Thursday, 4 May 2006

APm Government withdraws six welfare schemes for minorities

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, May 4: As many as six welfare schemes meant for Muslims, Christians, Jains and Sikhs have been withdrawn by the AP Minorities Welfare Department affecting lakhs of people belonging to these minority communities.
The State government issued an order (GO Rt No. 133 dt 27-04-2006) restricting the Andhra Pradesh Minorities Finance Corporation, AP Urdu Academy and other organisations under the Minorities Welfare Department from taking up or continuing any welfare scheme for which no direct budgetary provisions have been made.
The order in simple terms means, minority students will not get merit awards and educational loans without interest, minority women will not get loans without collateral security and minority youth will not be able to secure loans to take up self-employment schemes.
Moreover, the government has also decided to close down 187 open schools for school dropouts from minority communities. No new computer centres will be opened by Urdu Academy.
The Minorities Finance Corporation has introduced schemes like Indira Mahila Abhivruddi Yojana (Tatkal scheme) for widows, divorced women and physically challenged women, education loans without interest for students of professional courses, Rajiv Sanatkar Yojana for petty traders, vendors and mechanic and merit awards for bright students among minority communities.
These welfare schemes do not have direct budgetary provisions but the APMFC has outsourced the funds from other allocations. The new GO now does not permit any minority organisation under the control of Minorities Welfare department to take up schemes which do not have direct budgetary provisions. These and other schemes of Urdu Academy will now have to be shelved. There will be no beneficiaries under these schemes this financial year.
The board of governors of APMFC, which met here on Thursday, demanded that the government withdraw the GO in the larger interests of minorities. Corporation chairman Farooq Hussain told Deccan Chronicle that he would take up the issue with Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy. "Minorities Welfare Department incharge Shafiquzzaman is behind the GO. We will fight for the rights of minorities and ensure that our welfare schemes are continued this financial year too," he said.

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