November 12, 2019
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Facing flak from opposition parties including the Telugu Desham Party, the Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday cancelled a controversial order renaming an award named after former President A P J Abdul Kalam and replacing it with that of late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy‘s father.

It also issued a new order renaming the award as A P J Abdul Kalam Vidya Puraskar.

Principal Secretary, School Education, B Rajasekhar issued the fresh order on Tuesday evening.

The cancellation GO issued on Tuesday merely said Monday‘s order was being cancelled ‘on administrative grounds‘.


“The chief minister has taken a strong view of the GO, issued by School Education Principal Secretary B Rajasekhar, without informing him about the change of name of the awards. Accordingly, he asked that the GO, issued on Monday, be revoked and Dr Kalam‘s name retained for the awards,” Municipal Administration Minister Botsa Satyanarayana told reporters in Amaravati.

The School Education department had issued orders on Monday, renaming the Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar as YSR Vidya Puraskar.

The awards, instituted in 2015, are presented to meritorious students of government schools who excel in the SSC (class X) public examinations.

The award carries merit certificate, memento and scholarships to meet the cost of higher education.

It was earlier known as Prathibha Awards‘ but the then Chandrababu Naidu government changed the name to A P J Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar in 2017 to honour the former President.

This year, the School Education department decided to present the awards on National Education Day, the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, on November 11.

As the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government has been reportedly changing names of every scheme and christening them after the chief minister‘s late father, former chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, school education department officials apparently decided to rename the Pratibha Puraskars after YSR.

The opposition TDP and the Jana Sena criticised the move to rename the awards and demanded that the former President‘s name be retained.

Apart from Dr Kalam Puraskar, the state government will also present awards in the name of Mahatma Gandhi, B R Ambedkar, Babu Jagjivanram and Jyoti Rao Phule to eminent persons in various fields, according to the minister.

Conrad Contributor