Where is special Bihar package? JD(U) slams Centre, cites RTI reply
MINORITY AFFAIRS Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Thursday said the NDA government was determined to “empower” minorities “without appeasement” in an “atmosphere of trust”.
The minister, interacting with journalists ahead of the NDA government’s third anniversary, said that “figures from the National Commission for Minorities show that communal incidents have come down by 90 per cent in the last three years. However, not even one incident of such nature should be condoned, that is the view of our government.” His statement came at a time the minorities commission is practically nonexistent since February when its last member retired.
The Bjp-led government has been accused of creating an atmosphere of fear among minorities and Naqvi was on Thursday asked at the news conference about cow vigilantism. The ruling party, on the other hand, has accused its rivals of practising the politics of appeasement to win votes. “The steps taken by the Modigovernmentfortheprogress of minorities are a reflection of its empowermentwithoutappeasement policy. It has created an atmosphere of development and trust among the minorities,” PTI quoted Naqvi as saying.
The minister said the government has worked to uplift the minorities by providing them education and skill-based training to ensure that they become beneficiaries of mainstream development.
The ministry has decided to launch a programme called Ustad Samman Samagam, marking the birth centenary of Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, with the aim to encourage artisans from minority communities and offer them market exposure.
The government will also launch Tehreek e Taleem on October 15, he added, to commemorate the birth anniversary of former President A P J Abdul Kalam. The focus of the programme would be on schools in 100 districts and the goals would be teachers, tiffin and toilets.
Naqvi said the previous Congress-led UPA government did not open “even a single” degree college for minorities between 2007 and 2014. On the other hand, the current government has built 33 degree colleges in areas dominated by minority communities population-wise, he said. Between 2007 and 2014, Naqvi said the UPA government set up 72 industrial training institutes, as against 97 opened by the present NDA government since 2014, the minister said.
“The National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) has distributed financial assistance to 1,08,588 beneficiaries in 2016-17, while 75,966 people were benefited in 2013-14,” Naqvi said. BIHAR’S RULING Janata Dal (United) on Thursday called the Rs 1,25,000 special package announced for the state in August 2015 a “political stunt” saying that the NITI Aayog has no information about it.
The party cited a reply from the Aayog’s financial resources division to a query under the Right to Information Act to activist Mohammed Iqbal Ansari on April 26 to question the authenticity of the package.
“It is to be stated that the financial resources division does not have any information requested in the application except the press release dated 18th August 2015 of Prime Minister’s Office on Prime Minister’s special package...,” a JD(U) press release quoted the RTI reply as saying.
JD(U) spokesman Neeraj Kumar referred to the RTI reply and sought a clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on whether the special package for Bihar exists. He noted that an official press release was issued on the package and wondered why the NITI Aayog did not have any clue about it.
Another JD(U) spokesman Rajiv Ranjan added that the Prime Minister had discussed the Bihar package in his Man Ki Baat radio programme as well.
BJP leader and former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi told The Indian Express that a special cell in the Prime Minister’s office has been monitoring the special package work in Bihar. He added that the departments concerned were submitting monthly work compliance reports over it. “It is not necessary for the NITI (Aayog) to have all these details. Ganga bridge (Patna) renovation, proposed Patna-ara-buxar road, Deendayal Jyoti Yojana are all parts of the Bihar package. The fundisbeingreleasedtoeveryimplementing agency in a phased manner,” he said.
The PM had announced the special package during the Bihar assembly election campaign.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi prays at Seema Malaka Temple, in Colombo on Thursday.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi at a press meet in Delhi, Thursday.