Almost all minority welfare schemes being run by the UPA government in 2012-13 have not been implemented. Funds were allocated, but little money was released, and when released, was not spent. This has been revealed through a recent RTI reply given by the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
Of many such minority development schemes is the education grant provided under the Maulana Azad Education Foundation. The ministry has allocated Rs 100 crore for the foundation, of which only Rs 1 lakh has been released till date and that too remains unspent.
Rs 5 cr was earmarked for strengthening the state wakf boards, but only Rs 10 lakh has been released. The amount remains unspent.
The state wakf boards were to be given Rs 4 cr for computerisation, but were given only Rs 1.65 cr. Out of this, Rs 89 lakh has been spent until early August.
The Skill Development Initiative for minorities was allotted Rs 20 cr, but only Rs 5 lakh has been released, an amount that remains spent.
Several such unimplemented schemes are being run by the Central government (see table).
Interestingly, the only scheme which was implemented sufficiently by the government was Research/Studies, Monitoring & Evaluation of Development Schemes for Minorities including Publicity. The scheme is run to advertise the achievements of the Ministry of Minority Affairs’ in minority development. Out of the allocated Rs 40 cr, Rs 33.33 cr was released and Rs 33.29 cr was spent until August.
Officers in the office of Minority Affairs Minister Rahman Khan, which replied to the RTI query, were not even aware of all the schemes being run by them for the minorities. Khan himself refused to comment. But his close aide told this correspondent that Khan has been writing regularly to various departments to implement these schemes “at least before the next general elections”.
A spokesman for the Congress claimed that all minority-related schemes will be implemented before March next year. “We will even advertise their implementation,” he added.
Muslim leaders and activists allege that gross negligence in the implementation of minority schemes exposes the Congress-led UPA government’s hypocrisy about the welfare of Muslims. “The Congress is fooling Muslims in the name of minority development. The utter negligence in running community-specific schemes is ample evidence in this regard. I hope the community takes note of this before the next elections,” said Afroze Alam Sahil, a social activist, who had filed the RTI.
Member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi, who has been most vocal among Muslim leaders demanding the proper implementation of Muslim-specific programmes, said that he has raised the issue in Parliament, but the Central government is unmoved. “The best way to stir this government is to punish and embarrass it electorally,” Owaisi said.
(Author is associated with Sunday Guardian)
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