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Indian Muslims responsible for their backwardness: Rahman Khan

Says more than 15 million students are given scholarships; community is immensely benefiting from govt. finance schemes

Sunday January 06, 2013 11:07:00 AM, & Agencies

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Malegaon: In total contrast to what he used to observe and repeatedly assert before becoming a minister couple of months back, K. Rahman Khan, Union Minister of Minority Affairs, while talking to a Saudi newspaper held Indian Muslims partially responsible for their backwardness.


“The community’s role in its own development is almost negligible. We can’t always be demanding; we should also be participative. That’s why our ministry is looking into involving minorities and creating private-public partnership schemes,” K. Rahman Khan told Saudi Gazette in an interview during a private visit to Saudi Arabia.

Khan said that Muslims don’t venture out, because they feel that they will not get jobs. To prove his point the minister gave the example of civil services exam taken by 400,000 candidates every year.


He said that not even 4,000 Muslims sit this exam. The fact, however, is that the percentage of successful Muslim candidates is higher than the general students attempting the civil services exam. Out of 700-800 successful candidates at least 40 are Muslims.


“Muslims have to find ways to empower themselves. They will be disappointed if they depend on the government to address all issues,” he said.

“Treat government as a facilitator, not as a provider. Participate actively with a positive attitude", he advised.

“The Sachar Committee also speaks about the role of the community itself in its own development,” the minister said, alluding to the commission set up in 2005 to submit a report on the social, economic and educational condition of Muslims in India.

He, however, admitted that there was a lack of proper monitoring.


“We are going to set up an independent monitoring mechanism to supervise some of the job creation schemes and achievements made in providing job opportunities,” he said.


Khan said that his ministry regularly monitors various sectors, which has resulted in the reduction of unemployment among minorities.


“In certain sectors like industry, Muslim employment was only three percent, but now on average the percentage has gone up to 6-6.5 percent", he said.


He said that his ministry is seriously thinking of giving financial assistance to minority students to attend coaching classes to help them qualify for civil services, IITs and other exams.

He said that since its establishment in 2006, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has initiated several programs based on the recommendations of the Justice Sachar Committee, which are in three areas: Education, economics and social backwardness.


“On the educational side, we have started a number of schemes, particularly the scholarship scheme. We have a number of educational institutes, but affordability is a problem. So we have provided scholarships to students of pre-matric (secondary) and post-matric (higher secondary) schools. This is a massive program where more than 15 million minority students are provided with scholarships,” the minister said.


“We have set up the Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) which formulates and implements educational schemes and plans for the benefit of educationally backward minorities through interest earned on its Corpus Fund", he said.

The Foundation provides more than 25,000 scholarships to female students in addition to the 15 million scholarships already being given to minority students.


Khan said that in the field of self-employment and support in the economic sector, the government has instructed banks to provide easy credit to the minority community for self-employment or businesses.


The National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) provides concessional finance for self-employment activities.


“In the social sector, we have identified 90 minority concentrated districts in the country. We have initiated the Multi-sectoral Development Program (MSDP) under which we set up hospitals, roads, schools, skill-development centers, and polytechnics in areas which lack these facilities", he said.

The minister said that the Waqf Act amendment bill is almost ready. It has already been introduced in parliament. As part of the waqf reform, the Central Waqf Council will now get supervisory powers.


Earlier the central government had no role to play in financial assistance, but now the central government will give financial assistance also to waqf boards.


“We are digitalizing waqf properties so information is easily available about them, their misuse, and their encroachment. We are going to implement stringent laws for those who misuse these properties. Now the onus of proving the legality of titles has shifted to the people who hold illegal title deeds. Now holding of property after the expiry of the lease will be a cognizable offense,” Khan said.


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