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Fast track minority schemes: Centre to Maharashtra
Saturday January 17, 2015 7:38 PM, IANS

The central government Saturday asked Maharashtra to speed up implementation of minority-related development schemes and utilise central funds allocated for them.

Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said education and skill development schemes must be prioritised for empowering the minorities.

He said the progress card of Maharashtra under various schemes ranged from 30-45 percent - nowhere crossing the halfway mark.

"The decision to release central funds often depends upon the utilisation rate of the previous grants. Maharashtra needs to look into this matter and speed up implementation rate. A state like Kerala has already utilised 100 percent funds and has the capacity to absorb more," he said.

Pointing out that education was the priority area for minority empowerment, the minister observed that in the plan to open 1,000 primary schools for minorities, Maharashtra has succeeded to only 38 percent extent.

Naqvi held wide ranging discussions on minorities related issues with Maharashtra's Minority Affairs Minister Eknath Khadse.

He also reviewed progress in implementation of various schemes in the state as part of a central review.

Underlining Prime Minister Narendra Modi's thrust on skill development as one sure way to empower minority youth, he asked the state government to explore the possibility of entering into MoUs with corporate, industry and service institutions for supplying skilled manpower.

"No one likes to employ a raw hand. A skill development programme drawn as per the requirement of a client is a win-win situation for all," Naqvi said.

Assuring the central government's commitment to overall socio-economic development of minorities, he asked the Maharashtra government to propose innovative schemes and programmes to promote minority welfare for which funds would not be a problem.

Khadse told Naqvi that the BJP-Shiv Sena government took charge in the state only three months ago and was making all efforts to fast-track implementation of minority schemes with stress on education, especially for girls.

In order to promote education among girls in minority communities, he said the government was constructing around 15-16 girls hostels across the state.

Khadse sought a central grant of Rs.1 billion for the Maulana Azad Minorities Financial Development Corporation to provide financial assistance and subsidised loans to minorities.

He urged the central government to hike the value of merit scholarships for minority students from Rs.25,000 to Rs.35,000, bringing it on par with the scholarships granted to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes students.

Maharashtra Minority Commission Chairman M. Hussain Khan, several minority community leaders and others also met Naqvi.



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