With elections in mind, UPA govt announces programmes for Muslims

By TwoCircles.net staff reporter,

New Delhi: In a typical Congress style, UPA government yesterday announced programmes and schemes for the welfare of minorities (read Muslims).

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Yesterday the UPA government approved a number of programmes that will help in the socio-economic development of minorities. These are in addition to Prime Minster’s 15-point programme. The programme includes scholarships, coaching, access to credit, and other ways to improve literacy and education.

With Lok Sabha elections a matter of months, the Congress will brag about the schemes but what about implementation of all previous schemes.

The details of the programme in govt. own words:

I. Prime Minister’s 15 point programme for the welfare of minorities

• Notable achievements in 2007-08

> ICDS: 83.50% of the targets fixed was achieved under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).

> SSA: More than 80% in construction of primary school, upper primary schools, additional classrooms, new upper primary schools and number of teachers sanctioned.

> KGBV: 69.97%

> Guidelines issued for improving representation of minorities in Government; encouraging trends in para-military forces.

> 5523 madarsas assisted for modernisation.

> 36.56% of project cost for BSUP and 20.75% of project cost for IHSDP approved for cities/towns with substantial minority population.

II. Exclusive schemes for development of minorities

• Three scholarship schemes approved for students belonging to the minority communities. All three schemes have 30% earmarked for girl students.

• Merit-cum-means based scholarship

> For technical and professional courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

> 20,000 new scholarships every year.

> Full re-imbursement of fees for 70 institutes listed in the scheme.

> Re-imbursement of course fee upto Rs.20,000 per annum for other institutes.

> Maintenance allowance of Rs.1000 for hostellers and Rs,500 for day-scholars for ten months in a year.

> 17182 scholarships sanctioned to 28 States/UTs for 2007-08; 29.09 % for girl students.

• Post-matric scholarship

> Class-XI up to PhD level; also includes technical and vocational courses of class XI and XII.

> Re-imbursement of admission/tuition fee per annum upto Rs. 7,000 for class XI and XII, upto Rs 10,000 for technical/vocational courses at class XI and XII level, and upto Rs.3,000 for undergraduate and post graduate courses.

> Maintenance allowance varying from Rs.235 to Rs.550 for hostellers and Rs. 140 to Rs.330 for day-scholar given.

> 15 lakh scholarships targeted for the Eleventh Five Year Plan.

> 55,771 scholarships sanctioned in 26 States/UTs for 2007-08; 57.01 % for girl students.

• Pre-matric scholarship

> From cfass-l to class-X

> Re-imbursement of admission fee up to Rs.500/- per annum and tuition fee up to Rs.350/- per month.

> Maintenance allowance at the rate of Rs.600/- per month from class VI to X for hostellers and Rs.100/- per month from class I to X for day-scholars.

> Scheme being implemented from 2008-09.

• Coaching and allied scheme

> Launched in July. 2007 and caters to the emerging trends of the job market.

> 60 cases sanctioned tor 4147 candidates/students.

• Special Development Initiatives In minority concentration districts (MCDs)

> Identified 90 minority concentration districts (MCDs) which are backward in basic amenities and socio-economic parameters.

> Baseline survey carried out to identify ‘development deficits’. 51 reports already received. All reports expected by end of July. 2008.

> Multi-sectoral development programme formulated for addressing the ‘development deficits in areas of education, sanitation, pucca housing, drinking water and electricity supply etc.

> Scheme being implemented from 2008-09.

• Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF)

> MAEF corpus Increased from Rs.100 crore to Rs.250 crore to enable K to expand its education development activities.

• National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC)

> As per direction of the Cabinet a Note on restructuring of the NMDFC has been sent for consideration of the Committee of Secretaries.

III. Measures to improve access to credit

> All public sector banks directed to open more branches in identified minority concentration districts. 523 branches opened till 31.3.2008.

> Reserve Bank of India (RBI) revised the Master Circular on priority sector lending on 5.7.2007. Public sector banks to step up lending to minorities from 9% to 15% over the next three years. Road map proposed by all 28 public sector banks.

> Revised master circular provides for setting up of a special cell to ensure smooth flow of credit to minorities.

> Restructuring of the NMDFC recommended by an expert group under consideration. Authorised share capital of the NMDFC increased from Rs.650 crore to Rs.750 crore.

IV. Measures to improve access to education

> Under SSA. States advised to give primacy to opening Girls Only Upper Primary Schools in minority concentration areas. 270 KGBVs sanctioned in blocks having more than 20% population of Muslims.

> Priority to be given to opening of secondary/senior secondary schools in areas of Muslim concentration. A scheme for universalizing secondary education being formulated.

> New Jan Shikshan Sansthans would be set up in all districts, with a substantial population of Muslims, not covered as yet with such Sansthans. Three JSSs sanctioned in minority concentration areas.

> Mid day meal programme extended to upper primary level in all 3479 educationally backward blocks.

> Seventy seven blocks, with a high concentration of Muslims identified for establishment of BITEs for teacher education. Scheme for setting up of BITES being modified.

> Provision of more girl’s hostels in colleges and universities in minority concentration districts proposed under the existing University Grants Commission (UGC) scheme. Proposed also to open new polytechnics with hostel facilities in MCDs.

> The madarsa modernization programme being revised to make it more attractive by providing better salary to teachers, increased assistance ‘for books, teaching aids, and computers, introduce vocational subjects, etc.

> UGC asked to work out modalities so that universities are encouraged to recognize madarsa qualifications.

> NCERT has prepared text books for all classes in the light of the NCF 2005.

> Requirement of Urdu teachers from the states being ascertained and sanctioned for Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

V. Initiatives for affirmative action and social inclusion

> Expert group constituted to study and recommend the structure and functions of an Equal Opportunity Commission. Report submitted by expert group on 13.3.2008. A Note for the Cabinet has been circulated for inter-ministerial consultation.

> Expert group constituted for evolving an appropriate Diversity Index to measure diversity in the areas of education, housing, and employment. Report submitted on 24th June, 2008.

> A National Data Bank, to compile data on the various socio­economic and basic amenities parameters for socio-economic religious communities, set up in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

> An autonomous Assessment & Monitoring Authority (AMA), to analyse data collected for talcing appropriate and corrective policy decisions, set up in the Planning Commission.

> Thirteen Universities provided Rs.40 lakhs each for starting centres for studying social exclusion and inclusive policy for minorities and SCs and STs.

> Instructions issued to training institutes to include in their induction and in-training courses a module on social inclusion to sensitise government employees.