The government has slashed the Budgetary allocation of the Ministry of Minority Affairs for the 2023-24 fiscal by 38 per cent from the previous year. The Budget estimate has come down from Rs.5,020.50 crore in 2022-23 to Rs.3,097 crore. It must be mentioned that the revised allocation in 2022-23 was Rs.2,612.66 crore, indicating an under-utilisation of nearly 48 per cent.
The total allocation for educational empowerment for minorities, which was Rs.2,515 crore in 2022-23, has been reduced to Rs.1,689 crore.
Pre-matric scholarships took the biggest hit this year, falling from Rs.1,425 crore to Rs.433 crore. However, funds for post-metric scholarships got a boost, from Rs.515 crore to Rs.1,065 crore. Meanwhile, a new scheme called Prime Minister-Virasat ka samvardhan (PM Vikaas) has been added to the Ministry’s budget with an allocation of Rs.540 crore.
Allocation for skill development and livelihoods, including schemes such as the USTAD and Nai Manzil schemes, and the Scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women, has nearly disappeared, falling from Rs.332.91 crore to Rs.3.4 crore.
The merit-based means scholarship for professional and technical courses for students from minority communities was among the numerous scholarship and skill development programmes that saw significant funding reductions. The government has slashed the budget for these programmes from Rs.365 crore to Rs.44 crore.
The budget for free coaching and allied schemes for minorities was similarly reduced by about 60 per cent from Rs.79 crore to Rs.30 crore.
The government has not made any allocation for programmes to aid students in passing preliminary exams held by the UPSC, SSC, and State Public Service Commissions. The previous budget allocation was Rs.8 crore.
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The allocation for research schemes for minorities too has been slashed to Rs.20 crore from Rs.41 crore earlier. The total funds for various skill development and livelihood schemes have come down from Rs.491 crore to Rs.64.40 crore. The Education Scheme for Madrasas and Minorities has received a Rs.10 crore allocation, compared with Rs.160 crore in the previous fiscal.
The government has also effected a 50 per cent cut in special schemes for minorities, which include research, studies, publicity, monitoring, and evaluation of development schemes, conservation and protection of the heritage of minorities, and schemes for containing the population decline.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said in a tweet: “The Modi government has cut the Ministry of Minority Affairs budget by about 40 per cent. Perhaps, according to the Prime Minister, poor children from the minority communities do not need the “efforts” of the government. Slogans like, “Sabka Vikas…” [Development for all] are enough.”