Demands & Suggestions for Development of Minorities in Maharashtra

By Aamir Edresy

The achievements for 15% targets under various National level schemes earmarked for minorities are not satisfactory in the State. Under enhancing opportunities for Education, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) schemes through Anganwadi Centres; improving access to school education through Sarva Shikshan Abhiyan (SSA), Quality Improvement of Madarsa Education, establishment of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBVs); Equitable share in economic activities and Employment for the poor like Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojna (SGSY), Sawarnjayanti Shahari Rojgar Yojna (SJSRY), Sampoorna Grameen Rojgar Yojna (SGRY); Upgradation of skills through technical training, like establishment of new ITIs ; Enhanced credit support for economic activities from banks; Improving the condition of living of minorities by providing equitable share in rural housing scheme, Indira Awaas Yojna (IAY); Improvement in conditions of slums inhabited by minority communities through Integrated Housing & Slum Development Program (IHSDP) and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

These are the national flagship programs with very huge budget e.g., for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) which is being implemented in partnership with States(60:40), Local Bodies and the community ; Rs. 13,100 crore were provided in 2008-09 for SSA. It’s 15% means Rs. 1965 crore must be utilized for minorities at national level and approximately Rs. 196 crore in Maharashtra exclusively under SSA benefiting minorities.

Special measures to improve access to credit has been directed by RBI. Public Sector banks have to set up lending to minorities from 9% to 15% during 2007-2010. Ministry of Minority Affairs claims the improvement in recruitment of minorities from 6.95 % in 2006-07 to 8.65% in 2007-08 in Central Ministries/Departments. State Government who is recruiting 55 thousand police staff during 2004-09, although minority representatives are included in the selection panels, but percentage of Muslims is hardly more than 2-3%. In MPSC appointments (2006-07) for class I/II posts, just three Muslims were appointed out of 416 selections.

Central Government sponsored Free Coaching and allied scheme for minorities is very poorly implemented in the Maharashtra State. In the years 2006-07 and 2007-08, no coaching centers from Maharashtra were approved, where as in 2008-09, five coaching centers have been selected to coach 980 minority candidates for MHT-CET, AIEEE, IIT, BPO, retail marketing, sales Mktg/Mgt programs. Rs. 1.16 crore were granted. All the centers approved are very infamous.

Most surprisingly only one institute named M/s Educare Pvt. Ltd. 317, Corporate Centre, Nirmal Life Style, LBS Road, Mulund (W), Mumbai has been granted Rs.86.035 lakh grant to coach 730 students for CA-CPT, MHT-CET, IIT, AIEEE, BPO, Retail Mgt, Sales Mktg. & Mgt. Now, results for these exams are declared, what is the performance of minority students who got coaching from this center is the matter of search.

Maharashtra State Government claims itself as the first State in the country to establish a separate department for minorities. Perhaps, it’s authorities didn’t know West Bengal has established Minority Welfare Department in 1996, A.P., U.P., M.P., Tamil Nadu States have separate departments for minority welfare since years back, even Bihar’s BJP Government has Minority Department. Moreover, State Government in its 100 important decisions in last four years, records that, “Alpasankhyankana Dilasa……!” what a mercy !

In Maharashtra, four districts Parbhani, Hingoli, Washim and Buldhana are identified by Central Government as Minority Concentrated Districts for Multisectoral Development Program during XI Plan (2007-12). But unfortunately no project/development program has been approved for these districts up to the end of March’ 2009, while Rs. 270.82 crore has been approved for 47 such districts of the other States. (Achievements of Ministry of Minority Affairs, Govt. of India uploaded on www.minorityaffairs.gov.in )

For over all development of minorities in the State, following are the suggestions/demands for effective implementation of existing welfare schemes and requirement of new schemes/projects.
1. A provision of Rs. 167.62 crore was made for the year 2008-2009 to implement various welfare schemes for minorities while Rs. 2,332 crore were allocated for Social Justice i.e. SC & ST's welfare. The State annual plan for 2009-10 has been fixed at Rs.26,000 crore which include Rs. 2,652 crore for social justice ( more than 10% of the total ) while just Rs. 210.31 crore for minorities ( less than 1% of the total ).

On one hand, Justice Sachar Committee's findings reveals that Muslims are far backward than SC & STs and Government claims implementation of Sachar Committee's recommendations, but on the other hand, for the welfare of minorities, State Government is allocating just 8-10 % of the funds allocated for SC & STs.

Is it the concerted action for the welfare of minorities involving them in the social development for inclusive growth?

Hence, the funds for development of minorities must be increased to Rs. 2600 crore at par with the funds for SC & STs. Even additional funds must be provided to fulfill their backlog.
2. The affirmative constitutional policy of reservation has successfully transformed the lives of SCs & STs and they are getting 100 % weightage for their population in education, services and development schemes.
Hence, it is strongly urged to adopt the time tested affirmative action of 15% reservation for minorities consisting of 10% for Muslims.
A constitutional Commission to study muslims social, economical, educational status in the state is to be urgently formed and official data from NSSO,NUEPA,HRD ministry, etc must be considered for declaring reservation to minorities as suggested by Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission.
3. Recently, in the budget presented on 4th June' 2009, State Government has announced an amount of Rs. 32 crore for scholarships to professional minority students. 36,800 scholarships for pre-matric minority students and 16,000 post matric scholarships by the Central Government for the year 2009-10.
It do not cater the needs of a large number of poor needy minority students. Hence, the number of scholarships must be increased upto ten times specially for pre-matric and post-matric students by considering the number of applications received in last year.
4. The application process for these scholarships must be simplified and it must be declared in June/July at the start of academic year. The pre-requirement of Declaration of religion, Income Certificate and A/c Number must be scrapped. These documents must be collected by selected students only.
5. Complete 100 % reimbursement of Tuition Fee for minority students must be declared at par with SC & STs.
6. Encouragement allowance to the parents whose wards are in class V to VII to improve their attendance in the schools must be increased from Rs. 2/- per day to Rs. 10/- per day.
7. Minority Schools and Junior Colleges must be provided the grants for computer lab, Science, Maths and language laboratories, libraries. The amount for infrastructure development must be increased from Rs. 2 lakh per school to Rs. 5 lakh.
8. Grants for development of minority dominated areas must also need to be increased at least to ten times of existing Rs. 18.85 crore ( 2008-09 )
9. Providing free uniforms, free bicycles to minority students must be increased by considering the requirement.
10. Job Oriented Training Programs for minority students with a budget of Rs. 4.66 crore is very insufficient. At least twenty times increase in the amount for this scheme is required. Andhra Pradesh Government's Jawahar Knowledge Centre's Model can be helpful for our State. In Andhra Pradesh 1.70 lakh students got jobs through those centers in aviation, Railways, Defence, Banking, Finance, Insurance, Transport, Automobile, Petroleum, Dairy, Food Processing, Construction, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Sectors.
11. As declared by former C.M., on August 18, 2008, proposed 16 Residential Schools across the State, 10 Girls Hostels for Minorities must be established and started immediately.
12. State Government is planning to establish 21 Model Schools for Tribal Community Students in 2009-10, in the same way at least 30 Model Schools (Residential Schools, proposed by MHRD, Govt. of India) must be established exclusively for minorities.
13. Urdu Libraries and Computer Training Centres must be established by the State Government in each Minority dominated Taluka/ Municipality and Corporation.
14. The budget of Urdu Academy must be increased from Rs. 50 lakh to 50 crore.
Study material in Urdu for IV, VII, National Means Cum Merit Scholarships for VIII, Maharashtra Talent Search Scholarship Exams, clerical grade, competitive exams, MHT-CET, AIEEE, IIT exams must be developed and published by the State Urdu Academy.
The proposed single Text Books at Junior College for Arts, Science and Commerce students must be translated in Urdu and published by the State Urdu Academy. Best Urdu Schools at District level, Divisional Board level and State level must be provided with special grants.
Construction of Urdu Ghar, Urdu literary centers, Urdu Mela, such activities for promotion of Urdu language must be organized.
Urdu must be declared as second official language of Maharashtra and all competitive exams like MPSC, clerical grade, for police recruitment must be conducted in Urdu.
All the vacancies in Urdu Medium Z.P. High Schools, Corporations, Municipalities must be filled up in the time bound manner. SSA must be implemented effectively for minorities by including all Urdu medium primary schools and madarsas.
All the non granted Urdu medium schools and Junior colleges must be considered for releasing the grants on priority basis.
15. Boys and Girls separate Hostels must be established for minorities at each University place of Maharashtra ( at 15-16 places ).
16. At least 20 Marathi Medium, 20 English Medium and 5 Military Schools on grant-in-aid basis must be approved by the State Government as Residential / Day-Boarding Schools under Public Private Partnership Scheme.
17. At least 20 new ITIs in Urdu Medium must be recognised on grant-in-Aid basis. And at least 20 Second shift ITIs in Urdu/Marathi medium must be started in Govt/ Aided ITIs exclusively for minorities.
18. At least 10 new polytechnics in Urdu Medium (with affiliation from Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad) and 10 new polytechnics in English Medium must be started by the State Government for minorities.
These can be started as Second Shift Polytechnics using same infrastructure of Govt/Semi Government Polytechnics as suggested by National Knowledge Commission and A.I.C.T.E.
19. 20 D.Ed., 10 B.Ed and 5 M.Ed. colleges in Urdu medium must be started on Grant-in-aid basis at those places where Urdu medium colleges are not existing.
20. At least 20 new Engineering colleges, 10 new Pharmacy, 4 Medical (M.B.B.S.), 10 Management, 5 Hotel Management institutes must be started/recognised by the State Government in Second Shift exclusively for minorities or Independent Institutes under Public Private Partnership (PPP) as suggested by Planning Commission.
21. To increase the present gross enrolment ratio of Muslims in Higher Education from 8.27% to Hindu's 24.28% and Christian's 25.19%, new Degree colleges, Evening Colleges, Girls Colleges for Muslims must be started on grant-in-aid basis.
Minority Educational Managements / Trusts must be encouraged to establish Higher Educational / Research Institutes, Private Universities and Professional Colleges. Other barriers such as land requirement, built up space, fixed deposit are needed to be lowered to realistic levels in order to facilitate the opening of new colleges by Muslim Managements.
22. State Government must provide land to the proposed campus of Aligarh Muslim University at Pune and Maulana Azad National Urdu University at Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nanded, Amravati.
23. Madarsa pass outs must be admitted in formal Degree programs of State Universities at par with equivalence given by Delhi University, Aligarh Muslim University.
24. State Government must sponsor at least 200 minority candidates to study abroad as it awards scholarships to SC/STs for same purpose.
25. State Government must conduct Pilot Training Program, Hotel Management and Catering Technology courses for Minority students with full sponsorship as it has conducted for SC/STs.
26. Competitive Examination Coaching Centres for Minority students must be started in each district (instead of divisional level) where minority students must be coached for Banking Services, Railway Services, Defence Services, MPSC, UPSC, NET/SET exams.
27. Separate batches for minority students must be run at the State Government's well known reputed SIAC, Mumbai, Nagpur, Aurangabad and Kolhapur ; YASHDA's Dr. Ambedkar Competitive Exam Coaching Centre, Pune and Chintamanrao Deshmukh Institute, Thane Corporation for competitive exam preparation.
28. Talent Minority Students must be identified at their graduation first year level by conducting State level Scholarship Exam and they must be selected for guidance purpose, so that desired results / selections in MPSC/UPSC could be achieved.
29. Exclusive separate batches for minority students must be conducted at State Government's Defence/Military Services Pre-exam Coaching Institute, Aurangabad so that Muslim's ratio in Police and Defence/Military can be improved.
30. Presently State Minority Commission runs 3 schemes (2008-09) ;
(1) Civil Services Pre-Exam Coaching Centre, at Divisional level.
(2) Police Recruitment Pre-Exam Training Scheme at 25 Districts.
(3) Marathi Foundation Classes at Urdu Medium High Schools.
These schemes are non-productive, non-benfitting to the minorities due to their poor implementation and lack of funds. They must be brought under direct control of Ministry of Minority Welfare, Government of Maharashtra.
31. Secondly, under Central Government Sponsored Free Coaching & Allied Scheme, very unknown private coaching centers are being sponsored which do not produce any remarkable results. Therefore, those private renowned coaching institutes which have very good results in IIT, IIM's CAT, AIEEE, MHT-CET,GRE, GMAT, UPSC, MPSC, CA, ICWA, CFA exams must be selected, or minority students studying in well reputed institutes must be awarded the coaching fee and scholarships.
32. Minority students studying job oriented P.G. Diplomas in Finance/ Business Management, Retail Management, Bio-informatics, Chem-informatics, Bio-technology, Animation, etc. from private institutes must be granted with complete tuition fees and scholarships.
33. State Government has taken a decision to construct 5 lakh tenements in metropolitan region to provide temporary shelter to poor and needy people of the city on leave and license basis. Among which 75 thousand tenements must be constructed for minorities.
34. In Maharashtra, where 1.14 lakh units have been completed at the end of March 2009 during 2008-2009 and 44,811 units were in progress under Indira Awas Yojna (IAY) of which 15% must be for minorities means number of beneficiaries belonging to minorities must be 17,100 for completed units and 6,721 for units in progress. An expenditure of Rs. 480.93 crore has been incurred upto March 2009, of which Rs. 72.13 crore must be utilized for minorities.
Under this scheme target for the year 2009-10 is constructions of 2,24,323 dwelling units. An out lay of Rs. 216.62 crore has been proposed for this purpose. Hence 33,648 units must be targeted for minorities in Maharashtra.
35. Under JNNURM, started by Central Government, till now 85 projects amounting to Rs 12,204 crore have been approved for the State of Maharashtra. Out of this Rs. 2,016 crore have been released by Central Government to the State Government. From this amount, the projects of 315.9 crores must be benefiting to minorities ( 15% target ).
36. The State Government has decided to waive off Khavti loan of 9,65,265 Tribal families, amounting to Rs. 184.41 crore during current year 2009-10. Further State Government has also waived off loans of other State Finance Corporations like Mahatma Phule Arthik Vikas Maha Mandal, but it didn't waived off the loans of Maulana Azad Alpsankhyank Arthik Vikas Mahamandal which has released just Rs. 34.04 crore as loans to 16,056 beneficiaries.
Hence, it is strongly demanded to waive off loans given to minorities as it has been done for beneficiaries of other State Finance Corporations.

For effective time bound implementation of minority welfare schemes, following are the suggestions to be worked out at State level and local level by the Government and Non-Government Organizations.
1. Administrative set up of District Minority Welfare Officer, at each district Head Quarter is essential at par with District Social Welfare Officer by the State Government. (A.P. and U.P. model can be referred in this regard)
2. For empowerment of Minorities, a State level “Minorities Welfare Action Committee” must be constituted.
3. For mass awareness of the schemes up to root level, programs must be organized at each taluqa/minority populated areas.
4. In depth study of implementation of each and every scheme, practical difficulties observed during its implementation, number of deserved applicants, all such aspects must be considered to review the existing schemes to cater the needs of a large number of minorities.

(Aamir Edresy could be reached at aamir.edresy@gmail.com)

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