SAAYA holds program to create awareness among Muslim women about govt. welfare schemes

By news desk,

Patna: With an aim to empower Muslim women and create awareness among them about the schemes launched by state as well as central government to improve socio-economic condition of Muslims particularly Muslim women, SAAYA Network organized a state level consultation meeting on November 21, 2009 in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu.

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This meeting was also intended to provide a platform for office bearers of District Muslim Women Aid Societies, formed by the state government (MWAS) and NGOs working among Muslim Community and to help them carry out collective action for actualizing the socio-economic development of Muslims in general and Muslim women in particular.

Facilitating the meeting, Mr. Syed Ahamed, Secretary, SAAYA Network said: “There is an urgent need to make use of the present enabling environment to address the concerns of the Muslim community, particularly its women. State level awareness campaign has to be initiated since it is a fact that because of lack of awareness about government schemes among Muslims, these schemes are hardly utilized to the full.”

“There should be a greater synergy between Muslim elites and the development sector for actualizing socio-economic development of Muslims. If these are not done; various schemes initiated for the development of Muslims would not be effective and no real benefit accumulate to the Muslim community” he added.

He further said that the responsibility of the welfare of the community was not an issue confined to the leadership of the community but the government has a major responsibility towards addressing the problems of Muslims.

Inaugurating the meeting, Justice Akbar Ali said that the greater the knowledge, the greater is the power. Knowledge is a tool of empowerment which has the potential to overcome most roadblocks on the road to development.

“A massive awareness campaign has to be organized and concerted efforts should be made to make use of the welfare schemes for the development of Muslim community particularly Muslim women” he added.

He also urged the Muslim community to give priority to education and to work together for the development of the community continually.

“It is not enough to have only one-day meetings or conferences but there should be continuous meetings and concerted efforts to take the Muslim community forward” he advised.

The meeting was attended by almost 50 office bearers from District Muslim Women Aid Societies and functionaries of several NGOs working among Muslims and Muslim Women and discussed the issues threadbare.

The meeting passed the following resolutions and demanded the government to take concrete steps for the advancement of Muslim community:

1. Meetings of the District Level Muslim Women Aid Societies (MWAS) have to be organized once in three months as stipulated in their bye-laws. The office bearers of the MWAS should comprise persons from NGOs working among Muslim community. Office space has to be provided to MWAS within the Collectorate campus to ensure easy access to the intended beneficiaries.

2. The conditions imposed by Tamil Nadu Minorities Economic Development Corporation Ltd. (TAMCO) to avail loan such as two persons who are in government service have to give surety for obtaining loans, have to be modified to ensure poor Muslims to avail the credit facilities being sanctioned by the Corporation. The loans have to be given through nationalized banks as in other cases.

3. Ensure that the poor Muslim families have been given BPL cards since many Muslim families who are living below poverty line were left out. The works implemented under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) must be culturally sensitive so that Muslim community could also be benefited.

4. Provide recognition and support to Muslim minority educational institutions which should ensure an equitable number of seats for girls. Provide adequate and timely scholarships for Muslim students in general and for girl students in particular. Locate more educational institutions in minority dominated and suggested priority for residential schools for girls. Induction of more female teachers, provision of hostels for girls. Open more technical institutes in Muslim concentrated areas and ensure equitable admission to Muslim girls who should not only be relegated to learning traditional skills like stitching, cooking etc., but also trained in modern technology.

5. Ensure adequate female staff including female doctors in health facilities located in Muslim concentrated areas.

6. Provide equitable bank loans to Muslims in priority sectors as well as commercial and business sectors and ensure that they get a fair share of these loans. Create easy credit facilities for Muslim Women, crafts women and women involved in petty trade and commerce. Open training centres at district level for skill upgradation in the unorganized sector for both traditional and other work in which Muslims are employed. Provide a marketing network to women employed in this sector.

7. Ensure better representation of Muslims in government jobs and public sector units. Ensure at least one Muslim representative on all recruitment boards.

8. Prepare a sub-plan for the socio-economic including educational, health and other development of the Muslim community. Set up a separate department at the state level exclusively to deal with Muslim affairs and allocate adequate budget for schemes aimed at advancing the Muslims. Set up a database and collect and compile data on the socio-economic and educational status of Muslims on a regular basis to monitor the progress of the community.