Centre orders closure of Maulana Azad Education Foundation | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Centre orders closure of Maulana Azad Education Foundation

Feb 28, 2024 06:43 PM IST

The order, issued by the minority ministry’s under-secretary Dhiraj Kumar on February 7, abruptly shuts down the foundation without providing any substantive rationale

New Delhi: The ministry of minority affairs ordered the closure of the Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF), people aware of the matter said on Tuesday. The decision came following a proposal put forth by the Central Waqf Council (CWC), an entity under the minority ministry, which regulates educational initiatives for minorities in the country.

The MAEF is a government-funded organisation aimed at promoting education among educationally disadvantaged sections of the Muslim community (Representative Photo)
The MAEF is a government-funded organisation aimed at promoting education among educationally disadvantaged sections of the Muslim community (Representative Photo)

The order, issued by the minority ministry’s under-secretary Dhiraj Kumar on February 7, abruptly shuts down the foundation without providing any substantive rationale.

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Senior officials in the ministry have labelled it as an “internal matter” not yet disclosed to the public. According to a foundation member, internal discussions are ongoing, and the order has not yet been made public. Another member mentioned that a meeting on 4 March has been scheduled, but the agenda remains undisclosed.

HT reached out to the ministry for an official comment but they refused. Attempts to reach the Central Waqf Council for comment were also unsuccessful.

The order states that MAEF “may propose an agenda for its legal closure and complete the dissolution process as per applicable laws.” According to the order, as of 30 November 2023, MAEF has funds totalling Rs.1,073.26 crores with pending liabilities of Rs.403.55 crores, leaving Rs.669.71 crores available.

The order proposes transferring these funds to the Consolidated Funds of India (CFI) and the liabilities to the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) to address pending claims and liabilities.

The MAEF is a government-funded organisation aimed at promoting education among educationally disadvantaged sections of the Muslim community.

It was established in 1989 on the birth centenary of the first education minister and freedom fighter Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. Junior research fellows (JRF) received Rs.31,000 monthly for the first two years, while senior research fellows (SRF) were granted Rs.35,000 per month for the remaining period. As of 2021-22, Maulana Azad National Fellowship had aided over 6,700 candidates, disbursing Rs.738.85 crore. However, the scheme was discontinued in 2022, resulting in widespread student protests.

The Sachar Committee report in 2006 mentioned that the Muslims rank somewhat above the Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribes but below Hindu Other Backward Class, other minorities and Hindu general in almost all indicators considered.

In response to these findings, the ministry of minority affairs was established in 2006 after which MAEF came under the aegis of the ministry. The MAEF experienced a significant budget cut, with grants-in-aid dropping from Rs.90 crore in 2021-22 to Rs.1 lakh in 2022-23 which was then increased to Rs.10 lakh in 2023-24 and subsequently for the year 2024-25 did not receive any funds from the government.

Speaking on the development, a senior professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University said, ”The move will have an adverse impact on the Muslim students as the MAEF was the torch bearer for promoting education among the Muslim community in India. Several students benefitted under the foundation and it is quite unfortunate that the foundation is being shut down.”

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