Parliamentary panel finds anomalies in minority ministry

April 21st, 2008 - 10:57 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) A parliamentary panel has come down heavily on the ministry of minority affairs for under utilisation of funds, poor implementation of welfare schemes and not possessing data on those living below the poverty line (BPL). The panel headed by Sumitra Mahajan, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of the Lok Sabha, has called for speedy implementation of schemes for the minority people, and optimum utilisation of allocated funds as well.

The report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment was tabled in the Rajya Sabha Monday.

The committee has noted with concern that the ministry of minority affairs has no data of the BPL people of minority communities. “The ministry should expeditiously collect the data to ensure equitable distribution of developmental benefits to them,” says the report.

According to an official estimation, over 26 percent of the country’s total population constitutes of the BPL people. As per the 2001 Census, the minority communities account for 18.42 percent of India’s total population.

The ministry in reply to the committee, however, has claimed that the Planning Commission is “estimating the number and percentage of the poor at the national and state levels.”

The committee was dismayed at the ministry utilising only Rs.120.23 crore by February 25, 2008 in the fiscal 2007-08 against the actual allocation of Rs.500 crore. The ministry has got Rs.1,000 crore as the plan outlay for 2008-09.

The ministry’s Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF), set up in 1989 to formulate and implement educational schemes for the minorities, too did not stand up to the scrutiny.

The committee questioned how no grants-in-aid was given to voluntary organisations in Uttarakhand and West Bengal in 2005-08, Jharkhand and Manipur in 2006-07, and for Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in 2007-08.

The ministry’s free coaching and allied assistance scheme for the minority students also drew flak for failing to reach out to the targeted groups in an adequate number.

“In 2006-07, coaching was given only to 690 students in Rajasthan, and in other states no student was covered under the scheme,” the committee has stated in the report.

“In 2007-08, coaching was given to 2,582 students in Rajasthan, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and other states, but the ministry could utilise only Rs.2.21 crore out the total allocation of Rs.10 crore.”

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