NEW DELHI:The Congress party in Maharashtra might be accusing the BJP of creating a sense of fear among minorities, but the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre seems to be performing better than the previous UPA-II when it comes to spending funds allocated for the welfare of minorities.
Contrary to expectations, instead of disbanding the Ministry of Minority Affairs and programmes for the uplift of particular communities, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government has picked up an innovative leadership initiation programme for young Muslim women that was formulated during the UPA regime but was never implemented due “political-official” apathy allied with tardy file movement.
The 11th Five-Year Plan document states that “to tackle the double discrimination faced by Muslim women”, the government will implement a scheme to empower them and “place them at the forefront of making the government system at the grassroots responsive to the needs of the minority community”.
Though the scheme for leadership development of minority women, Nai Roshini, was launched with much fanfare by the UPA government in January 2010, the Ministry of Minority Affairs did not spent a single rupee till 2011 for its implementation, despite funds being earmarked in the Budget Estimates and Revised Estimates in 2009-10 and 2010-11.
After K Rehman Khan took over as Minister of Minority Affairs in October 2012 in the UPA government, 36,950 women benefited under Nai Roshni during 2012-13, with the ministry spending Rs 10 crore.
In stark comparison, Minister of Minority Affairs in the NDA government, Najma Heptullah, and her deputy Mukhar Abbas Naqvi facilitated the empowerment of 68,675 women at a cost of Rs 13.48 crore under the same scheme during 2014-15.
The Congress-led UPA government may have claimed to champion the cause of minorities, but the UPA’s progress card presents a different picture. According to a Parliamentary Standing Committee report, the ministry of Minority Affairs could not spend funds allocated for ongoing schemes and programmes and surrendered Rs 33.63 crore in 2008-09, Rs 31.50 crore in 2009-10 and Rs 587.70 crore in 2010-11.
In its report tabled in Parliament, the committee stated that it did not understand why funds were surrendered under schemes such as Multi-sectoral Development Programme for Minority Concentration Districts, Pre-matric scholarship Scheme, Merit-cum-means Scholarship Scheme, Post-matric Scholarship Scheme and computerisation of records of state Wakf Boards.
For digitising Wakf Board records, the UPA spent Rs 89 lakh during 2012-13 against the Revised Estimates of Rs 1.65 crore and Rs 2.98 crore against the Revised Estimate of Rs 3 crore in 2013-14. On the other hand, the NDA government spent the entire allocated amount of Rs 3 crore during 2014-15.
The UPA government did not spend a single rupee during 2012-13 towards strengthening state Wakf Boards. In 2013-14, it spent a meagre Rs 1.91 crore from the allocated Rs 7 crore. The NDA government spent Rs 3.95 crore against the revised estimate of Rs 4 crore during 2014-15.
To help students from madrasas, the NDA government has launched Nai Manzil, an integrated education and livelihood initiative. It aims to benefit minority youths who do not have a formal school leaving certificate, school dropouts and those educated in community education institutions like madrasas to enable them to seek better employment in the organised sector.
In its Budget for 2015-16, the NDA government has allocated Rs 3,712.78 crore to the Ministry of Minority Affairs. Unlike in the case of several other ministries, there was no reduction in the budget allocations to this ministry this year; instead, there was an increase.
what the UPA did
■ UPA’s Ministry of Minority Affairs did not spend allocated funds and surrendered Rs 33.63 crore in 2008-09, Rs 31.50 crore in 2009-10 and Rs 587.70 crore in 2010-11
■ After K Rehman Khan took over as minority affairs minister in 2012, 36,950 women benefited during 2012-13; his ministry spent Rs 10 crore
■ For digitising Wakf Board records, the UPA spent Rs 89 lakh during 2012-13 against the Revised Estimates of Rs 1.65 crore and Rs 2.98 crore against the Revised Estimates of Rs 3 crore in 2013-14
■ The UPA did not spend a single rupee on strengthening state Wakf Boards during 2012-13. In 2013-14, it spent just Rs 1.91 crore from the allocated Rs 7 crore.
what the NDA did
■ NDA’s Minister of Minority Affairs Najma Heptullah and her deputy Mukhar Abbas Naqvi facilitated the empowerment of 68,675 women at a cost of Rs 13.48 crore during 2014-15
■ The NDA spent the entire allocated amount of Rs 3 crore during 2014-15 for digitalising Wakf Board records
■ NDA spent Rs 3.95 crore out of the allocated Rs 4 crore during 2014-15 on state Wakf Boards
■ NDA’s Nai Manzil scheme will help minority youths get jobs
■ The NDA has allocated Rs 3,712.78 crore to the Ministry of Minority Affairs in its 2014-15 Budget