Indian minorities urged to benefit from government schemes




Jeddah : A well-known scholar and academic called on Indian expatriates to play a vital role in creating proper awareness among the beneficiaries about the government’s welfare schemes and projects for minorities.

Hussain Madavoor, general secretary of All India Islahi Movement, was addressing a table talk session on how to utilize schemes and projects of the government of India for minority development at Jeddah Indian Islahi Center-Sharafiyah recently. Prominent figures representing various sections of the Keralite society and media persons in Jeddah took part in the function, which was managed by a panel comprising Salah Karadan and Basheer Vallikkunnu.

Madavoor, who has recently been nominated as the coordinator of India’s Ministry of Minority Affairs to the southern state of Kerala, noted that the government of India allocated more than RS37 billion for minority welfare schemes in the current fiscal year’s budget. “Nearly half (15 billion rupees) of the last year’s budgetary allocations have been lapsed mainly because of inaction on the part of the beneficiaries in their proper utilization. Apparently, there is also no mechanism to know whether the funds are reaching the real beneficiaries or not,” he said.

Madavoor said that effective execution of these schemes will be instrumental in improving the social and economic conditions of Indian minorities, especially Muslims, in a considerable way. The schemes have been introduced on the basis of the recommendations of the Sachar Committee, which studied the social, economic and educational condition of Indian Muslims. The committee found that the status of Indian Muslims are below the conditions of Dalits and that the overall percentage of Muslims in bureaucracy is just 2.5 percent whereas Muslims constitute above 14 percent of the Indian population.

It recommended several schemes to improve living conditions and enhance educational opportunities besides curbing communal disharmony. "There are also several schemes and projects introduced under the Prime Minister’s 15-point program for the welfare of minorities, and Maulana Azad Education Foundation," he said. The academic noted that there are hundreds of thousands of students who deserve scholarships and financial assistance among the minority communities in India but they don’t know about such government schemes as well as the procedures to take advantage of them.

Similar is the case with the schemes and projects for the institutions run by minority communities.
Madavoor said that expatriate social, religious and political organizations shall shoulder the responsibility of introducing these schemes and projects to the minority community members at the grass root level so as to enable them to take maximum advantage of them. He also mooted the idea of social auditing of the scheme implementation through the active participation of voluntary workers from different minority communities.

Madavoor said he will monitor the effectiveness of implementing these schemes and will report to the ministry with suggestions and proposals to make it more effective as well as to narrow down the loopholes. The participants put forward several practical solutions to have optimum utilization of the schemes. They included ensuring active involvement of local religious bodies, appointing district-level coordinators and liaison officers, publishing periodic bulletins detailing various schemes and the procedures to take advantage of them, formation of a help desk, and measures to prevent the interference of brokers.