Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her 2021-22 Budget speech, announced the Narendra Modi government’s intention of setting up an additional 100 Sainik Schools in partnership with NGOs, private schools and states. The move was received positively. There is, however, a need for caution and further introspection.
The initiative renews India’s involvement with schools established with the intent to provide future military leaders. The first wave began in 1922 with the setting up of the Royal Indian Military College (RIMC), Dehradun, and was followed up by the five Royal Indian Military Schools (RMS). It was part of an effort to Indianise the officer cadre of the British Indian Army. The British believed that public school education would make them suitable for the rigours and self-discipline of Army life. These schools are now controlled, financed and administered by the Army.