Minorities are being provided holisitc support from the government to bring them to mainstream
Several governments have come and gone since India gained independence. All of them had launched various policies and schemes for the benefits of minorities in the country. But the expectations from the current government are high in terms of benefiting minority communities as team Modi has mastered the art of management. It is expected from them that due to their good governance and great management skills, the real benefits would reach to those who actually need them and not just on papers. Moreover it will help the PM to reinstate his secular image amongst the minority. Therefore much attention has been paid to this political responsibility in the BJP led government that firmly believes in Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas.
Although making schemes and policies benefiting minorities is not a new thing but this time it is expected that they will reach to large number of people because equal efforts have been laid on creating awareness amongst people. Obviously when people are better informed and know about their rights, they proactively try to get benefits of policies and schemes. We have shortlisted a few policies and schemes launched or rejuvenated by Modi Government that have a great potential to reap better fruits in the times to come.
Last year, government launched a scheme, Upgrading Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTTAD), for the artisans belonging to minority communities. It is a welfare scheme focusing on preservation and upgradation of traditional ancestral arts and crafts skills and thus enabling the artisans, weavers and craftsmen to get employment. These trained craftsmen and artisans will further train the younger generation to facilitate the knowledge flow from one generation to the next. The scheme also focuses at USTTAD Fellowship for Research and Development, support to crafts museums for curating traditional arts/ crafts, support to minority craftsmen/artisans for marketing their products. Recently the government organized an event called Hunar to provide platform for selling the products made by minority artisans in the International Trade Fair. Thus the government has not only encouraged these people at the manufacturing level but also taken efforts to make sure that the end products are sold.
2. Progressive Panchayat
The Progressive Panchayat programme was first launched in Mewat region in Haryana. Minorities ministry plans to conduct hundred such panchayat programmes in order to have direct communication with minority communities at the grass root level. “Earlier, people from minority communities were cheated by merchants of votes. Now there will be no such business of votes, but an agenda of development to ensure welfare of the communities,” Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of State for Minority Affairs said. It is first of its kind and is a uniquely designed outreach programme which is expected to inform people about developmental activities in social, educational, health and infrastructural sectors. The programme will seek the help and suggestions of locals to improve the schemes and policies made for the communities in different sectors.
3. Nai Udaan
It has been noticed that there is negligible presence of minorities in the higher rank services. There may be many reasons for the same. It may be lack of awareness or financial support. The current government seems to be committed for upgrading minorities in this arena. Therefore, Nai Udaan has been implemented to help students prepare for the mains exam of these services. It aims at providing financial support to the minority candidates clearing prelims conducted by UPSC, Staff Selection Commission and State Public Service Commissions to adequately equip them to compete for appointment to Civil Services in the Union and the State governments and to increase the representation of the minorities in the Civil Services. The scheme would cover 800 candidates for financial support throughout the country. Of these 568 would be Muslims, 96 Christians, 80 Sikhs, 32 Buddhists, 7 Parsis and 17 Jains. Total family income of the candidates from all sources should not exceed Rs. 4.5 lakh per annum.
4. Nai Manzil
A new scheme “Nai Manzil” that was launched in 2015 as an integrated education and livelihood initiative has been approved with Rs. 650 Crore and it is expected to benefit about 1 lakh minority youth. The World Bank has agreed to support the programme with 50% funding. Rs. 155 Crore has been allocated for 2016-17 for implementation of programme. This scheme is also noteworthy as it combines the formal education along with skill development for school dropouts which will significantly enhance their career growth. Notably the rate of school dropouts amongst the minority communities mostly Muslims is higher in comparison with other communities. Therefore Ministry of Minority Affairs has made serious efforts to promote education and employment among minority communities and taken important initiatives in last two years.
5. Nai Roshni
Articles 25 and 30 in the Indian constitution have laid the rights of religious, cultural and linguistic freedom for every citizen of the country. It has also put emphasis on the gender equity but there is a big gap in the noble intentions and actual realization as the women especially from minority communities lag behind in the socio-political strata Thus realizing the need to better the status of minority women the government is obligated for women empowerment.
Nai Roshni a leadership development programme for minority women. It aims at empowering and instilling confidence among minority women by providing knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with government systems, banks and other institutions at all levels. Empowering women, especially mothers, is even more important because she nurtures and moulds the character of her offspring and thus the whole generation. The effort would encourage minority women to move out of the confines of their home and assume leadership roles and assert their rights in accessing services, facilities and opportunities. The programme includes various training modules related to women leadership, educational programmes, health and hygiene, financial literacy, life skills, legal rights, digital literacy, etc. In last two years of the NDA Government, Ministry of Minority Affairs has trained more than 1.30 lakh women with Rs.28.98 Crore in 24 States.
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