In 2006, the former Prime Minister of India, Mahmohan Singh had said that minorities “must have the first claim on resources” and that Congress/ UPA would devise innovative plans for minorities, especially Muslims, in order to “empower them to share equitably the fruits of development.”[i] This is against the Forty-second Amendment of the Constitution of India, 1976 whereby the Preamble to the Constitution asserted that India is a secular nation, where all religions are to be treated equally under the eyes of law.
While India does not have an official state religion, in modern India the applicable code of law is unequal, and India’s personal laws – on matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, alimony – varies with an individual’s religion. Muslim Indians have Sharia-based Muslim Personal Law, while Hindus and others abide to a common law. Moreover, the state has no qualms in interfering in Hindu practices. It equally has no problems in liberally funding various minority schemes and their institutions. This practice of pandering to minorities is continuing even under the current so-called pro-Hindu government, and in fact many new schemes have been started.
In this IndiaFacts exclusive, we document the funding of various minority schemes by Central and State government based on available public records. Central and state government together spend hundreds of crores of rupees (of the tax-payer’s money) for the benefit of minorities. While we whole-heartedly support the development and progress of any economically backward community in terms of education, jobs and basic benefits, we do not agree to minority-pandering at the cost of majority community. This is nothing but State support for one religion while working to destroy another, and the very antithesis of a secular state.
Below is the list of schemes/ programs / initiatives undertaken by Ministry of Minority Affairs:[ii]
- Educational Empowerment
- Scholarship schemes:
- Pre-Matric Scholarship
- Post – Matric Scholarship
- Merit – cum – Means based Scholarship
- Coaching schemes
- Naya Savera – Free Coaching and Allied scheme
- Exclusive new component for meritorious students of Science stream
- ‘Nai Udaan’ – Support for students clearing Prelims conducted by UPSC, SSC, State Public Service Commissions, etc., for preparation of Mains Examination
- ‘Padho Pardesh’ – Interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas studies (v)
- Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF)
- Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF), which implements following two schemes
- Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship for meritorious girls belonging to minorities in class XI and XII
- Grant – in – Aid to NGOs
- Area / Infrastructure Development
- Multi – sectoral Development Programme (MsDP)
- Economic Empowerment
- Skill Development
- ’Seekho Aur Kamao’ (Learn & Earn) – Skill development initiative for minorities.
- Upgrading Skill and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development
- (USTTAD) (c) ‘Nai Manzil’ – A scheme to provide education and skill training to the youth from minority communities. Concessional loans to minorities through National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC)
- Women Empowerment
- ‘Nai Roshni’ – Scheme for Leadership Development of minority women
- Special Needs
- ‘Hamari Dharohar’ – To preserve rich heritage and culture of minorities
- Waqf Management through: (a) Central Waqf Council (b) National Waqf Development Corporation (N AWADCO)
- Haj Management
- Skill Development
- Scholarship schemes:
The development objective of the Nai Manzil is to provide education and Skills Training for Minorities. The project intends to improve completion of secondary education and market-driven skills training for targeted youth from minority communities. The project comprises of two components. The first component is results based financing for increased education attainment and market-driven training. The second component, technical assistance for implementation of the Nai Manzil scheme objective is to strengthen capacity of the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) for project implementation, planning, and policy development.[iii]
Total project cost is USD 100 mn or INR 650 Crores. Launched in December 2015, the scheme aims to benefit the minority youths in the age group of 17 to 35 years who are school-dropouts or educated in the community education institutions like Madarsas, by providing them an integrated input of formal education (up till Class VIII or X) and skill training along with certification, with a view of enabling them to seek better employment in the organized sector and equipping them with better lives. Minimum 30% seats are earmarked for minority girls. It includes a Non-residential programme of 9-12 months duration involving a Basic Bridge Programme (For Class VIII or Class X) for their education, along with training in trade based skills for sustained livelihood/gainful employment[iv].
For details about the scheme please read the policy document.
Maulana Azad Education Foundation Scholarship
The Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) has sanctioned scholarships to 48,000 girl students studying in Class XI for the academic year 2015-16, under Begum Hazrat Mahal National Scholarship for Meritorious girls belonging to minorities. Total Scholarship amounted to Rs. 57.60 crore. Out of this, 45,700 students have already received the first installment of scholarship.
Ministry of Minority Affairs is implementing the scheme Nai Udaan for support to Minority Students for preparation of Main Examination, who clear Prelims conducted by Union Public Service Commission, Staff Selection Commission, State Public Service Commissions. The objective of the Scheme is to provide financial support to the minority candidates clearing prelims conducted by Union Public Service Commission, Staff Selection Commission and State Public Service Commissions to adequately equip them to compete for appointment to Civil Services in the Union and the State Governments and to increase the representation of the minority in the Civil Services. Dr. Najma Heptulla, Hon’ble Union Minister of Minority Affairs launched Online Portal for Nai Udaan on 28th May, 2016 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi[v].
Entrance examinations include prelims examinations for recruitment to Group ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ services and other equivalent posts under the Central and State Governments. Under this scheme stipend of Rs. 1500 per month and Rs. 3000/- per month is provided to the local and outstation students respectively. [vi]
Nai Roshni – The Scheme or Leadership Development of Minority Women was started in 2012. The objective of the scheme is to empower and instill confidence among minority women, including their neighbours from other communities living in the same village/locality, by providing knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with Government systems, banks and other institutions at all levels[vii]. The effort would embolden minority women to move out of the confines of their home and community and assume leadership roles and assert their rights, collectively or individually, in accessing services, facilities, skills, and opportunities besides claiming their due share of development benefits of the Government for improving their lives and living conditions. “Nai Roshni” programme is run with the help of NGOs, Civil societies and Government Institutions all over the country. Rs. 14.13 Crore have been released and 69 thousand 150 women have been covered till 31st January 2017, Rs. 14.81 crore were released and 58 thousand 725 women were covered in 2015-16, while Rs. 13.78 Crore were released and 71 thousand 75 women were covered in 2014-16[viii].
The Ministry of Minority Affairs implements Free Coaching and Allied Scheme under which free coaching is given to the minority students through empanelled coaching institutions/ organizations for preparation of various entrance examinations including prelims examinations for recruitment to Group ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ services and other equivalent posts under the Central and State Governments including public sector undertakings, banks, insurance companies etc. Under the said scheme stipend of Rs. 1500 per month and Rs. 3000/- per month is provided to the local and outstation students respectively[ix]. Community –wise details of beneficiaries to whom financial assistance has been provided during the last three years and the current year are given below:
|S.No.||Community||2013-14||2014-15||2015-16||2016-17 (As on
Seekho aur Kamao
The scheme “Seekho aur Kamao (Learn and Earn)” is a placement linked skill development scheme, implemented by the Ministry of Minority Affairs through selected Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs) all over the country. The Government is encouraging the youth from the minority communities to take up employment based skills training and the Ministry has extended the scheme across the country. So far, the Ministry has sanctioned Rs. 460.10 crore to cover 2,17,454 number of minority youth under the scheme.[x]
Overall Performance of Central Minority Schemes[xi]
- During the last about 3 years, about 2 crore 42 lakh minority students have been provided various scholarships.
- In 2018, more than 1.5 crore students have applied for pre-matric, post-matric, merit-cum-means and other various scholarships given by the Ministry of Minority Affairs
- “Gharib Nawaz Skill Development Centres” have been established in 100 districts across the country where various courses related to job-oriented skill development are being provided
- Courses like “GST Facilitator” and “Sanitary Supervisor” are providing employment and employment opportunities to Minority youths in a large number
- In last about 3 years, schemes like “Hunar Haat”, “Seekho aur Kamao”, “Nai Manzil”, “Gharib Nawaz Skill Development Scheme”, and “Nai Roshni” have succeeded in providing employment and employment opportunities to more than 8.5 lakh people from minority communities
- In 2018 “Hunar Haat” has been successful in providing employment and employment opportunities to more than 3 lakh artisans and other people associated with them
- Participation of minorities in Central Government jobs, which was about 5 percent in 2014, has gone up to 10 percent in 2017
- In this year’s Civil Services exam, about 125 Minority youth have been selected, out of which 52 are from Muslim community
- Interest free loan to Muslims: Proposal of Interest free loan scheme of Rs 400 crores venture Capital Fund for the benefit of the Muslims including Bihari Muslims who are living in or out of Bihar, including NRIs who want to establish industries in Bihar can avail this interest free loan.
- Education Loan: Maximum loan of Rs. 250,000/- @ Rs. 50,000/- per year for professional and technical courses at a low rate of 3% simple interest per annum which is refundable in five years after completion of the course.
- Micro Financing Scheme: Loan @ interest of 3% per annum at a maximum of Rs. 25,000/- is provided to minorities to help them in starting small business / shops.
In 2017, Bihar government today enhanced aid to divorced Muslim women from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 with an objective to provide them employment. Additionally steps are being initiated for providing Rs 100 crore to Bihar State Minority Financial Corporation every year for providing employment to minority youths under chief minister minority employment loan scheme effective since 2012-13. Loan ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh was being given to unemployed minority youth at 5 percent interest rate. [xiii]
According to a report, Gujarat has no government department for religious minorities, nor is there any separate budget allocation for them.[xiv]
Himachal Pradesh Minorities Finance and Development Corporation provides the following financial benefits to minorities:[xv]
- Term loan scheme at 6% interest rate
- Educational loan at 3% interest rate
- Swavalambana Margin Money Loan Scheme[xvi]: 5% interest rate business loans
- Arivu Scheme[xvii]: Loans at very low interest rate for professional courses like Medical, Engineering, Dental, Master Degree Courses, Diploma Courses, Nursing, B.Ed, BBM, BCA, D.Ed, D-pharma, Pharma-D and ITI are provided financial assistance ranging from Rs.10,000/- to Rs.75,000/- per year till completion of the course
- Karnataka Christian Development Parishath[xviii]: Karnataka Christian Development Parishath was establised on 5.11.2011 for over all development of Christian Community.
- Shramashakti[xix]: Minority artisans will be financially assisted to improve their Artistic and Technical skill to carry on with their trade or for commencing, or developing small business and with a loan up to Rs.50,000/- (maximum) will be provided at lower rate of interest to improve their business. Out of this amount, 50% of the loan will be considered as back end subsidy to the beneficiary.
- Arivu -2:[xx] For Students of minority communities who have applied for CET, NEET
- Ganga Kalyan Scheme[xxi]: In this scheme, irrigation facility is provided to small and marginal farmers of Karnataka belonging to religious minority groups only
- Land Purchase Scheme[xxii]: Under this scheme, the Corporation will purchase the agricultural land and this will be given to the poor landless minority farmers in the rural areas.
- Christian Development Program[xxiii]: The Government of Karnataka has implemented numerous schemes for the development of Christian community such as:
- providing financial assistance for the Construction of Community Halls
- Repairs and Renovation of Churches
- Funds for providing basic necessities to Orphanages
- Old Age Homes
- Providing various Trainings under Skill Development Programmes
- Providing scholarships and incentives to Christian students.
- Bidaai (Shaadi Scheme)[xxiv]: Bidaai Scheme for financial assistance to the poor minority women/divorcees and widows belonging to Muslim, Christian, Jain, Buddhist and Parsi community of the state for their marriage purpose.
- Madrasa Scheme[xxv]: Providing drinking water, lavatories, class rooms, hostels, teaching and non teaching staff, tools & equipments required for computer education, library, laboratory and other facilities to Madrasas in Karnataka.
- CA/ICWA/CS Scholarship
- Housing Scheme for Divorced Women and Widows
- Career Guidance for Minority students
- Fee reimbursement for Private ITI students
- Drinking Water Scheme for Minority Concentrated Areas
- Joseph Mundassery Scholarship Award for Talented Minority Students
- Multi Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP)
- Kerala State Minority Development Financial Corporation (KSMDFC)
- Scholarship for Nursing Diploma /Paramedical courses
- Scholarship for 3 year Diploma courses
- Premarital counseling for Minority Youth
- Establishing a Minority Research Institute in affiliation with University of Calicut
- H.Muhammed Koya Scholarship/Hostel Stipend for Girls students
- Civil Service Fee Re-imbursement Scheme
- Cash Award for meritorious Urdu students for 10th level
- Term loan at low interest rate
- The State Government had sanctioned Entrepreneur Development Program training to 1000 Muslim Youth with a minimum loan assistance of Rs. 25000/- to each beneficiary after the completion of EDP training.
- Formation of Industrial Co-operative Societies for Muslim Youth: TAMCO loan assistance to 470 Muslim Youth for the formation of Industrial Co-operative Societies/starting of Self Ventures
- Microfinance loans to minorities at very low interest rate
- Mahila Samridhi Yojana Scheme in Tailoring, Knitting and Embroidery for minority women
In October 2017, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao cleared a series of sops for Muslims including easier loans and reservations[xxviii]:
- Loans up to Rs 2.50 lakh for youth with 100 per cent subsidy and without bank linkage for self-employment schemes
- 10 per cent quota in 2BHK scheme and quota in all welfare schemes for Muslims
- All entrance and recruitment exams to be held in Urdu apart from English and Telugu.
- Government recognition to the courses offered by Jamia Nizamia.
- Subsidy cum Loan Scheme: Subsidy portion enhanced and ranges from 50% to 80% and loan scheme from 1.00 Lakh to 10.00 Lakhs. This year allocation for this scheme is 150 Crores.
- Training and Employment: Minority Youth are given job oriented training and placement. Government arranges the Training through reputed Institutions and courses include Civil, Industrial, Electrical and Computer related courses. Allocation is 12.00 Crores.
Social Development Schemes[xxx]
- Shaadi Mubarak Scheme: For assisting the minority girls at the time of marriage. Since, 2nd October, 2014 more than 43747 Minority girls are sanctioned grant under this scheme amounting to more than 223.10 Crores.
- Preservation & Promotion of Urdu Language and Construction of Shaadikahans: Government of Telangana sanctions funds for the preservation & promotion of Urdu Language and culture and also construction of Shaadikhanas. Allocation is Rs.23.00 Crores.
- Assistance to Christian Minority Finance Corporation: 7.00 Crores for welfare of Christian Minorities. This grant is for construction/repairs/maintenance of Churches etc and Jerusalem Pilgrimage.
- Dawath-e-Iftaar and Christmas Feast: Through this Scheme Government arranges Dinner to poor Muslims and Christians at the time of their festivals and Distribution of 2.00 Lakh Clothes, Gift packets for Ramzan and Christmas respectively.
Scholarship Schemes Sponsored by State Government of U.P.[xxxi]
- Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme
- Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme & Fees Reimbursement Scheme for Minority Community
- Daughter’s Marriage Scheme for Minority
- Community Coaching Scheme for Minority Community
- Multi-sectoral Development Programme(MsDP)- Online Monitoring System
In West Bengal, Muslims are almost 30% of population, and in some districts like Malda they are in clear majority being well over 80%.
- Term Loan Scheme: West Bengal Minorities’ Development & Finance Corporation is providing the Term loan up to Rs. 5 lakh for persons belonging to the notified minority communities at 6%.
- Micro Finance Direct to SHGs: Small loans upto Rs. 50,000 per member of Self Help Group (SHGs) for income generating economic activities provided directly to SHGs at 7%
- Minority Women Empowerment Program: This program is launched by MA & ME Dept for providing soft loan to Minority women for undertaking any income generation activity. Subsidy @50% of loan amount, 3% interest
- Educational Loan: Maximum RS.30 lakh for pursuing professional courses like Medical, Engineering, Management, Nursing and Law etc. at 3%
It must be noted that an average general category Hindu can avail similar loans at almost 3x the rates at which Muslims are getting such facilities.
Minorities are as much a part of India as we are. But there are a few hard questions that need to be asked:
- Can a Muslim in Kashmir or Murshidabad district of West Bengal, which are Muslim majority areas, really be considered a minority?
- Should Muslims like Owaisi of Hyderabad who make open anti-Hindu statements or Kashmiri stone pelters/ separatist sympathizers who consider themselves non-Indian be the beneficiaries of minority schemes?
- Are minority scheme incentivizing conversion to Christianity or Islam?
Sikhs and Jains who have been classified as minorities have much higher incomes than Hindus. Yet they are beneficiaries of numerous schemes.
It is high time that our government adopts an economic scale and shuns religion and caste based reservations and schemes that further deepens social faultlines.
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