Industry’s Voice For Policy Change

FICCI’s request for categorising books as essential item and opening of bookshops to Government of India (Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Home Affairs,Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade).

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COVID – 19 crisis has brought the education system to a sudden halt by closure of academic institutions. With the closure of bookshops, it has been difficult to get the course material. Students are yet to get books for the new classes as the institutions were shut down suddenly because of the lockdown.

Current situation

  • Several Schools, Colleges and Universities have started online classes and many more are preparing to start virtual teaching but at the same time it is felt that textbooks would help students to understand better during online classes.
  • Also, lot of educational institutions are facing the challenge of providing online classes to their students due to lack of proper infrastructure. Even some parents are not well versed with the technology to help children regarding online classes.
  • Another hindrance is the fact that it also mandates access to a computer or at the very least smart phone which may not be a standard equipment in certain sections of society.

The fundamental right of education is being hampered at a large scale as books are still not under the category of essential items even though education is one of the key priorities for the government.

Request

  • Kindly consider declaring books as essential item.
  • Bookshops and stationery shops to be allowed to open in a staggered manner, with strict adherence of all social distancing and safety measures. We could look at the following models:
    Kerala will see the reopening of bookshops on every Tuesday and Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. This will also help in ensuring that social distancing is maintained and practiced thoroughly.
    DM Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh has directed that books shops that sell stationery items may remain open from 7:00 am to 10:00 am daily for the benefit of student community.
  • Inter-state movement and supply of books to ensure that books are distributed to the students across the nation.

Such steps will ensure that students have access to physical books, which will ensure continuity of their education.

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