Minorities budget is now less than 0.1 percent of Rs 41.9 lakh crore total annual budget
By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: With a massive cut of almost 40 percent the budget estimate for the Ministry of Minority Affairs is now less than 0.1 percent of Rs 41.9 lakh crore, the total annual budget for 2023-24. The budget estimate for the ministry was ₹5,020.50 crore in the current financial year 2022-23. However, this time, the Union Finance Minister allotted a budget of ₹3,097 crore to the Minority Ministry. Notably, the revised allocation of the funds to the Ministry in 2022-23 was ₹2,612.66 crore.
According to budget documents presented in the parliament on Wednesday, the merit-based means scholarship for professional and technical courses for students from minority populations was among the numerous scholarship and skill development programmes that saw significant funding reductions.While the budget for the same programme was 365 crore last year, this year’s allocation is mere 44 crore.
1,689 crore of the ministry’s proposed budget will go toward empowering education.
The budget for skill development and livelihoods is around 64.4 crore.
The estimated cost of the umbrella initiative for minorities’ development is 610 crore rupees.
Additionally, the Finance Ministry cut more than 900 crore from the pre-matric scholarship for minorities for the fiscal year 2023–2024. The amount allocated for scholarships in the previous budget was 1,425 crore, but it is now only 433 crore.
In the current fiscal year, nothing was allocated to programmes run by the ministry that enable the students to pass preliminary exams held by the UPSC, SSC, and State Public Service Commission. Last year’s budget for the same was 8 crore. The budget for free coaching and related programmes for minorities was similarly reduced this year by about 60%. Last year, the same was funded with 79 crore, while this year, 30 crore has been set aside.
The Education Scheme for Madrasas and Minorities has been allotted 10 crore for the fiscal year 2023–2024—a drastic reduction in budget. The same is 93% less than the 2022–23 budget’s allotted sum of 160 crore.
Numerous programmes, like the Maulana Azad Research Fellowship and Pre-Matric Scholarship, have already been eliminated under the guise of RTE and UGC.
After removing a person belonging from minorities as a head of Minority affairs ministry for the first time since its inception, now the budget has also been slashed roughly 40 percent.
This demonstrates how little concern and interest the present government has for enhancing the socioeconomic conditions of minorities. The growth of all components of society appears to be unimportant to a regime whose slogan is “sab ka saath, sab ka vikas.”
However, Smriti Irani, who holds additional charge of Minority Affairs, hailed the Union Budget saying, “Congratulations to PM @narendramodi Ji & FM @nsitharaman Ji for a truly ‘Amrit Kaal Budget’ epitomising inclusive development & reinforcing economic fundamentals.”