NCERT textbooks revised: Flagship programmes of the Narendra Modi government like Namami Gange, Digital India, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana have made their way into NCERT textbooks for class 6 to 10. An analysis of the revised NCERT textbooks by The Indian Express shows that these additions have been made to the Geography, Science, Political Science, Economics and English books.
These changes have been made as part of a revision exercise that the NCERT undertook for the first time since 2007. However, this is not the first time that NCERT has such references to the government schemes. During Congress-led UPA tenure, there were mentions about MNREGA, National Food Security Act 2013 and the Right to Information Act, the report says. The latest revision, however, now includes multiple references to the current government’s schemes, which was not there during the UPA-era NCERT textbooks.
What are the schemes NCERT included in textbooks?
Demonetisation: The hotly-debated move by PM Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, finds its place in the Class 10 Economics book. There is a chapter with a title call ‘Money and Credit’. “In India, during November 2016, currency notes in the denomination of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 were declared invalid. People were asked to surrender these notes to the bank by a specific period and receive new Rs 500, Rs 2,000 or other currency notes. This is known as ‘demonetisation’. Since then, people were also encouraged to use their bank deposits rather than cash for transactions. Hence, digital transactions started by using bank-to-bank transfer through the internet or mobile phones, cheques, ATM cards, credit cards, and Point of Sale (POS) swipe machines at shops. This is promoted to reduce the requirement of cash for transactions and also control corruption. Students could be asked to debate on the process and the impact of demonetisation. They can be guided to make a collage of the major areas where people use digital and cash transactions which are legitimate and legal,” the chapter reads.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: This scheme has been introduced in five textbooks. The Geography textbook for Class 7 states: “To accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation, the Prime Minister of India launched the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ on 02nd October 2014.” Chapter 6 of the Class 6 Geography book reads: “Healthy mind lives in the healthy body and for a healthy body clean environment particularly clean water, air and hygienic surroundings are pre-requisites. Swachh Bharat Mission, a government of India programme aims to achieve all these for people.”
That apart, the Swachh Bharat Mission also appears in a chapter titled ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ of the Class 6 Science book, in the chapter on urban administration in the Political Science book for Class 6 students and chapter 18 on wastewater treatment in the Class 7 Science textbook.
Digital India: This flagship initiative of the Modi government has also made an appearance in NCERT textbooks. Chapter 7 of the older version of the Class 10 Geography textbook (‘Lifelines of National Economy’) had a small trivia box which read, “Till March 2010, 548.32 million mobile connections were in India. Make a comparison with any other country of your choice.” This has now been replaced with, “Digital India is an umbrella programme to prepare India for a knowledge-based transformation. The focus of Digital India Programme is on being transformative to realise – IT (Indian Talent) + IT (Information Technology) = IT (India Tomorrow) and is on making technology central to enabling change.” Apart from this, Chapter 1 of the Class 9 English textbook also mentions Digital India.
Namami Gange: This programme to clean and rejuvenate the Ganga river also appears in three textbooks. The scheme has found a mention in the Class 10 Science textbooks, Class 7 Geography book and the Class 8 Science book.
Other flagship schemes like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ and ‘Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana’ have also found mentions in the Class 7 Political Science and Class 8 Geography textbooks, respectively.