Thursday 24th Jan 2019
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Minorities Left on Margins in Union Budget

Cover Story

, by MOHAMMAD NAUSHAD KHAN

The quantum of money allocated and the space earmarked for the minorities by the Finance Minister in the present budget does not quantify the zeal and the enthusiasm of the Muslims shown towards Congress party during elections. The percentage increase for minorities in the Union Budget for 203-14 by the Central government or by some state governments in the recent past has failed to meet the aspirations of minorities. Surprisingly, even the amount allocated in the past has remained unutilised by the Ministry for Minority Affairs.  

The rhetoric behind percentage hiked is certainly not in accordance of what percentage of Muslims votes they ask for or get to assert their political authority. If we go by the statistics, particularly after the Sachar Committee report then the allocation of funds for the minorities was needed to be increased by manifold in order to make them at par with other communities and groups. Will the Congress not share the blame on their part for having failed to raise the quality of life of Muslims despite the fact that they remain loyal to the party for many decades? Almost 60 years down the line, the Congress played with the emotion of the Muslims by orchestrating trivial issues, otherwise Sachar Committee would have definitely scripted a different story of Muslims, not the gloomy picture of Muslims in every sphere.            

Pravin Jha, Professor, Centre for Economics Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University while replying to a question by this scribe during a panel discussion on Budget 2013-14 organised by Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on 1 March said that the amount of allocation and the percentage increase in the present budget for minorities, if we take inflation and all parameters into account then there is no real increase and it can be said that it has only added salt to the injury. He further pointed out that the entire budget has been crafted in a manner as not to make any community either too happy or too sad.

It is true that in most of the schemes channelized for minorities by the government its implementation and utilisation of funds has so far not come up on a desired scale. The government after allocating amount forgets to put a watchdog in place for the implementation and to fix accountability of all those at the helm of affairs. Periodic assessment from time to time is required for effective implementation of all existing schemes for the minorities. The minority ministry is run by the minister of the government and most of them happened to be Muslims. The government just cannot get rid of its responsibility by simply making a statement that out of the allocated fund this much has not been utilised. The biggest irony is perhaps that a Muslim minority minister fails to utilise the given fund. The government has hardly made any attempt to ensure that the funds are completely utilised and reaches to the hands of the needy without any favour and discrimination.

Very recently the Uttar Pradesh has increased its budgetary allocation for minority welfare by Rs 612.95 crores, which is roughly an increase of 30 per cent. For the special scheme Hamari Beti Ushka Kal the state government has allocated Rs 350 crore. Rs 777 crore has been earmarked for free reimbursement scheme for minorities. Rs 330 crore has been granted for the construction of boundary walls of the graveyard, Rs 27.80 crore has been allocated for Haj House at Ghaziabad. The state Haj Committee has been allocated Rs 3.72 crore. For setting up an educational hub for minorities where there will be arrangement for education from Class VI to XII, a fund of Rs 34 crores has been allocated. There will be ITI, para-medical institute in this hub and also coaching for engineering and medical entrance examination. It is significant to note that the Akhilesh government of Uttar Pradesh in order to counter Central government multi-sectoral development programme for the minorities has planned to establish an educational hub for the minorities in minority concentration areas of every district in the state. Under this scheme everyone studying at an institute in this educational hub will be given scholarship and also have a seat reserved for higher studies.

However, it is interesting to note that state government is trying to compete with the Central government in various schemes but it would be even better for the community if they compete to implement those projects in totality.



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