By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: Union Minister of Minority Affairs K. Rahman Khan has vehemently denied that insufficient funds were allocated to the high-power committee assigned to review the post-Sachar Committee progress. Responding to a query from the Islamic Voice, Khan insisted that there has been no dearth of money as the Ministry has given all the financial support to the Committee to carry out its task of evaluating post-Sachar impact.
It is to be mentioned here that the Post-Sachar Evaluation Committee was set up under the leadership of noted economist Prof. Amitabh Kundu last August by the Ministry. The initiative followed disenchantment among the members of the Muslim community with the Government, and field reports prepared by a host of NGOs such as Center for Equity Studies (CES) and Council for Social Development stating that benefits of minority welfare schemes were not reaching the intended beneficiaries due to in-built bias at the delivery-level. It was also pointed out that the Ministry’s much-touted flagship scheme Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) was a big failure. Concerned with this adverse perception about the minority schemes, it is said, at the behest of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the government had decided formation of the panel to suggest corrective and remedial measures. The Panel has so far held three preparatory meetings, but could not kick start its fieldwork due to financial constraint. According to sources, the Ministry has sanctioned a budget of mere Rs. 50 lakh for this purpose and the committee has been asked to submit its report in three months time. One member of the Committee, on condition of not quoting his name told the Islamic Voice that the Government seems to be not serious about this as it has earmarked a paltry sum. “How one can get tangible results in such a situation when members have been asked to spend their own money for the visits they will make to study the implementation of the welfare schemes”, he said. Because of this, the committee postponed its October 3 meeting as it wanted to sort out the financial matters first.
When asked about this, Mr. Rahman Khan said that the ministry has certain rules and regulations in matter of finances and these need to be followed. However, he hoped that the Committee would submit its report in due time.