In the series on the performance of various ministers in the Modi government, let’s take a look at Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of Minority Affairs.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi started his political career with Janata Party activities, and was jailed during emergency for participating in Sampoorna Kranti Movement launched by JP Narayan at the age of 17. Naqvi, contested two assembly elections of 1991 and 1993 in Uttar Pradesh, and three Lok Sabha elections 1998, 1999 and 2009 as BJP candidate. He was first elected to the Lok Sabha from Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, in 1998. Naqvi served as Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs in Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government. He was then elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2002, 2010 and 2016. After Narendra Modi became Prime Minister in 2014, he was first inducted as Minister of State for Minority Affairs. Later when Cabinet Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptullah was appointed as Governor, he was elevated as Cabinet Minister for the same department.
Here is a look at achievements of Ministry of Minority Affairs –
Abolition of Haj Subsidy – Though it was Supreme Court which ordered abolishment of Haj Subsidy gradually in 10 years in 2012, Narendra Modi government ended it in 2018 itself. Instead the government started giving the entire money meant for Haj Subsidy as a subsidy for Muslim girls’ education, as literacy rate amongst Muslims and that too among girls is very low due to appeasement policies of successive Congress governments. Sachhar Committee had exposed Congress’s lip service for minority welfare. Congress policy was to keep Muslims consistently poor and take their votes in the name of secularism and fear-mongering in the name of BJP.
New Haj Policy – Modi government commissioned a new Haj Policy which is more transparent and people friendly. According to the new policy, embarkation points for Haj have been reduced to 9 from earlier 21, making it cheaper for pilgrims to fly to Saudi Arabia. It also allowed women above 45 to undertake Haj without Mehram (Male Guardian), empowering women. Until now women couldn’t travel alone for Haj. The policy also suggests using sea route to go to Saudi Arabia, making Haj even more affordable as travelling by sea is cheaper compared to travelling by air. New Haj Policy is in line with empowerment of minorities without appeasement, unlike Congress which only believed in appeasement of Muslims and never in empowerment.
USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/ Crafts for Development) – USTTAD scheme was launched in May 2015 to preserve the rich heritage of traditional arts/crafts of minorities. The scheme aims at capacity building and updating the traditional skills of master craftsmen/artisans; documentation of identified traditional arts/crafts of minorities; set standards for traditional skills; training of minority youths in various identified traditional arts/crafts through master craftsmen; and develop national and international market linkages. This scheme has helped minority artisans to earn respectable livelihood.
Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS) – Government launched MANAS in November 2015 to impart skill development in minority communities.
Hamari Darohar – Hamari Darohar scheme was launched in 2014, which aims at the preservation of rich heritage and culture of minorities, by supporting curation of iconic exhibitions, calligraphy, preservation of old documents, research and development. Under this scheme, an iconic exhibition of Parsis (Zoroastrians) i.e. “The Everlasting Flame” to showcase the civilization and culture of the Parsis (Zoroastrians) was organized during March-May, 2016. This involved curating 3 travelling exhibitions on Parsi Culture namely – ‘The Everlasting Flame’; ‘Threads of Continuity’; and ‘Painted Encounters’, Parsi Traders and Community & No Parsi is an island’, at the National Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) and Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) at New Delhi. A project has been allocated to Dairatul Maarifil Osmania (an institution established in 1888 AD) under Osmania University, Telangana, for translation of 240 invaluable documents belonging to medieval period on the subjects of medicines, mathematics, literature, from Arabic to English, digitization and re-printing. Under this scheme, a project called ‘Protection of Parsi Heritage – Navsari’ has also been sanctioned in March 2018.
Nai Manzil scheme was launched in August 2015, to benefit the minority youths in the age group of 17 to 35 years, who are school-dropouts or those educated in the community education institutions like Madrasas, by providing formal education and skill training along with certification.
Garib Nawaz Skill Development Centers were launched in July 2017 with an objective of starting training programs to meet skill development/ skill up-gradation needs of minority communities like Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains in the country to achieve government’s goal of “Skilling India” by providing meaningful and sustainable livelihood options, in terms of wage employment/ self-employment opportunities to all minority youths. The objective of the scheme is to enable a large number of minority youths of India, to take-up relevant skill sets which are in demand. All training programs will be covered by real time CCTV footage for the purpose of monitoring, and GPRS enabled bio-metric attendance machines will be used for capturing attendance of trainers and trainees. Government also launched GST facilitator course at Garib Nawaz centres to train minority youths.
Qaumi Waqf Board Taraqqiati Scheme (QWBTS) was launched last year after merging and modifying two ongoing schemes namely, computerization of records of state waqf boards and strengthening of state waqf boards.
The author is journalism pass out from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. After dangerously flirting with the idea of left during his IIMC days, due to the proximity of the IIMC with JNU, a den of radical leftists, he became firmly aligned to right after realizing the futility of the left. He tweets at @kpophale.