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Gujarat Allocated Least Funds for Minorities, West Bengal the Most: Report

The report, “Minority Appeasement – A Myth or a Reality? A Ground Report on Minority Welfare in 7 States”, has listed Gujarat under the category of “low budget allocation (LBA) state,” and stated that it allocated Rs 51.44 crore in 2017-18 for minorities.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:December 4, 2017, 8:20 PM IST
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Gujarat Allocated Least Funds for Minorities, West Bengal the Most: Report
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New Delhi: With Gujarat elections just a few days away and reports circulating that minorities, and Muslims in particular, do not hold much sway in the poll arithmetic, a report by Rehnuma Law Centre, an Ahmedabad-based advocacy group under Centre for Social Justice, has found that annual allocation of funds for minorities has been the lowest among all other states.

The report, “Minority Appeasement – A Myth or a Reality? A Ground Report on Minority Welfare in 7 States”, has listed Gujarat under the category of “low budget allocation (LBA) state,” and stated that it allocated Rs 51.44 crore in 2017-18 for minorities.

In contrast, the highest allocation was at Rs 3,470.78 crore by West Bengal, where its Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is often criticised for her “minority appeasement politics” by the opposition members.

According to 2011 Census of India, West Bengal has over 24.6 million Bengali Muslims whereas Gujarat has 5.84 million Muslims. But the disparity in fund allocation holds when it comes to percentages as well. While Gujarat allocated 0.029% to minorities in its state budget, Bengal kept 1.9% for its minorities.

Jharkhand “showed a downward trend in annual allocation for the three years analysed - 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18. The downward trend was “sharpest for Gujarat”, the report highlighted.

The report listed Karnataka under the ‘High Budget Allocation (HBA)’ state category. According to the report, Karnataka’s budget showed a rise from Rs 845.02 crore in 2015-16 to Rs. 2199.94 crore in 2017-18.

Education related schemes got the lion’s share of the funds. Madhya Pradesh allocated 54.2 per cent of the funds meant for minorities to the Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM). Another 8.1 per cent was reserved for grants related to madrasa and schooling education for minority children.

Gujarat was the most focused on scholarships and education-related schemes among LBA states and reserved 69.4 per cent of its funds for it. Jharkhand on the other hand, had a much higher allocation for multi-sectoral development programme (39.2 per cent) and 1.7 per cent for scholarships.

Among the HBA, West Bengal had the highest allocation under multi-sectoral development programme at Rs 1004.5 crore or 28.9 per cent of its funds meant for minorities. It was also the only state to give large assistance to schools and colleges that are either minority education institutions or cater to minority students. This came to about 18.1% of the state budget for minorities. “There is allocation sprinkled around for setting up minority educational institutions and hostels,” states the report.

The report has also stated how implementation of various scholarship programs for minorities was abysmal in several states and one of them was Jharkhand. It noted that, “there was absolutely no advertisement sent out at the district level in Gumla District (Jharkhand) and since the responsibility falls on the District Welfare Officer (since there is no separate Minority Department), lack of staff and awareness of the schemes were cited as reasons for the same.”

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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