New Delhi : The Ministry of Minority was established in 2006 to empower the minority communities namely Jains, Parsis, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims. The Ministry seeks to create an enabling environment for strengthening the multiracial, multi-ethnic, multi- cultural, multi lingual and multi–religious character of our nation. The mission is to improve the socio–economic condition of the minority communities through affirmative action and inclusive development so that every citizen has equal opportunity to participate actively in building a dynamic nation to facilitate an equitable share for minority communities in education, employment, economic activities and to enhance their upliftment.
Ministry of Minority Affairs is implementing three scholarship schemes for the educational empowerment of students belonging to the notified minority communities: (i) pre-matric scholarship; (ii) post-matric scholarship; and (iii) merit–cum–means based scholarship.
To improve transparency in scholarship schemes, a new and revamped version of National scholarship Portal 2.0 was launched for various ministries of the Central Government including Ministry of Minority Affairs for extending scholarships during 2016-17. All the above three scholarship schemes of this Ministry are on the NSP 2.0 portal. The scholarships are transferred in the bank accounts of students through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode. Wherever Aadhaar numbers are available, the bank accounts of students are linked and scholarships transferred to such accounts.
(i) Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme: The Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme is a central sector scheme and students securing 50 per cent marks or equivalent grade in the previous examination and annual parental income not exceeding Rs 1 Lakh, are eligible. 30 per cent of scholarships are earmarked for girl students. During 2014-15 to 2021-22, a total of 4,43,50,785 scholarships (including 52.24% females) have been sanctioned.
(ii) Post Matric Scholarship Scheme: It is a Central Sector Scheme
(iii) Merit-cum-Means based Scholarship: The Merit-cum-Means based scholarship scheme is a central sector scheme and Scholarships are awarded for pursuing professional and technical courses, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, in institutions recognised by appropriate authority. To be eligible, a student should have secured admission in any technical or professional institution, recognised by an appropriate authority. In case of students admitted without a competitive examination, they should have secured not less than 50 per cent marks. The annual income of the parents’/guardians’ from all sources should not exceed 2.50 lakh. Under the scheme, 60,000 fresh scholarships are proposed to be awarded every year in addition to the renewals. 30 per cent of these scholarships are earmarked for girl students. 85 institutes for professional and technical courses have been listed in the scheme. Eligible students from the minority communities admitted to these institutions are reimbursed full course fee. A course fee of 20,000 per annum is reimbursed to students studying in other institutions. Besides, a student is also eligible for maintenance allowance of up to Rs 10,000 p.a. (for hosteller) and 5,000 p.a. (for day scholar) is awarded to selected students. During 2014-15 to 2021-22, a total of 10,02,072 scholarships (including 37.81% females) scholarships have been sanctioned.
The Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) has conceptualized the Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan (PM VIKAS) Scheme, that converges five existing schemes of the Ministry viz. Seekho aur Kamao (SAK), USTTAD, Hamari Dharohar, Nai Roshini, Nai Manzil. PM VIKAS aims to adopt a family-centric approach, targeting beneficiaries from all minority communities, with special focus on artisan families, women, youth, and differently abled.
The scheme has been planned to be implemented across four components namely:
- Skilling and Training Component
- Leadership and Entrepreneurship Component, with credit support
- Education Component for school dropouts; and
- Infrastructure Development Component in collaboration with PMJVK scheme of the Ministry.
Key activities undertaken in the scheme in the year 2022:
- A tripartite MoU was signed amongst MoMA, M/o Women Child and Development and M/o Skill Development and Entrepreneurship on 11.10.2022 at Vigyan Bhawan, in the National Conference on Skilling in Non-Traditional Livelihoods for Girls – ‘Beti Bane Kushal’. The MoU aims at optimizing PM VIKAS’s skilling and leadership outreach to young girls from minority communities through active synergy and convergence of the three Ministries.
- Some snippets of the artisans workshops have been provided below:
Seekho aur Kamao (SAK)
‘Seekho Aur Kamao’ (Learn and Earn) scheme is a placement-linked skill development scheme for minorities that was launched by the Ministry of Minority Affairs in September 2013. It aims to upgrade the skills of minority youth (in the age group of 14-45 years) in various modern/ traditional skills.
The scheme has now been converged into as a component into the new, integrated PM VIKAS scheme.
Other Activities undertaken in the year 2022:
- The Ministry has been actively participating in the national agenda of Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition (POSHAN Abhiyan). The Ministry reached out to approx. 8 lakh female beneficiaries under this initiative.
- As a participating Ministry to the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahostav’ (AKAM) and ‘Vibhajan Vibhishikha Smriti Diwas’, the Division conducted detailed conversations with all Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs). All PIAs were instructed to popularize the initiatives and promote their activities on social media platforms.
- National Minority Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC), an autonomous body under the aegis of MoMA has provided credit to 14,12,425 female beneficiaries since inception as on date.
USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/ Crafts for Development) Scheme was formally launched on 14th May, 2015to preserve the rich heritage of traditional arts/crafts of minorities. Hunar Haat has been implemented as a component of the scheme since 2016-17.
Hunar Haat is an effective platform wherein opportunity is given to minority artisans/craftsperson’s and culinary experts from across the country to showcase and market their finest handicraft and exquisitely crafted indigenous products and has generated employment and employment opportunities for artisans, craftsperson’s and associated persons and has strengthened their market linkages.During Financial year 2021-22, Hunar Haat were conducted at Mumbai; Maharashtra and Agra; Uttar Pradesh.
Further, Ministry of Minority Affairs has engaged institutions of national repute under USTTAD scheme namely, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), National Institute of Design (NID) to work in various craft clusters for design intervention, product range development, packaging, exhibitions and brand building etc. During the FY 2021-22, design and development workshops across following clusters have been undertaken:
- Black Pottery, Manipur
- Soft Stone, Varanasi; Uttar Pradesh
- Wooden Cuttlery, Udayagiri; Andhra Pradesh
- Tilla Embroidery, Srinager; Jammu and Kashmir
- Bidriware, Bidar; Karnataka
- Chanapatna Toys, Chanapatna; Karnataka
- Textiles of Nagaland, Dimapur; Nagaland
- Chikankari, Lucknow; Uttar Pradesh
Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram
Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Minority Affairs with the objective to develop infrastructure projects, which are community assets, in the identified areas with development deficits for socio-economic development of the said areas. In 2021-22, the revised PMJVK has been approved by the Government for continuation over the 15th Finance Commission Cycle i.e., during FY 2021-22 to 2025-26. The Revised PMJVK Scheme will be implemented in all Districts of the Country including all the Aspirational Districts. Projects are approved in the identified areas where the concentration of minority population is more than 25% in the catchment area (15 KM radius).
In 2021-22, projects approved under the scheme includes school buildings, residential schools, hostels, ITIs, skill centres, health projects including hospitals, health centres, Sadbhav Mandap, Community hall, sports projects like sports complex, working women hostels, etc. Ministry of Minority Affairs in collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre, ISRO has started geo tagging of the infrastructure constructed under the scheme.
National Commission for Minorities,
The Minorities Commission which was set up in 1978 became a statutory body with the enactment of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, after which it was renamed as the National Commission for Minorities. The first statutory National Commission was set up in 1993.
As per NCM Act, 1992, the Commission has the following functions:
a. evaluate the progress of the development of minorities under the Union and States;
b. monitor the working of the safeguards provided in the Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislatures;
c. make recommendations for the effective implementation of safeguards for the protection of the interests of minorities by the Central Government or the State Governments
d. look into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of the minorities and take up such matters with the appropriate authorities
e cause studies to be undertaken into problems arising out of any discrimination against minorities and recommend measures for their removal;
f. conduct studies, research and analysis on the issues relating to socio- economic and educational development of minorities;
g. suggest appropriate measures in respect of any minority to be undertaken by the Central Government or the State Governments
h. make periodical or special reports to the Central Government on any matter pertaining to minorities and in particular difficulties confronted by them; and
i. any other matter which may be referred to it by the Central Government
- Commission for Minorities Eighteen Governments/UT Administrations namely, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Government of NCT of Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have set up commissions for minorities.
Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities: The Office of the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities (CLM) was established in 1957 in pursuance of the provision of Article 350-B of the Constitution which envisages investigation by CLM of all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the linguistic minorities in the country under the Constitution and reporting to the President upon these matters at such intervals as the President may direct. The President may want that all such reports be laid before each House of the Parliament and sent to the government administration of states/UTs concerned. The CLM organization has its headquarters at Delhi with Zonal offices at Chennai and Kolkata. The CLM interacts with states/UTs on all the matters pertaining to the issues concerning implementation of the Constitutional and nationally agreed safeguards provided to linguistic minorities.
Constitutional Safeguards for Linguistic Minorities
Under the Constitution of India, certain safeguards have been granted to the religious and linguistic minorities. Article 29 and 30 seek to protect the interests of minorities and recognize their right to conserve their distinct language, script or culture and to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Article 347 makes provision for Presidential direction for official recognition of any language spoken by a substantial proportion of the population of a State or any part thereof for such purpose as the President may specify. Article 350 gives the right to submit representation for redressal of grievances to any authority of the union or a state in any of the languages used in the Union/States. Article 350A provides for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups. Article 350B provides for a special Officer designated as Commissioner for Linguistic minorities to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.
Central Waqf Council
Central Waqf Council, a statutory body under the administrative control of the Ministry of Minority Affairs was set up in 1964 as per the provision given in the Waqf Act, 1954 as Advisory Body to the Central Government on matters concerning the working of the Waqf Boards and the due administration of Auqaf in the country. The role of the Council under the provision as stipulated in the Waqf Act, 1995 as amended has considerably expanded. Now, the Council has been empowered to advise the Central Government, State Governments and State Waqf Boards. In addition to the expanded role of advice, it has now been issuing directives to the Boards to furnish information to the Council on the performance of the board particularly on their financial performance, survey revenue records encroachment of Waqf properties and Annual and Audit report etc.
The Central Waqf Council consists of Chairperson, who is the Union Minister In-charge of Waqf and such other members, not exceeding 20 in numbers from different categories as stipulated in the Act, may be appointed by the Government of India. During the period under report, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister of Minority Affairs is the ex-officio Chairman of the Central Waqf Council. The present Council re-constituted on 23.01.2022 for a period of one year i.e. from 04.02.2022 to 03.02.2023. The office of the Central Waqf Council has been shifted at Central Waqf Bhawan, Sector 6 PushpVihar, Opposite Family Court Saket, New Delhi-110017.
Durgah Khawaja Saheb Act, 1955
An Act to make provision for the proper administration of the Dargah and the Endowment of the Dargah of Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishty, generally known as Dargah Khwaja Saheb, Ajmer
The mandate of the Dargah Committee is to provide service to the public through development of infrastructure as per the provisions of Dargah Khwaja Saheb Act, 1955 and its Bye Laws of 1958.
Haj Pilgrimage 2022
The Haj 2022 operations in Saudi Arabia, has been completed successfully and 79,200 Indian pilgrims (including 1796 lady pilgrims without Mehram) performed Haj after gap of two years i.e. 2020 & 2021.
- The Haj-2022 operation was organised in the shadow of the post-pandemic period under unprecedented circumstances and CoVID restrictions. In spite of adverse situation and short notice the Saudi Ministry confirmed the Haj-2022. Haj-2022 operations required excellent coordination and cooperation between the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Haj Committee of India and other stakeholders involved in the Haj operations. The swift and coordinated action of all Ministries resulted in completion of Haj preparations in a very short span of about 45 days and making the country as the first country to get Haj-visa for the pilgrims.
- The major highlights of the Haj-2022 are as under:-
- Considering the health care needs in the post- pandemic period, Saudi Arabia restricted the total number of pilgrims to 10 lakhs including 8.5 Lakhs from outside.
- Pilgrims below the age of 65 years who were fully vaccinated with approved COVID vaccines were allowed.
- During normal year, the works related to preparations for Haj-operations are completed in 5-6 months in advance but for Haj-2022, the same were arranged on very short notice of one and half months.
- The core Haj period was between 5th July to 12th July, 2022 but the departure of pilgrims started w.e.f. 24.06.202. The Bilateral Haj Agreement was inked on 20 April 2022.
- For the pilgrims of Haj Committee of India a total of 188 buildings, well-equipped with basic amenities and facilities, were hired in Makkah. Similarly, lodging arrangements were made in Markazia area Madinah to enable pilgrims to complete 40 times prayer.
- For the first time ever, all the HCOI Haj pilgrims were accommodated in the Markazia area in Madinah. For every Haj, efforts are made to maximize the percentage of HCOI pilgrims accommodated in the Markazia area which is the clearly preferred choice for pilgrims in view of vicinity to Haram. In previous years, Markazia accommodation for 60% of HCOI pilgrims was targeted. For Haj-2022, Markazia accommodation were arranged for all HCOI pilgrims even on Saudi Riyal (SR) 50 per pilgrim lower than that in Haj-2019 despite increase of VAT to 15 % and addition of a new accommodation fee of 2.5% this year.
- New buses were hired for a comfortable and hassle-free movement of Indian pilgrims between their accommodation in Azizia and pilgrimage site.
- For the first time ever,Mashaaer metro train facilities were made available for all HCOI pilgrims. This helped ensure that there was no risk of any HCOI pilgrim not reaching Arafat in time on Haj day.
- The Consulate opened as many as 10 sub-offices, called as ‘Branch Offices’, manned by a team of deputationists and local seasonal staffs in the midst of Indian pilgrims accommodation in Makkah, 03 Branch offices in Madinah and one sub-office each at Jeddah and Madinah airport to serve Indian pilgrims. Adjacent to each Branch office, 10 dispensaries in Makkah, 03 dispensaries in Madinah and one dispensary in Jeddah airport were also opened to cater to the health requirements of Indian pilgrims. In addition, two hospitals (40-bedded, 30-bedded) in Makkah and 15-bedded dispensary in Madinah were also opened which were managed by team of doctors and paramedics from India. During core Haj period, a Camp office-cum-Dispensary was also set up in Mina.
- Digital initiative during Haj-2022:-
- A dedicated Toll-free number, WhatsApp number as well as online complaint management system served round-the-clock to promptly address any issue or concerns of the Indian pilgrim. In internal operation, digital media and app particularly WhatsApp have been effectively used to realize the vision of paperless office of ‘Digital India’ of the Prime Minister of India.
ii. A training video for Indian pilgrims in Urdu, Hindi, Malayalam and Tamil languages, helped in the orientation of pilgrims in the latest guidelines from Saudi Arabia with total views of about 70000.
- Daily video report on pilgrimage operations were made and uploaded on YouTube channel which were widely shared both in India and Saudi Arabia.
iv. Apart from hosting a dedicated service for all data related to pilgrimage operations, a mobile app “Indian Haji Information System’’ has also been developed for the benefit of Hajis. This app was very popular amongst the pilgrims and aided them in locating their accommodation, Maktabs in Mina, branch office etc. as well as lodging any grievances/concerns for its redressal.
- Indian pilgrims’ health details, including their ailments, diagnostic assessment, prescribed medicines as well as disbursal of medicines have been recorded in the online OPD System entitled as e-MASIHA (Medical Assistance System for Indian Hajis Abroad). This online OPD System enabled to create and maintain health database of all Indian pilgrims who availed medical facilities during the Haj period.