New Delhi: For 2016-17, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has prioritized its focus areas in tune with the national priority for educational and economic empowerment through Skill Development. Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptulla said that almost 50% of the Budget would go to educational empowerment of minorities, which is the critical need for their development. Further, her ministry has made provisions to make the Maulana Azad National Fellowship demand-driven, subject to eligibility.
Heptullah was briefing journalists about the Budget allocation for her ministry here last evening. The minister said the Centre has again increased the budgetary outlay for the ministry from ₹ 3,712.78 crore in 2015-16 to ₹ 3,800 crore for 2016-17. The increase is of about ₹ 87 crore for 2016-17.
She said that in addition, the Centre also channels a minimum of 15% financial resources and physical targets from other flagship schemes of various ministries and departments under the Prime Minister‘s 15-point programme for welfare and development of minorities: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, National Rural Livelihood Mission, National Urban Livelihood Mission, National Rural Drinking Water Programme, Integrated Child Development Scheme etc. Under these schemes, the flow of funds would go beyond ₹ 10,000 crore for minorities. Moreover, under priority sector lending, the flow of funds for loans to minorities has reached to the level of ₹ 2,76,000 crore.
Heptullah said that the Union government was committed to the development of minorities in the country under the guiding principle of “sabka saath, sabka vikaas”. Her ministry has adopted a multi-pronged strategy for development of minority communities with focus on educational empowerment, economic empowerment, infrastructure development, fulfilling special needs and strengthening of minority institutions. The welfare and development schemes of the ministry focus on poor and deprived sections of the minorities.
During 2016-17, the Ministry aims at disbursing scholarships to about 90 lakh minority students through the National Scholarship Portal (NSP) in direct benefit transfer (DBT) mode in their respective bank accounts.
In conformity with the government’s priority for ‘Skill India’ and ‘Make in India’ initiatives, and to improve participation rate of minorities as workers in the economy, the outlay for skill development of minorities has been enhanced from ₹ 209.45 crore in 2015-16 to ₹ 385 crore for 2016-17, which includes an allocation of ₹ 155 crore to the new scheme of Nai Manzil, an integrated educational and livelihood initiative. For skill development, the ministry has started new programmes namely, USTTAD and Nai Manzil in 2015-16.
The ministry has also established a special purpose vehicle called Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS) in 2014-15 to address all skill development needs of minority communities and establish linkages with concessional credit to skill development to provide sustainable livelihood to minority communities with primary focus on self-employment and entrepreneurship. The skill development initiative for minorities “Seekho aur Kamao (Learn & Earn)”, has been strengthened and expanded. The ministry aims to train about 1,40,000 minority youths under these schemes in 2016-17.
The scheme Nai Manzil, which was launched on 8 August 2015, will benefit the minority youth who do not have a formal school leaving certificate — those in the category of school dropouts or educated in community education institutions like madrassas, with a view to enabling them to seek better employment in the organized sector and thus to equip them for better lives.
The scheme has been approved with the cost of ₹ 650 crore for 5 years. Half the funding will come from the World Bank, which has approved a sum of $50 million for the purpose. This is for the first time that the World Bank has come forward to support a programme for welfare of minority communities in India. For 2016-17, ₹ 155 crore has been allocated for the training of 25,000 minority youth under the scheme.
Another new ambitious initiative of the government, Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTTAD), was launched on 14 May 2015 at Varanasi. The scheme aims at capacity building and updating the traditional skills of master craftsmen and artisans. The scheme will also set standards for traditional skills. The trained master craftsmen and artisan will train the minority youths in various specific traditional arts and crafts.
The ministry has signed an MoU with e-commerce portal shopclues.com for facilitating market linkages of crafts. The ministry has engaged National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), National Institute of Design (NID) and Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) to work in various clusters for design intervention, product range development, packaging, exhibitions, fashion shows and publicity, tying up with e-marketing portals to enhance sales, and brand building.
In the period 2016-17, work will start in 32 clusters associated with traditional arts and crafts of minorities.
Further, about 30% of the Budget will go to the Jan Vikas Karyakram under the Multi-Sector Development Programme (MSDP) to meet the infrastructural requirements in minority concentration areas. It is an area development programme. It will be made more effective and focused on the targeted minorities, by analyzing the latest census data of 2011. The focus will shift from smaller projects to big projects in order to create infrastructure for students, working women, polytechnics, etc.
Another unique initiative of the present government, Hamari Dharohar, launched in 2014-15, will take up more programmes for preservation of rich heritage and culture of minorities.
In 2016-17, the minority women trained under women empowerment programme of Nai Roshni will be linked with skill development and entrepreneurship development programmes of the ministry, to make them economically empowered.
The National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) provides concessional loans for self-employment and income generating ventures for the socio-economic development of the ‘backward sections’ amongst the notified minorities.
For the first time in the history of NMDFC, the government has increased the authorized share capital of NMDFC by double — from ₹ 1,500 crore to ₹ 3,000 crore in 2015. Thereafter, the ministry contributed ₹ 150 crore to the equity of NMDFC and also earmarked ₹ 140 crore for 2016-17. This has helped NMDFC to leverage more funds to extend concessional loans for minority communities for self-employment.
The ministry is making its all efforts to introduce the Bill on eviction of unauthorized occupants from Waqf properties in Parliament during the Budget Session.
The subject of ‘Haj’ is being transferred from the Ministry of External Affairs to that of minority affairs.