NITI Aayog Meet: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik Bats For ‘Equality & Merit’ In National Exams

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday urged the NITI Aayog to conduct national-level examinations with a focus on equality for the selection of meritorious students.

Speaking at the virtual meeting of the NITI Aayog presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, the CM said lakhs of young people appear for national-level examinations like UPSC, NEET, JEE, etc. every year. A critical look is needed to reevaluate the examination pattern for these prestigious and highly sought-after examinations, he added.

“Should not we have examinations that focus on equality and merit as opposed to examination patterns that are heavily dependent on highly paid coaching classes? The present pattern truly eliminates merit and denies justice to lakhs of our children who live in rural areas and do not have physical or economic access to coaching classes. The Niti Aayog should look into this very serious issue or else, in a few years, there will be serious distortions,” Naveen said.

Apart from seeking fulfilment of the pressing demands of Odisha relating to railways, telecom, banking, reduction in Central fund, special category state status in view of frequent disasters, inclusion of languages in the 8th Schedule, the Chief Minister requested the Niti Aayog to deal with the following issues that affect people of the state:

Crime, Politics and Governance
The Chief Minister said though the hallmark of a mature democracy is that once elected, the governments are meant to work for the people, beyond the party line, it is high time to have a serious introspection on whether the governments are able to do the same.

“Every crime is being politicised and every action of an elected government is being seen from a political angle. This kind of atmosphere is one of the biggest threats to the pace of development and peace in the country. It is high time the country gets out of this election mode and allows elected governments to function,” he said

Women’s Reservation
Reiterating the demand for approval of the women’s reservation Bill in the Parliament, Naveen said the national parties had promised women’s reservation both in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies. “History will not forgive us, if we renege on this commitment. This calls for serious deliberation and taking it forward,” he pointed out.

Focus On Neglected Regions
The Chief Minister said if the country has to really move forward, regions that are neglected and populations that are vulnerable have to be taken along. Committed and targeted action is needed for that. NITI Aayog has a major role to play in this. Specific sections that need focus include malnutrition, connectivity, sex ratio imbalances etc.

Futuristic Technologies
He also said the Niti Aayog should develop into a repository of innovations drawn from the country and across the world and help replicate it. Futuristic technologies, a new world economy, solutions for climate change, inclusive governance models are some areas that can be focused on.

“Many critical issues are being raised in the NITI Aayog deliberations and excellent suggestions are being made. It would be appropriate for the Aayog to share the action taken report with everyone concerned. This will make our deliberations more meaningful and action-oriented,” he added.

Inclusion Of Tribal Communities In The ST List
Stating that a number of proposals of different states relating to the inclusion of tribal communities in the Scheduled Tribe list have been pending since 1978 and many of them are subsets on phonetic variations of the names of existing ST communities, he said it is unjust to keep these pending for years without a decision.

Referring to the COVID-19 outbreak which was a challenge for the world, the Chief Minister said while India showed its unified response, the European states and the United States could not put up a unified front. The same unified response and inclusive approach should be adapted for all major challenges facing the country in the true spirit of cooperative federalism.

“History will remember us on what our response has been on critical issues affecting our people and the country, rising above political considerations,” he said.

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