On his first day in office, K Rahman Khan, who took charge of the minority affairs ministry from Salman Khurshid, made no bones about his first task at hand: getting to bottom of where funds were flowing.
Rahman Khan told HT he would order a review of the ministry's programmes to see if they were adequately benefiting minorities, an issue he had raised even before he had become minister.
Khan, who often made key interventions on minority welfare, said evaluation was necessary because of a perception that progress levels were not anything like they should be. "From what I understand, states are ultimately responsible for implementing the schemes. Now, we have to see what is the best method for speeding up development," he said.
A former deputy chairman of the upper house, Khan said lack of education infrastructure was still the key issue. "We will explore public-private partnership models in this area," he said, adding: "Not even 10 universities have been created for minorities. Why should the community be sleeping?"
Khan had led the writing of a parliamentary report on wakf, or Islamic endowments for charity, usually in the form of prime real estate.
According to it, they can potentially generate over R10,000 crore in potential revenue but of the 4-lakh hectares of wakf property, nearly 3 lakh remain encroached, often by government entities.
His opinions, among others, had prompted the Wakf Amendment Bill to be scrutinized by the Parliament's select committee.
Laos calling for Salman Khurshid
Laos will be the first foreign port of call for new external affairs minister Salman Khurshid. He will representing the country in the ASEM (Asia Europe meeting) summit.
Khurshid is likely top be in Laos from November 5 to 8. ASEM brings together 27 European Union member states and the European Commission with 19 Asian countries and the ASEAN Secretariat. The ASEM dialogue addresses political, economic and cultural issues.
Khurshid will meet leader of opposition in Bangladesh Khaleda Zia on Tuesday.