The state cabinet decision to provide 20% benefit in 85 developmental schemes to Muslims in areas where the community population is at least 25% will leave large parts of UP uncovered.
In fact, of the total 19.33% Muslim population, the major concentration of the community is in Roohelkhand and parts of West UP.
While some of the districts in the two regions would get government largess, as per the cabinet decision most of the districts in the politically sensitive Poorvanchal, central UP and Bundelkhand would not get the benefit.
As per the 25% population benchmark, 12 Muslim dominated districts Saharanpur (39%), Muzaffarnagar (38%), Bijnor (41%), Moradabad (45%), Amorha (39%), Rampur (49%), Bareilly (34%), Meerut (32%), Bahraich (34%), Shravasti ( 25%), Balrampur ( 36%), Sidharthnagar (29%), would be able to avail the benefits under the plan. But districts with 20 to 24% population like Pilibhit (23%), Budaun (21%), Bulandshahr (21%), Baghapat ( 24%), Ghaziabad ( 23%), Lucknow (20%), Barabanki (22%) and Santkabir Nagar (24%) are unlikely to be covered under the scheme.
For the districts below 20% Muslim population, there appears to be no chance.
Significantly, Poorvanchal (east UP), where the Samajwadi Party had reaped rich electoral harvest in 2012 assembly election, would be left totally uncovered.
Presumably, without giving political consideration, the state government has in fact directly picked up 25% criteria of population from the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme for welfare of the minorities.
As per the central government’s guidelines: “The term substantial minority population in 15-point programme applies to such districts/sub districts where 25% of the total population belongs to minority community.” Under the centre’s plan 15% of physical target and financial outlays had been earmarked for the community.
However talking to HT on Wednesday, the food and civil supplies minister and SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhury said the issue would be brought to the notice of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Asserting that government’s intention was clear in providing assistance to Muslims, Chaudhury said “shortcoming in the scheme would be reviewed for its wider reach”.
But the opposition has taken it as another poll gimmick of the ruling party.
The Rashtriya Lok Dal secretary Anil Dubey said there was no new scheme, as most of the important projects were covered under the central government’s plan.
He said if the SP government was serious it should provide job reservation to Muslims with 27% backward quota.