The 12th Five Year Plan has been designed in such a manner that States and districts that have contributed significantly to the progress of the nation will be encouraged, according to Union Minister for Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid.

He added that those parts of the country that have not been receiving Central assistance, despite having performed well in various fields including development and education, will be supported through various programmes that have been included in the 12th Plan.

Mr. Khurshid was inaugurating the first phase of the International Convention Centre at Amal Jyothi College of Engineering on Tuesday. He also declared open a 500-metre Skywalk that connects the college with hostels located on an adjacent hillock.

He pointed out that Kerala has been left out of many schemes implemented by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, particularly due to the development posted by the State in different sectors. Referring to the Multi Sectoral Development Plan implemented by the Ministry, he said, “the scheme focuses on districts that are described as minority-concentrated. We are aware that there are such districts in Kerala. However, the scheme also takes into account on where these areas figure against the national average in terms of growth indices. The State figures above the national averages, no matter which way we compare the performance with those of the others in the country. Therefore, the State could not receive any assistance from the scheme that was drafted in the 11th Plan. It is interesting to note that Kerala did not figure in a scheme that we (the Ministry) had crafted to help backward States or districts in the country, from the point of development indices.”

Elaborating on the topic, Mr. Khurshid said, “For instance, we have found that people who have controlled the growth of population will suffer during the delimitation of constituencies in the electoral system. This is because during delimitation, more seats will go to those parts of the country where population has not been controlled. Likewise, (by not recognising the efforts put forth) it would be unfair to those who perform better, uphold the standards that the national aspirations have given us and, who have, in a sense, sacrificed their laziness to provide a more effective and efficient administration in their daily lives,” he said.

He also said that the role played by the educational institutions in the State was remarkable and can be seen as model for the rest in the country. The participation of all communities in the field of education is also laudable, he said.

Mar Mathew Arackal, Bishop of Kanjirappally and Patron of the College, presided over the function. P.J. Kurien, Anto Antony, MPs; N. Jayaraj, MLA; Varghese Parinthirickal, manager; Jose Kannampuzha, principal; and George J. Mathew, ex-MLA, also participated in the function.