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
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
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
I) Budget allocation
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
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
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 &
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.
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.
Scholarship Schemes: Achievements
of the Targets
(No./Amt. in Cr.)
(No./Amt. in Cr.)
Merit –cum-Means Scholarship Scheme
20,000 (54 Cr.)
1 lakh (90 Cr.)
1.75 lakh (99.9
7 lakh (150
-- (72 Cr.)
6 lakh (79.9
5.13 lakh (62.2
22 lakh (200
Merit-cum-Means Scholarship Scheme:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
submission of Application from for Scholarship for professional
students can be implemented for rapid and error free processing.
Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme:
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.
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 %.
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 %.
through higher secondary and degree stages must be ensured.
Scholarship Scheme must be revised by enhancing the income ceiling
for eligibility at par with SCs & STs and rate of scholarship,
should have the opportunity to study in quality institutions,
institutes of National importance, for which financial assistance
must be extended.
Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme:
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.
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).
reimbursement to those studying in un-aided Schools must be provided
as guaranteed under RTE Act 2009.
Scheme must be
revised by enhancing the income ceiling for eligibility at par with
SCs & STs and rate of scholarship, maintenance allowance.
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.
should have the opportunity to study in quality institutions as that
of SCs & STs. To enable this, financial assistance need to be
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
Coaching for NET-SET-JRF/GATE
is also not available at any centre.
For Civil Services
Exams coaching, no professionally reputed coaching centre is
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.
Course for UPSCs/State Civil Services are needed to be designed and
such programmes must also be sponsored by MoMA.
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.
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.
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.
minority girl students awarded in 2007-08 are 4,011 and 2008-09 it
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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,
It may be divided in
two parts: Part–A and Part-B.
compile the budget outlays for all schemes meant exclusively for
minorities (or schemes where 100% benefit are to the minorities).
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
He can be reached