Congress unhappy with Sibal's exam plan


 Sources in the Congress, which leads the ruling UPA, said that the party high-command was shocked by the sweeping reforms the Human Resource Development minister had proposed in his 100-day action plan for revamping the education sector.

“How could he arbitrarily make public major proposals like making the secondary-level examinations optional and having a single school board conducting uniform exams across the country without consultations within the party?” wondered a senior member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest policy making body of the party.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is believed to have asked her political secretary Ahmed Patel to talk to Sibal. She may also ask Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to make sure that Sibal did not go too fast as it might have serious political implications for the party ahead of the crucial assembly polls in Maharashtra, Bihar and Jharkhand.

Over-enthusiasm

Sibal may not find many takers of his reform agenda within his own party, as several functionaries of the All India Congress Committee, who are known to be close to Gandhi, termed his proposals as “signs of over-enthusiasm”.

“He has mistaken Yash Pal committee’s recommendations as Supreme Court judgment. The committees do submit reports, but their recommendations are first studied and discussed with all stakeholders before going ahead with it,” added the All India Congress Committee functionary.

Sources said that Gandhi was specifically concerned over sharp reactions to Sibal’s proposals by several state governments, including Congress-ruled states.

“He must not forget that he is no more a Minister of Science and Technology, but holds a much more politically important portfolio like Human Resource Development,” said another top Congress leader.

The All India Congress Committee sources said that the Congress president was in favour of holding discussions with all the states before making going ahead with to reforms the education sector.

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