Education enhances the ability of a public representative in more effectively discharging his/her duties. Therefore, prescription of an educational qualification is not irrelevant for better administration of the panchayats. Critically comment.
- Introduction with few examples of states that have imposed educational qualification as criteria for contesting local election.
- Provide arguments in support of the given statement as well as against it.
- Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :
Rajasthan and Haryana have laid down the minimum educational qualifications for contesting elections to various local bodies. The imposition of educational criteria has started a debate as many are terming it as undemocratic.
Arguments in favour:
- Education will enable the candidates to effectively discharge duties of the panchayat, as it enhaces efficiency. Duties like social audit, paper work optimization etc. can be effectively discharged.
- Many activities like sanitation campaign, women empowerment in rural area, breaking caste barriers etc. require the local leaders to go beyond the prevailing cultural norm in order to bring the required change. Educated background will sensitize the leaders towards these issues and thereby bringing more commitment.
- Such laws will promote able leadership at the local level.
- These new norms are in contradiction to the philosophy of the Indian Constitution. Every eligible Indian was allowed to contest elections in 1952 even when the literacy rate was 11 per cent.
- It would lead to exclusion of vulnerable communities such as women, SC/ST etc. as the literacy rate is quite lower among them. For example, In Haryana, these criteria deprive 68 per cent of the Dalit women and 41 per cent of the Dalit men from the right to contest panchayat elections.
- It is against the principle of equal opportunity to all as these laws create two classes of voters, that is, those who are qualified to contest the elections to the panchayats and those who are not.
- These laws are also somewhat incoherent. For instance, if a Class V qualification is enough to discharge a member’s function in the case of a Dalit woman, why has a higher qualification been imposed on others?
In an era of globalization and technological revolution, this step can be termed as a progressive one only if it does not lead to exclusion. Hence, the first step should be taken to increase the literacy rate of the country. In the meantime, adequate relaxation must be extended to areas where literacy rate is low.
Subjects : Current Affairs