Between 2006 and 2013, the budget allocation for the Ministry of Minority Affairs increased rapidly, starting from Rs.144 crore, to touch Rs.3,531 crore. Since then, there has been a steady decline. The eight years from 2013-14 to 2022-23 saw the budget for minorities rising from Rs.3,511 crore to only Rs.5,020.50 crore, barely keeping pace with inflation.
On the other hand, the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry budget for 2021-2022 stood at Rs.11,689.39 crore. This was a 28.35 per cent increase over the previous financial year’s revised budget of Rs.8,207.56 crore (2020-21).
For 2014-15, the budget for the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways was Rs.33,048 crore; in 2022-23, it had grown to Rs.1,99,107.71 crore, an increase of more than 400 per cent.
While the allocation for Ministries such as the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways continues to grow at a rapid pace, the Ministry of Minority Affairs continues to make up a very small percentage of the total yearly budget allocations.
The 2021-22 budget, for instance, had no mention of minorities and no new development schemes for them. A report by the Institute of Policy Studies and Advocacy said, “It may be noted that less than 0.2 per cent of the total Union Budget 2021-22 has been earmarked for the development of minorities.”
In 2022-23, the budget was increased to Rs.5,020.50 crore from the 2021-22 allocation of Rs. 4,346.45 crore, a hike of Rs. 674.05 crore, which the then Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi hailed as a step towards “sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas.”
On the ground, there has been no increase in funding for the Ministry’s prominent programmes. In fact, funds for the Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF), were cut down by over 99 per cent compared to the budget for 2021-22 before the MANF scheme was cancelled.
Additionally, funds for minority programmes such as Skill development and livelihood’, ‘Total Skill Development and Livelihoods,’ Nai Manzil, and ‘Leadership Development of Minority Women’ were also slashed. This was despite the fact that in 2016, the Minority Affairs Ministry had included several success stories from these programmes in a report titled “Initiatives and Achievements of two years” that it released. Najma Heptulla was the Union Minister for Minority Affairs then.
A 2022 report from the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), titled “In Search of Inclusive Recovery”, says that the proportional representation of minorities, who form 21 per cent of the total population as per Census 2011, was not taken into account when allocating funds for 2022–23.
The report notes that since 2012-13, a “declining trend” has been observed in the share of the overall budget expenditure towards minorities.
The report points out that the 4 per cent hike for the Ministry of Minority Affairs is based on a small increase in allocations for the PMJVK (Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakaram), which was the name given to the Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) in 2018. The study notes that there is a significant discrepancy between the Ministry’s requests for funding and the money allocated to meet those requests.
According to the same report, the Centre’s promise to give one crore scholarships to minorities under the pre-matric, post-matric and Merit-cum-Means scholarship schemes in 2019 remained unfulfilled, as only 58 lakh students had been awarded. At least 47 per cent of the total applicants did not get the scholarship due to implementation issues. Before this sharp decline, scholarships awarded to students increased from roughly 75,000 to over seven million between 2006 to 2013.
- Between 2006 and 2013, the budget allocation for the Ministry of Minority Affairs increased rapidly, starting from Rs.144 crore, to touch Rs.3,531 crore.
- Since 2014, there has been a steady decline.
- A 2022 report from the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) says that the proportional representation of minorities was not taken into account when allocating funds for 2022–33.