(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
October 10, 2010
Minority Development, Reservations
sphere of higher
Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians who are regarded as minorities
national level, even Jains are also recognised as minorities in
The main activities that have been undertaken and the projects that have already been planned are as follows-
Hostels for Muslim Girls: Many believe that one of the reasons behind the socio-economic backwardness of the Muslim community is the prevalence of illiteracy among Muslims in general and amongst the Muslim girls in particular. Keeping in mind this very reason, a decision to set up hostels for Muslim girls in remote locations has been planned long back. The plan covers building of more than one hostel in each of the twelve districts. Already ten hostels have been set up. In the financial year 2009-10, two new hostels have been planned. Rupees 50 lakh have been allotted for building of such hostels in the year 2008-09. The allocation has increased and in the year 2009-10 it amounted to Rs 4 crore. A total of 21 girls’ hostels have been planned, this benefiting a large number of Muslim girl students.
for graveyards: Boundaries
for 102 graveyards have been constructed in the year 2008-09
at the expense of Rs 3.77 crore in order to ensure proper maintenance
graveyards. The allocation has been increased to Rs 4 crore in the year
for this purpose. 16 boundaries
have been constructed in 2009-10 and target has been set for
construction of 50
more boundaries. Along with the government allocations, funds are also
allocated from MP LADS and MLA funds for this purpose and the works are
executed by the district administration. The Left Front government is
sympathetically considering the demand for setting up another graveyard
Empowerment of Minority women: The loan scheme for women is a very effective tool in empowering minority women. Divorcees or utterly destitute women who are within the age group of 20-45 years and whose yearly income is up to Rs 45,000 are given loans at 3 per cent per annum.
West Bengal Minority Development and Finance Corporation: Rs 20 crore has been spent in the year 2008-09 by this corporation. Under the fund for rural infrastructure development, Rs 2 crore was allocated for development of minority areas. Of this amount, till date Rs 1.81 crore has been utilised. The corporation, which has been set up in 1996 for the development of minorities in the fields of commerce and industry, provides loans at low interest rates to economically backward minorities. In the year 2008-09, Rs 89.53 crore have been spent in this regard.
Education Loans and Scholarships: The concerned department has been taking consistent steps in this regard. In the year 2008-09, 3336 students have received scholarship. Another 23,238 students received post secondary scholarship (central part) while 6935 got hold of post secondary scholarship (state part). The total number of recipients of pre secondary scholarship have been 64,924.
Bengal Haj Committee: This
committee makes arrangements
for the Haj pilgrims from the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand,
Waqf Board: The Waqf Board has been vested with more power to discharge its work in more developed and smooth manner. A total amount of Rs 20 crores has been allotted. It has been decided that all waqf property under adverse possession or illegal transfer shall be restored and the income, which will be incurred out of the same property, shall be spent for the welfare of the Muslim community. An amount of Rs 2 crore has been allotted for the board in the year 2009-2010. A total of 8737 properties have already been listed in the waqf schedule. The rent of famous Shaw Wallace Building and the Tollygunge Club building have been increased to Rs 7 lakh per month. The one time earning has reached to Rs 2 crore. Now, the process of computerised documentation of all waqf properties has been commenced.
Urdu Academy: The prime aim of this academy is to propagate and encourage Urdu language and literature. The fundamental works taken by the Academy are educational programmes, announcing scholarships and prizes, printing and publication, running correspondence courses, and providing vocational training. The budget allocation for these purposes for the year 2009-2010 is Rs 2 crore. The Left Front government has decided that if someone writes the letter to the government departments in Urdu, it would be replied to in Urdu only. The government circulars have to be communicated in Urdu in certain places. Many more Urdu medium primary schools will be opened in the Urdu-speaking areas and soon the vacancies of the teachers will be filled in all Urdu schools. Already, Arabic has been included in Bachelors course in many colleges of the state. Now the priority is improvement of the quality of that education by appointment of efficient teachers. The government has already taken the initiative to appoint the efficient teachers.
Board of Madrasah Education: The Madrasah education in West Bengal has a glorious history and tradition. Keeping this in mind, the Left Front government extended autonomy to the Madrasah Board in the year 1994. The syllabus of Madrasah education has been upgraded and modernised with the commencement of the computer courses in 150 Madrasahs and inclusion of technical education in 89 others. The entire education system has been brought under the fold of Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan. The government has planned to build 10 Madrasahs as centre of excellences. A total number of 8 lakh students are getting themselves educated in 576 Madrasahs and 185 Centres for Madrasah Education through out the state. Affiliation has been given to 200 child education centres and 300 centres for higher Madrasah education. It is hoped that soon these institutions will achieve the reorganisation of educational institutions in the academic year 2009-2010. Now, let us look at the unique characteristics of the Madrasahs in West Bengal:
1. With a countable exceptions, almost all Madrasahs in the state have co-educational system, which is indeed very rare in other states.
2. Though the Higher Madrasahs are regulated by the Board of Madrasah Education, they come under the purview of state higher education council.
3. Almost all Madrasahs are having a large number of non-Muslim students.
4. A large number of non-Muslim teachers and non teaching staff are also appointed in the Madrasahs.
5. It can be found that a large number of non-Muslims apply for the examination conducted by the Madrasah Education Commission for the posts of teachers in Madrasahs.
All these characteristics are a reflection of the deep secular roots of tradition, education and culture of the state and they reveal the confidence of the people in the very spirit of secular democracy.
Alia University: The process to establish Alia University has already been initiated, which will gradually become a modern university. The state government has extended all kinds of administrative and financial support to fulfil the dreams of the minority community that have been cherished for a long time. I personally dream of having Al Azahar University in our state in the near future.
[Source: The Economic Development Report 2009-2010 placed in the state assembly recently]
(To be continued)