Tiruchirapalli, May 19: Union Minister of State for Programme Implementation and Statistics G K Vasan said the Centre had earmarked Rs 540 crore for welfare measures for the minorities in 90 revenue districts in the country where their number was high.
Winding up the two-day annual conference of the Islamic Literary Society (ILS) here last night, Mr Vasan said for the first time in the country, the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre created a separate Ministry for Minorities' Welfare.
Presenting the ''Umarupulavar Award'' to noted poet Kavikko Abdul Rahman, he said the government doubled the provision for minority welfare to Rs 1,000 crore.
Besides, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a 15-point programme for the uplift of the minorities. The Centre had permitted starting 84 engineering colleges during the ensuing academic year in different parts of the country where minorities' concentration was more.
He said the DMK government in Tamil Nadu was equally interested in protecting the interest of the minorities in the state to whom it had provided exclusive reservation.
Briefing newsmen on resolutions, ILS Vice-President Aboo Bucker and General Secretary S M Hidayathullah said the meet appealed to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi to rectify the practical difficulties in implementing reservation for the Muslim minorities.
The conference also wanted the Tamil Nadu government to establish Ulemakkal (Muslim priests) Welfare Board.
The conference requested the Centre to implement recommendations of the Mishra Committee immediately, amend the Banking Act to enable establishing interest-free co-operative banks and ensure educational loans were given to all the eligible Muslim minorities.