With the financial year drawing to a close, much of the budgetary allocation of Rs. 1,027 crore for minority welfare lies unspent

It is a race against time for the Minority Welfare Department. With little time left for the financial year to close, authorities are worried about spending the huge budget at their disposal.

In fact, there is concern in minority circles about the Rs. 1,027 crore budget lapsing with the various minority departments not grounding the schemes fast.

But the fear appears to be misplaced since the actual budget released till date is just Rs. 673 crore. And of this, the department has expended nearly Rs. 400 crore. The third quarter grant is yet to be released. However, authorities have sought re-appropriation of Rs. 200 crore from the scholarship budget to ensure that the funds do not lapse.

With this money, it is proposed to construct 12 residential schools, 30 pre- and post-matric hostels besides one working women’s hostel.

“The file is already circulated to the finance department and its reply is awaited,” said Syed Omer Jaleel, special secretary, Minorities Welfare Department.

A sum of Rs. 310 crore is earmarked for disbursement of scholarships. So far 1.85 lakh applications have been received.

Clearing all these applications will cost Rs. 110 crore and the balance Rs. 200 crore is sought to be used for construction of hostels.

While the Urdu Academy has already spent its budget, the A.P. State Minorities Finance Corporation (APSMFC) is still to spend its allocated budget of Rs. 125.50 crore. Of this Rs. 100 core is earmarked for subsidy towards bank linked loans but only Rs. 50 crore are released under this head. Schemes to a tune of Rs. 11.13 crore are already grounded.

Under the training and employment programme, Rs. 4.21 crore has been released out of Rs. 12 crore. The corporation has drawn up plans involving expenditure of Rs. 3.23 crore.

“We are grounding another training programme to cover the balance amount,” says Prof. S. A. Shukoor, vice-chairman and managing director, APSMFC.

So far 8,216 persons under 21 to 40 years age group have been identified under the scheme.

The recent reduction in age limit for availing of the scheme from 18 to 55 years has rendered many applicants ineligible, it is said. The delay in grounding the schemes is attributed to the lack of cadre in the department.

“There are many vacancies and with just 150 staff members it is not possible to execute the programmes,” says Mr. Jaleel.

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