Maharashtra to use 15% funds from govt depts to reach out to minorities

  • Surendra P Gangan, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 25, 2016 00:59 IST

The state government has almost finalised the much-awaited plan, which was earlier termed deradicalisation programme, to reach out to youth from minority communities and bring them into the mainstream.

The plan has proposed allocation of 15% of the funds given to all government departments for development of at least five minority-dominated clusters in Mumbai every year, annual scholarship of Rs2,500 for poor Muslim students, upgradation of their standard of living, better education in Urdu-medium schools, developing a sense of impartiality among Muslim youth, among others.

The home department of the state government has drafted the government resolution, which will soon be finalised and circulated to various departments. The officials have been working on the plan for more than six months, which was initially named deradicalisation programme. HT had, in its December 25 edition, reported about the objections raised by Muslim scholars over the name, on the grounds that it would lead to labeling of the community.

“The programme also suggests measures for social upliftment of the community. It is basically aimed at upliftment of Muslims,” said an official from the home department.

“Around 70% of the minority communities in the city live in the slums, as reported in the Mahmood-Ur-Rahaman committee report. The urban development department should take up five areas from the city and 10 from semi-urban areas with minority dominance for the upgradation of basic amenities and development...There should also be a revised scheme chalked out for the modernization of the madrassas,” the draft copy states.

It has also suggested special chapters in the school syllabus on secularism and two pilot projects in Muslim-dominated areas to bring down the dropout rate in Class 5, 6 and 7 to zero within five years.

Minister of state for home Ranjit Patil said, “The preparations for the scheme are complete. We will issue the GR in the next few weeks. The name of the programme was never an issue, as it [de-radicalisation] was the idea behind the programme.”

Professor Abdul Shaban of the Tata Institute of the Social Sciences, who was part of the committee for the scheme, said, “It is a welcome step. A few recent policies such as allowing 5% reservation for Muslims brought by the previous government to lapse and beef ban were quite disappointing. The outreach programme will help improve the condition of Urdu schools and upgrade the infrastructure in Muslim-dominated areas.”

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