Dist officers unaware of minority schemes

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New Delhi, Jun 13 (UNI) Home Minister Shivraj Patil has asked the Ministry of Minority Affairs to look into the complaints about the district level officers being not aware of its various schemes meant for the socio-economic and educational uplift of the minorities.

Mr Patil acted on the letter of a member of the National Commission for Backward Classes, who recently visited various districts to get a first hand information of the state of implementation of the government schemes meant for the uplift of the backward classes, sources in the Commission told UNI.

The member found that most of the district magistrates were not aware of the various schemes like pre-matric and post-matric scholarship, free coaching and allied assistance schemes, merit-cum-means scholarship schemes among others.

The district administration also did not have the list of minority concentration areas, a vital requirement for launching targeted schemes, recommended by the high-level Sachar Committee appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to study the social, educational and economic backwardness of Muslims.

The member also found it very strange that Uttar Pradesh districts of Sultanpur, Santkabir Nagar, Azamgarh and Kanpur -- which had a sizeable Muslim population -- were not counted as minority concentration districts in the list prepared by the Minority Community.

Moreover, complete information about the Prime Minister's 15-point programme was also lacking in the district administration.

The allocation for the Ministry of Minority Affairs in the general budget was increased from Rs 500 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 1,000 crore in 2008-09. Apart from the schemes commenced in 2007-08, the following schemes and measures have been proposed to be implemented in 2008-09.

A multi-sectoral development plan for each of the 90-minority concentration to be drawn up at a cost of Rs 3,780 crore. The allocation in 2008-09 will be Rs 540 crore.

A pre-matric scholarship scheme with an allocation of Rs 80 crore next year.

A provision of Rs 45.45 crore has been made in 2008-09 for modernising Madrasa education.

Opening 256 branches of public sector banks by December 2007 in districts.

The member in his letter to the Home Minister had expressed concern that despite the doubling of allocation for the Ministry this year, schemes for minorities may not be properly implemented due to unawareness about them at the district level and apathy of the district officers.

Meanwhile, a Parliamentary panel has criticised the Ministry for not utilising funds in time, half-hearted implementation of welfare schemes and for failing to compile data on those living below the poverty line (BPL).

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justiceand Empowerment, which submitted its latest report to Parliament in the budget session, has noted with concern that the ministry had no data on BPL families of minority communities.

The committee rapped the Ministry for utilising only Rs 100.20 crore by February 25, 2008 in the fiscal 2007-08 against the actual allocation of Rs 500 crore. The ministry has received Rs 1000 crore as the plan outlay for 2008-09.

The ministry also drew flak from the committee over its free coaching and allied assistance schemes for minority students for failing to reach out to the targeted groups in good numbers.

UNI NAZ HS RAI1505

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