MOVEMENT FOR EMPOWERMENT OF MUSLIM INDIANS (MOEMIN)
Respected Prime Minister Sahib, At the outset I take this privilege to congratulate you for unveiling 14-point action plan for stocktaking of the conditions of the scheduled castes and tribes of the country. It was need of the hour as the most deprived and discriminated section of society was not fully getting the fruits of the affirmative actions of the government. The UPA's commitment of pushing reservation to private sector for SC's and ST's is in consonance to the long pending demand of the civil society. The Government's direction to the Planning Commission to undertake adequate quantification of funds and for ensuring the 25% of the Plan allocation of funds on the SC & ST in proportion of their population is a welcome step and would ensure the empowerment of the deprived section. I also wish to extend my thanks and gratitude for putting some affirmative provisions in the Budget allocation of 2006 for the Muslim community. As per the announcement of the Finance Minister the government wishes to allocate total of Rs.119.45 crores for the educational & economic empowerment of the Muslim community in the current financial year (Rs. 100 crores for Maulana Azad Educational Foundation, Rs. 16.45 crores for National Minorities & Development Finance Corporaton and Rs. 3 crores for National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language). The finance Minister has also announced intention for providing merit-cum-mean based scholarship for the students for pursuing the higher studies but the announcement is silent about the total allocation for the scheme as the government has yet to finalise the scheme. If we closely scrutinize the total announced allocation in the Budget, it would come to Rs. 8.64 per member of the Muslim community, which is 13.44 percent of the total population. I sincerely feel that the proposed allocation is meager in terms and the government should enhance the allocation. It is to be pointed out that even as per the Xth Five Year Plan, the National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMD&FC) has to get Rs 64 crore this year as the current financial is the last year of the plan and a meager allocation of Rs. 16.45 crores would mean that the NMD&FC would be poorer by around Rs. 48.5 crores. Interestingly the Congress State Government of Andhra Pradesh has allocated Rs. 14.10 crores to the State Minority Finance Corporation. Therefore it is requested to enhance the allocation to at least Rs. 50 crore per year for the next five years. As far as the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language is concerned the Council was in deficit of around Rs. 2.5 crores in the previous financial year and even the Council had requested the Government to enhance the grant to Rs. 18 crores. Being pan Indian language and having no defined territory and spoken by people across the country, Urdu language deserves more funds and is totally dependent on the Central Government for its development and promotion. Therefore it is requested to enhance the allocation to the Council. It is heartening to note that the Finance Minister has tried to fulfill one of the several demands of the minorities by enhancing the allocation to the corpus of the Maulana Azad Educational Foundation from Rs. 100 Crores to Rs 200 Crores. The Foundation cater the demands only from the income, it receives from the Corpus fund, which is declining day by day because of the decline in the interest rates on its fixed deposits and earnings. The accrual amount to the current allocation would be mere Rs. 16 crores per year @ rate of 8% per annum. It is noteworthy that requests/ application pending for grants in the Foundation comes to around Rs. 250 Crores Therefore the government should give serious thought to raise the corpus to at least Rs. 250 crores this year, to meet the expectations of the educationally backward community of the country. I would further request you to kindly advise the Finance Minister to allocate at least Rs. 500 crores for providing meritcum based scholarships for the students of the minorities for pursuing the higher studies.
With respectful regards
National Integration Council, Government of India
National Committee for Monitoring Minorities Education, Ministry of HRD