Saudi NRIs urge Indian minorities to avail govt schemes


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Saudi Arabia, May 06, 2014: A well-known scholar and academic called on Indian expatriates to play a vital role in creating proper awareness among the beneficiaries about the government’s welfare schemes and projects for minorities.

Prominent scholar and academic Hussain Madavoor addresses a session at the Jeddah Indian Islahi Center in Sharafiyah recently.

Prominent scholar and academic Hussain Madavoor addresses a session at the Jeddah Indian Islahi Center in Sharafiyah recently.

Hussain Madavoor, general secretary of All India Islahi Movement, was addressing a table talk session on how to utilize schemes and projects of the government of India for minority development at Jeddah Indian Islahi Center-Sharafiyah recently. Prominent figures representing various sections of the Keralite society and media persons in Jeddah took part in the function, which was managed by a panel comprising Salah Karadan and Basheer Vallikkunnu.

Madavoor, who has recently been nominated as the coordinator of India’s Ministry of Minority Affairs to the southern state of Kerala, noted that the government of India allocated more than RS37 billion for minority welfare schemes in the current fiscal year’s budget. “Nearly half (15 billion rupees) of the last year’s budgetary allocations have been lapsed mainly because of inaction on the part of the beneficiaries in their proper utilization. Apparently, there is also no mechanism to know whether the funds are reaching the real beneficiaries or not,” he said.

Madavoor said that effective execution of these schemes will be instrumental in improving the social and economic conditions of Indian minorities, especially Muslims, in a considerable way. The schemes have been introduced on the basis of the recommendations of the Sachar Committee, which studied the social, economic and educational condition of Indian Muslims. The committee found that the status of Indian Muslims are below the conditions of Dalits and that the overall percentage of Muslims in bureaucracy is just 2.5 percent whereas Muslims constitute above 14 percent of the Indian population.

It recommended several schemes to improve living conditions and enhance educational opportunities besides curbing communal disharmony. “There are also several schemes and projects introduced under the Prime Minister’s 15-point program for the welfare of minorities, and Maulana Azad Education Foundation,” he said. The academic noted that there are hundreds of thousands of students who deserve scholarships and financial assistance among the minority communities in India but they don’t know about such government schemes as well as the procedures to take advantage of them.

Similar is the case with the schemes and projects for the institutions run by minority communities.

Madavoor said that expatriate social, religious and political organizations shall shoulder the responsibility of introducing these schemes and projects to the minority community members at the grass root level so as to enable them to take maximum advantage of them. He also mooted the idea of social auditing of the scheme implementation through the active participation of voluntary workers from different minority communities.

Madavoor said he will monitor the effectiveness of implementing these schemes and will report to the ministry with suggestions and proposals to make it more effective as well as to narrow down the loopholes. The participants put forward several practical solutions to have optimum utilization of the schemes. They included ensuring active involvement of local religious bodies, appointing district-level coordinators and liaison officers, publishing periodic bulletins detailing various schemes and the procedures to take advantage of them, formation of a help desk, and measures to prevent the interference of brokers.

- saudi gazette

India struggled to protect minorities – USCIRF

Washington DC, May 06, 2014: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a US-govt body that monitors religious freedom in the world has critized India for its failure to protect its minority or provide justice to them.

Minorities in IndiaIn its annual report released today USCIRF said, “Despite the country’s status as a pluralistic, secular democracy, India has struggled to protect minority communities or provide justice when crimes occur due to a lack of political will, political corruption, and religious bias by government officials. This exacerbates the climate of impunity that already exists in the country. Based on these concerns, USCIRF places India on Tier 2in 2014.”

Commission puts those countries under Tier 2 where the violations perpetrated or tolerated by the government are serious and characterized by at least one of the elements of the “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” standard. India was first placed on this tier in 2009 and has remained in it since then.

The report on India make notes on Muzaffarnagar violence of last year, struggles of Christians & Muslim Dalits to get same benefits as other Dalits, slow pace of justice for victims of violence in Gujarat 2002 and Odisha in 2008. The Commission also criticized anti-conversion laws of Chattsgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Odisha.

Terrorist attack on Bodh Gaya also finds a mention in the report, USCIRF notes that National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Hindu priest Arup Brahmachari but released him after protest. No arrests have been made after tha.

The four-page report on India recommended the US government to include religious freedom concerns in its bilateral relations with India.

USCIRF recommends that the U.S. government should:

Integrate concern for religious freedom into bilateral contacts with India, at both the federal and provincial level, and encourage the strengthening of the capacity of state and central police to implement effective measures to prohibit and punish cases of religious violence and protect victims and witnesses;

Increase the U.S. embassy’s attention to issues of religious freedom and related human rights, including through visits by the Ambassador and other officials to areas where communal violence has occurred or is likely to occur and meetings withreligious communities, local governmental leaders, and police;

  • Urge India to boost training on human rights and religious freedom standards and practices for the police and judiciary, particularly in states and areas with a history or likelihood of communal violence;
  • Urge the central Indian government to press states that have adopted anti-conversion laws to repeal or amend them to conform with internationally-recognized human rights standards; and
  • Encourage the establishment of an impartial body of interfaith religious leaders, human rights advocates, legal experts, and government officials to discuss and recommend actions to promote religious tolerance and understanding.

- tcn

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