Ambitious plans for Muslims ahead of Tripura polls

February 29th, 2012 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, Feb 29 (IANS) Ahead of the next year’s assembly polls, the Left Front government has undertaken a “welfare package” for the benefit of the minority Muslims in Tripura, a minister said here Thursday.

“A new scheme, ‘Begum Rokeya Merit Award’, for girl students belonging to minority community would be introduced. A gold medal and Rs.5,000 would be given to those Muslim girls who perform well in the Madhyamik and higher secondary examinations,” Tripura Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury told reporters.

In the past few years, stipends, scholarships and other educational facilities were provided to 26,149 Muslim students. Special training and incentives were also given to several hundred Muslim youths who have been pursuing higher and technical studies, the minister said.

“The state government has already undertaken a massive plan for infrastructure development in 72-minority Muslim dominated areas with a minority population of 30-percent or more,” the minister, who presented the budget in the assembly Tuesday said.

Under the ambitious plan, new roads would be developed, drinking water, irrigation, education, housing, electrical, health facilities would be created.

Chowdhury is also a member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) central committee, demanded suitable amendment of the Indian constitutions to provide reservations to Muslims in government jobs and education.

He also urged the central government to execute the Ranganath Misra Commission and Sachar Committee proposals for religious minorities.

The Ranganath Misra Commission headed by former Chief Justice of India Justice Ranganath Misra, had submitted its report to the government on May 21, 2007 recommending 10 percent quota for Muslims and 5 percent for other minorities in government jobs.

Tripura will go to the assembly polls in February next year.

Political circles opined that the Left Front government has undertaken the welfare measures and various schemes to woo the Muslims, who constitute around nine percent of Tripura’s 3.7 million population (according to the 2001 census).

The ruling Left Front would launch a two-month long stir on March 11 in support of their 14-point demands, that include implementation of the proposals of the Sachar Committee and National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM), also called the Ranganath Misra Commission.

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