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National Waqf Development Corporation to be constituted: Salman Khurshid

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By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: Union Minister of Minorities Affairs Salman Khurshid has announced that National Waqf Development Corporation will be constituted to improve state Waqf Boards’ financial condition. The corporation will make available more funds as grants to all the state Waqf Boards, he added.

The above announcement was made by Salman Khurshid at the day-long All-India State Waqf Boards’ Conference here on Wednesday wherein he was the chief guest. Madhya Pradesh Minorities Welfare Minister Ajay Vishnoi, Bihar Minorities Welfare Minister Shahid Ali Khan, Madhya Pradesh Waqf Board Chairman Ghufran Azam, Chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers of various states’ Waqf Boards were present on the occasion.

Salman Khurshid conceded that problems of Waqf properties identification and protection etc. are major challenges before Waqf Boards of all the states. He informed that several provisions have been added to Waqf Act after consulting with all the states. The amended Act will be tabled in the next session of Parliament. Some states unnecessarily delayed putting forth their suggestions about the proposed Act, which caused further delay in finalising the draft of the Act.

Lauding computerisation of Waqf properties in Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Khurshid said that computerisation work at the national level will also be completed in a year. Like Madhya Pradesh, a website displaying information about Waqf properties will also be developed at the national level.

Cases pertaining to honorarium to Imams/Muazzens will be properly disposed of. Efforts will also be made to improve Waqf Boards’ financial condition and structure.

All the Waqf records will be rectified during the next two years. He said that all the states’ Waqf Boards will meet once again at New Delhi to discuss the conclusions to be drawn at this conference. He congratulated Madhya Pradesh Waqf Board for organising this national conference.

Ajay Vishnoi urged the Union Government to pass Waqf Act-2010 in the large interests of minorities and Waqf properties. He said that Madhya Pradesh government headed by Chief Minister Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan is working by taking all religions, sections and castes with it. The Prime Minister and Union Government have lauded the minority welfare programmes and schemes implemented in Madhya Pradesh. The Union Government also recommended to other states to follow footsteps of Madhya Pradesh.

Mr. Vishnoi informed that Madhya Pradesh has become the first state to computerise 15,000 properties. At a recent meeting of Chairpersons and Principal Secretaries of Waqf, computerisation work done in Madhya Pradesh was also hailed. NIC-PMU (Waqf) New Delhi has also declared Madhya Pradesh Waqf Board as the best in record digitisation.

Mr. Vishnoi informed that Madhya Pradesh Waqf Board earned revenue worth Rs.11 crore last year. Managing committees have been constituted to look after 7,000 out of total 14,702 Waqf properties. So far, re-examination of Waqf properties has been made through survey in 14 districts. Madhya Pradesh is the first state in the country where the State Government provides Rs.80 lakh per annum for running the Waqf Board.

He said that Madhya Pradesh is also pioneer in distribution of minorities scholarships. In view of distribution of scholarships more than the target during the last two years, the Union Government has set a target for Madhya Pradesh to distribute one lakh 85 thousand 800 scholarships. The State Government will distribute over two lakh scholarships, which is far more than the set target. The National Minorities Commission has lauded Madhya Pradesh government in connection with distribution of minorities scholarships. The Prime Minister lauded better management of Madarsas in Madhya Pradesh at a Chief Ministers’ meeting recently. The Saudi Arabia government and the Central Hajj Committee have also praised better arrangements for Hajj pilgrims in the state.

Mr. Vishnoi also referred to job-oriented training for minorities, Mukhyamantri Swarozgar Yojna, free lodging and education facilities while staying at Bhopal, Alpasankhyak Pratibha Samman and construction of Hajj House in Bhopal and Indore.

Bihar Minorities Welfare Minister Shahid Ali Khan said that the problems faced by Waqf Boards should be redressed soon. It is the joint responsibility of the Union and State Governments to save Waqf properties from land mafia. A strong Waqf Act should be enacted for protection of Waqf properties, he added.

Welcoming the guests, Ghufran Azam called for protection and upkeep of Waqf properties and help the Board take their possession. He also urged for arranging a separate fund for honorarium of Imams and Muazzens. He said that rent of Waqf properties under others’ possession should also be made available to Waqf Board. The instructions and directives about Waqf properties by the State Government from time to time should also be implemented at all the levels. Such provisions should be added to the new Waqf Act that officers and employees not complying with government’s instructions can be punished.

Meanwhile, at the outset, Ajay Vishnoi, Ghufran Azam, Chairpersons of states’ Waqf Boards, Commissioner Minorities Welfare Raghuveer Shrivastava etc. welcomed the guests. Bihar Waqf Board Chairman Mohammad Irshad, Mr. Khaliq of Assam, Mohammad Saleem of Chhattisgarh, UKC Thangal of Lakshadweep, PK Saeed of Kerala, Ghulam Afzal of Andhra Pradesh, Administrator of Orissa Mohammad Abdul Ghani, Madarsa Board Chairman Rasheed Bhai, former Member of Parliament and Board member Arif Beg, Principal Secretary Minorities Welfare Mrs. Suranjana Ray etc. were also present on the occasion. 

[Pervez Bari is a senior Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]
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