Hyderabad: Inclusiveness has been the mandate of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi government, the biggest proof of which is how minorities in the State have benefited on various fronts. Be it education, scholarships, financial assistance for marriage or development of religious places, you name it and the State government has been by their side, hearing them out, helping them out.
In just six years, the government has spent a whopping Rs 5,639.44 crore towards schemes crafted to uplift minority communities including Sikhs, Christians and Muslims among others. The schemes include Shaadi Mubarak, Minorities Residential Schools and Junior Colleges, scholarships on par with SC/ST communities, overseas scholarships for minorities, coaching for UPSC examinations, honorarium for Imams and Muezzins, financial assistance schemes through the Telangana State Minorities Finance Corporation (TSMFC), gift packs for religious festivals and development of places of religious significance among other initiatives. This apart, the Telangana State Minority Study Circle was established to help students prepare for competitive examinations.
One major step was the appointment of 66 Urdu translators designated as Urdu officers in various departments to facilitate translation works. This was after the State government declared Urdu as the second official language, a long pending demand, in Telangana four years ago.
Marriages in financially backward minority families are no more a struggle, courtesy the State government’s financial assistance through the Shaadi Mubarak scheme. In the last six years, the Telangana government has provided financial support of Rs 1,241.47 crore to nearly 1.7 lakh families.
The scheme provides a family with an assistance of Rs 1,00,116. Introduced in October 2014, the initial amount was Rs 51,000 and this was nearly doubled to the present sum the following year.
“All efforts are made to provide the Shaadi Mubarak cheques on the day of the marriage itself to the family. The procedure has been made easier and all stake-holder departments have been instructed to process applications on a priority basis,” a senior official from the Minority Welfare Department said.
A total of 8,17,242 students from minority communities have so far benefitted from scholarships extended by the Telangana government since 2014. An amount of Rs 1241.47 crore was given as scholarship for students doing schooling and higher education. “The scholarship is on par with SC/ST communities. Every academic year, applications are called for and the amount is sent directly to the bank account of the student,” said Mohd Masiullah Khan, chairman, Telangana State Haj Committee.
In another scheme, tuition fee of around 6,55,218 students was also reimbursed. The reimbursement pertains to those doing professional courses and PG courses in different colleges in the State.
Another important scheme introduced by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao was the Overseas Scholarships for Minorities. So far, 1,937 students benefitted from the scheme with the government spending Rs 260.98 crore towards this. An amount of Rs 20 lakh is given to the student intending to pursue education in a foreign university.
“The Minority Welfare Department is also sponsoring training for candidates for the UPSC examination. Hundred students are selected through a test and their training is arranged at reputed training institutes in the country,” Masiullah Khan said. The Telangana Study Circle for Minorities was also formed a few years ago where coaching for admission seeking and job seeking exams is held round the year.
Development of religious places
Religious places that used to suffer on account of shortage of funds for repairs are now receiving a fresh lease of life, thanks to the TRS government. While Rs 8.48 crore was sanctioned for restoration of the historic Mecca Masjid, an auditorium at the century-old Islamic University, the Jamia Nizamia, was constructed at a cost of Rs 14.65 crore by the Telangana State Wakf Board and the State Minority Welfare Department.
Developmental activities at the popular Dargah Jahangeer Peer were taken up by the State government at a cost of Rs 50 crore.
Similarly, a cement concrete ramp is coming up at the Dargah Hazrath Baba Sharfuddin at Pahadishareef at a cost of Rs 9.60 crore. The State government also sanctioned Rs 20 crore for the Dargah Hazrath Syed Khaja Hasan Barhana Shah Sahed at Edi Bazaar where a school, junior college and women empowerment centre is coming up.
Telangana Wakf board chairman Mohd Saleem said a multi-storied building was coming up at the Nampally Aneesul Ghurba orphanage at a cost of Rs 20 crore. The age-old orphanage was in a dilapidated condition and the State government intervened to construct a multistoried building for the orphanage.
“An Islamic and Cultural Convention Centre is coming up in the city at a cost of Rs 40 crore while Rs five crore was sanctioned for construction of Rubaat at Dargah of Mohiuddin Chisti at Ajmer,” Saleem said.
Economic assistance schemes
Under the Driver Empowerment Programme, the Telangana State Minorities Finance Corporation (TSMFC) distributed 542 Maruti Swift Dzire cars at a cost of Rs 24.04 crore. Through the Own Your Autorickshaw scheme, 1,744 autorickshaws were distributed at a cost of Rs 12.76 crores, said Syed Akbar Hussain, chairman, State Minorities Finance Corporation. This apart, the corporation distributed 10,072 sewing machines at a cost of Rs 8.03 crore in the last six years.
“The maximum beneficiaries were people who obtained highly subsidised loans through financial assistance schemes. A total of 20,176 persons were given loans by the corporation and an amount of Rs 172.77 crore was transferred to the beneficiaries,” Akbar Hussain said.
He added that Rs 8.05 crore was spent as grant-in-aid for construction, repair and maintenance of churches and church-run institutions and also towards welfare schemes for the Christian community. The foundation stone for the Christian Bhavan at Kokapet in Rangareddy district was also laid last year.
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