This is a very frequently asked question that needs to be analyzed or answered. I understand we should open a discussion over it so that we can talk about it. First of all, we have to see that what is the role of education in our life? Does it necessary for politicians to pursue their job? As we know our political structure is decentralized where a different level of power exists which shows a democratic spirit. There are four levels center, state, Gram panchayat, Gram Sabha, but we mostly consider the first three of them. Different works have been done on different levels depending upon the workload.
So, as far as required education qualification for election purpose of concern, I think, it depends upon the difference of level. There is no need for many qualifications on the level of Gram Panchayat and Gram Sabha because they don’t legislate. They deliver basic needs to the people on ground level by negotiating them directly. But if we talk for the level of states and center government then there will be need of some basic level of education qualification because the elected members will have to legislate on various serious issues in Legislative Assembly and Parliament respectively.
For the legislation point of view there is need of some basic level of education. But thing is that something happens opposite to it. For an instance Haryana government took decision to make education indispensable on the panchayat level. Haryana government’s decision to make education must for panchayat candidates has been upheld by the Supreme Court. In fact, supreme court is very right at its stand. The law mandates that minimum educational qualification to stand for panchayat polls is class 10 pass for men, class 8 pass for women & Dalit men and class 5 pass for Dalit women.
As a result, over 50 per cent of women can’t stand up for panchayat elections. What should be done that these kind of eligibility criteria should be applied on state and center level. No one party will dare to take such a solid decision due to political interest. They show their dignity and trying to get gratitude from people by imposing these kind of irrelevant things to panchayat level because they know very well that it won’t affect their political interest adversely.
So there is a need for a certain minimum level of education qualification for state and center level not for panchayat level. When I say so then there will be a combination of questions take place. First question people can ask to me that providing minimum education would be discriminatory particularly when state failed to provide education to all. Well, I can reply that we should escape ourselves from such excuses because you know on the ground level nothing like that actually exist.
A combination of schemes is being launched for education and too much facilitation is being provided. Almost 70 years are coming to end after independence. If someone wants to join politics, then it won’t be a great deal to pass 10th or 12th. At the time of independence one could say that for particular spam of time we should not impose any obligations. I don’t think so that it will be difficult for today’s scenario to get pass 10th or 12th where several free schemes are being launched to get an education.
A very optimistic person may ask the second question that why do you not agree to apply these things on the Panchayat level. I will reply to them that there is no role of education on that level. But education plays a crucial role in legislation. A cross statement could be told to me that we have bureaucrats to help on technical needs so in case of central and state level there would also be no need of education qualifications. I would counter them by asking that how can this process be democratic? Bureaucrats will make them puppets if they don’t have some basic level or iota of knowledge regarding particular issues.
Another question can be asked to me that if representatives have education qualification, what about the qualification of the elector/voter? For this sort of question, I would like to reply that It should not be required because they are not directly engaged with the legislative team. They elect their own representative and send him/her to parliament or legislative assembly to represent them. Now at this point, one can state to me that electors should have a basic level of education so that they could elect good representatives in order to counter my previous statement.
Let me give you an instance to understand it better. Suppose you are a software developer and I am a user of that software. In this case, I need not understand your logic whatever you have used in your program. As a user I would only like to use your software without minding the background details. Similarly, electors or voters need not to understand the mechanism of any program that is launched. Delivery of facilitations on ground level would be the yardstick of the electors to measure the quality of any representatives. So there would be no need of education qualification of the voters.
One more point can be told that great number of the people would be deprived of voting rights which have been given by our constitution, if there were any obligation. Apart from it, one can counter me that in election, representatives are being checked by millions of examiner(voters) of different caste, background, literate or illiterate, youth or experience, women or men, so many people are there to check your eligibility and still some wrong persons enter into system, it is examiner(voter) fault not the constitution or politicians.
If I hear the above sentence lightly then I will be speechless for a moment to reply. But when I go thoroughly to it then I will find that it will not be the good idea to blame voters. I am saying so because some years before people were forced to vote because they had to choose best out of given waste representatives, when NOTA (None of the above) system didn’t come. Now a day NOTA is available where people can vote in its favor to aware that they don’t like anyone of the standing people. They want someone else. But in this case, people basically belonging from the rural areas, think like they are wasting their vote by pressing button for NOTA.
So usually in the most of the case they choose any one out the given participants. If all the participants are wrong, then voter will not be responsible for it. Another question can also be asked that literacy rate in India is around 74%, it means approximately 30 crore people are still illiterate, it means we are depriving their way from being politician as all they are deprived from many other position like employment and social status.
The question is not bad but answer can be better than it. Why we want to make the people illiterate forever? Almost 70 years are coming to end since independence. We should grow up now. When we put some conditions then people will be trying to achieve that in order to fetch the goal. We can understand this point better with the help of an example. Suppose if university don’t put obligation for entrance and perceiving that combination of weaker students get deprived due to it then it will be very difficult to ameliorate the education quality in haste. If university coins cut off marks to get students, then students start taking extra tuitions and try to give more time in order to fetch that.
Consequently, quality of education enhances due to competition. Similarly, if we start with a very light condition of education qualification before the people then people who want to become politician will try to get the minimum level of required education. I am emphasizing on it because the elected candidates of the parliament and legislative assembly have to take many decisions for the country, and a wrong decision can result in bad government.
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