People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 08

February 24, 2008


SFI Holds All India March To Parliament


HUNDREDS of students from all over the country marched to the parliament, just before the beginning of the budget session, in response to Student Federation of India's all India call on February 20, 2008.


The fulfillment of promises made by the UPA government in its National Common Minimum Programme three and a half years ago was the main demand of this march. Addressing the students, SFI's all India general secretary, K K Ragesh said this budget is the last full budget of the UPA government before the elections and it must honour the promises it had made to the people of this country. He reminded that the prime minister himself had promised to consider positively the demands of the students, when a delegation of SFI met him with more than fifty lakh signatures collected on the charter of demands. "The government should not allow foreign education institutions into our country as they are a threat to our intellectual self-reliance. The government can only ignore the demands of the students' at its own peril," he said.


R Arun Kumar, president of the SFI, had demanded the government to immediately scrap the 60 per cent marks condition that the government had imposed on the sanction of the scholarships to the SC and ST students. He demanded the government to increase the amount allocated to scholarships and hostels.


Ritabrata Banerjee, joint secretary, SFI had said that the government had failed to enact a legislation guaranteeing the right o education in lines with the 86th constitutional amendment.


Albeena Shakil, joint secretary, had demanded the government to immediately implement the recommendations of the Sachar committee. She questioned the failure of the government in sanctioning the Maulana Azad scholarship to the minorities and said that this points to the sincerity of the government. She also spoke about the eagerness of the government to appease the interests of the imperialist forces at the cost of the Indian people.


P K Biju, joint secretary, Sharmista Basu, member, central executive committee, Sindhu Joy, vice president, Mahender Singh Rana, secretary Himachal state committee and Abid Hussein, president Rajasthan state committee are the others who spoke on this occasion.


Earlier hundreds of students marched enthusiastically shouting slogans from Mandi House and carrying flags and placards outlining the main demands.


The main demands are:


  1. Increase the budgetary allocations for education. Ensure that at least 6 percent of the GDP is spent on education as was promised in the NCMP.
  2. Implement the promises made in the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP).
  3. Immediately withdraw the order limiting the sanction of SC/ST scholarships to only those students securing 60 percent of marks in private institutions.
  4. Oppose the entry of foreign educational providers, foreign universities into our country and the opening of our education sector to 100 percent FDI.
  5. Implement reservations in all education institutions.
  6. Enact a central legislation to ensure social control over unaided private educational institutions.
  7. Implement the recommendations of Sachar committee regarding the education of minorities.