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An assessment of UPA through a Minority Budgeting Lens


Wednesday, December 23, 2009 08:13:31 PM, Dr. M.A. Baseer,

Muslims in India constitute 14% of the Indian population

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This article evaluates the United Progressive Alliance Government's budgets over the past three years through the lens of minorities – both from reviewing the minority budgeting statements in Union Budgets since 2007-08 and assessing the allocations to major programmes and schemes across various sectors that affect minorities.  First, although the minority budgeting statements still suffer from flaws in methodology, it is clear that minorities are accorded low priority in government spending on development.  Second, the creation of an independent Ministry of Minority Affairs has not resulted in any significant change in priorities for minorities.  Third, a whopping difference in allocations for schemes meant for minorities and SCs, STs in the Union Budgets puts a big question mark on how serious the UPA is in its stated commitment to minorities' empowerment.


Since budgets reflect government's priorities, it is pertinent to ask where minorities featured in the priorities of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.  And as the UPA begins another term, it is important that they consolidate their gains and at the same time do not repeat their mistakes.


One of the six core principles of governance laid down in the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) was, “to provide for full equality of opportunity, particularly in education and employment for scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled tribes (STs), OBCs and religious minorities".  Further, main objective of XI Plan is "Faster and more Inclusive Growth". While inclusive growth demands that all social groups have equal access to the services provided by the State, how far did the budgets of the UPA reflect this basic principle is the important question one has to ask.  This paper focuses only on the story told by the previous Union Budgets presented by the UPA government in its last term, their achievements and the recent Union Budget of 2009-10.


I) Budget allocation

To implement various programmes/Schemes, the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) has allocated Rs. 7,000 Cr. for the    Eleventh Plan (2007-12).  An outlay for the Ministry of Minority Affairs is 0.32% of the total XI Plan outlay of Central Government.  It has been observed that, for the last two years, budget allocations for MOMA are revised down and spent less.


In 2007-08, Budget estimate was Rs.500 cr, revised estimate was Rs.350 cr while actual expended amount is Rs.196.65 cr only (39.33% utilization).


In 2008-09, Budget estimate was Rs.1000 cr, revised estimate was Rs.650 cr. Actual expended amount is Rs.618.62 cr. (61.86 % utilization of budget estimate).


Hence, it is strongly urged to utilise 100% amount of the plan budget Rs.1750 cr for current year 2009-10 for the welfare of minorities. How insufficient are these budgetary provisions for MoMA, catering the needs of just less than 5% of deserving far backward minorities, can be revealed by comparing with the budgetary provisions for SCs & STs.


In 2007-08, Budget estimate was Rs.2001cr, revised estimate was Rs.2200 cr for SCs, STs.


In 2008-09, Budget estimate was Rs. 2400 cr, revised estimate was Rs. 2400 cr for SCs, STs and 98.4% of the amount allocated was utilised.


In 2009-10, Budget estimate is Rs.2500 cr for SCs & STs.


Apart from these budgetary provision, there are several schemes with 100% provisions for SCs, STs & in some of the schemes, at least 20% of the allocations are earmarked for SCs, STs, under which, in 2008-09, the budget estimate was Rs.23140.68 cr while revised estimate was Rs.25015.02 cr. In the year 2009-10, the budget estimate for various central sponsored schemes benefiting SCs, STs is Rs.27617.79 cr.


To eradiate the backwardness among minorities and achieve the target of a developed nation, additional funding provisions for welfare of minorities at par with SCs, STs is the need of the hour.


Hence, it is strongly demanded that, 15% of the allocation must be earmarked for minorities under all the National Flagship Development Programmes and all central/state level welfare schemes at par with SCs, STs budgetary provisions.

II) Scholarship Schemes: Achievements of the Targets



XI Plan (2007-12)




(No./Amt. in Cr.)

Sanctioned (No./Amt. in Cr.)


Merit –cum-Means Scholarship Scheme


20,000 (54 Cr.)

17,258 (40.9 Cr.)



35,000 (124.9 Cr.)

26,195 (63.93 Cr.)




20,000 (100 Cr.)




XI Plan

(600 Cr.)








Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme


1 lakh (90 Cr.)

57,112 (21.89 Cr.)



1.75 lakh (99.9 Cr.)

1.51 lakh (70.63 Cr.)




7 lakh (150 Cr.)




XI Plan

15 lakh (1150 Cr.)








Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme


-- (72 Cr.)

Not implemented



6 lakh (79.9 Cr.)

5.13 lakh (62.2 Cr.)




22 lakh (200 Cr.)




XI Plan

25 lakh (1400 Cr.)



1) Merit-cum-Means Scholarship Scheme:

FINDINGS :  Under Merit-cum-Means Scholarship Scheme, just Rs. 105 Cr. are utilised in 2007-08, 2008-09 while in 2009-10, Rs. 100 Cr. are targeted then an amount of Rs. 400 Cr. is to be expended in remaining 2 years of XI Plan.



a) Number of Scholarships must be increased from present target of just 20,000 to all the eligible minority students studying professional courses at par with SCs/STs.

b) 100% reimbursement of Tuition Fee for just 70 Premier Institutes is injustice with minorities. It must be at par with SCs, STs who avail 100% Fee reimbursement in all Government, Non-government aided as well as un-aided professional courses.

c) Reimbursement of an amount up to just Rs.20, 000/- against Tuition Fee to minorities is injustice with them while SCs, STs avail total 100% Fee reimbursement and OBCs, EBCs avail upto 50% Fee reimbursement in professional courses (granted as well as non-granted). e.g. for a Professional Course of tuition fee Rs.90,000/- p.a., a minority candidate is being reimbursed by Rs.20,000/- only while SCs, STs get 100% Fee reimbursement and an OBC or EBC candidate get 50% Fee reimbursement benefit (Rs.45,000/-). Hence, a minority candidate is being marginalised by govt’s discriminatory policy.

Total fee charged by Govt. as well as Private un-aided institutions in higher technical and professional education must be reimbursed for minorities. 

d) Further, Parents’ Annual income of Rs.2.5 lakh p.a. must be increased to Rs.4.5 lakh p.a. as being the eligibility criteria for SCs, STs & OBCs in Central & State govt. Scholarship Schemes.

e) Last date of submission of Scholarship forms must be extended up to November end till all the rounds of centralised admission process for professional courses get completed. This year, after deadline, upto October 2009, Nineteen States were yet to submit their Scholarship application details to centre.

f) Since, admissions in each professional course are through the Entrance Score, therefore, criteria of merit for awarding the Scholarship must be the Entrance Score and not the Score of Board exam.

g) Pre-requirement of Declaration of religion, Income Certificate, Residence Proof, Domicile Certificate, Bank A/c must be scrapped. Application Form must be simplified. The required documents must be collected by the selected candidates only.

h) On-line submission of Application from for Scholarship for professional students can be implemented for rapid and error free processing.  


2) Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme:

FINDINGS : In two years 2007-08, 2008-09 just Rs. 92.52 Cr. are utilised, while Rs. 150 Cr. are targeted during current year 2009-10, then a huge amount of XI Plan outlay i.e. Rs. 900 Cr. remain to be expended only in 2010-11 and 2011-12 under this scheme.



a) Number of Scholarships must be increased from present target. All the eligible minority candidates must be awarded by the Scholarships to increase their Gross Enrolment Ratio in Higher Education from present 7.7 % to targeted 15 %.

b) 100% fee reimbursement in all undergraduate and post-graduate courses (aided as well as un-aided), research fields must be awarded at par with SCs & STs.


It can be learned by studying the budgetary provision for SCs, STs under Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme in 2008-09, it was Rs. 731 Cr. & in 2009-10 it is Rs.735 Cr., while minorities with almost same population are being provided with less than its 15 %.


Continued education through higher secondary and degree stages must be ensured.


Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme must be revised by enhancing the income ceiling for eligibility at par with SCs & STs and rate of scholarship, maintenance allowance.


Minority students should have the opportunity to study in quality institutions, institutes of National importance, for which financial assistance must be extended. 


3) Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme:

FINDINGS :  Only an amount of Rs. 62.2 Cr. are expended in 2008-09  and Rs. 200 Cr. are targeted in 2009-10, then a huge amount of Rs. 1137.8 Cr. remain to be expended under this scheme upto 2012.



a) Number of Scholarships must be increased & all the eligible minority candidates must be awarded by the Scholarships to decrease their drop-outs from the schools. (as SCs, STs are benefited).

b) 100% Fee reimbursement to those studying in un-aided Schools must be provided as guaranteed under RTE Act 2009.

c) Scheme must be revised by enhancing the income ceiling for eligibility at par with SCs & STs and rate of scholarship, maintenance allowance.

d) The pre-requirement of Income Certificate, Religion Declaration, Domicile Certificate, Bank A/c number must be scrapped. Those must be collected from selected candidates only, e.g. last year in 2008-09, nearly 1 lakh applications were received and Scholarships were awarded to only 1859 candidates in Nanded district. Similar was the condition in other district of Maharashtra.

e) Minority students should have the opportunity to study in quality institutions as that of SCs & STs.  To enable this, financial assistance need to be extended.


III) Free Coaching and Allied Scheme

In XI Plan (2007-12), Rs.45 Cr. are provided for coaching to 20,000 minority candidates. Out of which, during 2007-08, Rs.5.74 Cr. are expended for 4,147 candidates against targeted budget of Rs.10 Cr. In 2008-09, Rs.7.4 Cr. are expended for 5,522 candidates against targeted budget of Rs.10 Cr. This year, in 2009-10, Rs.12 Cr. are allocated. When this amount is compared with coaching and allied Scheme for only ST students, Ministry of Tribal Affairs has provided Rs.33 Cr. in 2008-09 and Rs.42.75 Cr. in 2009-10, just for 7% of ST population!


It has been observed that, Free Coaching and Allied Scheme is being implemented through non-famous, ordinary, professionally non-reputed coaching centres having no proven results in respective fields. Institutes with minimum 15% success rate are eligible for grant.  It means that, when 20,000 candidates will be coached from such third grade centres, then in five years, hardly 3000 candidates could succeed in respective Entrance / Competitive Exams. What a joke...!


This Scheme needs to be completely revised and modified with enhanced targets and goals in specific fields like IIT/IIMs, Civil Services etc. e.g. up to 2012, 15% admissions of minorities in IIT/IIMs, CBSE-PMT, other state entrance exams for professional courses must be ensured. 15% selections of minorities in UPSCs, state civil services, Defence Services, Railway Services, Bank Services etc. must be targeted.


To achieve it, country’s top result oriented coaching institutes of IIT like Bansal’s, Kota; Career Point, Kota; Ramanujan Institute of Maths, Patna; Super-30, Patna; Rahmani-30, Patna; Ramayya’s, Hyderabad; FIIT-JEE, such institutes must be enlisted for 100% fee reimbursement to minorities. That institutes should be convinced to run special coaching/remedial batches for minority candidates with full sponsorship from the government.


Likewise, for IIM’s CAT and country’s other top management entrance tests, best coaching centres must be identified, and minority candidates must be awarded Full Fee Waiver Scheme to study from that centres only.


To encourage minority students to prepare for various entrance/competitive examinations, the existing scheme for coaching for minorities needed to be modified to cover fees charged by reputed coaching institutes and it must attract good professionally reputed coaching institutes.


In previous three years, among the selected institutes, no one provides the coaching for GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, ILTES, CFA, ICWA, GATE, NET-JRF exam, therefore, such facility must be provided through renowned coaching / guidance centres for minorities.


In the present days, private sector fields like IT, IT-related services, Hospitality, Tours & Travels, Food Processing, Retail & Sales Marketing, Biotech, Bio-Informatics, Clinical Research etc. provide huge employment. For admissions in the institutes running these courses, no coaching is being provided by the MoMA. Institutes providing guidance, coaching in these areas/sectors must be enlisted for 100% fee reimbursement to minority students.


It is also observed that, no remedial coaching to professional students of minorities is being provided under this Scheme, although it is desired in the scheme.


Coaching for NET-SET-JRF/GATE is also not available at any centre.


For Civil Services Exams coaching, no professionally reputed coaching centre is selected.


Although, it is being started at JMI, AMU and MANUU from this year, it will not be a fruitful exercise as in case of Hamdard Study Circle. It will be more beneficial if special batches of minorities are conducted at Rao’s Study Circle or any premier institute’s professional expertise is made available exclusively to the minorities.


For improving the educational standard and performance of minority students in Competitive Exams, talent, needy students must be identified well in advance at their high school, junior college, degree college level by conducting State and National level Talent Search Exam exclusively for minorities like NTSE. 


For nourishing their talents in science & research, they must be involved in summer Schools, vacational camps at National Science Institutes, Research Centres. They must be assigned activities throughout their school, junior and senior college level under the guidance of expert mentors like Kishor Vaigyanik Scheme.


For upbringing their competitive spirit, minority students must be coached for school level Scholarship Exams, National Means Cum Merit Scholarship Exam (at VIII level), NTSE, Maths/Science Olympiad, Railway Recruitment Board & Bank Recruitment Exams at district head quarters.


Foundations/Bridge Course for UPSCs/State Civil Services are needed to be designed and such programmes must also be sponsored by MoMA.


Presently, no institute provide the coaching in Urdu medium, required number of coaching centres having expertise in Urdu medium coaching for competitive exams and entrance exams must be selected since forthcoming Railway Recruitment Exams will be conducted in Urdu & other regional languages while different States and National level Entrance Exams for Engineering and Medicine are already being conducted in regional languages and Urdu.


IV) National Fellowships for Minorities

It is declared during current year 2009-10 with a provision of Rs.15 Cr. to grant the fellowships to minority candidates pursuing research M.Phil./Ph.D.


SCs & STs avail Rajiv Gandhi Fellowships for doing M.Phil./Ph.D. for which a budget of Rs.75 Cr. was made available during 2008-09 & Rs.79 Cr. are allocated for this year 2009-10. If it is compared with STs only, Rs.29 Cr. were allotted in 2008-09 & Rs.42 Cr. are allotted in 2009-10 for doing M.Phil./Ph.D.


Hence, it is strongly urged that, this Fellowship Scheme must be implemented immediately with increased budget at par with SCs & STs catering at least 3000 minority students each year for M.Phil and Ph.D.


National Overseas Scholarship Scheme for minorities must also be formulated similar to those for SCs & STs so that minority students can also go abroad for better, advanced educational and professional courses and research which are generally not available in the country.   


V) Maulana Azad Education Foundation

An outlay of Rs. 500 Cr. provided in XI Plan for enhancement of its corpus fund to Rs. 700 Cr.  Only Rs. 110 Cr. are released during 2007-08 and 2008-09.  A budget provision of Rs. 115 Cr. has been made in 2009-10. 


Scholarships for minority girl students awarded in 2007-08 are 4,011 and 2008-09 it is 12,064.


Grant-in-aid sanctioned to institutes in 2007-08 to 51 institutes is         Rs. 6.59 Cr. and in 2008-09, it is Rs. 24.51 Cr. released to 176 minority institutes.


This much amount being disbursed is very negligible, insufficient in terms of its requirement in order to strengthen the existing minority institutes.


Hence, the Corpus Fund of MAEF needs to be increased at least to Rs.2, 000 Cr.


VI) National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) An outlay of Rs. 500 Cr. is provided during XI Plan.  It provides term loans and implements Micro Financing Scheme with special focus on Women Self Help Groups.  In 2007-08, 47733 persons get benefited by an amount of Rs. 144.12 Cr.  In 2008-09, 51198 persons got the benefit with an amount of Rs. 130.72 Cr.  This year, in 2009-10 a budget of 125 Cr. as contribution to Equity of NMDFC is provided.


MoMA has identified 338 towns across the country having minority concentration.  P.M’s 15 Point Programme envisages enhanced credit support for minorities for economic activities through NMDFC.  NMDFC has launched Minority Cluster Development Scheme in just 40 towns during 2008-09, out of the 338 identified towns with allocation of just Rs. 1.5 Cr.


The total flow of credit from NMDFC is miniscule compared to the flow through finance corporations for SCs, STs, OBCs. 


Hence it is strongly demanded to increase the targets and waive off the interest on all kind of loans given to poor, deserving minorities by NMDFC or Scheduled Banks at par with the new student loan scheme introduced this year 2009-10, with a provision of full interest subsidy during the period of moratorium.


VII) Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP)

It has been launched from 2008-09 in selected 90 Minority Concentrated Districts (MCDs) to address the ‘development deficits’ specially in education, employment, sanitation, housing, drinking water and electricity supply.  The level of deprivation in basic amenities parameters in MCDs is 3.7 to 6.9 % compared to national average of 41.7 %. 


This programme has an outlay of Rs.3780 Cr. in XI Plan.


In 2007-08, Rs. 120 Cr. were provided, but this scheme was not launched.  In 2008-09, Rs. 540 Cr. were allocated out of which only Rs. 270.85 Cr. were expended for only 47 districts.  For remaining districts, development plans were not received from the respective districts/approved by the MoMA.  In the year 2009-10 Rs. 990 Cr. are allocated for this programme. 


The implementation of all the National Flagship Programmes and Schemes in P.M’s 15 Point Programme like Urban/Rural infrastructure development,

Housing Schemes, Health Schemes, Drinking Water, Sanitation Schemes, Education Schemes, Economic Activities, establishment of new Polytechnics, Professional Institutes, Degree/PG Colleges, Girls and Boys Hostels, Residential Schools, Model Schools, Skill Development, Industrial Training, Vocational Training for minorities must be included in respective district plans as per the local needs.


Further, Baseline survey of additional districts with 15% population of minorities (Muslims) must be conducted and new districts must be included in MsDP by increasing its budget.


Regarding poor and slow implementation of this programme, State Agencies and local authorities must be held responsible and strict measures must be taken against them.


VIII) Leadership Development of Minority Women

A proposed pilot scheme under XI plan for life, livelihood and civic empowerment of minority women is being introduced in the budget of 2009-10 with an outlay of just Rs. 8 Cr.


We demand its immediate and sincere implementation with the enhanced budget.


IX) Central Wakf Council

The Scheme of development of Urban Wakf properties, ownership matters, illegal encroachments requires a total effective and transparent mechanism.  A comprehensive amendment of Wakf Act in the light of Sachar recommendations is still pending.  It must be implemented immediately with desired modification. 


Central Government has rejected one of the important recommendations by Sachar Committee with regards to the protection of Awkaf.  As per the Wakf Act of 1995, the C.E.O. of the Wakf Boards must have to be a Muslim.  Therefore Sachar Committee has recommended that, the Civil Services Examination conducted by U.P.S.C., an examination for the cadre of Indian Wakf Services should also be included and those Muslim candidates who qualify these examination be made C.E.O. of the Wakf Boards, since there is a requirement of more than 200 Muslim officers in group 'A' to better manage the Central & State Wakf Boards.


For computerisation of records of Wakf properties Rs. 10 Cr. are allocated this year 2009-10.  Similarly State Wakf Boards must also be instructed to bring transparency in the Wakf matters, benefiting not the land mafia but the poor deserving Muslims for their socio, educational and economic upliftment. 


Number of Wakf Tribunals must be increased. They must be strengthened and Fast Track judgements of Wakf matters will help to get the benefits of Wakf properties for desired cause.  



The desired "Inclusive Growth" can be achieved by providing equal opportunities to minorities and all the welfare programmes must not be just suggestive in nature.  The 15% targets (with specific distribution among minorities as per their population) under all the central welfare schemes must be made mandatory.


Special Component Plan for Minorities just like that for SCs & STs can only solve this problem for which Minorities Budgeting Methodology must be followed in Union Budget.


As evident from Sachar Committee, Muslims are far behind than the SCs, STs, OBCs and other minorities.  The special Muslim Minorities Component Plan is the need of hour which must be implemented in forthcoming Five Year Plans.  It must have the provisions for earmarking population proportionate funds in each Central Ministry and Department for the development of Muslims and other minorities as that provided for SCs, STs, OBCs.


It may be divided in two parts: Part–A and Part-B.

Part-A should compile the budget outlays for all schemes meant exclusively for minorities (or schemes where 100% benefit are to the minorities).

Part-B should compile the share of budget outlays in composite expenditure schemes which benefit minorities at least 15% of the outlays for the scheme (with sub-targets to different minorities).



Dr. M.A. Baseer is Lecturer

at Yeshwant Mahavidyalaya, Nanded-431602.

He can be reached at





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