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Union Budget 2017-18 – Only Marginal Rise in Allocation for Minorities

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New Delhi: The National Budget for 2017-18 has made only a marginal increase in allocation for development of minorities, from Rs. 3,827 core to Rs. 4,195 cr. This accounts for an increase of only Rs. 368 crore or 9% over the last year’s budget.
Of the total, nearly Rs. 2,600 crore have been set aside for scholarships, fellowships etc for education, employment, and skill development. These will be dedicated for programmes like ‘Learn and Earn’, ‘Nai Manzil’, ‘Nai Roshni’, ‘USTTAD’, ‘Gharibnawaz Centres for Skill Development’ and Begum Hazrat Mahal Scholarships.
The breakup for various scholarships is as follows: Merit-cum-means Scholarships Rs. 393.54 crore; Pre-Matric Scholarships Rs. 950 crore; Post-Matric Scholarships Rs. 550 crore; Learn and Earn Rs. 250 crore; Nai Manzil Rs. 176 crore; Maulana Azad Fellowship Scheme Rs. 100 crore; Maulana Azad Education Fondation Rs. 113 crore; Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTTAD) Scheme (launched in 2015) Rs. 22 crore; and Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (focusing on development of 92 minority concentration districts across the country) Rs. 1,200 crore. Nearly 35 lakh students from the minority communities will be provided with scholarships during 2017-18 and around two lakh youth belonging to these communities will be trained in various skills leading to their employment in various sectors.
Minister for Minority Welfare Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi while speaking to news reporters recently informed that the Prime Minister’s 15-point Programme for Minority Welfare coordinates activities under 24 different programmes within 11 ministries who are directed to allocate 15% of the total allocation towards development of minorities. The total budget on these ministries has gone up by 19% over the last year’s allocation. Last year, the Union Government disbursed Rs. 2,800 towards scholarships among students from minority communities. Around 90,000 youths were trained under “Learn and Earn” programme during the 2016-17, he said.