Telangana Congress leader flays interim Budget's 'meagre' allocation for minorities

Md Shabbir Ali condemned slashing the budget for various schemes, especially those related to minority education

Telangana Congress leader Mohammed Ali Shabbir (photo: @Shabbir_Ali_INC/X)
Telangana Congress leader Mohammed Ali Shabbir (photo: @Shabbir_Ali_INC/X)

Suresh Dharur

Voicing deep disappointment over the "meagre" allocation for minorities welfare in the interim Union Budget 2024-25, senior Telangana Congress leader Mohammed Shabbir Ali said Prime Minister Narendra Modi owed an explanation to the people of the country on how he plans to ensure the welfare of minorities with such a "callous approach".

“The Centre has allocated Rs 3,183.24 crore for the welfare of minorities, a small and insignificant increase from last year’s allocation of Rs 3,097.60 crore. One can imagine the value of Rs 3,183 crore in a budget of Rs 47.66 lakh crore.

"The prime minister, who speaks about sabka vikas (universal development), should explain how he plans to ensure the welfare of minorities, who constitute over 15 per cent of the country's total population, by spending just 0.000668 per cent of the country's annual budget on them," Ali, who is also advisor to the Telangana government, said.

He condemned slashing the budget for various schemes, especially those related to minority education, and noted that the overall allocation for education empowerment has been reduced from Rs 1,689 crore in 2023-24 to Rs 1,575.72 crore in 2024-25.

Except for post-matric scholarships for minorities, whose allocation has been increased from Rs 1,065 crore to Rs 1,145.38 crore, allocations for all other schemes have been cut down.

These include pre-matric scholarship for minorities (Rs 433 crore to Rs 326.16 crore); merit-cum-means scholarship for professional and technical courses (Rs 44 crore to Rs 33.80 crore); Maulana Azad national fellowship for minority students (Rs 96 crore to Rs 45.08 crore); free coaching and allied schemes for minorities (Rs 30 crore to Rs 10 crore); interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas studies (Rs 21 crore to Rs 15.30 crore).

The Congress leader, who is advisor to the state government on SC, ST, BC and minorities welfare,  pointed out that the scheme to support minority students clearing the preliminary exams conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission), SSC (Staff Service Commission), State Public Service Commissions, etc., has been completely scrapped after spending only Rs 1.66 crore in 2022-23.

"The allocation of Rs 3,183.24 crore in 2024-25 for minorities' welfare is lower than the Rs 3,531 crore allocated in 2013-14 by the Congress-led UPA government. Reduction in the welfare budget and scrapping of education and employment-related schemes have become a major tool for the BJP to attack minorities, preventing their socio-economic and educational development," he said.

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