The Narendra Modi government is likely to scrap the UPA government-made Ministry of Minority Affairs and merge it with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, several media reports based on a report by Deccan Herald suggest.
The ministry that is effectively about keeping Muslims in good humour — despite technically catering to smaller religious minorities as well — was established in 2006. “The BJP-led NDA government is of the view that there is no need for an independent ministry for minority affairs. It believes the ministry was created as part of UPA’s appeasement policy. Now, the Modi government wants to bring it back under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment as the ‘Department of Minority Affairs,” sources said.
The Ministry of Minority Affairs is the apex body for the union government’s regulatory and developmental programmes for the non-Hindu religious communities and minority linguistic communities in India, which include Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains notified as minority religious communities in The Gazette of India under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani is presently holding additional charge of the Ministry of Minority Affairs after Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi resigned in July on expiry of his Rajya Sabha term.
The resignation of Naqvi had left India’s ruling party with no Muslim parliamentarian for the first time in its history. Naqvi was the only Muslim minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that boasts of nearly 400 MPs.
Government denies plan to scrap Ministry of Minority Affairs
The union government has refuted the Deccan Herald report that said it may scrap the Ministry of Minority Affairs, which was established by the UPA government in 2006. Through a 'fact check' by the Press Information Bureau, the government said that there was no proposal under consideration to scrap the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
However, the Deccan Herald story was based on its sources, namely bureaucrats, which implies that talks of reducing the status of the said ministry to that of a department under the Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment must have done the rounds of power corridors.