Rs.120 crore relief package for J&K

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel September 18, 2014 08:42

Rs.120 crore relief package for J&K


New Delhi, September 18 (INFA): Given the calamity in Jammu and Kashmir, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has planned a Rs 120 crore ‘relief and rehabilitation package’ for the people to pick up the threads through implementation of its various schemes.

Funds have accordingly been allocated for the schemes underway, stated Union Minister Najma Heptullah here today. These she spelt out included Rs 5 crore for Seekho Aur Kamao (learn and earn) scheme for 2000 youth; Rs 2.50 crore for skill training under the Jan Vikas Yojana which would empower 1000 youth; Rs 30 crore for pre and post-matric scholarships as per demand; Rs 1.20 crore for scholarship for 2000 girl students under the Maulana Azad Education Foundation; Rs 50 crore concessional finance for setting up of micro enterprises under National Minorities Development Finance Corporation for all eligible beneficiaries; Rs 25 crore for construction of health centres, government schools/madrasas, ITIs, College polytechnics etc as per the need; Rs 2.50 crore for upgradation of skills and training in traditional arts/crafts for development under USTTAD scheme and Rs 1.50 crore for bridge courses for madrasas’ students under Nai Manzil. This apart, the minister and all her officers and staff have decided to contribute one day’s salary for the PM Relief Fund.

The ‘good news’ came as part of the media briefing on the Ministry’s initiatives during the past 100 days in office. Heptullah noted that her Ministry has since taken initiatives either to formulate new schemes to meet priority agenda of the Government or to reorient existing programmes. In particular, it has laid stress on education and its linkage with skill development in order to carry the education to a logical end in form of employment. It plans to award 90 lakh-odd Scholarships under Pre and Post-matric, Merit-cum-means based Scholarships with an approximate amount of Rs. 1700 Crore. Moreover, the Direct Benefit Transfer in the bank account of students has also been operationalized, to ensure the money reaches the right beneficiaries.

Making a note that minority communities are known for their traditional skills, arts and crafts, special efforts are being made to preserve these. A new scheme, USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) is soon to be rolled out. In particular, 80,000 manuscripts of the Jains are going to be digitised and hundreds of their temples are to be taken care of under the new Hamari Dharohar scheme. Likewise, manuscripts of the Buddhists too are to be digitised and hundreds of churches in Goa will be assisted for better upkeep.

Special attention is being paid to the Learn & Earn scheme, which guarantees minimum 75% employment of trained minority youths of which 50% will be in organized sector. Apparently, skill development training of over 24,364 minority youths in 29 States through 51 selected expert skill development organizations has been sanctioned.

However, while the Ministry seeks the States help to carry out its 15-point programme, the response from some States, such as Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh hasn’t been encouraging. Likewise, it hasn’t been easy for the Ministry to develop Waqf properties as per its plans. According to an estimate, Waqf properties, about 6 lakh acres across the country, if developed commercially, can generate annual revenue of about Rs. 12,000 crore. This additional revenue alone stated Heptullah can make may minority welfare programmes self-sustainable. As the first important step in the direction, ‘One Project’ will be launched through the newly-formed National Waqf Development Corporation Ltd. (NAWADCO) to develop the Waqf property to generate additional income for the Waqf Board.

Lands have already been identified with State Waqf Boards in Jodhpur, Bengaluru, Delhi and Bhopal. However, a very important Waqf Properties (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Bill, 2014, which aims to protect these properties and prevent their encroachment, is pending before the Standing Committee of Rajya Sabha, which Heptullah hopes gets expedited.

Among the new initiatives, (not those of the UPA government) the Ministry spelt out its project “Cyber Gram Yojana” to promote digital literacy of minorities, a new scheme called “Nai Manzil” which may bridge the gap between Madarsa Education and the mainstream education by way of targeting education of 3000 madarsa students through five selected institutions namely, Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and Maulana Azad National Urdu University. The goal being to ensure socio-economic development of six notified minorities namely, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains, and create an enabling environment for equal opportunities for them. —INFA

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel September 18, 2014 08:42