The implementation of the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme for the welfare of minorities has a dismal record in Maharashtra.
In response to a Right to Information (RTI) application, a majority of the state’s 35 districts have admitted to not implementing the welfare programme. launched in 2006. The RTI application was filed by Mumbai-based activist MA Khalid in July 2010.
The nagar parishad (municipal council) of one town, Khed, in Ratnagiri district, has proclaimed that it does not recognise the PM’s programme.
In its reply, the Khed Nagar Parishad office stated, “Since the nagar parishad has not accepted the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme, we have no information about it”.
It also stated that in 2009-2010, the parishad received Rs10 lakh as funds for minorities, which it spent on building a graveyard for Muslims in the district.
Various departments in 26 districts have responded to Khalid’s RTI application, of which 17 have either not specified their programmes for minorities or claim they are not implementing it.
In Hingoli and Bhandara, nagar parishads claim they used the Rs10 lakh minority funds on building public gutters and roads respectively. The remaining districts have either inducted minority candidates in the police or used minority funds for making graveyards.
“Roads and gutters are basic civic amenities, not minority welfare,” said Khalid.
Khalid’s RTI application was addressed to the state ministry of minority affairs, which, according to the PM’s programme, is the nodal agency in-charge of implementation and monitoring of the scheme in different state departments dealing with education, housing, employment and others.
Minority affairs minister Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan said the ministry held a meeting with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan last month to review the implementation of the scheme across departments, but did not know about Khed’s rejection of the programme.
“It is binding for all departments and offices to accept the PM’s programme; we will inquire into the matter,” said Khan.
He added that the ministry had started reviewing the progress of the programme through videoconferences with collectors in the state.