New Rajasthan Cabinet Scraps Education Criteria for Civic Poll Candidates

The state government will review the decisions taken by the previous BJP-led dispensation in the last six months.

Jaipur: The Rajasthan government on Saturday abolished the condition of a minimum educational qualification to contest local body elections and also decided to set up a committee to frame rules for its farm loan-waiver scheme.

The state government will review the decisions taken by the previous BJP-led dispensation in the last six months, health minister Raghu Sharma told reporters after the first meeting of the new cabinet. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot and deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot were sworn in on December 17, and the other ministers were inducted to the cabinet on Monday.

The cabinet decided to abolish government letter pads, where the logo of Ashoka pillars were replaced with photographs of Sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya. “Pillars of Ashoka will be in the centre of the letter pads and there will no photograph of any leader or public representative,” Sharma said.

The cabinet abolished the minimum educational qualification needed for contesting civic polls and the decision was taken considering the constitutional right of every individual to take part in the democratic process, the minister said. The Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government had introduced the condition in 2015.

Candidates were required to have passed Class X for contesting municipal elections, Class VIII for contesting panchayat polls for the post of a sarpanch, and Class X for contesting zila parishad or panchayat samiti elections.

Sharma said the election of mayors and chairmans in corporations would be held through the direct system instead of the indirect method introduced by the previous BJP government. “It was decided to revive Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Law University and Haridev Joshi University of Journalism and Mass Communication, which were floated by the Congress but were shut down by the BJP government,” he said.

The cabinet approved constitution of an inter-departmental committee to decide on the eligibility and criteria for waiving short-term loans of farmers, Sharma said. “Efforts to make spread confusion have been made. Very soon, the situation will be crystal clear and the loan-waiver promise of the Congress government will be implemented.”

Also Read: Without Rise in Farm Income, Congress’s Loan Waivers Won’t End Rural Distress

Saying that the refinery at Pachpadra of Barmer district was a dream project of the state, the minister said the Congress government would ensure that the work of the refinery was expedited and completed in a time-bound manner.

In another decision, the cabinet increased old-age pension slabs of Rs 500 and Rs 750 per month to Rs 750 and Rs 1,000 per month respectively. The cabinet decided that members of the council of ministers would hear the problems of people from 9-10 am whenever they are in Jaipur, fulfilling a promise of Congress president Rahul Gandhi that doors of the government would remain open for the common man, Sharma said.

Accusing the previous BJP government of sending the MNREGA to cold storage, the minister said directions had been given to the chief secretary to come out with a work plan for effective implementation of the rural wage scheme.

The election manifesto was tabled in the meeting and it has now become a government document. It was handed over to chief secretary and a committee constituted by chief minister Gehlot would look after its implementation. Another committee was approved by the state cabinet which will take up and resolve the issues of contractual employees, Sharma added.