Ravi favours Centre-State efforts for minority welfare

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Kozhikode, Dec 1 (UNI) Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi today underlined the need for joint efforts by the Central and State Government for the uplift of minorities and downtrodden sections of the society.

Inaugurating a seminar organised by the Keala Nadvathul Mujahideen (KNM) here, he said in a federal setup all the governments, including state governments, had equal responsibility to ensure the welfare of minorities. But unfortunately no state, except Kerala, had initiated any step to achieve the goal, he claimed.

In Kerala, the previous United Democratic Front (UDF) took a lead by appointing a Commission to study minorities' problems in the state, he said.

He added the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre had taken many progressive steps, including formation of a separate ministry - Ministry of Minority Affair-- for looking into their welfare.

Admitting that the condition of minorities was worse in the country even after 60 years of independence, as pointed out in the Sachar Commission Report, he said the Centre had taken special initiatives to implement the recommendations.

He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced a 15-point programme to implement the recommendations of the Sachar panel.

As part of the initiative, the government had already allocated Rs 11,752 crore for rural development and educational programmes in the countryside.

The government had also granted another Rs 200 crore for Maulana Azad Education Foundation for supporting minority educational institutions.

Earlier, talking to newspersons, he said the government would allow travel permit to foreign airlines to operate services to and from Karippur International Airport here by April 2008. The Ministry of Civil Aviation was taking necessary steps in this regard.

Dr Singh had directed Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel to take urgent steps to resolve the problems faced by the passengers at the airport due to delay of flights to various destinations.

On the proposed Pravasi University in Kerala, he said the paper works for the project was nearing completion and hoped that it would be opened very soon.

UNI

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