Bhopal: The opposition in Madhya Pradesh is up in arms against the BJP government for introducing a magazine published by the Rashtriya Swyam Sevak Sangh (RSS) in primary schools across the state.

Students in around 80,000 primary schools are having access to 'Devputra', a magazine which is a part of the school curriculum of the RSS-run Saraswati Sishu Mandir.

The opposition Congress has alleged that Shivraj Singh Chouhan government has introduced the booklet in school under RSS pressure.

Congress media in charge, Pramod Gugaliya, said, “If the government wants to develop reading habits among students then they should have distributed 'Samajh Jharokha' published by their own Vanya Publishing from past 30 years.”

However, the ruling dispensation has defended the decision. Minister for School Education, Archana Chitnis said, “There is no harm in making children read good literature.”

As per the information, the school education department had tried to introduce the magazine last year itself but senior officials barred its purchase citing it would not be prudent to use the funds of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan for the publication and circulation of Devputra for the government schools.

However, it could not happen this year. With the commencement of this year’s academic session, the department ordered that all schools in the state would get at least two copies of the magazine.

The matter came to light last week when block coordinators of the education department were given responsibility to deliver the magazines to schools in their area.

It is estimated that the publication of the magazine for primary schools in MP will add an extra burden of Rs 1.5 crore on the state exchequer.

'Devputra' is originally published by Saraswati Baal Kalyan Nyas, Indore.  Currently, the total circulation of the magazine stands at Rs 150,000.

Senior RSS leader, Krishna Kumar Asthana is the head of the trust that publishes the magazine.

(JPN/Bureau)