About 300 secondary school principals in Rajasthan’s Karauli district have been asked to motivate at least 25 people each to undergo sterilisation before March, ostensibly aimed at meeting the state’s family planning targets.
The order was issued by the Karauli district education officer (secondary) in a letter to 299 principals of government secondary and senior secondary schools on November 16, asking them to accord sterlisation high priority in their official work. HT has a copy of the letter.
“The letter was sent in pursuance of an order by the district collector on November 7 for meeting sterlisation target in the district,” DEO Shahid Khan told HT. Principals are required to motivate people to get sterilised as a population control measure, he added.
He said similar orders have been sent to all districts.
But the state’s family welfare director, Dr VK Mathur, denied sending out any targets to districts. “We focus only on quality of family planning services…targets compromise with quality so we don’t set any targets,” he said.
Mathur said he will find out how a target-setting order was issued in Karuali.
Rajasthan recorded a 21% rise in population in the 2001 census, higher than the country’s decadal average of 17.64% and the BJP government was said to be keen to bring down the numbers.
The Karauli district collector also doesn’t remember issuing any order.
The DC of Bharatpur, Narendra Kumar Gupta, denied receiving any order for setting sterilisation target to principals and wondered how the administration could pressure schools to meet family planning targets.
Principals in Karauli said the order will add to pressure on them.
“We will follow the orders but it’s an additional work for us,” said Pushpendra Sharma, principal of a secondary school in Nibhera in Sapotra tehsil.
Veer Singh Beniwal, principal of a school in Hindaun, said the order hadn’t come to him yet but said teachers will not have an option if such orders have been issued.
Schoolteachers are already engaged in elections, census, polio drop campaigns among sundry other government programmes.
Earlier, in October, a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) in Jaipur asked government schoolteachers in Sanganer to patrol villages at 5am on October 13, 14 and 15, to prevent open defecation during a sanitation fortnight. In September, the same officer asked teachers to prepare progress report on toilet construction in their gram panchayats.
In June, Jhalawar’s district education officer had asked schoolteachers in 24 gram panchayats to go out at 5am and click pictures of people found defecating in the open. The teachers were also asked to share these pictures with the DEO and the DC.
Teachers’ bodies are, however, not amused.
“Teachers should be asked to only teach in the classrooms and not get engaged in other works,” said Ram Krishna Agrawal of All Rajasthan State Teachers’ Union.