Jaipur --- Dr Najma Heptulla, the Union Minister for Minority Affairs addressed the All India Regional Editor’s Conference here today. In her opening brief she said that the government is committed and focused on “Sabka Saath ;Sabka Vikas” through implementation of well knitted interlinked initiatives.
Dr. Najma said going by the National priority, her Ministry has taken many new initiatives to strengthen the efforts towards economic empowerment of minorities through Skill Development and education.
Elaborating on new initiatives undertaken during last 20 months, Dr. Najma Heptulla informed that her Ministry formulated and launched a new scheme ‘Nai Manzil’ on 8th August, 2015.
The scheme will benefit the minority youths who do not have a formal school leaving certificate, i.e., those in the category of school-dropouts or educated in the community education institutions like the Madarsas, with a view to enabling them to seek better employment in the organized sector and thus to equip them for better lives.
Scheme has been approved with the cost of Rs. 650 Crore for five years. The World Bank has approved the funding of US$ 50 million and recommended the scheme to countries in Africa faced with similar developmental challenges.
The Minister explained that skills and crafts practiced by minority communities no more remained lucrative and became unattractive rendering these craftsmen to look for other means of livelihood. She said to make these skills and crafts more profitable and another new ambitious initiative of the Government, “USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/ Crafts for Development)” was formally launched on 14th May, 2015 at Varanasi (U.P.).
The scheme aims at capacity building and updating the traditional skills of master craftsmen and artisans. The scheme will also set standards for traditional skills. The trained master craftsmen/artisan will train the minority youths in various specific traditional arts/crafts.
To further support the initiative , artisans and craftsmen Ministry has signed a MoU with an E-commerce portal shopclues.com for facilitating the market linkages of crafts, she added.
Ministry has also engaged National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), National Institute of Design (NID) and Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) to work in various clusters for design intervention; product range development; packaging; exhibitions, fashion shows and publicity; tying up with e-marketing portals to enhance sales; and brand building. Out of earmarked Budget of Rs. 17.01 crore for 2015-16, Rs. 15.29 crore has been released.
The Minister said, in conformity with Government’s priority for “Skill India” and “Make in India”, the skill development initiative for minorities “Seekho aur Kamao (Learn & Earn)”, has been strengthened and expanded. and the outlay has been increased by almost three times and revised allocation of Rs.192.45 crore has been made. For 2015-16, the target is to train 1,13,000 trainees (revised targets) with Rs.192.45 crore (revised allocation). Rs. 143.15 crore has already been sanctioned for training of 92,330 trainees by 31.12.2015.
An Online portal for Management Information System (MIS) for Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs), trainees, trainers, location of projects etc. has been launched by the Ministry.
The other initiatives of the Ministry of Minority Affairs ,she briefed and replied included establishment of Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS), a special purpose vehicle, to address all skill development needs of minority communities, award of about 86 lakh Scholarships During 2014-15,
“Padho Pardesh”, for providing interest subsidy on educational loans taken from Banks by minority students for higher studies abroad, unique initiative of “Hamari Dharohar” aimed at preservation of rich heritage and culture of minorities, by supporting curation of iconic exhibitions, calligraphy, preservation of old documents, research and development, restructured Multi-sectoral Development Programme or Jan Vikaas Karyakram, for area development programme ,
“Nai Roshni” for Leadership Development of Minority Women by providing knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with Government systems, banks and intermediaries at all levels, concessional loans by National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation(NMDFC for self-employment,activities and initiatives of the National Waqf Development Corporation (NAWADCO) .
During 2014-15, the Budget of the Ministry was Rs.3711 Crore, which was further increased to Rs. 3712.78 crore for 2015-16. Ministry of Minority Affairs was created on 29th January 2006 for formulation of policies for welfare and socio-economic development of 6 (six) notified minority communities namely, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains, which constitute more than 19% of India’s population