Upset about scarce allocation of funds for development of minorities, the All-India Milli Council has requested Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to enhance scholarships to students, establish a colony for artisans and make a provision for higher vocational loans in the State Budget to be presented by him this coming Monday.
In a pre-Budget memorandum submitted to Mr. Gehlot, the Rajasthan unit of the Milli Council said proper monitoring of the implementation of budgetary announcements would ensure that their benefits reach the intended sections of population. It demanded the appointment of a monitoring committee to keep a check on administrative laxity and lapses.
The memorandum called for modernisation of madrasa education and pointed out that the scholarship schemes in pre-matric, post-matric and merit-cum-means categories had brought a “revolution” among the minority communities with a sharp decline reported in dropout rate in schools. “It would be in the fitness of things to increase the number of pre-matric scholarships from 1.50 lakh to 3 lakh, post-matric scholarships from 15,000 to 50,000 and merit-cum-means scholarships from 601 to 5,000,” stated the memorandum, while requesting Mr. Gehlot to make a recommendation to the Centre in this regard.
Mill Council State unit president Mohammed Hasan Ghauri, general secretary Abdul Qayoom Akhtar and secretaries Abdul Latif Arco, Shaukat Qureshi and Mujahid Naqvi signed the memorandum.
The memorandum made a special mention of the scheme for an artisans' colony near Jaipur announced in the previous year's Budget, while pointing out that there was no progress in the matter. “We expect allocation of sufficient funds for this colony where craftsmen can live and earn their livelihood.”
Mr. Qayoom Akhtar said the Government officers were trying to give a wrong twist to the scheme by moving a proposal for construction of 500 to 700 houses with a heritage look: “This is not going to serve the purpose. The majority of Muslims in Rajasthan depend on traditional crafts for their survival. Only a modern colony with open space will keep them going.”
Referring to the functioning of the Waqf Board, the Milli Council pointed out that the grant of Rs.50 lakh announced in the previous year was not sufficient for maintenance of vast Waqf properties spread throughout the State. It demanded an allocation of Rs.2 crore to the Waqf Board in the Budget.
The disbursement of loans for education and self-employment ventures by the State Minorities Finance and Development Corporation was described as unsatisfactory by the memorandum. It demanded that the rules for the loan schemes be changed and the disbursement procedure be made “more pragmatic and effective” during 2012-13.
Mr. Qayoom Akhtar said this year's Union Budget had made a very small enhancement of 14 per cent in the Central Plan outlay, amounting to Rs.3,135 crore, for the Ministry of Minority Affairs. “We expect a greater commitment of the UPA Government for development of minorities, especially after it has agreed with the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee's findings,” he said.
The Milli Council pointed out that delays in the release of budgetary allocations sends a wrong signal among the minorities, who had become “politically mature” and were not impressed by empty rhetoric. Muslims' desire to join the mainstream had led to some unexpected results in the recent Assembly elections in five States, it said.