The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s leader Narendra Modi who harbours a lot of hate, divisiveness, and contempt towards Muslims is bulldozing his way in crushing the Muslims educationally, socially, culturally, and economically. This time he has chosen the Union Budget to throttle the Muslim necks with much less than the last year’s 0.12% allotment of budget for Muslims. Being the Prime Minister, Modi has full control over economic decisions. This year’s budget is the worst for the country in general and more so for Muslims and other minorities. A glance at the last year’s budget for minorities is essential before we talk about this year’s budgetary allocations for minorities.
This year, the budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Minority Affairs has been drastically reduced by over a massive 38 percent to Rs 3097.60 Crore for 2023-24 as compared to the last fiscal year, as per the budget documents presented in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. The budget allocation for 2022-23 was Rs 5,020.50 Crore for the ministry. However, the revised estimate was Rs 2,612.66, as per the budget documents. The budget estimate for the Ministry of Minority Affairs this year is Rs 3097.60 Crore.
Last year, the total budget of the Ministry of Minority Affairs as a proportion of the total Union Budget declined to 0.12% in 2022-2023 from 0.14% in 2021-2022, according to budget estimates. The Ministry of Minority Affairs was allocated Rs 5,010 Crore in 2022-2023 (budget estimate) whereas the 2021-’22 (revised estimates) figure stood at Rs 4,246.05 Crore. The ministry utilised only Rs 3,920.29 Crore in 2020-2021 (actuals) against the budget estimate figure of Rs 5,029 Crore for that year. It can be safely said that the Union Budget outlays for minorities have not been provided in accordance with the demands for funds by the ministry. For 2019-2020, against demands from the ministry 5,795.26 Crore, only Rs 4,700 Crore was allocated. In 2020-2021, Rs 6,452 Crore was demanded but only Rs 5,029 Crore was allocated.
As against the budgetary allocation of Rs 5,029 Crore for the Ministry of Minority Affairs for the year 2022 – 2023, only 2, 012.66 Crore was utilized. The revised figures of the money used show that only 40 percent of the allocated funds were utilized for minorities, mainly Muslims. The unutilized budget for minorities is similar to Telangana! The budget allocation for the Maulana Azad Education Foundation was shamelessly reduced in the last budget to Rs 1 lakh only from Rs 90 Crore in 2020 – 2021. This adversely impacted the implementation of projects such as construction grants to minority institutions and the Begum Hazrat Mahal Scholarship Scheme for meritorious girls. The coaching for the UPSC Preliminary examination was completely stopped after Hindu extremist and hate peddler Suresh Chavanke through his devilish programme ‘UPSC Jihad’ on Sudarshan News channel targeted the new Muslim IAS/IPS recruits. This influenced his social media follower Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop the UPSC coaching altogether for Muslims!
It may be recalled that while 58 lakh students received the nominal scholarships provided by the Ministry of Minority Affairs in 2020-’21 though 1.10 Crore applications were received for the three scholarship schemes. Of this, 47.5% were deprived of scholarship benefits. As for the Post-Matric Scholarship scheme, only 36.7% of the total applicants received their scholarships that year. The scholarship schemes face terrible implementation issues with poor coverage of beneficiaries, low unit costs due to inadequate allocations of funds, and also scrapping of some of the required schemes. The amounts given to students as scholarships are not adequate to meet their educational expenses even for a month. Even one month’s school fees cannot be paid!
The funds allotted for Madrasas and minority education were also reduced from Rs 160 Crore in 2022-2023 in the budget to Rs 10 crore in 2023-24 which is a massive cut of 93%. Narendra Modi must not fool around with bombastic claims: Ek Haath Mein Quran, Ek Haath mein Computer! Now, Narendra Modi is quite scared of his followers turned competitors for the top job – Adityanath and Himanta Biswa Sarma who are bulldozing Madrasas as if there is no tomorrow. That explains the only Rs 10 Crore budget for the Madrasas.
The mediocre Minority Affairs Minister Smriti Irani, who lacks the ability to understand things, hailed the Union Budget saying, “Congratulations to PM @narendramodi Ji & FM @nsitharaman Ji for a truly ‘Amrit Kaal Budget’ epitomising inclusive development and reinforcing economic fundamentals.” What inclusive thing did she find in the budget? The Sanghi Smriti was in a gleeful mood after the heavy downsizing of the budget for the minorities.