#India – Tracing the ban on skirt and its length #Vaw #moralpolicing

TNN May 25, 2013,
(Tracing the ban on skirt…)

The skirt and its length has been an issue more often than not in our country. From celebs likeSania Mirza and Katrina Kaif to schoolgirls across states, many have gotten into trouble over this piece of clothing. And it isn’t only the desi moral police tying itself up in knots over the issue – it seems to unite people across countries.

Bans in schools across India

In Rohtak in March, a right wing educational institution’s management prohibited girls from Classes VIII to XII from wearing skirts, citing “security reasons.” At least five Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools, run by the Kurukshetra-based Hindu Shiksha Samiti (HSS), would implement the dress code from the current academic session, they said. One of the schools’ principals said that the decision had been taken in consultation with parents who endorsed those reasons, and that they’d received complaints about some girls wearing short skirts.

The DAV group of schools called for a ban on skirts this year as part of the uniform, as they think tunics or short skirts ‘invite unwanted attention’. The director of the DAV group has said that they have taken the step to make children aware of our culture and tradition. Female students from Class VIII onwards would be required to wear only salwar-kameez with a bandi (jacket). “We’ve done this to ensure girls dress decently to school and follow a discipline,” said LR Saini, director of the DAV group.

In December 2012, BJP legislator Banwari Lal Singhal suggested a ban on skirts as the school uniform for girls. Singhal wrote a letter to Rajasthan chief secretary CK Mathew, demanding that skirts be replaced by trousers to keep female students away from “men’s lustful gazes.”

In Manipur last year, six student bodies, which included the All Manipur Students Union, Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur and Manipur Students Federation, issued a diktat to prohibit school and college students from wearing clothes above the knee. In 2007, the outlawed People’s United Liberation Front (PULF), an Islamic outfit active in the state, banned Muslim schoolgirls and college students from wearing frocks and skirts. The Manipuri rebel group Kanglei Yawol Kunna Lup, (KYKL), in 2001, asked girls to wear the ankle-length traditional phaneks instead of western wear. The reason for enforcing the wearing of the phanek was to ban “indecent dresses” and also for moral and traditional reasons. KYKL even warned that women of the state who do not wear the traditional phaneks could even ‘face death penalty’!

After being pressurised by a student body in the state, all schools banned short skirts and tight pants in 2011. The ban was imposed to ‘promote decency and discipline’ among the students. If caught violating the ban for the first time, a fine of `300 was to be charged. If the rule was violated again, the fine would increase to `500. And if the students were found repeating it, then they would be expelled from the school.

Uttar Pradesh
In 2012 in Ghaziabad district, the panchayat in a Jat-dominated region demanded that girls should wear salwar-kurta from the sixth standard. The president of Jat Mahasabha was reported as saying, “The girls will wear salwar-kurta from sixth standard onwards. We will speak to the managements of the schools and will make sure the order is implemented strictly.” They didn’t mention the reason for it but we assume it, again, has something to do with ‘decency’. The panchayat even warned that ‘severe punishment’ would be handed out if the diktat wasn’t followed.

Celebs in trouble

Sania Mirza – In 2005, a group of Muslim clerics issued a fatwa demanding that the tennis player should cover herself more on the field. They said that her outfits were a negative influence on young girls. Their grouse was that her skirts and T-shirts had slogans like ‘Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History’ and ‘I’m Cute, No Shit’, which were ‘un-Islamic’. Even though Sania had to give in to the clerics’ demands at that time, later, she appeared at the 2007 French Open in a skirt. “How I dress is a very personal thing, so give me a break. I’m just trying to have some fun. If I have something to say I can speak, can’t I? I don’t have to speak through what I wear,” she had said.


CBSE tweaks ‘Open Book’ concept, comes up with PAT

, TNN | Aug 1, 2012,

NAGPUR: In what could be the biggest change made to the country’s education system, CBSE has decided to introduce the ‘open book exam’ concept for its board exams (Std X, XII) from the 2013-14 academic session. The central board’s chairman Vineet Joshi informed TOI that the new system will test “higher order thinking skills of students rather than their current reliance on a rote-based methodology”.

“But it won’t literally be an open book exam. It will be called the ‘Pre-Announced Test’ (PAT) and will be applicable for all Std X subjects and some major ones of Std XII,” he said.

Explaining the features of PAT, Joshi said, “Four months before the exam, students will be made aware of the test they are going to appear for. But the questions will not be simple and straightforward, they will test the students’ analytical power.”

A formal announcement with complete details regarding the new system is expected to be made in December this year. The HRD ministry had initiated the process and a reforms committee had been constituted to look into the concept. Sources in the board said that Joshi was heading the committee and its brief was to improve the education system to make it more ‘student-friendly’.

The committee tweaked the open book concept, followed in some western countries, to make it more relevant and acceptable here. “We were apprehensive about the reaction from other state boards if books are allowed inside exam halls,” said a highly placed source in the CBSE board. He was referring particularly to Maharashtra which had created a fuss over CBSE’s school-evaluated board exam for Std X students and refused them admission in state colleges.

PAT functions like the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) system that some education boards, including Maharashtra, are implementing. In the SSC exam, an out-of-syllabus passage is given to students and they are asked questions that cannot be answered word-for-word just by looking at the matter. For example, if the passage has a line saying, ‘Rajesh goes to school everyday and learns about animals, new countries and math formulae’, the question would be ‘Why does Rajesh go to school?’ The expected answer would be he goes to school to increase his knowledge about the world around him.

Under PAT, the same passage would be taught to students four months before the exam. S/he is expected to analyse various relevant questions that could be asked. On the day of the CBSE exam, PAT will not produce the passage but there will be questions based on it.

It is still not clear yet how the board will implement PAT for Mathematics where formulae and values are part of almost every topic. By the time a formal announcement is made in December, the CBSE Board expects to iron out all issues.

Local schools in the city were unaware of board’s plan but say it does seem to be a step in the right direction. A school principal, who did not wish to be named, said, “Today, what matters on exam day is how well a student is able to recall what he has learnt. PAT will force a change of approach. Students will not be able to depend on guides.”

Another teacher said that teachers will now face a “new challenge”. “Having the test available in advance will certainly help and the focus will be on how well the student can comprehend the lesson,” she said. Those who set the question paper also face a challenge, according to this teacher. “No question will be repeated in successive exams and that requires a lot of innovative thinking,” she added.

In 2008, the Gujarat government had decided to implement the open book exam concept for its board exams but has not done yet. Also, some schools in Gujarat had experimented with the concept but it proved to be very tough and few students passed.

Status of the Implementation of Sachar Committee Recommendations for Social, Economic and Educational Development of Muslim Community


The Government took decisions on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee (Prime Minister’s High Level Committee on Social, Economic and Educational status of the Muslim Community of India) pertaining to various Ministries/Departments. The status of implementation of the decisions taken by Government on the follow-up action on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee is as under:

1 Department of Financial Services :

(i) All public sector banks have been directed to open more branches in districts having a substantial minority population. In 2007-08, 523 branches were opened in such districts while in 2008-09, 537 new branches were opened. In 2009-10, 743 new branches and in 2010-11, 814 new branches were opened. During 2011-12, 619 branches have been opened up to 31st December 2011. A total of 3236 branches have been opened since 2007-08.

(ii) RBI revised its Master Circular on the 1st July, 2011 on priority sector lending (PSL) for improving credit facilities to minority communities. As on 31st December, 2011, Rs.1,54,789.90 crore, which is 14.83% of total PSL, were provided to minorities.

(iii) To promote micro-finance among women, 6,03,087 accounts have been opened for minority women with Rs. 6611.87 crore as micro-credit in 2011-12 upto September, 2011.

(iv) All public sector banks are organizing awareness campaigns in blocks/districts/towns with substantial minority population. In 2011-12, 1658 awareness campaigns were organized in such areas upto September, 2011.

(v) Lead banks have organized 618 entrepreneurial development programmes in blocks/districts/towns with substantial minority population upto September, 2011 and the number of beneficiaries is 9065.

2  Ministry of Human Resource Development:

A multi-pronged strategy to address the educational backwardness of the Muslim community, as brought out by the Sachar Committee, has been adopted, as given below:-

a) Under the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) scheme, criteria of educationally backward blocks has been revised with effect from 1st April 2008 to cover blocks with less than 30% rural female literacy and in urban areas with less than national average of female literacy. Under the scheme, 450 KGBVs have been operationalised in minority concentration districts, so far. 70 KGBVs have been operationalised for minority concentration districts against the target of 107 during the year 2011-12 upto December, 2011.

b) Universalization of access to quality education at secondary stage called Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) has been approved. The scheme envisages preference to minority concentration areas in opening of Government schools. State Governments have been advised to accord priority to setting up of new / upgraded schools in minority concentration areas while appraising proposals under this scheme. 158 New Secondary Schools have been approved in 2011-12 upto October, 2011.

c) One model college each would be set up in 374 educationally backward districts (EBDs) of the country. Of 374 EBDs, 67 are in identified minority concentration districts. During 2011-12, five model colleges have been sanctioned in MCDs, and funds of Rs. 2.67 crores have been released upto 30th Sept., 2011.

d) Under the Sub-mission on polytechnics, financial assistance is provided to the States/UTs for setting up of polytechnics in un-served and under-served districts. 57 districts out of 90 minority concentration districts are eligible for consideration under the scheme. So far, 46 minority concentration districts have been covered for setting up of polytechnics, and an amount of Rs.222.66 crore have been released upto 30th Sept., 2011.

e) Preference is given by the University Grants Commission for provision of girls’ hostels in universities and colleges in the areas where there is concentration of minorities especially Muslims. The UGC has sanctioned 284 Women’s hostels and released Rs.201.55 crore till 30th Sept., 2011 during 11th Plan in Minority Concentration Districts/area.

f) The Area Intensive & Madarsa Modernisation Programme has been revised and bifurcated into two schemes. A Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madarsas (SPQEM) has been launched with an allocation of Rs. 325 crore for the Eleventh Five-year Plan. It contains attractive provisions for better teachers’ salary, increased assistance for books, teaching aids and computers, and introduction of vocational subjects, etc. An amount of Rs. 92.77 crore has been released upto 31st Dec., 2011 against budget provision of Rs. 150 crore. The other scheme, which provides financial assistance for Infrastructure Development of Private aided/unaided Minority Institutes (IDMI), has been lauched with an allocation of Rs. 125 crore for the Eleventh Five-year Plan. During 2011-12, an amount of Rs. 21.88 crore has been released against budget outlay of Rs. 50.00 crore upto 31st Dec., 2011.

g) For subsequent access to higher education, the Certificates issued by the State Madarsa Boards, whose Certificates and qualifications have been granted equivalence by the corresponding State Boards, would be considered equivalent by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Council of Board of School Education in India (COBSE) or/and by any other school examination board.

h) Academies for professional development of Urdu medium teachers have been set up at three Central Universities namely, Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Milia Islamia University, New Delhi and Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. During 2011-12, 4718 Urdu Teachers have been trained under Refresher Courses/Workshops.

i) Under the revised scheme, financial assistance is given for appointment of Urdu teachers in a Government school in any locality where more than 25% of the population is from Urdu speaking community. The financial assistance would be based on the prevailing salary structure of Urdu teachers employed with schools of the State Government. Honorarium is also admissible to part-time Urdu teachers.

j) The States/UTs have been advised to undertake community based mobilization campaigns in areas having a substantial population of Muslims.  Saakshar Bharat is being implemented in 372 districts out of 410 eligible districts where adult female literacy is 50% or below as per 2001 Census. Out of 88 Muslim dominated districts, 61 districts have been covered under Saakshar Bharat.

k) Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSSs) are envisaged in the revised schemes. At present, JSSs are imparting vocational training in 33 out of the 88 Muslim dominated districts in the country.

l) The mid-day meal scheme has been extended to all areas in the country from the year 2008-09 and also covers upper primary schools. Blocks with a concentration of Muslim population are being covered under this scheme.

m) All State Governments/UT administrations have been advised to use existing school buildings and community buildings as study centres for school children.

n) National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has prepared text books for all classes in the light of the National Curriculum Framework-2005 (NCF). 14 States have revised their curriculums as per the NCF 2005 while 9 States are in the process of doing so. Ten States/UTs use textbooks of neighbouring States or NCERT textbooks.

o) Thirty five universities have started centers for studying social exclusion and inclusive policy for minorities and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Besides, 1280 Centres of Equal Opportunity (CEOs) have been established in 51 universities during 2009-10 and 1345 and 1367 such centres are proposed to be established during 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively.

3 Ministry of Minority Affairs :

(a) An expert group, constituted to study and recommend the structure and functions of an Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC), submitted its report on 13th March, 2008. The concept of diversity index has been subsumed in the EOC. The draft Bill for EOC is under consultation with other Ministries/Departments concerned.

(b) The Waqf (Amendment) Bill, 2010 as passed by the Lok Sabha was referred to the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha on 31st August, 2010. The Select Committee held its 22nd Meeting on 12.12.2011. The Report of the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha on the Waqf (Amendment) Bill, 2010 and the evidence tendered before the Select Committee were placed on the Table of the Rajya Sabha on 16th December, 2011.

(c) The Government has accorded ‘in-principle’ approval for restructuring of National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC). A consultancy firm has been appointed to work out the details for restructuring of NMDFC. The firm had submitted its draft reports which were examined in the Ministry. The Report and the views of the Consultancy Monitoring Committee are under consideration.

(d) An Inter-ministerial Task Force constituted to devise an appropriate strategy and action plan for developing 338 identified towns having substantial minority population, has submitted its report on 8th November, 2007. The concerned Ministries/Departments have been advised to give priority in the implementation of their schemes in these 338 towns.

(e) Three scholarship schemes for minority communities namely, pre-matric scholarship from class –I to X, post-matric scholarship from class XI to PhD and merit-cum-means scholarship for technical and professional courses at under-graduate and post-graduate levels have been launched. Under these schemes, Rs. 649.21 crore have been sanctioned for award of scholarships to 33.90 lakh students belonging to minority communities in 2011-12 upto 31st December, 2011. Further, a fellowship scheme called Maulana Azad National Fellowship Scheme for M.Phil and Ph.D scholars has been under implementation. 756 fellowships and 3778 renewals have been sanctioned by University Grants Commission (UGC) and financial assistance for Rs. 51.98 crore has been released up to 31st December, 2011.

(f) The corpus of Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF), which stood at Rs. 100 crore, was doubled to Rs. 200 crore in December, 2006. The corpus was, however, increased during 11th Plan period to Rs. 700 crore. Under the scheme of MAEF, since 2007-08, 419 NGOs have been given grants-in-aid for infrastructure development of educational institutions and 48471 scholarships were awarded to meritorious girls in classes-XI and XII.

(g) A revised Coaching and Allied scheme was launched in 2006-07. Against the target of 6000 candidates for 2011-12, financial assistance has been given to 90 students/candidates belonging to minority communities. Funds to the tune of Rs.4.00 crore have been released against the budget provision of Rs. 16 crore, up to 31st December, 2011.

(h) A Multi- sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) was launched in 90 identified minority concentration districts in 2008-09. Plans of 90 minority concentration districts (fully in 68 and partly in 22 districts) in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Bihar, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Orissa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttrakhand, Mizoram, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have been approved and Rs.2588.34 crore released to State Governments and Union Territory Administrations up to 31st December, 2011 since launching of the programme.

4 Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation:

A National Data Bank, to compile data on the various socio-economic and basic amenities parameters for socio-religious communities, has been set up in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

5 Planning Commission:

(a) An autonomous Assessment & Monitoring Authority (AMA), to analyse data collected for taking appropriate and corrective policy decisions, was set up in the Planning Commission. Since the term of the AMA ended on 15th January, 2011, the Planning Commission has reconstituted the AMA and the newly reconstituted AMA has conducted few meetings.

(b) A comprehensive institutional structure for fostering skill development has been set up in Planning Commission to address the skill development needs of the country including minorities. It includes National Council on Skill Development, National Skill Development Coordination Board and a National Skill Development Corporation.

6 Department of Personnel and Training:

(a) Department of Personnel & Training has developed training modules for sensitization of government officials. These modules have been sent to the Central/ State Training Institutes for training.

(b) State Governments and Union Territory Administrations have been advised by Department of Personnel & Training for posting of Muslim police personnel in Thanas and Muslim health personnel and teachers in Muslim concentration areas. Guidelines have also been issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare advising States/UTs for similar action.

7 Ministry of Home Affairs:

(a) A High Level Committee, set up to review the Delimitation Act, has considered the concerns expressed in the Sachar Committee report regarding anomalies with respect to reserved constituencies under the delimitation schemes and submitted its report.

(b) A Working Group in the National Advisory Council (NAC) drafted a Bill titled “Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice & Reparations) Bill, 2011”. The NAC sent the Bill to Ministry of Home Affairs on 25.07.2011. The draft Bill is under examination in Ministry of Home Affairs.

8 Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation:

For facilitating the flow of funds under the Jawarharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT), Integrated Housing & Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) and Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP) to towns and cities, having a substantial concentration of minority population, necessary steps have been taken to ensure that Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for such towns and cities include adequate provisions for minorities.

(a) Under UIDSSMT, Rs. 2672.34 crore has been sanctioned for 88 towns having a substantial minority population.

(b) Under IHSDP, projects costing Rs. 1897.69 crore are for 101 towns having a substantial minority population.

(c) Under BSUP, Rs.7086.47 crore has been sanctioned for 17 towns.

(d) Governments of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Kerala have given exemption to Waqf Board properties from Rent Control Act, while Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have informed that no Waqf property exists in these States.

9 Ministry of Labour and Employment:

An Act has been passed by the Parliament for providing social security to workers in the un-organized sector, which, inter- alia, includes home based workers.

10 Ministry of Culture:

Meetings of circles of Archaeological Survey of India have been held with State Waqf Boards to review the list of waqf properties which are under the Archaeological Survey of India.

11 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare :

Dissemination of information regarding health and family welfare schemes is being undertaken in regional languages in minority concentration areas.

12 Ministry of Panchayati Raj:

State Governments have been advised by Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Ministry of Urban Development to improve representation of minorities in local bodies.

As per information furnished by Ministry of Panchayati Raj, States/UTs of Uttarakhand, Kerala, West Bengal and Lakshadweep have mentioned that provisions for ensuring representation of minorities in District and Panchayat level exist. The State Governments of Himachal Pradesh and Orissa have informed that the matter is under consideration.

Ministry of Urban Development has informed that State Governments of Kerala, West Bengal and Haryana have implemented the guidelines.

13 Ministry of Information & Broadcasting :

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has been regularly releasing features of various themes associated with minority welfare covering issues such as scholarship schemes, initiatives taken in pursuance of the Sachar Committee Report.


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