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DEPARTMENT NO. 7:-

MINORITY WELFARE

The congress rule is a god-send for the Minorities, both Muslims and Christians in Andhra Pradesh.

For the first time in decades the State Government has not only recognized the social and economic needs of the minority communities and prepared a roadmap for their upliftment. Unlike in the past a special beneficiary focused program was undertaken by the Chief Minister Dr.Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy for poverty eradication among the Muslim community in the old city of Hyderabad.

The poor Muslims and Christians have also been made eligible for the unique instrument of development of the poor, PAVALA VADDI scheme in the state.

The budgetary allocation for minority welfare had been enhanced in the last three years of Congress rule by over 25 percent. While in the nine years of TDP rule an amount of Rs.148.70 crore were spent on Minority welfare, in the three years of Congress regime a sum of Rs.118.70 crore has already been spent.

In the year 2007-08 the Chief Minister Dr. Y.S.Rajasekhara  Reddy leadership has been allocated an amount of Rs. 120.00 crore.

“Promotion of education is the only route for eradication of poverty among the middle and lower income groups in the community”, the Chief Minister said while formalizing the  poll promise  to provide Muslims a five percent quota in both educational institutions and  also government jobs.

The  AP government has provided  Rs.177 crore for minority welfare  in the budget for  2008-09   as against  Rs.120 crore of previous  year  resulting in an  47 percent increase in the allocations .  it has provided  Rs. Five crore towards mass marriages  for mass marriages among muslims  and  Rs.Two crore for Christian pilgrimages to  Israel.

Salient features of the minority welfare program in AP were:

  • Extension of Haj pilgrim scheme to Christian minorities for visit to holy lands in Israel.
  • Mass marriages for poor among Muslim and Christians on par with the Kalyanamastu of TTD for Hindus.
  • Deeni Madarasas to teach mathematics, science and English computer education. !91 computers given to 64 Madarsas .
  • Special coaching for minority students appearing for competitive entrance exams of professional courses and civil service 
  • Supporting Wakf board by way of grant-in-aid for protection of wakf properties and also institutions like Churches.

Andhra Pradesh government took the lead in providing five percent quota for Muslims based on a report by the AP Minorities Commission on the backwardness of the community. However  when the ambitious program for the Muslim community was  struck down by the  courts, the Government did not hesitate to appoint an one man commission headed by a retired IAS official  P R Krishnan to consider whether the community could be enlisted under the backward communities deserving  reservation.

Undeterred by the criticism of the right winged opposition parties the Rajasekhara Reddy government once again came out with formulae for the benefit of the Muslim community in the state and brought out a regulation for listing the low income groups in the community under the Backward Classes category. After eliminating the creamy layer the new regulation provided for four per cent quota in educational institutions and government jobs.

Besides making regulations, the Government has also taken up a series of initiatives for the upliftment of the community. Among them was to present computers to Urdu teaching schools and Madarasa’s involved in Islamic theological studies. For the first time in the history of the state the Government also provided mid day meal scheme for the students in the Madarasa’s and Urdu schools all over the state.

Among other initiatives were:

  • Justice Rajinder Sachar committee report on  minority welfare to be implemented in to-to  in AP
  • Urdu declared as official language in Karimnagar, Nalgonda districts.
  • Free  books for Madarasa students
  • 12 pre-metric hostels (boys-7 & girls-5) for minority students in 12 districts. Nine have already begun operation with 425 students.
  • Sixteen post–metric hostels (ten boys and six girls) sanctioned.
  • Twelve English medium residential schools for minorities (8 boys and 4 girls).
  • Rs.1450 lakhs pre-metric scholarships of Rs.400-600 (for 6th-7th standard) and Rs.600-800 (for 8-9th standard) students during current year.
  • Post metric scholarships worth Rs.1450 lakhs for minority students on par with BC students.
  • Fees reimbursement scheme worth Rs.3450 lakhs in 2007-08 for post-metric minority students.
  • 1898 students provided with loans of Rs.614.76 lakhs for taking up Engineering, Medicine, MBA, MCA courses.
  • 43 centers for training for minority students in use of computers,        DTP etc., in Urdu language.
  • Residential coaching center for preparing minority students to appear for competitive examinations.
  • Rs.349.48 lakh financial assistance from the AP Minorities financial corporation to 5971 minority small traders to take up gainful employment.
  • Minority women SHG’s formed  in Muslim  dominated  areas  and  encouraged to form 4500 units  with a revolving fund of Rs.10,000  and build a  corpus of Rs.311.89 lakhs  since  last three years.
  • Rs.35 lakhs for providing basic amenities in Urdu schools.
  • Rs. One crore allocated for construction of Urdu Ghar and Shadikhanas.
  • Government sanctioned funds for building compound walls for Muslim burial grounds in eight districts.
  • Sanctioned funds for construction of new mosques in urban slums and villages.
  • Post-Metric hostels for minority students in 16 districts.
  • Residential schools in 12 districts.

Under the dynamic leadership of chief minister Y s Rajasekhara Reddy and the State Minorities Welfare Minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir the state government has taken up several steps to boost the morale and dignity of the Muslim community.

Firstly it has initiated measures for protection and proper management of the huge Wakf properties in the state capital and the district towns. The Government initiated stringent measures against encroachers of wakf properties including penalties and imprisonment. Secondly the government formed peace committees and rallied around the elite within community to resolve complex issues. On top of all it ensured that none of the Muslim youth are harassed by the police and they were provided enough avenues for their economic and social up-liftment. Thirdly, the government also set up a body to guide the Muslim youth in job opportunities abroad, mostly gulf and ensure that the gullible youth did become prey of confidence tricksters and job racket brokers.

The credit goes to the congress government that the qualified and eligible persons in state government service are elevated to dignified positions in both the police and state administration.  “I want to ensure that none of the eligible and qualified officers are sidelined  on the basis of their religion, more particularly  being  a Muslim “ said the chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in his first ever review of   officials in the state.

Similarly the state government has also initiated steps for the protection of properties of Christian minorities   in the state. The chief minister   has mooted the proposal for a Christian Minorities properties protection bill in the State Assembly. The Andhra Pradesh Assembly has already   constituted a house committee to study the details of the illegal occupation of properties of the Christian missionaries and educational institutions.

The committee has suggested suitable measures to protect the properties of Christian Missionaries, Churches and their Educational Institutions made and also identify the illegal occupation and constructions on the prime lands of Christian Missionaries, Churches and Educational institutions. The Government proposes to bring in a comprehensive legislation on the line of A.P.Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act 1987 and Wakf Act 1995 as a permanent remedial measure, prohibiting the alienation, sale, gift, lease of the properties of Christian Missionaries and Educational Institutions.

PM’S 15 POINT MINORITY WELFARE PROGRAM:

The program aimed at countering menace of communal disharmony and violence, ensure representation to minorities in government and provide a fair share to them in programs for economic empowerment.

District level committees have been set up to:

  • Enhance  opportunities for education among minorities
  • Ensure an equitable share for minorities in economic activities and employment.
  • Improve conditions of living by ensuring an appropriate share for them in infrastructure development schemes and rural housing.
  • Prevention and control of communal disharmony and violence.
  • To build a comprehensive data base with individual/institution/habitation specific data.
  • To develop monitoring system for achievement of physical and financial targets and achievements for minorities welfare.

In this backdrop, the Chief Minister has directed the officials to conduct open debate by holding seminars involving the Christian NGOs, Arch Bishops, Christian Organizations, intellectuals etc. in five or six different places in the State to elicit the opinion and suggestions of them in this regard and finally holding a State level workshop at Hyderabad before bringing out a Christian Minorities Protection Bill in the coming Assembly Session.

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