Poor infrastructure and manpower shortage plague the MWD, which has a hefty budgetary backing of Rs. 1,027 crore
It is like entering a duel with hands tied. This is the piquant situation the Minorities Welfare Department (MWD) finds itself in. Notwithstanding the government sanctioning a hefty budget of Rs. 1,027 crore for the department, there have been no tangible results, thanks to poor infrastructure and insufficient manpower.
With more money in the kitty, the expectations of minorities have risen. But, the department has failed to deliver owing to various reasons. The crucial factor is shortage of staff and basic infrastructure. Of the Rs. 476 crore released, minority institutions have been able to spend just Rs. 305.83 crore so far. A huge Rs. 171 crore remains unspent when scores of minority issues are hanging fire.
Syed Omer Jaleel, who recently took over as Special Secretary, MWD, has the arduous task of stemming the rot. He is contemplating radical measures to breathe life into the department. His first priority is to get staff for the sanctioned posts and to appoint Deputy Collector rank officials as District Minority Welfare Officers.
Statistics show that the Social Welfare Department has the cadre strength of 149 at the headquarters: Tribal Welfare, 77 and BC Welfare, 64. But, the MWD has just 27 personnel. Worse, most of them are on deputation and are of the level of Superintendent or even less.
Surprisingly, most departments have not spent the budget allocated to them. For instance, the A.P. State Minorities Finance Corporation has been sanctioned Rs. 75 crore towards subsidy for the bank-linked loan scheme. But, till date, it has been able to spend just Rs. 7 crore. The indecision of the Group of Ministers on the subsidy pattern is cited as the reason for the tardy implementation of the scheme.
Similarly, under the training and employment scheme, only Rs. 7 lakh has been spent of the Rs. 4.21 crore released. The A.P. State Christian Finance Corporation has not spent a single pie from the Rs. 1.35 crore sanctioned under the same scheme.
The Wakf Board, too, has drawn a blank in utilising the budget. It is just sitting tight on the Rs. 15-crore grant-in-aid. The Urdu Academy has, however, put up a better performance by spending Rs. 2.75 crore out of the sanctioned amount of Rs. 6.08 crore.
“I would like to ensure that every single pie is spent properly,” promises Mr. Jaleel. He has also plans to identify schemes for other minorities like Christians, Parsis, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs.