Empowering minorities will be the focus area of the NDA government during the next fiscal, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas asserted on Saturday and hailed the Budget for provisions made for development of the communities in line with its "rashtriya kartavya" (national duty).
Rs 4,195.48 crore has been allocated to the Ministry Of Minority Affairs in the Budget for 2017-18, nearly 10 per cent or Rs 368.23 crore rise over the provision made for 2016-17.
"The Modi government believes that development of poor, weaker sections and minorities is not only its 'rajdharma' but also its 'rashtriya kartavya' (national duty)," Naqvi said.
"Its focus is on educational empowerment and skill development of minorities. Maximum part of this budget will be used for the purpose," the minister told mediapersons.
Naqvi said for 2017-18 fiscal, his ministry has set itself a target of providing scholarships to about 35 lakh students. Employment-oriented training will be provided to more than two lakh youths belonging to minority communities.
The government has hiked allocation for his ministry's spending under the Prime Minister's new 15-point programme by 19 per cent vis- -vis the current fiscal, he said.
More than Rs 2,600 crore has been earmarked for the ministry's various scholarships and skill development schemes such as 'Seekho aur Kamao', 'Nai Manzil', 'Nai Roshni', 'Usttad', 'Garib Nawaz Skill Development Centre' and 'Begum Hazrat Mahal' scholarship for girls.
Rs 250 crore has been allocated for 'Seekho aur Kamao' and Rs 176 crore for 'Nai Manzil' scheme, a jump of Rs 56 crore and Rs 40 crore respectively over the current fiscal.
Rs 113 crore has been earmarked for Maulana Azad Education Foundation and Rs 170 crore as equity for National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation.
Besides, funds under multi-sectoral development programme (MsDP), with a total allocation of Rs 1,200 crore having an increase of Rs 141 crore over the last fiscal, will be utilised for various educational and development activities.
In the last six months, the minority affairs ministry has approved around 200 'sadbhav mandap'. Sixteen 'Gurukul' type schools have been approved at cost of around Rs 262 crore, the Union MoS for Minority Affairs said.
"We have also decided to help those madrasas who are also providing mainstream education," the minister said.
The mandaps will be used as community centres for various cultural, social, educational activities as well as relief centres during calamity, he said.
Naqvi said his ministry proposes to offer 40 per cent reservation to minority girl students at five world class institutes to be set up for imparting education to students of minority communities.
"Students from other communities though can undertake education at the institutes… Till now, 16 states have evinced interest in setting up the institutes," he said.
Out of Rs 3,827 crore allotted to the ministry for the financial year 2016-17, it has spent around Rs 2,800 crore until now on scholarship, training and other education-related activities.