Amid controversy over school students in Haryana being asked to fill a lengthy admission form giving details like if their parents are engaged in any "unclean occupation", Department of School Education today clarified that no new term has been introduced in the form by the present state government.
The state government's reaction came after the opposition hit out at the Khattar dispensation.
On the use of a particular adjective, "unclean occupation", with the vocation of parents, he said, "the said adjective is and has ever since been a part of a scheme of Pre-Matric Scholarship of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, first revised on January 21, 2009 and last on July 1, 2011."
In the admission form, students above primary classes have also been asked to mention their and their parents' Aadhaar numbers, parents' occupation and educational qualification.
The form also seeks to know "whether parents of students are engaged in unclean occupation, whether they are income tax payees, their religion and caste details, genetic disorder, if any, besides students' bank details".
The spokesman said that "the school admission form is intended to ensure that every student is enabled to receive full benefit of every scheme of Government of India and Government of Haryana directly in her account in case such benefit is monetary."
"To those who are asking what will they do with the bank account details of a student, the Department would obviously send all amounts of cash grants and scholarships directly into this bank account," he said.
He also said that practically all scholarship schemes have an income ceiling.
He clarified that Aadhaar number of the student seeking admission is not mandatory.
While there was no scavenger family in Haryana, he emphasized that the benefits of annual grant and monthly scholarship were available to children, including adopted children, of parents "presently engaged in tanning and/or flaying" or of parents engaged in "manual scavenging up to 1st January, 1997" under regulations governing the centrally sponsored scheme of pre-matric scholarships to the children of those engaged in unclean occupations i.e., scavenging, tanning and flaying applicable with effect from 01.07.2011".
The spokesman said that those raising objection to yet another measure of the Haryana government to ensure that benefits of all schemes reach "to the last in the spirit of Antoyodaya is nothing but an instance of petty mindedness."
Commenting on the development, the Congress said the BJP-led state government was indulging in "racial and religious profiling".
Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala in a series of tweets said, "Khattar (Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar) Govt issues a 100 point Students Admission Form. It is really a Surveillance of Parents/Students Form.
"Khattar Govt does it again. Students labelled as 'untouchables' & their parents occupation as 'unclean'. Height of insanity is the kind of pvt info of parents being sought. Calling vocation of parents unclean is absurd," he said.
"Govt, taking a cue from NaMo App, issues a 100 pointer student admission form. Since when has Aadhaar become mandatory for school admission?," he said in another tweet.
Surjewala demanded that the state education department withdraw the order and tender an apology to the parents.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)