New Delhi :
A scheme to
provide skill development and leadership training to Muslim women
exhibiting entrepreneurial skills is set to be rolled out soon by
the Ministry of Minority Affairs as the Manmohan Singh Government
begins work on a 100-day action plan for governance.
Affairs Ministry is giving final touches to the scheme, aimed at
empowering Muslim women who have been left out of the development
trajectory. The scheme, which would be Centrally sponsored, is
likely to have a flexible one-time financial support component as
scheme would be implemented directly by the Minority Affairs
Ministry, the services of state governments and NGOs would be sought
to identify the beneficiaries. A selection committee would be set up
to screen the individual applications and the names forwarded by
states and NGOs.
Ministry is yet to finalise the lower and upper limits of the
financial support aspect, sources said the National Minorities
Development and Finance Corporation could be linked with the
beneficiaries to ensure that they continued to get support till they
Committee had pointed out that although Muslim women were
“overwhelmingly self-employed” and engaged in home-based work, they
did not have independent access to credit facilities, opportunities
for skill up-gradation, or access to markets. There was
discrimination in giving Muslim women credit facilities.
plan is to support such self-employed women to develop the
leadership skills in them, sharpen their entrepreneurial talent and
help improve their primary skills. The Sachar Committee had found
that self-employed Muslim women were primarily engaged in activities
like sewing, embroidery, agarbatti rolling and beedi making.
female work participation rate among Muslims is only about 25 per
cent while the literacy rate is abysmally low. In view of the poor
socio-economic status of Muslim women, the scheme is essentially on
the lines of the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme for the welfare
scheme was conceptualised by the Women and Child Development
Ministry, it was later transferred to the Ministry of Minority
Affairs, which began working on it after the interim budget,
presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, earmarked Rs 45 lakh
for its implementation.
Initially, the scheme is likely to be implemented in select states
only where there is a large minority population. The scheme could
well be the first that new Minority Affairs Minister Salman
Khursheed may announce.