Finland plan not yet passed due to dirty politics, says CM Kejriwal
The teachers’ training trip to Finland has emerged as the latest flashpoint between the AAP government and LG. While the state government has maintained that the LG office has deliberately delayed approval to the file that was first sent in October, the LG has said that he has not rejected the proposal and his aim was not to obstruct.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that while other states were learning from Delhi’s progress in the field of education, “dirty politics” is being played in the national capital over the state government’s plan to send a group of teachers to Finland for training.
“Due to the lieutenant governor (LG) repeatedly raising illogical objections on the files, the December batch was cancelled and now it seems that March batch is also on the verge of being cancelled,” Kejriwal said at a press conferencewhile referring to the Punjab government’s plan to send a batch of 36 school principals for a five-day training to Singapore. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is in power in Punjab as well.
Also read | Sisodia again writes to LG for approval on Finland file
The training trip has emerged as the latest flashpoint between the AAP government and LG. While the state government has maintained that the LG office has deliberately delayed approval to the file that was first sent in October, the LG has said that he has not rejected the proposal and his aim was not to obstruct.
The Delhi government had prepared a proposal for a five-day training programme for primary in-charges of Delhi government schools and educators at Jyväskylä University in Finland. After the LG office raised queries over the proposal, the government sent the file back for the third time last month. “The government had sent the files related to teachers training on October 25 and it was returned with three objections on November 10. We addressed his objections and sent the file back, but it was again returned on January 9 with two more objections. We added the clarifications and resubmitted it on January 20. There is no progress so far,” Kejriwal said.
Video: Arvind Kejriwal marches against Delhi LG: Teachers' training a flashpoint
The LG office did not comment on the matter on Thursday. However, in a letter to the chief minister on January 17, LG VK Saxena wrote, “Irrespective of whether a 5-day trip to Finland, will serve any purpose of substantive training to the visitors or would serve as an event to be played up in the media, I did not reject the proposal thereof. I raised a few queries with respect to the impact assessment and cost benefit analysis of such visits which have been going on for past few years, and asked the department, whether such training could be obtained in a more cost-effective manner in our own Institutions of Excellence, like the IIMs. Aim was not to obstruct, since even in the recent past, I had cleared proposals of sending 55 Principals and Vice Principals of government schools to Cambridge in 02 batches for 10 days each, with specific training goals.”
The chief minister on Thursday reiterated the charge that the LG was trying to appropriate the powers of the elected government.
He said that the LG is bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers, and ideally these files should not be sent to LG office as per the prevalent norms regarding governors in other states. “In 2018, the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court ordered that files will not be sent to the LG office but the central government passed a law in 2021 mandating that all files will go to LG. This law was against the Constitution and the Supreme Court order,” Kejriwal said.
The Supreme Court is hearing the Delhi government’s challenge to the amendment to the GNCTD Act, as well as a separate matter on who controls the transfer and posting of officials of Delhi government. “We hope the SC will declare this law to be unconstitutional. It is not right o create hurdles in every work of the elected government. Till the judgment of the SC comes, the LG should clear the file and allow teachers to go for training,” he added.
So far, the Delhi government has sent 1,079 teachers to different countries through its various foreign exposure visits or training programmes. Of these, 59 teachers have gone to Finland, 420 to Cambridge, and 600 to Singapore.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia also appealed to the LG to approve the Finland trip.
Addressing a separate press conference, Sisodia added that “learning from the Delhi government’s experience”, the Punjab government is sending the first batch of 36 teachers and two education officers for education training in Singapore. “The files related to the Finland teachers’ training programme is pending since October. The Punjab government can send teachers for international training, and the Constitution provides all state governments equal freedom to work on education but the Delhi LG is misusing the law to prevent our international teachers training programme,” Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, said.
Terming the 2021 amendment to the GNCTD Act unconstitutional, Sisodia said that the government has challenged it in the Supreme Court but the LG should not “misuse this unconstitutional amendment to prevent teachers from getting the training.”
According to the amendment Act, the term “government” referred to in any law made by the legislative assembly will imply LG. It says that all executive action by the government, whether taken on the advice of the ministers or otherwise, must be taken in the name of the LG. It adds that on certain matters, as specified by the LG, his opinion must be obtained before taking any executive action on the decisions of the minister/ council of ministers.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor asked why Sisodia is creating a hue and cry over the issue and insisting on getting government school teachers trained in Finland. “The deputy CM said that the central government has made an unconstitutional amendment in the GNCTD Act. However, the fact is that the government had gone to Supreme Court against the said amendment but the Supreme Court made no adverse comment on the Act. Therefore, his claim is being made only to further the conflict with the LG and Centre,” he said.