Council for Social Justice and Peace terms RP 2021 a ‘threat to the ecology and existence of Goans’

December 5, 2011 by  
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Council ForsocialjusticeandGoa, December 1, 2011: The Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), on Thursday, termed the Regional Plan 2021 as notified by the government as a “threat to the ecology and existence of Goans,” saying it was not acceptable in its present form and has called for initiating a process of rectification by December 15.

Addressing a press conference, Fr Maverick Fernandes, Executive Secretary, said that the plan has reignited the fears that it opens the door for real estate development.

The Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), after wide consultations with Citizens and qualified and competent professionals, cannot accept the Regional Plan 2021 in its present form. The CSJP is convinced that the failure on the part of the Government to comply with the demand that Local Bodies should be empowered (legally) to be directly involved in the mapping and development planning of the concerned villages and towns, with the assistance of Government deputed planners and technicians resulted with the Government having to de-notify the RP 2011. The RP 2011 prepared by Consulting Engineering Services (I) Pvt. Ltd. lacked transparency, threatened to destroy ecology, livelihood and culture and also make large-scale demographic changes to the villages.

While the Government of Goa claimed that the appointment of the Task Force led by a renowned architect and a planner was a wise solution to rectify the past errors and produce a people oriented Regional Plan, for the next decade or more; the notified RP-2021 has grossly violated the recommendations of the Task force, as also, the plans and maps prepared by the voters in their respective villages/ towns. The Citizens are outraged because the whole exercise has been distorted and as it stands today, is a threat to the ecology and the existence of the Goan people and further compounded with vague, irrational and contradictory planning policies and laws such as the introduction of MIZs, Eco-tourism Zones, indiscriminate increase in settlement zones, development in Eco-sensitive zones and NDZs, Amendments to Sections 16, 16A and 17 in the TCP Act and the new Building Regulations.

A few examples of glaring distortions are:

– In Release 3 an entire village is shown as VP2, but just the opposite is seen in Release 1, where only part of the same village is listed under VP2 and the other part under the ODP for non-PDA areas.

– In a certain village, the Surface Utilisation Plans show cultivable lands but the tabulation shows that cultivable land as NIL.

– The three main talukas: Bardez, Tiswadi and Salcete, show forest and wildlife as ‘NIL’ – this picture – is it a fact to state that Goa has slipped into such environmental degradation since RP 2001? Or is it an indicator of gross negligence? Or intentional provision for the future?

– The term ECO-SENSITIVE ZONE 1 and 2 are self-explanatory, meaning they are sensitive protected zones. ECO-SENSITIVE Zone-1 are ‘areas of great ecological importance that should not, under any circumstances, be touched. The term ECO-SENSITIVE ZONE-2 represents those areas which are also of ecological importance, in which essential but only minor – interventions could be permitted. Whereas, the term ECO ZONES 1 & 2 can be interpreted in different ways with a leeway like in Appendix XI – which states the permissible land uses in Regional Plan RPG 2021.

The RP-2021 appears to reflect the conflict of interest of some of the members of the erstwhile Task Force as also of the State Level Committee. It is evident that those involved in the preparation of the Notified RP-2021 have ignored the aspirations and genuine recommendations of the Gram Sabhas and Nagar-Palikas, who sacrificed immense time and resources in preparing their correct maps and plans. The Gram Sabhas across Goa have rejected the present version of the RP-2021 which only reflects the frustration and disappointment of the people at being betrayed by the Government.

The CSJP while disagreeing the RP-2021 in its present form, urges the Government of Goa to abolish the destructive and controversial planning policies and amend TCP laws, Goa Land Development and Building Construction Regulations 2010 as also other relevant ones.

All permissions, with the exception of single dwelling units in settlement areas, under the notified RP-2021 (not accepted in its present form), in consonance with Goa Land Development and Building Construction Regulations 2010, must be suspended till the process of rectification is completed. The remedial process must be initiated by the 15th December 2011.  The genuine aspirations of the people for conserving and preserving Goa must be guaranteed in RP-2021.

“The notified RP 2021 has grossly violated recommendations of the task force, as also, the plans and maps prepared by voters in their respective villages/towns. The citizens are outraged because the whole exercise has been distorted and as it stands today, is a threat to ecology and existence of Goans,” Fr Fernandes said adding that the plan was further compounded with vague, irrational and contradictory planning policies and laws such as introduction of MIZs, Eco-tourism zones, indiscriminate increase in settlement zones, development in eco-sensitive zones and NDZs.

CSJP has also hit out at the government for ‘facilitating the interests of builders’ in the plan. “It appears that facilitation (of builders interests) was happening even as the planning was on with the government passing 16 & 16A amendments to TCP Act as well as notification of building regulations,” Fr Fernandes said adding that the plan “opens the door for big real estate development and that the same fears that people have raised in 2011 have not been addressed.’

CSJP has given government till December 15 to begin a process of rectification after which it will decide on future course of action.

Government mulling quota for Muslims within OBCs: Salman Khurshid

December 3, 2011 by  
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Muslim CommunityNew Delhi, December 1, 2011: In a significant move ahead of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Law Minister Salman Khurshid Thursday said the government is considering reservation to backward Muslims within the 27 percent quota fixed for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and a decision on the issue will be taken soon.

Talking to reporters outside Parliament, Khurshid said a move on fixing a quota for backward Muslims within the OBC quota would come before the cabinet “soonest” but did not give a timeline.

“Of 27 percent OBC quota in jobs, the government is examining to fix a quota for backward Muslims,” he said.

He said the issue has been on the government’s agenda for the last two years and a decision was pending.

The Congress also backed the government on the move to provide reservations to minorities within OBC quota.

Khurshid pointed to the promise made in party’s manifesto for 2009 polls which talked of extending reservation to minorities to the central level.

“For having reservation within reservation for backward minorities as done in Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, we are observing it as it is our commitment to do it. We are hopeful of fulfilling our commitment. We are working on it,” he said.

Asked why the decision was coming ahead of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Khurshid said that work cannot stop if elections were round the corner.

“Should we stop working ahead of the polls in the state… Whatever we think is our responsibility, we are doing,” he said.

He said the United Progressive Alliance II government had completed half its term and has to take stock of what it has done and what is left to be done.

Khurshid also took a dig at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati saying she can provide quotas to minorities in the state.

“If she is so concerned, she could do the same for jobs in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

Congress spokesman Raashid Alvi said the government was working at a fast pace to implement its promise for reservation to minorities.

“Government is working at a very fast pace to implement this part of manifesto so that they (minorities) get their share among other backward classes,” Alvi said.

The Congress manifesto had said that the party was committed to ensuring that the constitutional rights of minorities were protected fully and their representation in public administration increases.

“The Indian National Congress has pioneered reservations for minorities in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in government employment and education on the basis of their social and economic backwardness. We are committed to adopt this policy at the national level,” the manifesto said.

Uttar Pradesh is scheduled to go for polls next year and Congress has launched its campaign in the state. The announcement is being linked to the party’s efforts to woo minorities in the crucial election.

– ians

Government working on reservation for minorities: Congress

New Delhi, December 1, 2011: In a significant move ahead of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress Thursday said the government was working speedily to give reservation to minorities within the OBC quota.

Congress spokesman Raashid Alvi said here that the party had mentioned in its election manifesto of 2009 too that it had pioneered reservations in government jobs and educational institutions for minorities in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on the basis of their social and economic backwardness and was committed to adopting the measure at the national level.

“Government is working at a very fast pace to implement this part of manifesto so that they (minorities) get their share among backward classes,” Alvi said.

The Congress manifesto had said that the party was committed to ensuring that the constitutional rights of minorities were protected fully and their representation in public administration increases.

– ians

Karnataka – Too little, too late *Take care of old Mass books

December 2, 2011 by  
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CaseKarnataka, December 2, 2011: Church leaders today called on the Karnataka government to bring the real perpetrators of sectarian violence in 2008 to justice, following its decision yesterday to drop charges leveled at 338 Christian youths.

Karnataka’s decision to withdraw charges against the Christian youths is highly commendable, but the guilty ones are still at large, they said.

Charges were leveled at the Christians for reacting against a wave of attacks in 2008 against churches and prayer halls by militant Hindu groups who had accused Christians of trying to make forced conversions.

The decision to withdraw the charges was made by state Chief Minister D. V. Sadananda Gowda at a cabinet meeting yesterday.

“The Church in Karnataka is grateful to the government, but this is not enough,” Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore said.

“The government has failed to identify those who made innocent youths suffer for more than three years,” said the archbishop, who is also the president of Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights.

He urged the government to reject a report from an inquiry into the violence by Justice B. K. Somashekhara Commission, as it had not identified any of the real ringleaders.

Another Catholic bishop questioned why it took so long to drop the charges.

“We knocked at every possible door. If this decision was taken earlier we would have been much happier,” said Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza of Mangalore.

Many of the youths who were charged expressed relief but said they should never have been accused in the first place.

One of them, Stany D’Cunha from Mangalore, said: “I had to attend court nine times in the last three years because a criminal case was registered against me because I was in a prayer group in our church.”

Before the cabinet meeting yesterday, the chief minister also assured the Christian community the government will help restore 83-churches in the state.

– ucan

Take care of the old Mass books

Roman Missal CrediUSA, November 27, 2011: After the switch to a new Mass translation, old liturgical books should be respectfully buried, either intact or after being burned, according to the U.S. bishops.

“Whether or not the Sacramentary has been blessed by an official rite, it is appropriate to treat it with care,” the bishops’ Secretariat for Divine Worship said in a recent response to several queries from U.S. Catholics. “Its disposal should be handled with respect.”

The bishops’ liturgy office recommends “burying the Sacramentary in an appropriate location on church grounds, or perhaps in a parish cemetery,” after the switch to a new liturgical translation on Nov. 27.

“Some have even suggested following a custom used in various Eastern churches,” they noted, “whereby liturgical books or Bibles are placed in the coffin of the deceased as a sign of devotion and love for the liturgy.”

Some Catholics may be surprised to learn that it is appropriate – and even customary – to burn or bury old liturgical books and other religious items.

According to the U.S. bishops’ secretariat, the ashes of liturgical books should be collected and “placed in the ground in an appropriate location on church grounds.”

Catholic tradition offers these means of disposal in order to ensure that objects used in worship are not casually discarded or mistreated, even when they are no longer needed for use or reference.

The liturgy office advised parishes to keep a copy of the old liturgical translations in their archives or libraries, after the switch to the Third Edition of the Roman Missal.

Hymnals and hand missals are also among the types of items that would traditionally be blessed, and should therefore be replaced respectfully after the changeover.

But the secretariat acknowledged it “might be difficult to appropriately dispose of a large number of copies of such books.”

If burning and burial are impractical, non-archived hymnals and hand missals “could be stored for use by prayer or study groups in the parish, offered to parishioners for their own private devotional use, or donated to other small communities that could effectively make use of them.”

The secretariat also noted that the new liturgical books ought to be blessed, using the rite provided in the Church’s official “Book of Blessings,” before their first use on 2011’s first Sunday of Advent – possibly at a weekday Mass the preceding Saturday, or outside Mass at a separate parish gathering.

– can/ewtn news

Church wary of government assurance on IFFI scheduling

December 1, 2011 by  
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IFFIGoa, November 29, 2011: Despite assurance from the ruling Congress-led coalition in Goa that the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) next year will not coincide with the feast of Saint Francis Xavier, the Church in the state is not satisfied.

Father Savio Baretto, rector of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, said the Congress is only talking about the feast. “We have always maintained that IFFI and the feast and novenas of Saint Francis Xavier should not be held together.”

“We are not satisfied, though the assurance is welcomed.”

Mauvin Godinho, deputy speaker of the state legislative assembly said the issue was discussed with officials of the central government and IFFI organizers, who assured to change the dates from next year.

“Even the party feels that IFFI dates should not clash with the feast,” he said.

He said this year we could not effect a reschedule as the infrastructure was already in place for the festival.

“The party promises the Catholic community that IFFI dates will not overlap with the feast from next year,” he added.

Earlier, Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni too had assured that the dates would be changed changed next year.

The Church has been demanding a change in the IFFI dates since 2006 and it was this year that it coincided with the feast of the Spanish missioner on December 3.

– bosco d’souza eremita

NCCI against FDI in retail sector

November 30, 2011 by  
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NCCI against FDI in retail sectorMeghalaya, November 29, 2011: The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) has expressed its reservation over the government’s decision to allow 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail.

It has asked the government to provide a level-playing field for small, marginal and landless farmers as also local entrepreneurs.

“What is needed of the government is to augment the livelihood of small and marginal farmers through incentives, opening marketing avenues for their produces,” said P. B. M. Basaiawmoit, NCCI vice president.

“The government should provide road transport and communication infrastructure and stablise oil cost,” he added.

Basaiawmoit said that as farmers in Meghalaya and other hill states are totally dependent on road transport, a constant rise of oil prices will be a disincentive along with reduction in subsidies annually.

Terming the decision of the union cabinet as a “hasty decision”, he said “it will not solve inflation or food scarcity in the country.”

Such unilateral decisions on a matter of livelihood for producers and farming community are like giving a prescription without knowing the root of the illness, he said.

The government’s decision led to protest by the opposition and Trinamool Congress in the Parliament.

– msn.com

Protection of minority rights a political necessity: Justice Siddiqui

November 21, 2011 by  
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Minority Rights in Vision and RealityUttar Pradesh, November 15, 2011: “Protection of minority rights is no longer viewed as a virtue but it is seen as a political necessity that strengthens modern plural society” said Justice M. S. A. Siddiqui, Chairman National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), Government of India. He was addressing a national seminar on Minority Rights: “Vision and Reality” organized by the Department of Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University on 14t November.

Mr. Siddiqui said that the article 30 assures special rights to the minorities which is absolute and can be regulated only on two counts. First it has to be reasonable and second the interest of minority must be kept in mind. “Indian Muslims have been given full right to establish and run their academic institutions. The Commission is committed to protect the minority rights duly granted by the Constitution of India. Using its adjudicatory powers, the Commission has declared Jamia Millia Islamia a minority institution” he added. He pointed out that the salvation of Muslims lies in modern education and they must adopt information technology.

Speaking at the seminar, Syed Shahabuddin, President of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, said that Muslims should strengthen their relationship with the majority community and draw their attention towards their social, educational and political problems. He urged the government to ensure that the benefits of all minority schemes are made available to the minorities.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Faizan Mustafa, Vice Chancellor, National Law University Orissa, said that the democracy could only become fully functional if minorities are provided with special rights. He made it clear that the rights do not symbolize appeasement and instead are essential for the growth of pluralistic society. “The Indian Constitution grants special rights to minorities for fulfilling their cultural aspirations; by safeguarding the cultural and linguistic aspirations, the minorities can be actively associated in the process of nation making” he added. Maulana Fazlurrahim Mujaddadi, Rector, Jamiatul Hidaya, Jaipur, made a PowerPoint presentation and regretted that minorities are not being benefited by the welfare schemes of the central government.

In his presidential address, AMU Vice Chancellor Prof. P. K. Abdul Azis said that education is the key to empowerment and Muslim enjoined by the Quran must rigorously pursue the education. Emphasizing on minority character of AMU, he said: “No one can doubt the minority character of the Aligarh Muslim University as it fulfils all conditions of a minority institution.”

– tcn

Christian Community’s Response to Lokpal Bill

November 19, 2011 by  
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Lokpal BillNew Delhi, November 17, 2011: The Churches and the ecumenical movement in India are concerned about corruption in public life. Corruption adversely affects the whole system of Governance, having a negative influence on the relationship between those who govern and the governed, especially the poor and marginalized communities. Despite its ratification of the United Nation‘s Convention against Corruption in May 2011, India lacks the political will to come up with a strong Lokpal Bill. The climate of corruption at all levels as well as the growing number of scams being exposed day after day and the gross failure of various Governments to bring about any effective anti-corruption law, despite the fact that the first Lokpal Bill had been introduced in 1968, has left the people of this country disillusioned. Consequently, people have begun to lose faith in the democratic rule in our country.

Inspired by the values of the Bible and those of Jesus Christ, the Churches have a duty to guide their members on issues of justice, and a role to play in the creation of a just society. In fact, the Churches are actively engaged in formation of a civic conscience and in the education of citizens in true democracy.

The Bible holds that corruption will destabilize a country, as it is antithetical to justice (Proverbs 29: 4). Hence, the Bible prohibits the acceptance of a bribe (Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:19). The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace rightly observes: “Corruption deprives peoples of a basic common good, that of legality: respect for rules, the correct functioning of economic and political institutions and transparency” (No. 5, The Fight against Corruption, 2006). The same Council adds in no 8. that corruption exploits the human person, disdainfully using men and women for selfish interests. It represents an obstacle for achieving the common good, because it is based on individualistic criteria of selfish cynicism and illicit special interests. It also acts against the preferential option for the poor by hindering the proper delivery to the poor of the resources intended for them. Finally, it stands in contrast to the universal destination of goods. The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) has been at the forefront of campaigning for the transparency and accountability. The XXV Quadrennial assembly had also adopted a code of conduct on Christian Leadership.

The Churches hold that corruption is unjust, illegal, immoral, unethical and highly exploitative of the poor and the under-privileged; greed, selfishness and materialism being the roots of corruption, it has to be rooted out from the hearts of people. While the Churches recognize that laws alone do not wipe out corruption, it is still of the opinion that a strong legislation is required to fight against this social evil.

The process of globalization facilitated and accelerated the expansion of corruption, making it an international phenomenon. However, the same process also offers greater opportunity to fight it, by means of more resolute and -coordinated international cooperation.

The demand for an effective Lokpal Bill that has gained momentum over the past couple of months, with the common people coming out on the streets to fight against corruption is a sign of the times and a clear indication that the people of India will not settle for anything but an effective Lokpal Bill.

Though Anna Hazare and his team were able to capture the imagination of common people and the media, their draft bill disturbs the balance of power of the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislative arms of the country. We also recognize the weaknesses in the Government Bill.

That many alternative drafts have come up from different sources is only a positive development that will enable the Standing Committee on Law and Justice as well as the parliament to bring to the people a strong Lokpal Bill. Through this memorandum, we would like to make the following suggestions on the clauses of the Lokpal Bill

1. Jurisdiction:

1.1. Prime Minister: The Lokpal Bill should have jurisdiction over the Prime Minister with certain riders. The Prime Minister’s office carries a moral and ethical responsibility towards the citizens. As the topmost person who leads the country, his/her position should be safeguarded against malicious or baseless targeting by groups who would like to disrupt democracy.

1.2. Elected Representatives: The members of the Parliament should be brought under the jurisdiction of the Lokpal. However, they should continue to enjoy the privileges of the Parliament. The Article 105 of the Indian constitution provides for privileges for the Lok Sabha and Raja Sabha members; under this clause freedom of speech in Parliament is guaranteed.

1.3. Group A officers: Group A officers of the central Government and those above in rank should be covered by the Lokpal Bill.

2. Strengthening the Vigilance Commission:

The Central Vigilance Commission needs to be revamped and accorded autonomy and the power to prosecute. All officers other than Group A officers to be covered by the Central Vigilance commission.

3. Strengthening the Judicial System:

Judiciary should be kept out of the purview of the Lokpal. The basic structure of the Constitution which separates the judiciary from the Executive cannot be compromised. However, acknowledging that corruption in the Judiciary is a reality, we suggest that the Judiciary Standards and Accountability Bill be adopted so as to initiate Judicial Reforms as early as possible.

4. Lokayuktas at State Level:

The new Lokpal Bill should urge each state to have state Lokayuktas with similar powers of the Lokpal in the centre.

5. Corporate Industries:

As part of the New Economic policies, many public sector undertakings have been privatized. Hence, the companies should come under the purview of the Lokpal Bill, as stipulated by Article 21 of the UN convention against corruption: “Each State Party shall consider adopting such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offences, when committed intentionally in the course of economic, financial or commercial activities…”

6. Grievance Redressal:

To ensure that the grievances of the common people are adequately addressed at different levels, appropriate grievance procedures should be introduced and grievance redressal officers appointed. There should be additional citizen’s charters pertaining to SCs, STs, OBCs, Minorities, Women and Children.

7. Assets Recovery:

There should be provision for recovery of the assets or confiscation of properties from the offenders. The government should also develop international cooperation to bring back the resources taken out of the country.

8. Prevention of Witch-Hunting:

Honest public servants should not be harassed. There should be provisions to prevent misuse of the Lokpal system against sincere and honest government employees.

9. Provisions of whistleblower Protection:

There should be an effective mechanism to protect whistleblowers, witnesses and victims of corruption.

10. Investigation and Prosecution Wings:

The Lokpal should have separate investigation and prosecution wings.

We reiterate our confidence and belief in the Parliamentary Democratic system, in the values of secularism and justice enshrined in our Constitution. The Parliamentary Democratic process should not be diluted for any reason. We appeal to all political parties for their cooperation in working together for the common good of the people of India and we hope, pray and demand that Government will pass a strong Lokpal Bill in the coming winter session of Parliament.

Ms. Leila Passah (General Secretary, YMCA of India)
Rev. Fr. Charles Irudayam  (Secretary, JPDO• CBCI)
Mr. Samuel Jeyakumar  (Executive Secretary, COP, NCCI)

– cns

Christian leaders demand a strong Lokpal bill

November 16, 2011 by  
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Lokpal BillNew Delhi, November 15, 2011: Reiterating their demand for an effective Lokpal Bill, Christian leaders from various denominations have given their suggestions to make the anti-corruption law more effective.

Churches recognize that laws alone do not wipe out corruption. However, it is still of the opinion that a strong legislation is required to fight against the social evil,” said the Catholic and protestant leaders in a statement.

The statement was issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, National Council of Churches in India and Young Women’s Christian Association.

The statement said that Team Anna’s version of the bill disturbs the balance of power of the judiciary, while there are weaknesses in the government bill.

It suggested that the bill should have jurisdiction over the prime minister with certain riders but at the same time his/her position should be safeguarded against malicious or baseless targeting by groups who would like to disrupt democracy.

The elected representatives should also come under its purview but they should continue to enjoy the privileges of the Parliament, the statement said.

It said that the Central Vigilance Commission needs to be revamped and accorded autonomy and the power to prosecute.

Judiciary should be kept out of the purview of the bill was another suggestion.

The statement said that the new bill should urge each state to have state Lokayuktas with similar powers of the Lokpal in the centre.

Introduction of appropriate grievance procedures and appointment of grievance redressal officers was also one of the suggestions.

It also stated that there should be a provision for recovery of the assets or confiscation of properties from the offenders.

– press release

Dr. Sam Paul Appointed on PM’s 15 Point Program for Minorities in AP

August 12, 2011 by  
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Dr. Sam Paul with his family

Dr. Sam Paul with his family

The Government of Andhra Pradesh has appointed Dr. Sam Paul as a Member of the Prime Ministers’ New 15 Point Program, State Level Committee for Andhra Pradesh. We need to ensure that Christians are appointed to this body at the state level and call upon  those activists interested to contact The CSF for us to lobby for the same in your respective states – csfpost@gmail.com It is necessary that the schemes of the PM’s 15 Point program are propagated for Christians and other minorities benefit from it.  
 
In Andhra Pradesh, this committee is headed by the Chief Secretary with 15 Principal Secretaries / Secretaries of various Departments, Parliament Members, eminent individuals and NGOs representatives as members. Andhraites may contact Dr. Sam Paul via mobile: +91-9491917777  or email: sam@agapeinfotech.com  or by Fax: 040-2787-2424


Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities

(A) Enhancing opportunities for Education

(1) Equitable availability of ICDS Services

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme is aimed at holistic development of children and pregnant/lactating mothers from disadvantaged sections, by providing services through Anganwadi Centres such as supplementary nutrition, immunization, health check-up, referral services, pre-school and non-formal education. A certain percentage of the ICDS projects and Anganwadi Centres will be located in blocks/villages with a substantial population of minority communities to ensure that the benefits of this scheme are equitably available to such communities also.

(2) Improving access to School Education

Under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme, and other similar Government schemes, it will be ensured that a certain percentage of all such schools are located in villages/localities having a substantial population of minority communities.

(3) Greater resources for teaching Urdu

Central assistance will be provided for recruitment and posting of Urdu language teachers in primary and upper primary schools that serve a population in which at least one-fourth belong to that language group.

(4) Modernizing Madarsa Education

The Central Plan Scheme of Area Intensive and Madarsa Modernization Programme provides basic educational infrastructure in areas of concentration of educationally backward minorities and resources for the modernization of Madarsa education. Keeping in view the importance of addressing this need, this programme will be substantially strengthened and implemented effectively.

(5) Scholarships for meritorious students from minority communities

Schemes for pre-matric and post- matric scholarships for students from minority communities will be formulated and implemented.

(6) Improving educational infrastructure through the Maulana Azad Education Foundation

The Government shall provide all possible assistance to Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) to strengthen and enable it to expand its activities more effectively.

(B) Equitable Share in Economic Activities and Employment

(7) Self-Employment and Wage Employment for the poor

(a) The Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY), the primary self-employment programme for rural areas, has the objective of bringing assisted poor rural families above the poverty line by providing them income generating assets through a mix of bank credit and Governmental subsidy. A certain percentage of the physical and financial targets under the SGSY will be earmarked for beneficiaries belonging to the minority communities living below the poverty line in rural areas.
(b) The Swarn Jayanti Shahari Rojgar Yojana (SJSRY) consists of two major components namely, the Urban Self-Employment Programme (USEP) and the Urban Wage Employment Programme (UWEP). A certain percentage of the physical and financial targets under USEP and UWEP will be earmarked to benefit people below the poverty line from the minority communities.
(c) The Sampurna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) is aimed at providing additional wage employment in rural areas alongside the creation of durable community, social and economic infrastructure. Since the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) has been launched in 200 districts, and SGRY has been merged with NREGP in these districts, in the remaining districts, a certain percentage of the allocation under SGRY will be earmarked for beneficiaries belonging to the minority communities living below the poverty line till these districts are taken up under NREGP. Simultaneously, a certain percentage of the allocation will be earmarked for the creation of infrastructure in such villages, which have a substantial population of minorities.

(8) Upgradation of skills through technical training

A very large proportion of the population of minority communities is engaged in low-level technical work or earns its living as handicraftsmen. Provision of technical training to such people would upgrade their skills and earning capability. Therefore, a certain proportion of all new ITIs will be located in areas predominantly inhabited by minority communities and a proportion of existing ITIs to be upgraded to ‘Centres of Excellence’ will be selected on the same basis.

(9) Enhanced credit support for economic activities

(a)The National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) was set up in 1994 with the objective of promoting economic development activities among the minority communities. The Government is committed to strengthen the NMDFC by providing it greater equity support to enable it to fully achieve its objectives.
(b) Bank credit is essential for creation and sustenance of self-employment initiatives. A target of 40% of net bank credit for priority sector lending has been fixed for domestic banks. The priority sector includes, inter alia, agricultural loans, loans to small-scale industries & small business, loans to retail trade, professional and self-employed persons, education loans, housing loans and micro-credit. It will be ensured that an appropriate percentage of the priority sector lending in all categories is targeted for the minority communities.

(10) Recruitment to State and Central Services

(a) In the recruitment of police personnel, State Governments will be advised to give special consideration to minorities. For this purpose, the composition of selection committees should be representative.
(b) The Central Government will take similar action in the recruitment of  personnel to the Central police forces.
(c) Large scale employment opportunities are provided by the Railways, nationalized banks and public sector enterprises. In these cases also, the concerned departments will ensure that special consideration is given to recruitment from minority communities.
(d) An exclusive scheme will be launched for candidates belonging to minority communities to provide coaching in government institutions as well as private coaching institutes with credibility.

(C) Improving the conditions of living of minorities

(11) Equitable share in rural housing scheme

The Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) provides financial assistance for shelter to the rural poor living below the poverty line. A certain percentage of the physical and financial targets under IAY will be earmarked for poor beneficiaries from minority communities living in rural

(12)Improvement in condition of slums inhabited by minority communities

Under the schemes of Integrated Housing & Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the Central Government provides assistance to States/UTs for development of urban slums through provision of physical amenities and basic services. It would be ensured that the benefits of these programmes flow equitably to members of the minority communities and to cities/slums, predominantly inhabited by minority communities.

(D) Prevention & Control of Communal Riots 

(13) Prevention of communal incidents

In the areas, which have been identified as communally sensitive and riot prone, district and police officials of the highest known efficiency, impartiality and secular record must be posted. In such areas and even elsewhere, the prevention of communal tension should be one of the primary duties of the district magistrate and superintendent of police. Their performances in this regard should be an important factor in determining their promotion prospects.

(14) Prosecution for communal offences

Severe action should be taken against all those who incite communal tension or take part in violence. Special court or courts specifically earmarked to try communal offences should be set up so that offenders are brought to book speedily.

(15) Rehabilitation of victims of communal riots

Victims of communal riots should be given immediate relief and provided prompt and adequate financial assistance for their rehabilitation.

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