Poverty can be eradicated if we provide education to all: Arvind Kejriwal

Updated on Aug 16, 2022 04:42 AM IST

Delhi chief minister Kejriwal stated that education and access to healthcare are not freebies or ‘free ki revdi’.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal during the 76th Independence Day function at the Chhatrasal Stadium. (PTI photo)
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal during the 76th Independence Day function at the Chhatrasal Stadium. (PTI photo)
By, New Delhi

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday stressed on the need to provide quality education to the people of this country.

He was speaking on the occasion of the country’s Independence Day at the national Capital’s Chhatrasal stadium.

Kejriwal stated that education and access to healthcare are not freebies or ‘free ki revdi’ and poverty can be eradicated from country if we are able to provide quality education to all.

“With folded hands, I want to underline that education is not a freebie. Parents, if they have to, may skip one meal but they would provide good education for their child. Parents don’t give a freebie to the child but to secure their future. These 27crore kids are our kids, all of us Indians can eat less but we should resolve to give quality education to children. More than 39 developed countries became rich because they provided good education to their children. We too can remove poverty from our country if we are able to provide free quality education to all,” he added.

Also Read: As Yamuna water level rises, Kejriwal urges people to avoid visiting river banks

He added that while the nation has moved ahead in many sectors over the last 75 years, it has been left behind many countries despite having all the resources.

He argued that if India has to become a developed rich nation, we will have to focus on free and quality education for all 27crore children and free healthcare for everyone.

Kejriwal also spoke about the achievements of Delhi government in these sectors and gave examples of children from economically weaker sections who have secured admission in AIIMS and IIT.

He reiterated that Delhi used to have systematic problems but they resolved it and stressed a similar model could be replicated across the country in the next 5 years.

“We started spending 25% of budget on education, we focused on teachers training, sent principals to foreign countries and now we have reached a stage where government schools have 99.7% result and more than 4lakh kids have shifted from private schools to government schools in Delhi,” he added.

“This can happen all across the country. There are 17crore students studying in 10lakh government schools whose future is currently in dark and their future can be turned around. The system is bad and Delhi has shown the way about how to improve this system. 130 crore people should resolve that we have to make India a leading country for which must resolve to provide free quality education for kids coming from rich as well as poor families,” he added.

The chief minister also spoke about the importance of the 75th anniversary to remember the martyrs who have made sacrifices for the country to attain its freedom.

“Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Gandhi, Ashfaqulla Khan and many more freedom fighters about whom we do not know anything, sacrificed their lives and underwent torture for this cause. On the 75th anniversary, we must remember and pay homage to them. We should also remember people who contributed to the progress of country over the last 75 years for it is one thing to be free and important to keep this freedom and move ahead,” he added.

Kejriwal also shed light on the unemployment issue plaguing the country.

“We have started imparting entrepreneurship skills to students of class 11 and 12 students and we have seen successful models emerging. Children want to run businesses and become job providers”, he said.

Kejriwal also spoke about the interventions made by the Delhi government in the health sector while arguing that the country can open hospitals and mohalla clinics to provide free quality healthcare in 5 years.

“We have improved the government hospitals and now even rich people from areas like Greater Kailash are coming to our Mohalla clinics. We have calculated that for providing free healthcare per person we spend 2000 per person in a year. For providing quality healthcare to 130 crore people in the country, we will need to spend 2.5 lakh cr and a lot of it is already being spent by state and central government. We will need to increase it,” he said.

In an indirect reference to the insurance schemes, Kejriwal stated that insurance will not help the poor and needy people when there are no hospitals. “Country needs healthcare units not insurance. We can open hospitals, mohalla clinics and provide free quality healthcare to all in 5 years. It is not a freebie. India is a family of 130 cr people and we will have to resolve that if people of this family get ill, the country will provide free healthcare to all. Providing free healthcare is not a free ki revdi ,” he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has in recent days hit out at the competitive populism of extending ‘revaris’ (freebies) which are not just wastage of taxpayers’ money but also an economic disaster that could hamper India’s drive to become atmanirbhar (self-reliant). His comments were seen directed at parties like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which have in the run-up to assembly election in states like Punjab and more recently Gujarat promised free electricity and water, among others.

Kejriwal had recently called for referendum on spending of tax payers’ money, the union finance minister said that the chief minister is giving a “perverse twist” to the debate on freebies, saying the AAP leader putting education and health in that category is an attempt to create fear in the minds of the poor. She instead called for a genuine debate on the matter of freebies.

The ongoing debate over freebies has also reached the apex court.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had suggested setting up a specialised body to examine “irrational freebies” offered to voters during elections.

The Centre told the Supreme Court on Thursday that the “freebie culture” has been elevated to the level of “art” for fighting elections and will lead to “disaster” if some political parties understand this is the only way to deliver public welfare measures.

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