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Rajdeep Sardesai shares a 2007 report to claim Congress govt did not focus on minorities: Here is how that very article betrays his propaganda

In the news article Sardesai shared titled: “PM, Modi clash over funds for minorities”, it is clearly mentioned that the then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had admitted that the ‘minorities’ were focused on the said programme “for the sake of inclusiveness”.

Even before Congress leaders, the party’s media allies come to its rescue every time it faces an attack from the BJP for its policies or statements. On the 16th of May, India Today ‘journalist’ Rajdeep Sardesai attempted to defend the Congress party in the garb of ‘fact-check’ and said that the UPA government’s 15-point programme was for poor and marginalised across communities and not limited to ‘minorities. This came after PM Modi on Thursday raised the issue and said that Congress wanted to allocate 15% of the budget for Muslims.

“Fact check: in 2007, at an NDC meet, PM Modi (then CM Gujarat) had accused the Manmohan Singh govt of ‘communal budgeting’. However, then PM Dr Singh insisted that the budgeted plan was for poor and most marginalised ACROSS communities and not just minorities. Now 17 years later, issue playing out again. Read article below for some clarity,” Sardesai posted.

While in his desperation to quickly defend his political masters, Sardesai skipped reading the very same article before advising others to read it “for some clarity”.

In the news article Sardesai shared titled: “PM, Modi clash over funds for minorities”, it is clearly mentioned that the then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had admitted that the ‘minorities’ were focused on the said programme “for the sake of inclusiveness”.

News article titled “PM, Modi clash over funds for minorities” shared by Rajdeep Sardesai

Notably, during election rally in Maharashtra’s Kalyan on Thursday, PM Modi said that Congress if voted to power will make budgets on the basis of religion. “…During Manmohan Singh’s time, there was a plan to make two budgets in which 15 percent of the budget was planned for Muslims, but at that time I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat and I opposed it. But if Congress elected, it will make budgets on the basis of religion…” PM Modi said.

Congress government’s 15 Point Programme for Minorities

Back in 2007, the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had strongly opposed the UPA government’s communal budgeting at the meeting of the National Development Council (NDC). He said that the “New 15 Point Programme that focuses on earmarking certain outlays of various developmental schemes and programmes of the government of India amongst the eligible beneficiaries, based on their minority status, should be reviewed in the interest of maintaining the social fabric of the nation.”

The then-Gujarat CM called the Congress-led government’s action “discriminatory” adding that such a step would not help take the people of India together on the path of development.

“Such discrimination, among the eligible beneficiaries, for the flow of funds based on minority status, will not help the cause if taking the people of India together on the path of development,” Modi said adding that taking socioeconomic criteria will be correct for the flow of funds.

In an official document titled “UPA Government: Report to the People (2004-2008), there is a section “Furthering Social Inclusion”, therein Prime Minister’s new 15-Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities and implementation of Sachar committee’s recommendations is mentioned. It states that the UPA government earmarked 15% of physical targets and financial outlays for minorities.

Source: UPA Government: Report to the People

The Prime Minister’s 15-Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities has been recast to include specific programmes to ensure that the benefits of various government schemes reach the disadvantaged sections of the minority communities by focusing sharply on social, educational and economic improvement of the minorities, providing for earmarking of 15% outlays in certain schemes, and locating developmental facilities in minority concentration areas. Sachar committee has made 76 recommendations, which have been accepted. Both are being implemented,” the document reads.

“15% of physical targets and financial outlays have been earmarked for the minorities in identified schemes,” the document adds.

Rajdeep Sardesai does a fact-check by overlooking facts

Moreover, while Rajdeep Sardesai is claiming in his so-called fact check that the programme focussed on marginalised people across communities and not just minorities, the said document mentions that the UPA government took up the development of 90 minority concentration districts and has made provision of Rs. 3,780 crore in the 11th Plan for this.

This list of 90 minority concentration districts was prepared by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, on the basis of the 2001 census data on population, socio-economic indicators and basic amenities indicators.

A press release dated 22nd June 2007 stated that the UPA government had “decided to prepare and implement area/problem specific special development plans for these 90 districts. It has also been decided to ensure that the benefit of programmes of poverty alleviation, education, health and provision of basic amenities etc., reach these districts in a focused manner.”

The UPA government had also issued guidelines for the implementation of the Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities. The guidelines also mention the objective of the programme. “Enhancing opportunities for education. b) Ensuring an equitable share for minorities in economic activities and employment, through existing and new schemes, enhanced credit support for self-employment, and recruitment to State and Central Government jobs. c) Improving the conditions of living of minorities by ensuring an appropriate share for them in infrastructure development schemes. d) Prevention and control of communal disharmony and violence,” the guidelines document reads.

The schemes amenable to such earmarking under the programme included Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme, Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY), Swarn Jayanti Shahari Rojgar Yojana (SJSRY), Sampurna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY), Indira Awas Yojana, Integrated Housing & Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission among others.

Source: minoritiyaffairs.gov.in

In November 2007 PM Singh had also reviewed the implementation of the 15-point programme for minorities.

The question here arises is what backwardness, development and welfare of people have to do with their religion. It clearly suggests that the Congress-led government brought the Programme for its Sine Qua Non minority appeasement in the name of “inclusiveness.” It is essential to note that although the term minorities has been used in political parlance as a generic term while talking about Muslims, Muslims form the second-largest majority in the country.

Conclusion

The Congress party, contrary to Sardesai’s misleading claims indeed undertook communal budgeting and the said 15-point programme focussed solely on religious minorities and not covered other poor and marginalised communities. However, the dedication of Congress’s media allies like Sardesai is such that they jump to defend even the indefensible shamelessly turning. a blind eye to facts evident in their own cited sources.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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