It is not easy to fend off yoga guru and now the head of a multi-crore business empire, Baba Ramdev, easily. A few months after former human resource development minister Smriti Irani scrapped an application made by Ramdev’s trust seeking recognition for the Vedic education board, the guru is now making a fresh pitch for his proposed board to the new man in-charge of the ministry, Prakash Javadekar. To reinforce his case, Ramdev said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and the NDA government are serious about his Vedic board and that he would get the approval. Neither the government nor the BJP have not reacted to his claim yet. According to a report in HT, Ramdev’s aide Balkrishna met Mr Javadekar to revive the proposal to establish a national board that would allow affiliated schools to offer a blend of the traditional gurukul system and modern curriculum.
However, the government’s decision to scrap Ramdev’s Vedic board plan doesn’t mean that it averse to the idea. On July 15, a national daily reported that the government is planning to establish an examination board under the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan (MSRVVP) in Ujjain. This will be the country’s first Vedic education board. According to the report, this will be a fully-funded autonomous body under the HRD ministry that will conduct programmes to promote the Vedas. To set up the board, a five-member panel has suggested an initial fund of ₹6 crore. The government estimates that around 10,000 students currently studying Ved Vidya in India, and is looking at an additional 40,000 students joining, after the board is set up. Set up in 1987, MSRVVP has 450 pathshalas affiliated to it and it conducts class X and XII examinations.
At a time when State schools are in a bad shape across the country — the ongoing series in HT on Delhi’s schools and the new Unesco report (India could be late by 50 years in achieving education goals) — are enough evidence of the crisis. In such a scenario, does the government need to invest its scarce financial resources on Vedic boards or its time in clearing private boards, as proposed by Ramdev?