In AP’s budget of Rs 1 lakh crore, share of Muslims is less than 0.25%

By Mohammed Siddique,,

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh’s budget for the year 2009-10, with a
total outlay of more than Rs 1 lakh crore, has come as a big
disappointment to the Muslim minority as the state’s Congress
government has not increased a single rupee in its last year’s
allocation of Rs 177 crore.

In the budget presented by the state finance minister K Roshaiah in
the state assembly, the total budget of minority welfare department has
been retained at Rs 177 crore. But the total figure has been shown as
Rs 222 crore by adding the Rs 45 crore of central government’s schemes
for the minorities.

The allocation of Rs 177 crore out of the total budget of Rs 1 lakh
three thousand crore means that the share of the minorities was less
than quarter of a percent. On the contrary, the government has
allocated Rs 702 crore for the backward classes welfare and Rs 309
crore for the tribal welfare.

According to the Census 2001, Muslims constitute 9.17% of the state population of 762,10,007.

An amount of Rs 700 crore will be spent on the educational
scholarships and fee reimbursement of BC students and Rs 83 crore on
tribal students.

The minority welfare budget, which was Rs 120 crore in 2007-08, was
increased to Rs 177 crore in 2008-09 crore. As the support of the
Muslim minority had played a crucial role in bringing Congress back to
power both in the state and the center, the minority community was
hopeful of being rewarded with a handsome increase in its budget. But
they were in for a big disappointment as the allocation for some of the
schemes was drastically reduced.

The state government has earmarked an amount of Rs 153 crore for the
educational scholarships and fee reimbursement and the central
government has provided another Rs 45 crore for the scholarships to the
minority students of Andhra Pradesh. This will take the total fund for
educational programs to Rs 198 crore.

There has been a big change in the component of scholarship and free
reimbursement. The budget for pre and post metric scholarship has been
reduced from last year’s Rs 80 crore to Rs 75.09 crore, the allocation
for fee reimbursement for the higher education and professional courses
has been increase from Rs 35 crore of last year to Rs 72.75 crore. Rs
10 crore is provided for the minority girls residential schools.

However the budget for the mass marriages, which was Rs 5 crore last
year has been reduced to mere Rs 1.25 crore Similarly the budget for
the repair of mosques and churches was reduced from Rs 5 crore to Rs 1
crore. The government retained Rs 2 crore subsidy for the Christians
going on pilgrimage to Bethlehem.

Voicing the dejection and unhappiness of the Muslim minority over
the budgetary allocation Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen described the
budget as “ridiculous and disappointing”.

“Several representations were made to the state government for the
welfare and over all development of minorities specially Muslims. But
the decision of the government shows that it only wants to use Muslims
as a vote bank”, said MIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi.

Warning the Congress party to change its attitude, Owaisi said that Muslims can not be placated by offering the lollypops.

“The state government is making a lot of noise about allocations for
the educational scholarships and fee reimbursements, but the fact is
that still there are thousands of minority students at every level who
are not getting the scholarships”, he said.

Apart from causing the disappointment all around, the budget will
also have a crippling impact on various minorities institutions
including the AP Urdu Academy, Waqf Board and state Haj Committee. The
petty allocations made include Rs 34.62 lakhs for minorities
commission, Rs 36 lakhs for Urdu Academy, Rs 2.80 lakh for Dairatul
Maarif, 8.61 lakh for Waqf properties administration and Rs 15.68 lakh
for Waqf Tribunal.

Demand for higher allocations for the minorities also echoed among
the Muslim leaders of Congress party. The state Congress general
secretary Abid Rasool Khan said that while an amount of Rs 6000 crore
was allotted for the welfare of all the sections of society, the budget
for minority welfare should be increased to Rs 1000 crore.

He pointed out that Muslims will also benefit from the budgetary
allocations made for various other schemes like free health insurance
and Indiramm Housing.

Leave a Reply