Saturday, March 2, 2013

Are Officers not Accountable for Lapses?

Navodayas have been reported to have lesser cases of sexual harassment when compared with our sister organization: KVS.  Officers in HQ, hellbent on competing with KVS, may be naturally furious  with KV scoring a few points more by having  a lot more instances of sexual harassment.  Now they can feel relieved with the latest news that the former  Principal of an Army School who was facing a legal case for sexual harassment was appointed as Principal of JNV Lalitpur in UP. Though it may not equate them with KVS, its a small step ahead!!

Jokes apart, Why the tendency to fix responsibility starts with the teachers and ends with the Principals? Why officers are not reigned in by the officers at HRD? Is there any mechanism to make them accountable for policy and administrative lapses? Recruitment Methods are so defectively devised,  the Question Papers are bilingual and English Competency is confined to 25 marks, that it led to recruitment of PGTs who can't teach well through English. English is the medium of instruction for Science subjects from Class VIII to Class XII!! Now look at the way recruitment for model schools  in AP was made.  Those who studied through Telugu medium were barred from recruitment so that the academic standards will not be negatively effected. Even High Court upheld the decision!

Teachers  who don't know the language which is the medium of instruction are recruited! No where in the world that kind of recruitment has been done!! The TGT recruitment process is another blunder. You can read about that in my previous post here.

If the lapse is at a teacher level, the damage is to the students whom he teaches or whose well being he is looking after; if the lapse is at a principal level, the damage is to that particular Vidyalaya; but the lapses at the HQ level will result  in disastrous consequences and threaten to deflate  the hard earned good will of the Samiti. Still no reasonable action can be taken against the erring officers! Results will certainly be down if the teachers can't teach them through English and the young boys and girls will feel more alienated when they find  that their House Masters( of Junior Houses) can't understand their tongue! Eventually teachers and principals will be made accountable for the consequences of these lapses !!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Small People and Mean Methods!!

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.”
                                                                                                                 ― Robert F. Kennedy

Everyone one of us who held our head high and challenged the decades old officer's dadagiri by committing ourselves to the strike call given by JAC had worked to change a small portion of events. Irrational unleashing of fear had been the only and only way that was adopted by NVS Officers to run Navodayas. The strike has shaken them and hurt their egos!

Had Samiti opened and maintained a dialogue before the strike had started with sincerity,it would have not shown them in such a poor light. Divide and Rule is an ancient trick! Pretend as if nothing is happening while your house is on fire is so stupid!

A resourceful minister, being at the helm, has saved Samiti from opening one of the most self destructive methods  that they would have resorted to!   Had  Reddy failed to rope in the political leadership to check the ivory tower bureaucracy's autocratic gestures, things would have taken ugly turn leaving the employees feeling bitter. Strike was gracefully called off!

Still Samiti has shown its true colors by serving suspension orders on lower level workers while the leaders  deliberated with the Minister! Isn't it called Cowardice? Promises of revocation of suspensions had remained promises until the Minister was again approached!

Time only will tell us, whether anything positive will come out of the strike in terms of resolution of demands. What the strike has achieved  is the freeing of the people from fear! The suspensions and delay in revocation clearly shows the desperation of Samiti to keep the fear psychosis intact!

Monday, January 21, 2013

We Never Learn From History!

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history."
                                                          George Bernard Shaw
The way the mud slinging game has been unfolding in Samiti about the Supreme Court case is a living example for the often quoted words of Shaw. One SLP and two Writ Petitions have been filed in Supreme Court and all the cases will be pooled under a single bench. First SLP was an appeal by Mishra after his case failed in Jharkhand High Court.  The first Writ Petition was filed by Kannan & others from Pune Region and  later was filed by the General Secratary, AINVSA (LBREDDY). Had we learnt from History, this would have been a wonderful opportunity as three different sets of legal brains would have  fought for a common cause with proper co-ordination.

But we never learn from history. Pune Region has sent a legal notice to Mishra seeking the refund of the contributions which they have contributed for case in Ranchi High Court. AINSVA has circulated a letter asking not to yield to the coarsen of offcergiri.(taking a dig at the Principals and Officers of Pune Region) The latest is the unsigned  letter defending the case filed by Kannan and others and questioning the leadership of Reddy.

Why can't Pune Region take up the case with its own resources instead of demanding refund from Mishra who has been fighting for Pension for a long time. Why can't Mr Reddy gather resources from other regions who have not been contributing to Pune Region's case instead of  busying himself in another round of inner fighting? Why can't the Officers and Principals of Pune Region ignore the rants of Reddy  and go ahead with their case showing their magnanimity? Why can't all the three cases be utilized for realization of our ultimate goal. Co operation and co ordination is the need of the hour, not the inner fighting and ugly display of super egos!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Quality of Leadership in Navodayas!!

How would you  judge a school where the pass  percentage is 15% and average score is 25?


Everybody would agree that the school is a case study and needs drastic changes. Above scores are not of the students of any school but of the Senior Vice Principals of Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti!!

Thanks to the decision of  NVS to put their marks on the website, the world came to know the real caliber of Navodayan Leadership!! Vice Principals play a vital role in academic and administrative set up of Navodayas. As per the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti Recruitment (Revised) Rules, 2007, 50 per cent of the Principals' posts are filled by promoting the Vice Principals. So the same kind of quality can be expected from at least half of the Principal Cadre!!

Unless there is a systemic overhaul and the quality of leadership issue is addressed, nothing much can be realistically expected from the Navodayas.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Playing with the future of Children??

"The medium of instruction in JNVs is the mother tongue or regional language up to Class VIII and English thereafter for Maths and Science and Hindi for Social Science"

It is the official policy of Samiti -which is mentioned in the very first paragraph of the JNVST  prospectus published by the Samiti. Now please take a look at the list of candidates who are offered appointments: How teachers, whose mother tongue is Hindi, are going to teach the children in Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Oriya, Bengali, Marathi or Gujarati?

Isn't it gross negligence and playing with the future of children? 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How can We Get Rid of Currupt Practices in Navodayas??

Indian Express today carried a news story about one of the top officers of NVS being probed by HRD for irregularities. Even that inquiry seems to be prompted by another Express Story about the same officer a few months ago. This incident should act as an eye opener to other officers and particularly to the Principals.

One off incidents such as this may not have much impact. There is a great need for review of the way in which Vidyalaya accounts are audited. Bulk of the audit reports contain objections about trivial issues such as TA claims, Children Educational Allowances and miss the real irregularities which are done by the Principals. It doesn't mean that audit should ignore the corrupt practices of the staff but equal stress should be given on checking the corrupt practices that are commonly resorted to in Navodayas costing huge loss of public money. Internal Audit is handed over to the same agencies year after year and it results in some kind of unhealthy  understanding between the audited and auditor.

Teachers, whose reporting officer is Principal, can't dare to speak out. Committees of teachers usually verify and certify the receipt of goods. Samples are rarely looked at and majority of the times Store Keepers take the stock and obtain the signatures later. Panel Inspection should include verification of received stock with that of samples. Surprise Inspections by Third Parties are essential to control the corrupt practices.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Who is the real founder? Rajiv or PV Narsimha Rao

PV Narsimha Rao is never given credit for all the reforms he has initiated in nineties, which catapulted our country from 'hindu average growth rate' to one of the top growth rates in the world. Navodayas are the brain child of this great man but the credit is given to Rajiv Gandhi. You will find Rajiv Gandhi Smruti Van in each and every Vidyalaya and find no trace of PV Narasimha Rao except a few photographs in first two Vidyalayas(Amravati and Jhajhar).

I would like to quote a few lines from the Hindu: "Andhra Pradesh was the first to start the concept of residential schools in the government sector when P.V. Narasimha Rao was the Education Minister. The first school was established in Sarvail in 1971. Meritorious students were selected from all Telangana districts and provided best of education under the gurukulam concept. Similar schools were established in Tadikonda for Andhra region and Kodigenahalli for Rayalaseema region in 1972. The concept of these schools was adopted nationwide when Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister leading to the establishment of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas.

Hope there would be some space for the real founder in Navodayas.Let the world worship the false gods but not the Navodayas.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


JNVST 2012 result was already declared and is available with the Vidyalayas. Result could not be uploaded on Samiti's Website due to relocation of Headquarters. Attempts seem to be underway to put the results on respective RO. websites. Interested parents can call the JNVs and know their results: Phone no's of JNVs can be found here

P.S   Result can now be downloaded from here

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Can Hindi Speaking TGTs teach non Hindi Media students?

Interviews are being conducted for the post of TGT Hindi, English, Maths, Social Science and Science. A cursory look at the list of shortlisted candidates is enough to tell us that the number of shortlisted from non Hindi speaking areas seems to be far less. Samiti has previous instances of posting South India TGTs in Hindi Areas and vice verse.  But those cases were rare and exceptional.For Hindi and English its reasonable. Maths, Science and Social Science are tought in Local Languages up to class VII. That is the USP of Navodaya System as it accommodates the rural children form local media to gradually adopt to English medium. Else the  drop outs would sky rocket!!

As the qualification prescribed was Central Teacher Eligibility Test, one can easily assume, candidates from Hindi Speaking areas will only be applying. Candidates who have qualified in State Level Teacher Eligibility Test should have also been allowed to apply so that they could have been shortlisted to the interview in a proper ratio to the extent of availability of vacancies in a specific state/medium.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sponsering Syndrome in Navodayas - Highlighted by the Indian Express

Everyone of us is aware how every other day an email is sent from either Regional Offices or Head Quarters eulogizing the virtues of an educational institute or a software program. The Principals, who are always ready to please their bosses, kiss those programs without giving an ounce of thought about the utility aspect. . Public Money is wasted. More than that it is an ethical issue.Indian Express highlighted only one instance. There are plenty of such sponsorship instances in Navodayas.

Are the Old Times Back?

Recently Samiti has been issuing circular after circular asking the staff to work 24/7. No problem, We all choose to serve in Navodaya. We need to keep residential nature in mind and work accordingly. What is irritating is the tone of those circulars. There seems to be a deliberate attempt to bring back the 'officergiri'
When we look at the way our Principals work, anybody with a little understanding or experience  of school administration in other organizations, can understand how poorly our Principals are groomed for this job. Their personalities withered  as they worked as PGTs under the same officergiri era. Now they fail to administer the schools sensibly because they were groomed to take orders but not to give orders. Work was ordered and it was not delegated. If officergiri era is brought back, there would be no hope left for Samiti in terms of availability of leadership material among the PGT Cadre. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Light at the end of the Tunnel - NPS Implementation is being Streamlined in Samiti

Please click here to read my blog dated 28th January 2011 where it is explained how delay in implementation of NPS in Samiti is resulting in notional losses to the tune of nine to twenty five lakhs of rupees in the retirement corpus of new employees. You can read here how the contributions of new employees until now are not eligible for tax treatment from a legal perspective. Almost an year after I pointed out the huge notional loss (which means the notional losses are even more higher than previously estimated), Samiti seems to be getting its act together. Already employees of HQ and ROs were issued PRANs (PERMANENT RETIREMENT ACCOUNT NUMBER). Now the efforts are on to roll in the staff from Vidyalaya Units. Its going to be a daunting task in view of the lack of basic understanding of NPS among the employees. Samiti needs to take an initiative to educate the employees about the nuts and bolts of the scheme. This blog has also posted a back of the envelope calculation on NPS corpus that can be accumulated. Please click here to read it ,

In the wake of recent judgment of High Court, it makes sense for post 2001 employees who are  two three decades away from retirement to enroll into NPS. Samiti should think of seeking the option once again from those employees who are appointed prior to 2008. Those who are appointed between 2004 and 2008 should enroll themselves into NPS without any hesitation. Its the best option for them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Simpathies have no place in a Society governed by the Rule of Law- Navodaya Pension Case is Dismissed by Jharkhand High Court

The hopes had been proved false. The judgement has revealed the shallowness of our arguments. High Court dismissed the case for want of merit. The salient points from the judgement are:
  •  Navodaya Vidalaya Samiti was constituted and registered under Society Registration Act, 1860 in
    the month of February, 1986.The demands of the employees for introduction of pension were considered by the government from time to time but could not be agreed to since as per the decision taken by the Government of India on the recommendations of Fourth Pay Commission, all the C.P.F beneficiaries in service as on 1st January, 1986 had been given an option to switch over to Pension / G.P.F/ Scheme. (Stand of the Ministry and Samiti- Is this pro employee stand as claimed by our union leaders?)
  • Even the petitioner admits that the benefits of pensionery scheme were not available to the employees of the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti till the notification of the said scheme in the year 2008 giving option to the existing employees to join the new pension scheme, 2004 or to continue with the existing C.P.F. Scheme.
  • It appears that based upon the said recommendations( read recommendations of various committees) itself the Government of India finally decided to come out with a notification in the year 2008 whereby the employees of the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti were allowed to join the New Pension Scheme,
    2004 or to continue with the existing C.P.F. Scheme.
  • It is a settled principle of law that cut of date of notification of pensionary scheme is within domain of the employer and is not subject to interference ordinarily unless it is arbitrary and unreasonable and some gross case of violation of Article 14 is made out.
  • The differential treatment of two sets of officers appointed prior to the notified date would not offend Article 14 of the Constitution. The cut-off date may be justified on the ground that additional outlay as involved or the fact that under the terms of appointment, the employee was not entitled to the benefit of pension or retirement. (quoted from Supreme Court Judgment)
  • The underlying principle is that when the State decides to revise and liberalise an existing
    pension scheme with a view to augmenting the social security cover granted to pensioners, it cannot ordinarilygrant the benefit to a section of the pensioners and deny the same to others by drwing an artificial cut-off line which cannot be justified on rational grounds and is wholly unconnected with the object intended to be achieved. But when an employer introduces an entirely new scheme which has no connection with the existing scheme, different considerations enter the decision making process. One such consideration may be the financial implications of the scheme and the extent of capacity of the employer to bear the burden. Keeping in view its capacity to absorb the financial burden that the scheme would throw, the employer would have to decide upon the extent of applicability of the scheme.
  • The new pension scheme has come into force w.e.f. 1.1.2004 upon a conscious decision of the employers i.e Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti on approval of the Government of India in the year 2008. The petitioner has not been able to show any grounds for treating the said cut of date as arbitrary,unreasonable and irrational or in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The mere fact that other institutions had been governed by different pensionary schemes since earlier point of time will not entitle the petitioner to claim that the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti is legally obliged to follow the same as it is an autonomous body, admittedly framed under the Societies Registration Act. As such even the employees in service prior to 1.1.2004 have been granted benefits to switch over to the new scheme as per the provisions of the scheme. Sympathies have no place in a society governed by
    the Rule of law as been eminently observed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court

What we need to do? We need to discuss the merits and demerits of our points without emotions blinding our judgement and we should concentrate on the means to prove the shallowness of Samiti's arguments. Before an appeal is filed, hope wisdom would dawn upon us and we will go for a united legal battle!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Stardization in Menus and Scale of Ration in Navodayas is a Welcome Step

It was an area which was left to the Principal's discretion so far. Samiti used to fix an amount as  yearly expenditure per student for provision of food and  left every thing else to the Principals. In the absence of standards, the provision of food largely depended on the whims and fancies of the Principal and the staff of the Vidyalayas. You can read about the stance taken by this blog regarding such whimsical way of provision of food in a previous post published on word press: "Do We Care About the Students' Physical Growth?"

Now things seem to be moving in right direction. There has been regular enhancement of food expenditure and  such enhancement seems to be inflation linked and rational.  Samiti came out with a scale of ration and suggested menu. It's going to bring about a reasonable change in the way our children are going to eat and  in turn in their growth and development. Kudos!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

NPS contribuitons in Samiit- Not Eligible for Tax Deductions?

Samiti has notified NPS for new employees and accordingly made deductions from March 2010 from their salaries and has been depositing in an NPS Fund Account in the absence of a dedicated fund manager and record keeping agency.  This causes a huge financial loss to the new employees (to know more please read my previous post "Delay in implementation of NPS costs each employee Nine to Twenty Five Lakh rupees") 
Besides the financial loss, there is a tax angle which is blatantly ignored in Samiti. As per section 80CCD of Income Tax Act the contributions of both the employees and employers are exempted (with a cap of 10 per cent in case of employer) if such amounts are paid  "in his account under a pension scheme notified or as may be notified by the Central Government".  As the NPS is notified under relevant finance bills, the contributions are allowed as deductions under section 80CCD. What about the NPS Fund Account of the Samiti? Which financial bill notified it for exemption? Isn't allowing the contributions as deductions a clear violation of the law of the land? The onus of TDS lies with the Principals and in the absence of individual income tax return filing, responsibility of the Principals has become more crucial.

Whatever may be the outcome, the losers are employees. The policy to implement NPS in Samiti  is a classic case study  of improperly thought out and hastily effected policy of governance.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Revised RFQ makes PPP less dangerous!!

Please refer to the post where this Blog described the development of 3 Navodayas under PPP mode as an initial step for wholesale privatization and strongly objected to the clause "Hierarchy of Use of the Facilities" as it is nothing but an attempt for Real Estate Business in the disguise of PPP. Thankfully that clause is removed through an addendum. This blogger feels vindicated.