Rajasthan Govt. taking steps to promote socio-economic development of minorities
New Delhi, May 8 (ANI): The Rajasthan Government has launched a number of welfare schemes and taking special steps for their socio-economic development for the minority communities in state and they are marching ahead in all walks of life. They are progressing fast and getting their share in the fruits of development.
During the last three years, this significant step has been followed by honest and concerted actions to improve the economic status of minorities through disbursement of loans, upgrade educational standards by paying attention to the existing institutions and releasing scholarships and enhance social status by bringing them to the mainstream of development and giving them benefits under the regular welfare schemes.
True to the promises made in its election manifesto, the Rajasthan Government has established an independent Department of Minorities Affairs for the first time and brought all institutions working for welfare of minorities within its purview. This has helped in better administrative control and effective monitoring of schemes besides ensuring that the benefits accrue to the intended sections of population. Since 2009-10 State Budget every year has witnessed their steady progress in a safe and secure environment where their dreams have been fulfilled and their special needs are taken care of.
Its actions speak louder than its words. It is serious about the implementation of the Prime Minister's 15-Point Programme for Minorities as well as the recommendations of the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee. The District Minorities Welfare Officers and Programme Officers have been handed over the task of constant monitoring on these fronts.
The extraordinary announcements made by the Chief Minister, Mr. Ashok Gehlot, for the welfare of minorities in the 2012-13 Budget recently have been hailed as unprecedented in the social and political fields in Rajasthan. Never before has a State Budget taken care of almost all aspects of the lives of minorities. From self-employment to madarsa modernization and development of Wakf properties, the Budget has dealt with all crucial subjects.
With rapid strides made by the institutions such as Wakf Board, Madarsa Board, Rajasthan State Minorities Commission, Haj Committee, Urdu Akademi and Rajasthan State Minorities Finance and Development Corporation, the adverse propaganda against the State Government by certain elements with vested interests has been largely nullified.
Realising that financial well-being is the key to empowerment, the State Government has gone all out to provide loans to minorities on easy terms for establishing their self-employment ventures. The share capital of the Rajasthan State Minorities Finance and Development Corporation in the National Minorities Finance Corporation has been increased from Rs 7.80 crores to Rs. 11.71 crores and the State Government's guarantee for taking loans has been revised from Rs. 15 crores to Rs. 50 crores.
In an effort to promote girls' education among minorities, the State Government has decided to completely waive interest on loans obtained by girl students for higher and technical education. Besides, girls' hostels are being established at all divisional headquarters in phases. Mr. Gehlot laid the foundation stone for the Jaipur hostel in Mansarovar locality recently on the land provided by the Rajasthan Housing Board.
The growing popularity of scholarship schemes for the minority students has been proved by the phenomenal increase in the number of beneficiaries during the last three years. The number of pre-matric scholarship has increased from just 18,775 in 2008 to 1,21,988, while post-matric scholarships have registered an increase from 4,341 in 2008-09 to 10,776 in 2010-11 and merit-cum-means scholarship from 882 to 1,000 in the corresponding period.
The amount of loans sanctioned to minorities under various categories has also registered a significant growth under the present Government in the State. While only 1,526 persons were given loans amounting to Rs. 6.79 crores during five years from 2003 to 2008, loans worth Rs. 6.23 crores were released to 1,178 persons in just two-and-a-half years between 2009 and 2011. These figures preves the faith and trust reposed by the minority population in the State Government.
As part of the policy decision to grant recognition to the minority educational institutions, 42 institutions have so far been recognized and 17 institutions have been issued minority certificates with the permission for B.Ed./M.Ed./STC courses in accordance with the norms laid down by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
The madarsa education is also getting the State Government's attention in view of its significance for poor students among the minorities. Under the scheme for ensuring quality education, financial grants worth Rs. 5 lakhs each were sanctioned to 220 madarsas and Rs. 2 crores were sanctioned for madarsa education in 2010-11. About 200 madarsas were also upgraded as upper primary schools.
The huge Wakf properties at prime locations spread all over Rajasthan are an important source of finance for the Muslim community. Through their proper utilization, several problems afflicting the minorities can be resolved and resources can be generated for their welfare. The State Government has sanctioned a grant of Rs. 27 lakhs for identifying about 18,000 Wakf properties and a special grant of Rs. 50 lakhs for their maintenance, including videography. Special provisions for the Wakf Board have been made in the 2012-13 Budget.
Skill development and knowledge enhancement are crucial for every section of population for surviving in today's competitive world. The Rajasthan Knowledge Corporation has taken the lead in improving the knowledge of English and promoting efficiency in computer operations among the minorities. About 8,000 minority youths are being selected for training at 1,438 centres of the Corporation and the State Government will bear 50 per cent of the cost of these training programmes.
Besides, a programme has been chalked out in collaboration with the Construction Industries Development Corporation (CDIC) for training and skill development of the minority youths in various crafts of the construction industry. The Rural Non-Farm Development Agency (RUDA) also plans to conduct training courses for craftspersons and weavers.
Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) are coming up fast in the minority-dominated regions to fulfil the long-felt need for vocational education. In addition to five ITIs opened in 2010-11, a decision was taken to establish five more ITIs in 2011-12. The STC in Ajmer, which was closed by the previous Government, is also being reopened.
The Urdu Akademi has emerged as a powerful institution for promotion of Urdu language and culture with the additional budget allocated and a new Chairman appointed to it. A separate Directorate has also been established for promoting the Unani system of medicine.
It has taken a number of steps to make the Haj pilgrimage easy for Muslims. The land for construction of Haj House in Jaipur was allotted by the Government during its previous tenure, while the Haj House in Jodhpur has been constructed. Temporary offices for Haj are also functioning at the divisional headquarters. A new building for Madarsa Board will also be constructed.
In a nutshell, the Rajasthan Government under the leadership of Mr. Gehlot is fully committed and is wholeheartedly working for all-round development and educational and social amelioration of the minority communities, such as Muslims, Christians, Jains and Sikhs. New avenues are being opened for them by creation of livelihood opportunities and improving their skills for self-employment.
Taking full advantage of the hand-holding support extended by the State Government, minorities in Rajasthan are set to enter a new era of development without any discrimination, prejudice or bias. A bright future awaits the minorities residing in the mighty Thar Desert and in lush green terrains and productive plains in other parts of the State. (ANI)
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