Prime Minister Manmohan Singh formally launched the National Waqf Development Corporation Limited (NAWADCO), a new public sector enterprise, in the Capital on Tuesday morning. The enterprise, established on December 31 last, has an authorised share capital of Rs.500 crore to mobilise resources for developing Waqf properties in agreement with Shariah laws. Resources thus generated will be invested in activities for the welfare of Muslim.

In his inaugural address, Dr. Singh referred to the Sachar Committee Report on the Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community. He said the report estimated that Waqf properties, if properly developed, could fetch an annual income of Rs.1,200 crore.

India has the largest number of Waqf properties in the world with more than 4.9 lakh registered The current annual income from the assets, according to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, is close to Rs.163 crore.

United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who was present at the inauguration, stressed the need for ensuring local incidents did not disturb communal harmony.

She addressed the charge of the Congress appeasing minorities by stating that it was the government’s responsibility to ensure access to equal opportunities.

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