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A Note on Budget 2009-2010 and Development of Minorities

 

In the wake of acceptance of recommendations of Sachar Committee Report, it was expected from P. Chidambarm’ budget presentation in March 2007 to make some special provisions for Muslims leading to their mainstreaming in the development process but in vain. A lot of anguish shown by the Muslim leadership over the embarrassment has pressurised the policymakers to come out with some concrete proposals. The UPA government has strived to fulfil hopes of the community since then. The present budget estimates, tabled by the current finance minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee for the term 2009-10 goes a step further. It not only enhances allocations on the undertaken scheme over the previous budget but also introduce new schemes under the head of Welfare of Minorities.

Under items 53 and 54, the budget reads:

53. The Plan outlay of Ministry of Minority Affairs has been enhanced from Rs.1,000 crore in BE 2008-09 to Rs.1,740 crore in 2009-10, registering an increase of 74%. This includes Rs.990 crore for Multi-Sectoral Development Programme for Minorities in selected minority concentration districts, Grants-in-aid to Maulana Azad Education Foundation, which is almost doubled, and provisions for National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation and Pre-Matric and Post-Matric Scholarships for Minorities. Allocations have also been made for the new schemes of National Fellowship for Students from the Minority Community and Grants-in-aid to Central Wakf Council for computerization of records of State Wakf Boards.

 

54. Aligarh Muslim University has decided to establish its campuses at Murshidabad in West Bengal and Malappuram in Kerala. I propose to make an allocation of Rs.25 crore each for these two campuses.

Under the head of Female Literacy the budget goes like this:

50. The low level of female literacy continues to be a matter of grave concern. It has, therefore, been decided to launch a National Mission for Female Literacy, with focus on minorities, SC, ST and other marginalised groups. The aim will be to reduce by half, the current level of female illiteracy, in three years.

Besides, a number of schemes included under the ministry of Human Resource Development, such as Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutions (IDMI) and Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM) also got better allocation this fiscal.

With the above-mentioned allocations in view the following derivation can be made:

1.  Total allocation for the welfare of minorities has increased by 74% from the previous financial year to the provision of Rs 1740 crore.

2.   Major chunk of budgetary allocation for the welfare of minorities would go to Multi-Sectoral Development Programme for Minorities (MSDPM) in selected minority concentration districts, i.e. of 990 crore this time.

3.  The budget for pre and post metric scholarship to minority students has also been enhanced, i.e Rs 180 crore for pre-metric and Rs 63 crore for post metric.

4.   A new schemes of National Fellowship for Students from the Minority  Community has been announced.

5.  Grants-in-aid to Maulana Azad Education Foundation is almost doubled.

6.  The National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation will also receive an increased amount.

7.    The ongoing IDMI scheme will receive an allocation of Rs 4.5 crore.

8.    Rs 45 crore has been earmarked for the SPQEM.

9.   Aligarh Muslim University will be supported to open for the first time its off campuses in two Muslim concentration districts, Murshidabad (63.67%) and Mallapuram (68.53%). This will highly benefit local people in acquiring quality education. For this the university receive a budgetary provision of Rs 25 crore.

10.  The formation of National Mission for Female Literacy with a focus on minorities, SCs and STs will surely benefit Muslims to a great extent.

11. The community will also get assisted from all schemes earmarked for people below poverty line since Muslims are on the adverse side of the number game.

Although budget provisions for minorities and the Muslim community as a whole satisfy the long-term aspirations of the community, however seeing the size of the minority population and its glaring backwardness they seem meagre and inadequate. The resolve of the ministry of human resource in the previous term of the UPA government for establishing three minority universities each at Ajmer, Gulbarga and Bareilly by creating special waqf is missing in the present budget estimates. The extension programme of the AMU needs to be extended to some other highly Muslim dominated districts, such as Dhubri (74.29%) and Kishanganj (67.58%). This would have required a paltry additional amount of Rs 25 crore. Perhaps this might be affected in the ensuing fiscal.

Seeing the glaring illiteracy and poverty of the people of Muslim minority, the one measure that could alleviate the adverse conditions could be to make arrangements for vocational education and skill improvement programmes focused on the minority youths. This would require establishment of larger number of ITIs and polytechnics in Muslim concentration areas. However, no special allocation seems in the purview of policymakers. Moreover, the traditional crafts upheld by Muslims in large numbers for subsistence needs to be technically improved and modernised on the pattern of Khadi movement and hence, budgetary mechanism should be used for ensuring the same as an effective step towards alleviating poverty of the community. Nevertheless, the budget 2009-10 fulfils major demands for the welfare of the community and now it depends on the government will, proactive bureaucracy and diehard endeavours of Muslim NGOs and community organisations to ensure better fruits of the allocations and underlying intention.



Al-Qura'n Kareem

Hadith Mohammed SAW


 

 

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