civil war between the government and Islamist forces.
By exploiting the chaos across the Sahel region, AQIM became one of the global network’s most active and valuable branches, kidnapping Westerners and staging attacks.
Mubarak’s predecessor, Abdelmalek Droukdel, served in the global movement’s leadership team under Zawahiri before being killed by French forces in 2020, underscoring AQIM’s importance to Al Qaeda.
According to analysts, however, AQIM has lost influence in the Sahel, one of the world’s most important jihadist hotbeds, while Mebarek is suffering from old injuries and lacks the charisma of Droukdel.
Abd al-Rahman al-Maghrebi, a Moroccan-born national, is wanted by the FBI for questioning regarding his membership in Al-Qaeda. According to the FBI, he studied software programming in Germany before moving to Afghanistan to manage al Qaeda’s media wing. In addition to being the son-in-law of Zawahiri, he is a senior member of Al Qaeda.
Several years before Bin Laden’s death, al-Maghrebi was a rising star within the group, according to documents recovered in the operation that killed him. As Al Qaeda’s Afghan and Pakistani general manager, he was responsible for the overall operations of the organization.
The Biryani Controversy
Nearly two months ago, the Tirupattur Collector announced that beef and pork biryani stalls would be excluded from Ambur Biryani Thiruvizha 2022. There had been a controversy over this.
According to the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, excluding beef from the Ambur biryani festival would constitute discrimination, and such restrictions should be avoided in state-sponsored events.
Amar Kushwaha, Tirupattur Collector, had announced nearly two months ago that beef and pork biryani stalls would be excluded from Ambur Biryani Thiruvizha 2022. As a result, various outfits in the district have criticized the move. The collector, however, later indefinitely postponed the May event due to “forecasts of heavy rain.”
A notice was issued to the collector around the same time on May 12, questioning the “discrimination on a communal basis” at the biryani festival.
Tirupattur district administration announced a three-day biryani festival (May 13-15) in Ambur, famed for its well-spiced biryani made from sewerage samba, a fragrant, short, and plump rice variety.
It was planned to boost tourism in Tirupattur, which was created three years ago after Vellore was divided into three districts.
Additionally, ‘celebrating’ 20 varieties of biryani in over 30 stalls at the festival was hoped to help Tirupattur get a Geographical Indication (G.I.) tag for Ambur Biryani.
The excitement in Ambur over the event was short-lived when the collector announced only chicken, mutton, fish, and prawn biryani would be sold.
Islamic and Dalit outfits, as well as the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), an ally of the ruling DMK once known as the Dalit Panthers of India, had criticized the decision to exclude pork and beef from the planned festival.
VCK’s Vanni Arasu tweeted on May 12 that the collector’s move went against the DMK’s Dravidian Model and demanded that “beef consumed by 75% of people” be included in the festival. According to him, if the district officials refused to heed the demand, the VCK would distribute free beef biryani outside the Ambur Trade Centre, where the festival would take place.
Due to the controversy, the collector decided to postpone the event indefinitely, citing heavy rain predictions.
Following the exclusion of beef and pork from the festival, the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes issued a show-cause notice to the Tirupattur collector. Dalits and Muslims were discriminated against because the official did not allow beef biryani to be sold.
“After considering the petition, this Commission has decided to investigate the matter as a practice of untouchability against the SC/ST and Muslim population, which accounts for more than two lakhs. The notice requested that you submit your remarks to explain why the same should not be construed as a form of communal discrimination.
Following the postponement of the event, the collector informed the Commission that its action would not apply to him since the biryani festival had been canceled. According to the Commission, the collector disrespected the state body, and a separate action could be taken against him. As reported by PTI, it chose to avoid it due to the respect the public accords him.
The Commission accepted the district administration’s explanation that he did not cause caste-based discrimination but noted that “beef biryani should not be excluded from a biryani festival organized by the government if it is so.”
Tamil Nadu’s Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, and senior officials of all districts received the order.
As a result, the Tirupattur administration is directed to avoid such exclusions and differential treatments in future state-sponsored events.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma