Welfare of minorities welfare and multi sectoral initiatives
There are always two aspects for any Government. One is politics and another is welfare. Politics may not look favourable to many especially minorities, however, they must remember that welfare work keeps going on uninterruptedly along with politics.
By: Tahir Qureshi
Minority, as a term, has not been defined in India’s Constitution, however Articles 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution deal with the minorities. National Commission of Minorities Act 1992 defined it as, ‘a community notified as such by the Central Government’. There are six notified minorities in India viz. Jain, Parsi, Buddhist, Christian, Sikh and Muslim. The Ministry of Minority Affairs has taken many initiatives, including Nai Manzil, USTTAD and Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS). Through these schemes, the Government tries to involve the minorities in the nation-building by arming them with skills and education, something which is direly required for sustenance in today’s competitive world.
Nayi Udaan scheme is helping minority students to clear the UPSC exams. A steady increase in the percentage of minorities qualifying the prestigious exam speaks for the success of the scheme. Besides this, free coaching and financial support to the prelims qualified students and interest subsidy for the students who want to study abroad, is also provided to the minority students. Maulana Azad National Fellowship for minorities is provided to Mphil and PhD students.
Seekho aur Kamao is another scheme taken by the ministry for the unskilled as well as for skilled persons of minorities. Upgrading Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTTAD) is meant to preserve India’s conventional arts/crafts and build the capacity of traditional artisans and craftsmen belonging to minority communities. The three months of skill development training in seven sectors suitable for regions, for girls of minorities are provided through a scheme called Nai Manzil. The sectors include training in saffron processing, food processing, embroidery, computers IT (both software and hardware), Tourism/hospitality, electronics and plumbing.
Scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women, which is provided with skill development and leadership training, is meant to provide access to growth to the deprived women. For preserving the rich heritage of minorities, a scheme called Hamari Dharohar was brought in by the ministry. The Government of India provides grants to the Maulana Azad Education Fund, which is meant to expand and upgrade the existing institutions and improve the education status of backward minorities of India.
To empower and inculcate confidence among the minority women by providing tools, techniques and knowledge for interacting with the government systems, banks and intermediaries at all levels, a scheme called Nai Roshini has been brought in by the ministry.
Through E-MASIHA (E Medical Assistance System for Indian Hajis Abroad) Government is providing different services to Indian Muslims who go to perform Haj (Holy pilgrimage). India is the first country which made everything digital related to Haj. Online application, E-Visa, Haj mobile app, “E-MASIHA” health facility, “E-luggage pre-tagging” providing all information in India itself regarding accommodation/transportation in Makkah, Madinah have been provided to Indian Muslims going for Haj.
National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC), a Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Minority Affairs, offers concessional loans/schemes to minorities to provide financial support to their business. Minority Business Loans have been a boon to the minorities giving great relief to such entrepreneurs.
India has always given primary importance to its diversity, covering a vast ocean of cultures, ethinicities, religious practices and beliefs. It has upheld the spirit of unity in diversity by giving each community its due in every sphere. India has always prioritised giving due advantage and benefits to every minority residing over here. There are always two aspects for any Government. One is politics and another is welfare. Politics may not look favourable to many especially minorities, however, they must remember that welfare work keeps going on uninterruptedly along with politics. They must not confuse and mix the two aspects. The volume of work done for minorities under the guidance of MoMA speaks for itself. It is upto the minorities to utilise them without forming an opinion.