A worker loads a rickshaw with empty plastic water bottles | PTI
A worker loads a rickshaw with empty plastic water bottles in Guwahati | PTI
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New Delhi: From ‘influencing’ the Narendra Modi government, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is now preparing to partner it, by implementing the Prime Minister’s vision for a plastic-free India and ensuring water conservation. How the Sangh and its affiliates would help the government to achieve this goal is likely to be discussed at the three-day ‘Samanvaya Baithak (coordination meeting)’ that the RSS is holding in Jaipur between 7 September and 9 September.

Modi had in his Independence Day address implored the people of the country to stop using single-use plastic to protect the environment. He has also been stressing water conservation and plantation drives.

Sources said the RSS meeting will take stock of all the environmental work that the affiliated organisations of the Sangh have been pursuing. They said a number of these organisations have been doing a lot of work in the field of environment and will discuss the best practices with other participants of the meeting.

“The RSS has taken initiatives in the field of environment protection. For instance, in Delhi itself water bodies that had been encroached upon and didn’t exist have been rejuvenated,” said a source. “At the same time, there is a lot of emphasis on tree plantation drives, restricting the use of plastic in our daily use. So all these best practices will be shared with others and a roadmap will be drawn on what to do next.”

An RSS functionary said the Samanvaya Baithak is likely to be attended by more than 200 functionaries including those from the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Vidya Bharati, Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Vishwa Hindu Parishad among others.

Also read: Over 60% of the plastic in our oceans came from eight Asian nations

First RSS meeting with affiliates after Article 370 abrogation

This is the first meeting of the RSS and its affiliates after the Modi government fulfilled their long-held demand for the scrapping of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The RSS has already welcomed the decision. A statement issued by RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi on 7 August had said the Sangh appreciates the “bold and historic decision” of the BJP government for restructuring Jammu and Kashmir.

“From the beginning, it was the intent of the Constitution makers, that the Constitution of India should be equally applicable to all the states of India. Due to the immediate special circumstances, the provisional provision of Article 370 was added to the Indian Constitution,” the statement said. “All the citizens should rise above their narrow interests and political differences to establish the supremacy of the Constitution and its core spirit, and to congratulate this initiative which reinforces the national unity and integrity.”

Also read: How erasing Article 370 became an article of faith for RSS and BJP

Sangh affiliates to discuss new education policy

With the Modi government giving the final shape to the new education policy, a number of key suggestions given by the RSS and its affiliated organisations are likely to be discussed once again, including the medium of communication in the mother tongue and teaching Sanskrit in schools among others.

“The new education policy is still being drafted and there are a few issues that are yet to be streamlined,” the functionary quoted above said. “The meeting may see those being discussed too.”

Though termed as a regular affair by the RSS, the meeting comes in the backdrop of some key decisions taken by the Modi government.

“All issues related to society, education, environment and the pressing issues of the day will be taken up in the meeting and Article 370 is a major step and it is most likely to be discussed,” said another senior RSS functionary. “It’s a coordination meeting and there are other issues of importance that will be taken up too.”

The meeting will also see the representation of a few BJP leaders who oversee the Sangh’s work in the party, especially with assembly elections just around the corner. “They will discuss all coordination issues between the Sangh and the government,” added the leader.

Also read: RSS-backed body says no need for sex education, doesn’t want it in New Education Policy


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