Expectations of Muslims from Mamata’s first West Bengal budget

March 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Economics, National, newsletter-india

Expectations of Muslims from Mamata’s first West Bengal budgetWest Bengal, March 17, 2012: The annual budget of West Bengal will be presented in the state assembly on 23rd March 2012. This will be Mamata Banerjee’s first budget as chief minister. She came to power in May 2011 with huge support of Muslims who for last 34 years had backed the Left Front Government, but changed their mind after Sachar Committee Report. So their expectations from Mamata are very high. TCN talked to common Muslims, religious leaders, social workers and intellectuals to know the expectations of the community from Mamata’s first budget.

Informed sections of the Muslim society want special packages for Muslim education, health and employment but at the same time they say that mere funds will not work if there is no will on the part of the government and its machinery to better the lot of the Muslim community.

Md Kamruzzaman, Secretary, All India Minority Youth Federation expects funds for Muslim education, health and employment in the coming state budget. He says 30% of the budget funds should be reserved for Muslims.

Madrasa Education
The state should announce establishment of schools and colleges in rural areas where there are no educational institution. Kamruzzaman wants facilities for science education in madrasas and Muslim schools. Some recognized government-aided High Madrasas have been upgraded to Higher Secondary (10+2) and are recognized by West Bengal Board of Higher Secondary Council but there is no Science stream at these upgraded schools, says Kamruzzaman. Minority Affairs & Madrasa Education department is concerned for Madrasas which are controlled by West Bengal Madrasa Board. They do not care for Muslim high schools. The Mamata Govt should allocate 15% funds of education budget for Minority schools.

Kamruzzaman has been attached with Madrasa movement and he is ex-president of a madrasa students union. He is doubtful if Mamata-led Government will continue some good activities of previous government regarding Muslim education. He said the Left Front Government had set up some Sishu Sikhsha Kendra (SSK) & Mardrasa Sikhsha Kendra (MSK) under the `Sarvashiksha Abhiyan’ program. Now new SSK & MSK has totally stopped. Mamata should declare her vision about establishment of more SSK & MSK. Instead of 10000 non-aided Madrasas 2000 SSK & MSK will be more fruitful for Muslims, thinks Kamruzzaman.

Aliah University
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced that Aliah University will be made an International University. If she really wants so, she should sanction Rs 100 Cr for the university in this budget, demands Kamruzzaman.

He also demands 30% reservation in Government Housing projects for Muslims.

Expectations of Muslims from Mamata’s first West Bengal budgetIn memory of Haji Mohd Mohsin
This year will have 200th death anniversary of Haji Mohd Mohsin who donated huge properties to the Government and a large amount of West Bengal Government’s scholarships for Muslims are using fund from those properties. State Government should declare a yearlong program to commemorate Haji Mohd Mohsin. If Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary can be celebrated by Government and allotted funds, why not for Haji Mohd Mohsin, Kamruzzaman asks.

Infrastructure of Madrasa Service Commission
To recruit Madrasa teachers the previous government had established Madrasa Service Commission, but still it doesn’t have any infrastructure. Rs 10 Cr should be allocated for this purpose in this budget.

Mohd Shah Alam, Secretary, Amanat Foundation, demands 30% of the budget funds for Muslims.

30% of state budget for Muslims
Alam demands State budget should have funds for Muslims as per their population. Education, industries, cultivation, housing in every field, the Mamata government should give separate funds for Muslims in the coming budget. After long years Muslims have brought new government. The Government should declare 30% of budget for Muslims in all fields, like housing, industries, education etc. Actually as of now there is no clear vision of this new government towards Muslims even though they have voted Mamata to power.

Utilization of funds for MCDs
The state Government should give clear instruction in the budget for using funds for Muslims. West Bengal has 12 MCDs (minority concentration districts). The State Government could not utilise the MCD fund properly. For example, funds for MCDs are being used mostly in non-Muslim Gram Panchayats of the districts. There is no special instruction to use fund only on Muslim majority Gram Panchayts.

Housing projects for Muslims
The Government announces so many housing projects in different areas of West Bengal, but there is none for Muslim majority areas. The Mamata-led government should declare government housing projects in Muslim dominated areas and that should be reserved as per Muslim ratio. Those projects should have 30% reservation for Muslims and it should be mentioned in the budget.

Employment & Health
Shah Alam said the Government should give special care on Employment, Health & industry for Muslims. If state government announced that no fee will be taken from Muslims applying for government jobs that would be very significant. Muslims students in West Bengal are very poor. Due to application fees for Government jobs sometimes they do not submit the application. So, they do not get chance in government job. Like SC/ST state Government should declare relaxation of application fees in government jobs for Muslims.

In the fields of health, 100 rural hospitals and 200 Primary Health Centres needed in Muslim dominated blocks where Muslim girls should be trained as nurses.

Md Nuruddin, state president, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind said, we are not satisfied with the performance of the present government of Mamata Banerjee. They are going on wrong way. Most of the sufferers are framers and small businessmen. Most of the Muslims in West Bengal depend on cultivation. They cannot sell the crops in justified price due to government policy. Black marketeers capture most of them. The State Government should bring new policy to protect the small farmers, otherwise they won’t survive.

Will more important than funds
Nuruddin said intention to implement schemes is very vital to improve the position of Muslims. Huge money was allocated by Central government for West Bengal but the state government did not use them and lots of funds returned. So, fund is not a matter, important is direction to implement funds and that should be done very carefully otherwise situation of Muslims will not change. He said there is no clear direction for using funds in minority areas. So, they are not using the funds properly. In this regard allocation of funds and deadline for implementation of schemes should be mentioned in the coming budget.

Prof. Dr. Miratun Nahar, renowned educationalist and Muslim woman activist said `Government should realise Muslims are the part of state, not only as a community but as general people. I could not find any difference between previous and present government in West Bengal. All are dividing the people for political purposes. If they agreed Muslims are part of our society and without them state could not achieve their goal totally, only then people including Muslims will be benefited. Mamata-led Government while thinking about real development of the state should look after the Muslims as they are most neglected.

Ex-member of State Women Commission Prof. Nahar also said, funds for Muslims do not matter, government’s intention to implement schemes is more important. Government should give a clear announcement on the development of the backward class people as well as Muslims. If they do not, nothing will change the situation of Muslims or backward class. So, people’s mind has changed, Government’s intention should be changed for the development of the whole society. Muslims are part of it. If government really wants development of the whole state, situation of the Muslims should be changed. If the ruler thinks about it, then we will get a short picture in the coming state budget, may be in the form of special initiatives and increased funds. But I don’t have faith in the new Government, like Left Front government.

– tcn

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