Union Budget: Minority Welfare Funds Slashed By 38%; Is This ‘Sabka Vikas’? Asks Congress

• Shabbir Ali slams reduction in budget from Rs. 5,020 Cr in 2022-23 to Rs. 3,097 Cr in 2023-24

हैदराबाद : पूर्व मंत्री और तेलंगाना विधान परिषद में कांग्रेस पार्टी के विपक्ष के पूर्व नेता मोहम्मद अली शब्बीर ने वित्त मंत्री निर्मला सीतारमण द्वारा बुधवार को लोकसभा में पेश केंद्रीय बजट में अल्पसंख्यकों के कल्याण के लिए कोष में 38% से अधिक की कटौती करने के लिए केंद्र की भाजपा सरकार की कड़ी निंदा की है।

Hyderabad : Former Minister & ex-Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir has strongly condemned the BJP Govt at the Centre for slashing the funds for the welfare of minorities by over 38% in the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Reacting to the budget speech, Shabbir Ali said that the BJP Govt has reduced the allocation for minorities’ welfare from Rs. 5,020.50 Crore in 2022-23 to Rs. 3,097.60 Crore in 2023-24, a cut of Rs. 1,922.90 Crore or nearly 38%. “Is this the reflection of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’?” he asked while accusing the BJP Govt at the Centre of crushing the minorities socially, educationally and economically by cutting funds for their welfare.

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Shabbir Ali said Modi Govt has been systematically targeting the schemes meant for the economic and educational empowerment of poor minorities. The BJP Govt has scrapped Pre-Matric Scholarship for Minorities for students of Classes 1-8 hitting lakhs of poor students. Similarly, the Nai Udaan Scheme, meant to help minority candidates prepare for the preliminary examinations conducted by the Union and State Public Services Commissions, was also scrapped.

The Maulana Azad National Fellowship for higher education too was scrapped in December last year. In the budget for 2023-24, the Modi Govt has reduced the budget for schemes under Skill Development and Livelihoods from Rs. 491.91 Crore in 2022-23 to just Rs. 64.40 crores in 2023-24, a cut by nearly 83%.

He said the budget for Skill Development Initiatives has been reduced from Rs. 235.41 Crore to just Rs. 10 lakhs. Similarly, the allocations have been reduced for Nai Manzil – the Integrated Educational and Livelihood Initiative (from Rs. 46 Cr to Rs. 10 Lakh); Upgrading Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTTAD) from Rs. 47 Cr to Rs. 10 Lakh and Scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women from Rs. 2.50 Cr to Rs. 10 Lakh.

Further, the Equity contribution to the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) has been reduced from Rs. 159 crores in 2022-23 to just Rs. 61 crores in 2023-24.

Shabbir Ali reminded that it was the previous UPA-led Congress Govt which established a separate Ministry for Minority Affairs in the year 2006. Since then, the budget allocation for the Ministry of Minority Affairs increased rapidly, starting from Rs.144 crore, to touching Rs.3,531 crore. However, the BJP Govt made meagre allocations every year which barely kept pace with the inflation.

Further, not even 60% of the allocated amounts were spent. He said a lot of hype was created when the Centre allocated Rs. 5020.50 crores in the 2022-23 budget. But the Modi Govt silently reduced the amount to Rs. 2,612 crores in the Revised Estimates. This year’s budget (Rs. 3,097 Cr) is less than the year 2012-13 when Rs. 3,155 crore were allocated, he said.

“PM Modi talks about ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas’ and he plans to achieve it by targetting the minorities by slashing budget allocations for their welfare and taking them to the decade-old level. This is utter injustice and not acceptable,” he said.

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