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Minority Ministry Adopts New Strategy

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MsDP to focus on 770 blocks instead of districts; National Data Bank to segregate data for important social components of population; Five Central varsities and National Wakf Development Corpn. to be set up.

By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: The Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) will pursue a multi-pronged strategy for development of minority communities. For the year 2013-14, Rs. 1,250 crore will be spent on Area Development in 710 blocks and 66 towns with concentration of minorities. It has allocated Rs. 1.77 crore for minorities scholarships schemes. The earmarked budget for the current financial year is Rs. 3,511 crore. The strategy has been adopted after the MsDP (Multi-sectoral Development Programme) failed to produce results in 90 minorities concentration districts in the country due to inherent flaws in the scheme and a bureaucracy bent upon scuttling the flow of funds to minority areas.
Sources say, even the Congress and UPA President Sonia Gandhi was not happy with the functioning of the Ministry as welfare schemes failed to make any visible impact on the status and situation of the minorities. Even Minorities Affairs Minister K. Rahman Khan has admitted that much is needed to improve at the implementation level. He also held three meetings of central and state level officers concerned with the minority welfare departments and urged them to do their part in realizing these schemes.
MsDP to Focus on Blocks, not Districts
According to the Ministry, during 2012-13, i.e., the first year of 12th Plan, Rs. 1,360 crore was released to support education of more than 72 lakh minority students under Scholarship Schemes while Rs. 646.42 crore were released under Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP). The total number of projects taken up under MsDP included 14,244 Indira Awas Yojana houses, 2,101 additional classrooms,36 schools, 151 hostels, 1885 anganwadis, drinking water facilities at 14,917 locations, 307 health centres, 793 toilets, 41 ITIs and 13 polytechnics. MAEF sanctioned Rs. 17.66 Crore to 136 institutions. As per information received from the Department of Financial Services, the share of minorities under Priority Sector Lending from Banks has reached 14.96% during 2012-13. According to information received from Ministry of Personnel, the recruitment level of minorities in Central Government Ministries/Departments, Organizations etc. has increased to the level of 11.55%. Through women empowerment scheme for “Leadership Development of Minority Women” during 2012-13, 36,950 women were trained in 12 States at a cost of Rs. 10.45 crore.
Achievements of the Ministry during 11th Plan show that Rs. 2,672 crore were disbursed for educational empowerment by way of scholarship to more than 140 lakh students from minority communities. Of these, 30% were girls. The Ministry released Rs. 2,935.93 crore under MsDP to 20 States/Union Territories (UTs) to create infrastructure. The total number of projects taken up under MsDP during the 11th Five Year Plan include 301,556 houses under Indira Awas Yojana, 2,624 Health Centres, 27,797 Anganwadi Centres, drinking water supply facilities at 34,553 location, 13,825 additional classrooms, 696 School Building, 71 Industrial training institute, 31 Polytechnics, provision of 30,314 solar lanterns / solar lights and 332 hostels. The Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) sanctioned Rs. Rs. 59.82 crore to 449 institutions.
Besides this, the Prime Minister’s New 15-Point Programme ensures earmarking of 15% of target/outlays for development of minorities under major flagship development programmes of Government of India namely, Integrated Child Development Services, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojna, Indira Awas Yojna, Swarnajayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojna, Upgradation of Centres of Excellence, priority Sector Lending through Banks etc.
The Wakf Amendment Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2010. But it is still pending before the Rajya Sabha. The Ministry has also launched a scheme for “Computerzation of records of State Wakf Boards” in 2009. As on date, a total of 2,09,615 Wakf records have been computerized and Pre-digitization work of 90,325 Wakf properties completed through 25 State/UTs Centralized Computing Facilities.
Medical Aid under MAEF
After assuming the charge in October 2012, Mr. Rehman Khan has taken some new initiatives in order to make some impact on ground level. The ministry has allocated Rs. 100 crore to Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) for providing medical aid to minorities. The scheme is being formulated to cover critical ailments. The modalities to release the funds are however under consideration.
Formation of Monitoring Authority
The Ministry set up an Assessment and Monitoring Authority (AMA) under the aegis of the Planning Commission to evaluate the extent of development benefits which accrue to different Socio-Religious Communities through various development programmes of the Government.
It has created a “National Data Bank (NDB)” to maintain disaggregated data for various socio-religious communities which is to be collected by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation to enable the evaluation and assessment of flow of benefits to minorities on a regular basis. The works on AMA and NDB will start soon.
Five Central Universities
It has proposed establishment of five Central Universities under the aegis of Maulana Azad Educational Foundation with focus on minorities. An expert committee constituted for the purpose has submitted its reports to the Ministry of Minority Affairs. Report is under examination in the Ministry. It is also working to set up of National Wakf Development Corporation.