'Back to Basics' Campaign
In an unprecedented move, over two dozen nation wide networks and coalitions comprising more than 600 civil society organisations, people's movements and campaign groups have come together to launch a nation-wide campaign to bring the Lok Sabha election back to basic issues.

Representatives of these organisations announced this campaign at a press conference held at the Constitution club Delhi on March 23. The campaign "Desh Mera, Vote Mera, Mudda Mera' (My country, My vote, My issues) were launched with hundreds of simultaneous action programmes across the country on Shaheed Divas, 23rd of March. These organisations civil society networks called on all Indians to vote on issues of the rights of the people, especially those of the excluded sections, and not on war rhetoric.

Explaining the need of the campaign, leading social activist Harsh Mander said "At a time when the whole narrative of elections is being hijacked under the garb of nationalism, it has become imperative that civil society organisations, social movements and groups who share a commitment to our Constitutional values co-ordinate their energies to restore democratic balance".

Underlining the significance of this campaign, Sali Shetty of 'No Voter Left Behind Forum' said, "This campaign aims at bringing the focus back on real issues such as unemployment, farm distress, growing inequality, massively rising hate crimes including attacks against Dalits, minorities, women, journalists, civil society and human rights defenders; the condition of marginal communities and deficits in the basic welfare provisions".

Annie Namala of 'Wada Na Todo Abhiyan' emphasised the need to address issues of social exclusion in the electoral domain. Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj Abhijan expressed a concern: 'Just when substantive and inconvenient issues had begun to surface in this election, suddenly the focus has been shifted to issues of national security that allows the current regime to avoid critical scrutiny of its record". Extending support to this campaign on behalf of farmers organisations, V M Singh, Convenor of AIKSCC, emphasised that the two pro farmer bills pending before the parliament—freedom from debt and guaranteed remunerative prices—must be passed. Hannan Moula of AIKS also brought in the issue of land rights to the landless.

Representing the unemployed youth, Sucheta De of 'Young India Adhikar March' and Anupam of 'Yuva Halla Bol' exposed the current regime's shoddy record on employment. Nadeem Khan of 'United Against Hate' said the issue of lynching should be of concern to every Indian. National networks of organisations working for Right to Education, Dalit Human Rights, Right to Food and Right to Information have also extended their support for this campaign, besides many state based coalitions of peoples movements. Bittu Karthik of 'Karnataka Janshakti' expressed a hope that this campaign signifies the return of the people to the centre stage of national politics.

Madhuresh of 'National Alliance of People's Movement' explained that the campaign on 23rd would start at early morning from Tinsukhia in Assam and conclude with a late evening adivasi sammelan in Nandurbar, Maharashtra. In between, various programmes would be held in hundreds of places in various forms including Prabhat ferries, Jan sabhas, rally, marches, human chain, seminar, etc.
Ram Puniyani

For a Job of a School Teacher
Privatisation has variously affected the Indian job market. There is no heavy manufacturing industry in recent time. Further, agriculture is being treated as the sick industry. It is due to weak policy and planning of the governments. Governments deliberately encourage and support privatisation. Now governments have become a dole agency to the countrymen. It collects revenues and distributes among the countrymen for the particular political gain in the poll. This policy has been reducing the .scope of job markets in public sectors/public undertakings. Now the scope of employment in public sectors/public undertaking is almost microscopic.

Consequently, it increases unemployment among educated youth. It is the biggest challenging thrust in India. The educated unemployed youth is tremendously in crisis.

Among various public/public undertaking job sectors, teaching profession at all levels of school education provides the largest scope to the educated youth. It usually absorbs large number of educate every year.

But in West Bengal, the ruling government is tactically ignoring the recruitment of teachers specially in secondary and higher secondary schools. The government provides various aids i.e. school dresses, shoes, bags, copy books and so forth to the students. But it is not meeting the crises of teachers in schools. Due to the gap between teachers and students ratio, the qualities of education are badly affected. The students have to depend on private tuition. Gradually, it is trying to encourage the expansion of private institutions.

It has been observed that the government uses to ignore basic recruitment policy. The apex body of recruitment considered as the School Service Commission is not functioning for a long. Even, it does not respect the verdict of the- honourable High Court of Kolkata.

It is a shame that qualified sob seekers in schools are agitating, and they are in a hunger strike for meeting their true demand. But the government is indifferent despite dangerous condition of the agitators, even after an incident of miscarriage of a pregnant job seeker. No political party except the left is in support to them. It might be for a political gain.

Unfortunately, general population of the state has no voice because their opinion is confined as it is a problem of agitators only. They hardly think that it is also their problem because in the future educated youth of their families have to face the same. They do not think about the qualities of education in schools.

Is it not a problem of a self-centred and highly politicalised society? Whenever, if the general population joins with the agitators, it might be transformed into a high pressure to the government for immediate consideration of the issue. It might also be strengthened the issue in the future.

Has the political division among general population killed the possibility of mass movement? The intellectuals arc also silent and are keeping themselves in safe side. It is unfortunate that the government has taken another strategy of recruitment of interns after para-teachers. Therefore, the fate of educated youth is again deceived of.
Harashankar Adhikar, Kolkata

Vol. 51, No. 45, May 12 - 18, 2019