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Appalling conditions of Minorities Welfare Schemes in Maharashtra
An Assessment of Minority Welfare schemes on International Minority day
Wednesday December 18, 2013 1:47 PM, Rehan Ansari

18th December is Minority's Right Day in Maharashtra. Obliging with the United Nations "International Minority day", Minority Commission of Maharashtra issued a GR no.1752 in 2010. In order to strengthen the cause of the minorities, United Nations promulgated the Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or ethnic or Religious and Linguistic Minorities on 18th December 1992. It pronounces to protect and enhance their condition for the promotion of their identity.

After assessing the information gathered mainly through RTI, it is observed that most of the welfare schemes regarding Minorities in Maharashtra are not getting implemented. PM's 15 point Programme , implementation on Sachar Committee Report recommendations and all the schemes are in a disarray. The irony is that government spends more on publicity and advertising of its minority welfare schemes than actually spending on them.

Minorities Development Department was formed as a separate Administrative Department by the Government of Maharashtra in February 2008 with a view to implement the recommendations of the Sachar Committee Report as well as Prime Minister's New 15 Point Programme for Minorities.

The main objectives of the Department are to focus on inclusive growth and to attain justice & equality for all. But in an RTI reply about the statistics of welfare schemes, the applicant is asked to collect the information from District Collectors and other concerned ministries.

Even the website of the Minority Development Department does not have the statistics of expenditure; only the budgeted figures are mentioned. It says, "Since the inception of the Department, a steadily increasing budgetary provision has been made in order to implement developmental and welfare schemes for Minorities. Amounts of Rs.174.67 Cr., Rs.206.25 Cr., Rs.237.99 Cr., Rs.174.67 Cr., Rs.275 Cr. and Rs.275 Cr. have been budgeted for the year 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011–12 & 2012-13 respectively. Besides this an outlay of Rs.280.05 Cr. has been sanctioned for the financial year of 2013 -14."

The word "Under construction" welcomes you when you click the State Welfare schemes.

Besides Scholarship schemes of the central government and the Maulana Azad grant for infrastructural repair and up-gradation to the Minority schools and colleges, nothing is actually working. There are a lot of irregularities found even in the scholarship schemes.

The irony is that neither the Minority organization nor the newspapers are doing any investigation or asking questions about it. Except fora few individuals no one seems to be bothered. Lamenting upon the apathy, the Bombay High Court took a suo motto cognizance of the press report in an English newspaper regarding non availability of Uniform and attendance allowance to the minority students.

PM's 15 Point Programmes in Maharashtra
In 2012 and 2013, three RTIs regarding the implementation of PM's 15 point programme were filed but no information was available with the Minority Welfare Department.

Chief Minister/ Chief Secretary or Maharashtra Minister of Minority affairs preside over the meeting to plan and issue orders regarding the implementation of PM's 15 point programme. No status report or statistical information is available in the Ministry of Minority affairs, Maharashtra.

Sachar Committee Recommendation
Central Government, through its letters in 2007 and 2010 directed the State Government to implement the Sachar recommendations, form state and district level committees and report to the central government every six months.

But till October 2010 no meeting was held. The Chief Secretary had taken only one state level meeting on the 17th of November 2011 in which 14 issues are decided and time bound direction were given to the concerned department to implement. In an RTI reply dated 3rd October 2010 there is no status report available with the Minority Development Department.

It's highly appaling that the Minority Development Department sends all the RTIs regarding status reports to the District Collectors and other concerned departments. In return, these departments send it back to the Minority Development Department, specially the Home Ministry.

The Central Government, in its letter in 2007 and 2010 regarding the implementation of Sachar recommendation directed the Maharashtra Government to give preference to Muslim candidates in Police, Health and teaching departments.

In an RTI to the Police, Health department nothing was implemented and no report was sent to the central government.

Dr.Mahmoodur Rahman Committee Report
Dr. Mahmoodur Rahman Committee, formed in 2008 to study the socio economical condition of Muslims in Maharashtra, has submitted its findings to the Chief Minister of Mahrashtra, Prithviraj Chauhan in October 2013. It has presented a very dismal condition of the state and recommended 8% reservation to Muslims in government jobs.

It's high time that Shri Prithviraj Chauhan release the report and institute a plan regarding the implementation of its recommendation.

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