The Budget 2016-17 has virtually left the allocation for minorities unchanged, with an outlay of Rs 3,800 crore and only a slight increase over the previous year’s Rs 3,712 crore.
This has prompted criticism that the government has overlooked minorities and backward social groups.
No new schemes or programmes have been announced for them. Allocations for the flagship Multi-Sectoral Development Programme and USTAAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development), launched by the government, have barely been increased.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, however, mentioned them in his speech. “The schemes for welfare and skill development for minorities such as Multi-Sectoral Development Programme and USTAAD shall be implemented effectively,” he said. The budget hiked the outlay for the Quality Education Scheme for Madrasas to Rs 120 crore, a jump of Rs 20 crore. For the overall umbrella scheme for minorities, the budget allocated Rs 1,245 crore.