12 Jun 2012

National Conference of State Ministers for Minority Welfare

Ministry of Minority Affairs held a 2-day National Conference of State Ministers for Minority Welfare here at Vigyan Bhawan on 7-8 June, 2012 to review the achievements of Eleventh Plan and finalize the strategy and schemes for Twelfth Plan period in consultation with States/ UTs. The Conference was inaugurated by Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister of Minority Affairs, in the presence of Shri Vincent H. Pala, Minister of State for Minority Affairs and Dr. Surajit Mitra, Secretary, Minority Affairs.
            Addressing the Conference, Shri Khurshid mentioned that in spite of the fact that the Ministry of Minority Affairs was a relatively young Ministry, the achievements over the Eleventh Plan was significant.  Against an allocation of Rs. 7,000 crore in the Eleventh Plan, the total expenditure of the Ministry was Rs. 6826.24 crore.  During the Eleventh Plan, the Ministry could successfully operationalize the scholarship programmes in which 1.42 crore scholarships were given against a target of 93.37 lakh.  Prime Minister’s New 15-PointProgrammes were successfully operationalized and under the Area Development Programme, Rs. 2,942 crore were spent to improve infrastructure in the 90 minority concentration districts (MCD).  The achievements in the economic sector have been quite significant with Priority Sector Lending rising from 10.60% in 2007-08 to 14.83% in 2011-12 and in recruitment to Central Government services, rising from 6.93% in 2006-07 to 11.99% in 2010-11.  The Minister also highlighted that our achievements would have been much better if the implementation and delivery mechanisms in some States had worked more efficiently.  In this regard, he suggested a number of improvements envisaged in the Twelfth Five Year Plan.  He mentioned that the Ministry would like to constitute an Equal Opportunity Commission during the Twelfth Plan which will provide a level playing field for all deprived groups.  He also mentioned that the Government would very soon introduce the Wakf (Amendment) Bill in the Parliament and enhance the outreach of Prime Minister’s New 15 PointProgrammes.
            In his address, the Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Shri Vincent H. Pala appealed to the States that they should strengthen the field level machineries for better delivery of services to the minorities.  In this context, he requested the States to constitute the State-level and District-level Committees for minority welfare programmes.
            Ministers in charge of minority welfare along with senior officers attended the Conference and offered their suggestions.  After a detailed discussion with the State officials presided over by the Secretary (Minority Affairs), the following consensus emerged:
1.    In order to make the Area Development Programmes more focused, blocks (in place of districts) should be made the units of planning.  In case the required data is not available for all blocks, the criteria for declaring minority concentration districts (MCDs) should be brought down from 25% to 15% of minority population.
2.    There are many towns and village clusters which could not be included in the MCD programmes. They should be taken up separately for developmental schemes.
3.    In order to increase the outreach of various programmes, NGOs, Self-Help Groups, private institutions etc. should be involved in the process of implementation.
4.    Social audit system should be introduced as integral part of minority welfare schemes in order to establish accountability.
5.    Looking at the success of scholarship schemes, it was felt that these schemes should be made demand-driven so that 100% saturation can be achieved in the Twelfth Plan.
6.    In order to ensure timely transfer of funds, the scholarship money should be transferred electronically to the account of the students as far as practicable.
7.    The Wakf (Amendment) Bill should be introduced at the earliest.
8.    There was a consensus on desirability for establishment of Equal Opportunity Commission.
9.    It was observed that States who have not set up State Minority Commission, should do so at the earliest.

You May Also Like


Popular Posts