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UNION BUDGET 2013-14 Unfulfilled Promises for Muslims

Cover Story

, by JAWED ALAM KHAN

The Union government committed to address the problems of inequality, deprivation and exclusion among Muslims in the 11th Plan period through the overall approach of ‘faster and inclusive growth’. In this process it has adopted a four-pronged strategy since 2006-07, which included educational and economic empowerment, access to public services, strengthening of minority institutions and area development programme. In 2006, it revamped the Prime Minister’s 15-Point Programme that had been operational since 1980s and brought to focus the vital concerns of (a) education; (b) employment and skill development; (c) living conditions; and (d) security among Muslims by bringing within its ambit select flagship schemes and interventions. Also, new development schemes and programmes for targeting minorities directly (100 per cent) were devised in this process.

In 2007-08, the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MMA) launched the Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) in 90 Minority-Concentration Districts (MCDs) that adopted an area development approach with a bouquet of schemes to address deficits related to housing, health, anganwadi and school infrastructure, drinking water, electricity to improve literacy and female and work participation. In terms of institutional strengthening, the National Minorities Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC), the Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) and the Waqf Board also need to be strengthened.

By the end of the 11th Five-Year Plan, the policy initiatives of the government towards the development of Muslims leave a lot to be desired. There are still huge gaps in the resource allocation, utilisation of funds and programme implementation specific to the development of minorities.

The design of MSDP and the guidelines for the PM’s new 15 PP do not have much scope for creating a tailor-made project that suits the needs of the Muslim community. In these two programmes, the norms and guidelines of the existing Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs) were adopted. There are several instances where the targeted benefits for Muslims have been diverted to other communities due to adoption of the area approach (which treats the district instead of Muslim-dominated hamlets/bastis as the implantation unit) in several states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana.

 

UNION BUDGET 2013-14

In 2013-14, total allocation for Ministry of Minority Affairs has increased to Rs 3,530 crore from Rs. 3,151.98 in 2012-13 (BE). This is an increase of 12 per cent over 2012-13 BE which is very insignificant. Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) was being implemented in 90 districts during 2012-13 and now it will be scaled up to cover 200 districts in 2013-14.  There is an increase of 222crore in the allocation for the programme in 2013-14. It has increased to Rs.1,110 crore in 2013-14 from 887.90 in 2012-13.

The Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) works as a vehicle to implement educational schemes. The MAEF will start medical aid by providing medical facilities such as an infirmary or a resident doctor in the educational institutions run or funded by the MAEF. Finance Minister proposed to allocate 100 crore to launch this initiative, but no mention has been made in the Note on Demand for Grants of Ministry of Minority Affairs for 2013-14. The allocation of MAEF has been increased to Rs.160 crore in 2013-14 from Rs. 100 Crore in 2012-13.

There were four important schemes initiated in 2012-13 for development of minorities which has been scarped in 2013-14. These includes schemes like Scheme for promotion of education in 100 minority concentration towns/cities (out of 251 such towns/cities identified as backward), Village Development Programme for Villages not covered by MCB/MCD, Support to District Level Institution in MCDs and Free Cycle for Girl Students of Class IX. The table 12.a shows scheme wise details of allocation for 2012-13and 2013-14.

 

Table 12.a: Scheme Wise Allocation (in Rs. Crore)

Schemes/Programmes

2012-13 (BE)

2012-13(RE)

2013-14 (BE)

Grants-in-aid to Maulana Azad Education Foundation

100.00

0.01

160.00

Free Coaching and Allied Scheme for Minorities

17.98

13.00

22.50

Research/Studies, Monitoring and Evaluation of development schemes for Minorities including Publicity

39.70

33.00

44.70

Merit-cum-means scholarship for professional and technical courses of undergraduate and post-graduate level

198.00

170.07

243.00

Pre-Matric Scholarship for Minorities

810.00

720.78

855.00

Post-Matric Scholarship for Minorities

450.00

308.25

493.50

Multi-Sectoral Development Programme for Minorities in selected minority concentration districts

887.90

579.56

1110.00

Maulana Azad National Fellowship  for  Minority Students

63.00

59.40

81.00

Grants-in-aid to State Channelising Agencies (SCA) engaged for implementation of NMDFC programme

1.80

0.60

1.80

Support for Students clearing Prelims conducted by UPSC, SSC, State Public Services Commission etc.

3.50

0.01

2.70

Scheme for promotion of education in 100 minority concentration towns/cities, out of 251 such town/cities identified as backward

45.00

0.03

...

Village Development Programme for Villages not covered by MCB/MCD

45.00

0.03

...

Support to District Level Institution in MCDs

22.50

0.03

...

Free Cycle for Girl Students of Class IX

4.50

0.03

...

Scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women

13.50

11.50

13.50

Computerisation of records of State Waqf Boards

4.50

1.49

2.70

Strengthening of the State Waqf Boards

4.50

0.08

6.30

Interest subsidy on Educational Loans for overseas studies

1.80

0.01

1.80

Skill Development Initiatives

18.00

0.04

15.00

Scheme for containing population decline of small minority community

2.00

0.01

2.00

Investment in Public Enterprises

90.00

89.64

108.00

Total Plan Allocation under Minority Affairs Ministry

3135.00

2200.00

3511.00

Source: Ministry of Minority Affairs, Expenditure Budget Vol. II

 

AN ASSESSMENT OF 11TH PLAN

According to the Census 2001, Muslims constitute around 14 per cent of the total population of the country. In 11th Plan, fund allocation for minorities accounted for 6 per cent of the total Plan funds (excluding the disbursement through Priority Sector Lending). This constitutes 60 to 70 per cent of the total allocation intended for the minorities. However, the operationalisation of JNNURM is found to be almost non-existent at the state and district levels. Most of the allocation made under the Mission is notional and the scheme does not report the actual expenditure and beneficiary data on minorities. Projects and programmes like the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) have been allocated very small shares of the total outlay.

The performance of the MMA in terms of fund utilisation itself is unsatisfactory. The total allocation for the Ministry has witnessed a trend of marginal increase in allocations in subsequent budgets. The total outlay in the 11th Plan exceeded the initial amount that had been allocated for MMA (Rs.7, 000crore). However, poor utilisation of funds has remained a major concern even till the end of the financial year 2011-12.

The status of fund utilisation under PM’s New 15-Point programme has not been captured due to unavailability of expenditure data in many schemes. In the programme, no scheme other than IAY reports expenditure data disaggregated on the basis of minorities. With regard to fund utilisation, the average utilisation of funds accounted for 78 per cent of the total outlay for MMA in the 11thPlan period (total tentative plan outlay for MMA was Rs.8, 690 crore). MMA noted that poor utilisation is also owing to late start in implementation of major schemes such as pre-matric scholarship and MSDP for select MCDs.

Further, non-receipt of insufficient proposals for scholarship schemes from the North-Eastern States also account for delays. It was also shared that the MMA had not received ‘in-principle’ approval of the Planning Commission to initiate four proposed schemes and the scheme ‘Leadership Development of Minority Women’ also did not get rolled out in the 11th Plan period. In some states, promulgation of model code of conduct due to elections delayed sanction of funds.

Related factors include non-submission of complete proposals by the State governments for MSDP and delays in the submission of Utilisation Certificate. These implementation bottlenecks are evidenced more in the scholarship schemes and the MSDP where lack of institutional arrangements, inadequate planning capacity, shortage of staff and infrastructure and insufficient funds to monitor the programmes have crippled effective working of these schemes. In this section, we will examine the status of fund utilisation in the scholarship schemes and the MSDP.

 

MULTI SECTORAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (MSDP)

An important intervention by the MMA for overall development of the minorities has been the MSDP. Being the largest programme to address the socio-economic deficits among Muslims; MSDP was allocated 42 per cent of the total MMA budget in the 11th Plan. The performance of this programme, however, has been far from satisfactory. Of the total tentative allocation of Rs. 3,734crore made in the 11th Plan for MSDP, the proportion of expenditure of total projects approved was only 51per cent.

Besides inadequate financial outlays for MMA and underutilisation of funds, the physical performance has also been sluggish. The completion of major activities like construction under Indira Awas Yojana (IAY), health sub centres and Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) has been able to reach just half-way mark at the end of 11th Plan. The main constraint has been delayed submission of detailed project reports due to lack of capacity, inadequate human resources and lack of implementing institutions at the district level.

 

SCHOLARSHIP SCHEMES

Fund utilisation under all the four schemes has improved in the 11th Plan period although the three schemes, i.e. Pre-Matric, Post–Matric, and Merit-cum-Means, report inadequate utilisation. The low rate of utilisation is mostly reflective of the government’s inability to make these schemes popular among the beneficiaries although the actual performance would depend on how far the physical targets are met.

In this regard, all five schemes have witnessed improvement in meeting targets. The schemes - Pre-matric, Post-matric and Merit-cum-Means scholarships - have fared better in terms of the physical targets but not well enough to achieve the financial targets set in the 11th Plan. As can be seen from the table, there is a significant increase in the number of scholarships which could be due to the inclusion of renewal of existing scholarship grantees with the new allotments. However, the mismatch between financial and physical achievements could be due to scholarships getting concentrated within courses (non-vocational, non-technical, day scholars)/ income groups that require lower fees

 

CONCLUSION

From the analysis, it is evident that still there are gaps in resource allocation, fund utilisation and programme implementation specific to the development of Muslims. The commitment made in 12th Plan has not reflected much in Union Budget 2013-14 in terms of policy priorities and budgetary allocation. Considering the problems in the guidelines and designs of the schemes, the PM’s new 15-PP could be implemented along the lines of Scheduled Caste Sub Plan and Tribal Sub Plan with Additional Central Assistance (ACA). The plan funds for minorities should have allocated funds in proportion to population in the Union Budget 2013-14, out of which 73 per cent should have gone to the Muslims.

The coverage of MSDP has been extended / expanded to 200 districts from 90 Minority Concentration Districts without providing adequate fund. Muslim concentration states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam should be given priority/adequate funds through MSDP.  There is no separate budget statement on schemes and programmes covered through 15-Point Programme. It would also help to have a “separate budget statement” in the Union Budget on the 15-Point Programme as is already being done in the case of women, children, SCs and STs (for expenditure reporting). There were four important schemes initiated in 2012-13 for development of minorities which has been scraped in 2013-14. The government should now also give serious thought to focusing on Muslim-concentrated Gram Panchayats and targeting beneficiaries in Muslim bastis / hamlets (on the model of the Adarsh Gram Yojana for SCs) rather than at the block and district levels.  In addition, there is a need for dedicated staff and institutions at the state and district level to implement the programmes for development of the minorities.

[The writer works with Centre Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) – A New Delhi based think-tank. He can be reached at jawed@cbgaindia.org]



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