On the third day of the Janta Darbaar held under Congress’s Jansampark Abhiyaan – State Agriculture Minister who has also been given the additional charge of State Education Minister Balasaheb Thorat was available to meet citizens. The citizens flocked in, with farmers and admission related issues reigned the complaints received on the day, though the Minister refused to speak on the blunder decisions like Best of 5 policy of the state. On day three of the Congress Jan Sampark Abhiyaan that is Public Relations Exercise, perhaps the most wanted Minister right now – Balasaheb Thorat was present to meet citizens. Balasaheb Thorat holds two crucial portfolios – Agriculture and Education. There was a long queue of people who had gathered to meet the Minister with issues ranging from admissions to rehabilitation packages of farmers. Sources of the Congress informed that Balasaheb Thorat has been one of the Ministers who is not easily accessible and that is why citizens having grievances with his Ministry made a beeline to Congress Bhavan at Nariman Point where Balasaheb Thorat had no choice but to remain present to meet citizens. After hearing citizens and taking their letters of appeals and complaints, State Agriculture and Education Minister Balasaheb Thorat spoke to NMTV News and said that this PR exercise will help Congress get credit. He expressed satisfaction that the Janta Darbaar drew a good response of people from all over Maharashtra. He said that the main issues that were brought to his attention included farmers’ rehabilitation and admission school issues. He said that the main issue remained admission in schools. Balasaheb Thorat holds two portfolios – Agriculture and Education that is known for taking the most controversial and ineffective decisions for farmers on one side and students on the other. As far as agriculture sector is said the least said that better. On the other hand, even the education sector has been plagued by the inability of the State Education Department to study policies that lead to them being a debacle when announced – like the online admission procedure and the Best-of-5 Policy. For the 5th time, the State Education Dept has taken a decision that is spelling trauma and stress for schools, students and parents alike. The Best of Five isn’t the only mistake of the state. The state School Education ministry has been implementing new schemes year after year to reduce stress and help students pass easily. But the state’s initiatives have only caused more trouble. Educationists claim the ministry has been synonymous with controversies for the past decade. Principal of Fr. Agnel School at Vashi Fr. Russel says that the state has taken many decisions but it has been unable to implement it properly in the education system which has made a negative impact on students. He added that although admissions have to happen nonetheless the delay is bound to affect the students. When questioned about these concerns of parents, students and schools, Education Minister Balasaheb Thorat lamely defended the past blunders of the department and gave a poor assurance that admissions will go smoothly this year. No matter how much the State Education Minister defends their decision, the Congress is facing flak and bitter criticism due to Balasaheb Thorat because his department did not do a proper research study before introducing the best-of-five formula, when it was clear as daylight that ICSE students would object to it, and the fact that previous two systems – percentile and 90:10 – were challenged in the court and the state lost on both counts. If the state was to lose in Supreme Court in the Best of Five policy, it would become a major embarrassment for the Congress – NCP state government that will have no justification for taking such decisions that adversely impact students and the education system. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi and Manisha Kumbhar, Sana Warsia – NMTV News.
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