New Delhi, May 3 (UNI) After three months of winter, the newly-created Ministry of Minority Affairs now has work on its hands, minus minority education.
The Ministry, whose creation had been mired in controversy and confusion from the day it was formed with veteran Congressman A R Antulay as its first head, has been spelt out its functions for the first time.
Mr Antulay was allotted an office in the Shastri Bhavan last week after the creation of the Ministry on January 29.
Protection of minorities and their security will be a major thrust area for the Antulay Ministry, which will take initiatives in consultation with other central ministries and state governments.
All matter relating to minority communities will be within the purview of the Ministry, except law and order.
The Ministry will also deal with the questions relating to minority communities in the neighbouring countries as well as protection and preservation of non-Muslim shrines in Pakistan in consultation with the External Affairs Ministry.
The Ministry will handle overall policy, planning, coordination, evaluation and review of the regulatory and development programmes of the minority communities.
However, the sphere of minority education that was a bone of contention between Mr Antulay and Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, will remain with the latter.
The National Commission for Minorities now come under the purview of the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
The Ministry has also been given the mandate for employment opportunities for minorities in the central and state public sector undertakings as well as in the private sector.
Other areas coming under the Ministry are matters relating to the socio-economic, cultural and educational status of minorities and minority organisations including the Maulana Azad Education Foundation.
Besides, the matters relating to linguistic minorities and the Office of the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities will also be the concern of the Ministry.
The Ministry will also deal with matters relating to representation of the Anglo-Indian community in the country.
MORE UNI NAZ/FZ SC DB1102