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10 October 2011

States spoil UPA plan on minority vote bank

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Just about Rs 1,000 crore of Rs 2,100 crore made available to the states has been spent while the Centre has sanctioned schemes worth Rs 3,000 crore.

By Rajeev Deshpande

New Delhi: UPA-2's minority outreach is floundering. Poor fund utilization and disinterested state governments have almost run the ambitious project intended to boost backward minority pockets and create valuable political support for the Congress into the ground.

Just about Rs 1,000 crore of Rs 2,100 crore made available to the states has been spent while the Centre has sanctioned schemes worth Rs 3,000 crore. Fund utilization by states according to available statistics is just 42% -- barely passing grade.

A recent review by the Prime Minister's Office revealed critical gaps in project completion with even modest targets not met. The initiative is aimed at districts with high minority population and while this covers all communities, it essentially caters to Muslims whom Congress sees as a key constituency.

The report card makes for fairly dismal reading as apart from housing under the Indira Awas Yojana, facilities like hand pumps, additional class rooms, school buildings, teaching aids, laboratories, ITIs and hostels are going unclaimed.

Take the example of Uttar Pradesh. The state has the best record of building houses for minorities with 65% target completion. But its performance in health services (42%), hand pumps (46%), classrooms (12%) and toilets (50%) is poor while the state has zero target achievement in school buildings, ITIs and hostels.

Orissa has met 57% of its housing target while smaller Haryana with 87% and Manipur with 83% are doing well. As to the rest, states with large minority populations like Maharashtra and Karnataka have met 10% and 6% of their targets. Delhi has no housing targets and scores a zero in hand pumps and classrooms.

Information provided by the delivery monitoring unit link on the PMO website that leads to ministry of minority affairs statistics shows many states have no projects to provide amenities like hand pumps, classrooms, teaching aids, ITIs and hostels at all. Information on some states like Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh is not available.

The sickly performance of Centre's multi-sectoral plans for minority districts is worrying as it defeats the objective of improving infrastructure and providing more equal opportunities to minorities without opting for political sops like quotas. The capacity building to enable social and economic have-nots to compete with better off sections could be in jeopardy.

Despite being criticized for the low economic indicators of its minorities, West Bengal has at least attempted to tap benefits even though its target achievement is patchy. The state scores 38% in housing and health, 67% in hand pumps and 50% in constructing toilets.

In some states, the percentages seem flattering only because the targets are very modest. This is the case with Haryana in school buildings, Orissa and Jammu and Kashmir in classrooms. In Delhi, the hand pump target is low but the state has still scored a zero.

Assam has met just 27% of its housing target and scores 9% in health services. It has done better in hand pump construction at 65% but has managed only 10% in classrooms. Jharkhand has 33% target achievement in housing while Uttarakhand seems have barely spent Rs 60 lakh of funds allotted to it.

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

1 comment:

  1. now Muslims are only included in minorities for name sake.Muslims are being deliberately ignored by govt and policymakers.