The Congress government in Rajasthan has issued an order to change the colour of school uniforms in government schools. At present, the school uniform consists of a light brown shirt or kurta, brown trousers or shorts, salwar, skirt. It was introduced by the Vasundhra Raje-led previous BJP government in 2017. Since it was of the brown colour, the Congress had alleged that the dress resembled the dress code of the RSS.
The order was issued yesterday by the School Education Department which said that the colour of the uniform in government schools would be a combination of surf blue and dark grey. The order further said that dark grey coats and sweaters would be added in winters. The new uniform would be mandatory from the next academic session of 2022-23.
The Education Department officials told the Indian Express that students will be given Rs 600 each for uniform. They said that the government will invite bids in the coming days for the new uniform. According to the government, there are 66 lakh students studying in Classes 1 to 8 in government schools across the state and are entitled to get free uniforms. Those above 8th standards will have to buy the new uniforms. There are 64,000 state-run schools where the new uniform code will be implemented from the next academic session.
The BJP has criticized the Congress government over a change of uniform terming the order an ‘authoritarian diktat’. “There is no logic in changing the uniform within three-four years, without any demand from students or parents. The extra monetary load for buying the uniform will have to be borne by parents, who are already financially hit after the Covid-19 pandemic,” said BJP MLA Vasudev Devnani.
It may be recalled that while boys in state government schools used to wear a blue-and-khaki combination, girl students had a blue-and-white combination dress code for 20 years between 1997 and 2017.
Rajasthan Education Minister BD Kalla refuted any political motive behind the move. Kalla, who was given the charge of the ministry replacing Govind Singh Dotasra, said the plan was introduced by his former colleague and he only approved it. “It is the BJP who did politics over the uniform, distributed saffron colour cycles to students, imposed the colour of their party flag. Blue and grey, the new colours of the uniform, have nothing to do with politics,” he said.