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Old July 9th, 2004, 12:52 PM
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Can your minister write a letter? (

apne desh ka madhya-varg ab en logo ke hawaale hai


By Krishnakumar in Mumbai
Friday, 09 July , 2004, 09:53
He is the Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies, one of the few who missed the axe that fell on the Cabinet this week. Every day, he deals with five to six files. Files that he can barely read and on which he cannot write. Civil Supplies Minister Mohammed Arif Nasim Khan, whose ministry deals with matters ranging from distribution of mid-day meals for school students to adulteration of petroleum products, is almost illiterate.

Yet, in his signed statement to the state legislature submitted after the Vidhan Sabha polls of 1999, he has claimed to have cleared his Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams.

The state government in 1999 brought out a Year Book on new members of the state legislature. On the basis of Khan’s statement, the state government in its profile of Khan in the Year Book claimed that he was a matriculate.

The Year Book also said that Khan’s hobbies were ‘Vaachan, Lekhan and Samajik Karya’ (reading, writing and social work).

When challenged by Mid Day on Wednesday to write 100 words on his ministry, Khan dilly-dallied and later said he had to attend an urgent meeting and would talk about the matter later.

When asked if he had cleared his SSC exams, Khan said, “Who said I have cleared my SSC? This is an utterly baseless and malicious allegation spread by my adversaries. I have never claimed I was a matriculate. I have noticed the mistake in the Year Book and I have already sent a clarification to the concerned department.”

He dismissed the Year Book error as “a printing mistake” and finally told this correspondent: “You can publish anything you want. I will send you details of my educational qualifications tomorrow.”

What Khan’s ministry does

* It looks into the distribution of mid-day meals for school students
* It looks into adulteration of petroleum products
* It has to distribute sugar, oil and other products during the festive season
* Allotment of ration shops
* Transfers and postings of more than 10,000 members of the weights and measures division.

What the law says

The different sections of the Indian Penal Code under which a person could be prosecuted for providing wrong information: Section 465 (forgery), Section 466 (forgery in public register), Section 406 (criminal breach of trust), and Section 217 and 218 (false entries in public records).

Mid Day Says

There is nothing wrong in being illiterate, but there are some questions that arise in Nasim Khan’s case.

One, should someone who can barely read and not write at all be in the State’s Ministry and be responsible for vital policy decisions that will impact the lives of millions?

Two, does the Minister concerned have the necessary vision to make up for his lack of literacy and justify his place in such a responsible position?

Three, what was the need to provide false information to the state legislature? Why say you are SSC pass when you aren’t?


Kya bolte hai baakeel-baabu, Nasim-paaji ko court mein ghaseeta jaaye
The Quieter You Become, The More You Can Hear
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