People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIV

No. 07

February 14, 2010

SFI AP Committee

Holds Eighteenth State Conference

 

K Chandra Mohan

 

THE 18th state conference of the Students’ Federation of India Andhra Pradesh unit was held in Vijayawada on January 20-21, 2009, which was attended by 625 delegates. The venue of the conference was named after late Comrade Subhas Chakravarthy, who was former all India general secretary of SFI.

Prior to the inauguration of the conference, a rally was organised from Freedom Fighters Bhawan of Krishna district, which was flagged off by veteran freedom fighter Vamana Rao.  At the forefront of the rally were girls holding the Independence, Democracy, Socialism flags, followed by top leadership of SFI state committee who carried the torch.   After reaching the conference venue, the torch was handed over to Y Venkateshwara Rao, former all India president of SFI.

The proceedings of the conference began with the hoisting of SFI flag by state president K Chandra Mohan and paying of tributes at the martyrs’ column by the delegates. The conference condoled the passing away of Comrades Jyoti Basu, Harkishan Singh Surjeet,  Subhas Chakravarthy,  Manikya Rao and others.  It also condoled the death of former chief minister of the state, Y S Rajashekar Reddy and other officers who perished in the helicopter crash.

Inaugurating the conference, K Nageshwar, MLC, called upon the SFI to fight for better quality and standards in education. He blamed the negligence of the rulers for the still persisting inequalities in the education system even after 60 years of Independence.  He criticised the state government for starting new universities only with an eye for political benefit. This was apparent in the fact that it failed to release funds, provide land and buildings for these universities.  It also utterly failed to fill the teaching and non-teaching posts.

SFI state secretary K Bhaskar placed the organisational and work report in the conference. Delegates from 23 districts discussed the report and presented their views.  The total membership of SFI in the state is 11, 35,265.  In these two years since the last conference, the membership increased by          2,42,928. The college membership constitutes 35 per cent of the total membership. The SFI during this period extended to 81 new mandal headquarters , 25 divisional centers and to the newly established universities of Telangana, Rayalaseema and Dr Ambedkar university. SFI has membership in 785 mandals, and in 110 municipalities. Our struggles on hostel and scholarship issues and local issues at college level helped us in strengthening the organisation. Political schooling at the district level and state level also helped in training of the cadres.

Delegates also discussed the sectional work.  Then finally delegates from girls, professional institutes, universities and hostels presented the conclusions.  Later, the secretary’s report was unanimously adopted by the delegates.

Addressing the conference on the second day, SFI general secretary, Ritabrata Banerjee, said that the UPA-II government had begun a two-pronged attack on education in the form of commercialisation and centralisation. The UPA government is trying to bring Foreign Education Providers (FEP) Bill seeking further commercialisation of education in the coming parliament session, he said. Charging the HRD ministry of giving the industrialists and bureaucrats a greater role in deciding the future of education, he expressed concern at the undermining of key regulatory bodies such as UGC, AICTE and  MCI. The central government is keen to bring education, which is currently in the concurrent list, into the central list. This is evident in its proposal to constitute a common Board examination at the all India level. 

Banerjee called upon the delegates to launch a campaign among students highlighting the dangers of these twin attacks on education by the government. He also appealed to the delegates to frame charter of demands on local level issues and conduct struggles to achieve those demands. The AP unit's consistent work on scholarships issue and hostel problems were particularly cited. The need to fight for students union elections in the campuses was stressed. Saying that the enemy may kill our comrades but they can’t kill our ideology, Banerjee called upon the delegates to gain ground ideologically by continuing to stand for study, struggle and sacrifice. Sivadasan, all India vice president of SFI and  Naveen, Karnataka state president also spoke in the conference.

S Veeraiah, former SFI state president, and  Y Venkateswara Rao, former SFI all India president observed the conference for two days. Veeraiah spoke about the current political crisis in the state and how to deal with it. Rao spoke on the organisational matters and asked the delegates to better equip themselves with ideology. 

The conference passed a total of 14 resolutions unanimously.  Among them included those demanding the government to release fee reimbursement and scholarships; release funds and develop new conventional universities; conduct students union elections in the campuses; implement the Mid-day meal scheme strictly by releasing funds and provide minimum facilities to serve food to the children; constitute a permanent annual committee to give quality food to the SC, ST and BC hostel students; take action against professional college managements for collecting excess and illegal fees from the students etc.

The conference elected a new SFI state committee with 89 members, including nine girls. The state committee members then elected S Surya Rao as president and K Chandra Mohan as secretary along with 25 members as office bearers.  The state conference concluded with a call to “Strengthen the organisation at divisional level and build the struggle for the fulfillment of the promises made by the state government”.