Can Ex-cop Satyapal Singh Be Entrusted With HRD, Clean Ganga Mission?
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Last Sunday, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) government reshuffled its cabinet, the nation saw about nine new ministers taking oath, of which three were ex-bureaucrats. Among them, stood Dr Satypal Singh, the new Minister of State (MoS) of the Ministry of Human Resource Development and MoS of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation. Some know him as former Police Commissioner of Mumbai apart from leading the march against the underworld gang, including Chota Shakeel and Arun Gawli, in Mumbai during the 90s while others know him as the Lok Sabha MP from Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh.
Singh, from 1980 IPS batch, resigned from his position as the Police Commissioner of Mumbai to join the BJP in 2014 and went on to win his maiden election against Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Ajit Singh in Baghpat constituency.
He was the first Mumbai police commissioner to resign and not complete his term. Before joining the Indian Police Service (IPS), Singh aspired to become a scientist and had done M. Phil in Chemistry from the Delhi University. Additionally, the MP has completed MA in Public Administration and Ph.D. in Naxalism from Nagpur University along with an MBA from the University Of Wollongong in Australia.
Since his policing days, Singh is known to be supporting shooters club in and around his constituency. He foresees this formal training as a medium of job creation for the youth. Currently, the belt is known to be producing the highest number of national level shooters in the country
A foot forward or backward?
With HRD in his portfolio, the MoS will be expected to work along with Union Minister of HRD Prakash Javadekar, who managed to retain his position.
An increase in the number of student’s suicide cases, protest within universities and the BJP-led government is accused of promoting RSS’ views through the education system, it will be worth a watch to see how the duo can save the government's face on this end before the next Lok Sabha election which is due in 2019.
Moreover, Singh in the past has been accused of supporting moral policing and blaming sex education for crime against women. It will interest to see if the former cop's views have changed or Indian education system may face some unwarranted policing.
Clean Ganga mission is more than an agenda for the BJP-led government, as more than 160 constituencies are located on the bank of the river. The previous Union Minister Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharati failed to deliver the government’s promise.
Post the reshuffle, the Union Minister position is now held by Nitin Gadkari and Singh is the MoS. Both of them are not just expected to lead the Clean Ganga Mission but also manage the river interlinking projects.