The States and Union Territories have indispensable role in implementation of minority welfare schemes as they are stakeholders in taking the benefits to the marginalized groups. The States and UTs are channelizing and communication agencies for minority welfare schemes. Dr. Najma Heptulla, the Union Minister for Minority Affairs said this while inaugurating the National Conference of Ministers and Secretaries of Minority Welfare in State/UT Governments. Expressing concern over consistent absence of Ministers from certain States, the Minister said such platform call for cooperation from one and all. Invoking quote from PM, she said that it is fight against poverty and not against each other. Recognizing the need for continuous suggestions and different set of problems faced by States and Union Territories, Dr. Najma Heptulla said that the website of the Ministry of Minority Affairs will soon provide a window for suggestions from States and UTs. She urged the participants to monitor the implementation of Schemes at ground level and furnish completion and utilization certificates in time to enable Centre to release funds. The Minister said that Centre want to develop waqf properties across the country to enhance the revenue of States/UTs for minority welfare activities and expect cooperation in this effort.
The Ministry’s emphasis is on education as all deficits flow from educational deficit, she added. Education being the basis of development, focus is to equip minority youth with formal education as well as skill development. The Ministry awards about 86 lakh Scholarships for Pre-matric, Post-matric and Merit-cum-means scholarship all over India. Of these, 30% scholarships are earmarked for girls, however, coverage of girls is more than 46%.Focussing on women, entrepreneurship program is supported by NMFDC, the Minister added further.
Earlier welcoming the participants, Shri RakeshGarg, Secretary MoMA said the timing of this conference is appropriate to discuss and devise strategies for implementation of various schemes.This is the first time when revised budget estimate was not reduced and all funds were used in last financial year. The Centre and States need to work as a team for ensuring timely proper utilization of this year’s budget too.
The Ministers in charge of Minority Affairs of States and Secretaries looking after the Minority Welfare Department of States are attending the Conference. The representatives of Union Territory Administrations are also participating .Those States being represented by the ministers include Telangana ,Gujarat, Bihar, Haryana, Chhattisgarh ,Sikkim, Nagaland and Mizoram.
This is the first National Conference of the Ministers and Secretaries of Minority Affairs of the State Governments and Union Territories to review all the schemes of the Ministry of Minority Affairs and issues related to their implementation. The information on various schemes and programmes of the Ministry of Minority Affairs for the welfare of minorities will be given during the Technical Sessions of the conference. The purpose of this conference is that the outreach of the various schemes for the welfare of minorities reaches to every nook and corner of the country. It is expected that this Conference would help in better coordination and strengthening the partnership of the States and UTs with the Central Government in the implementation of the various welfare schemes for the minorities.