Special Correspondent

All India Muslim Educational Society highlights conerns

CHENNAI: All India Muslim Educational Society (AIMES) wants the Tamil Nadu Government to launch welfare schemes specifically targeted at the minorities.

They should be in tune with the Sachar Committee recommendations and the measures enunciated in the Prime Minister's 15-point programme for welfare of the minorities, a press release from the Society president Bashiruddin Babukhan said.

AIMES also sought a separate budgetary allocation, of at least Rs.10 crore, to be made for the minorities in the 2007-08 Tamil Nadu budget. "The special schemes should be in the area of education and economic development of minorities. The present allocation for minorities welfare in Tamil Nadu is only Rs.1.87 crore," the release said.

A delegation from AIMES, led by its president, also submitted a representation to the State Backward Classes and Minorities Welfare Department and sought an appointment with the Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. The release said Mr. Babukhan apprised the State Government of such welfare schemes being implemented in Andhra Pradesh for the last 13 years. He submitted documents detailing schemes in the neighbouring State. They included a copy of Andhra Pradesh Budget for 2007-08 in which the allocation for minorities welfare was Rs.123 crore (as against Rs.69 crore in 2006-07.)

The release said AIMES president "also expressed surprise at the meagre provision, of Rs.63 crore, made in the Union Budget 2007-08 for the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation and Rs.73 crore for pre-matric scholarships, and Rs.90 crore for post-matric scholarships at the graduate and postgraduate levels.

He said this allocation for the entire country was very meagre. Compared to this, the allocations for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes for scholarship schemes had been raised from Rs.440 crore in the current fiscal to Rs. 611 crore in 2007-08. This despite the population of SCs and STs in the country almost equal to that of minorities.