The new government has been incessantly trying towards socio-economic development of minorities. Many of the significant social or economic shortcomings cited by the Sachar Committee have been addressed during the past three years. New and innovative programs and schemes such as honorariums for Imams and Moazzins, bi-cycles for girls students of Madrasahs studying from class IX to XII, scholarship under Talent Support Program for students securing less than 50% marks etc have been introduced during the last three years. A few of the noteworthy feats and notches attained in the past three years are summed up as under:-
During 2011-12, the new government has allotted 20 acres of land for Aliah University campus at Rajarhat, construction work of which has started with a sanction of Rs. 236 crore. Further, construction work of Aliah University Campus at Gorachand Road is in progress. An amount of Rs. 62 Crore has been approved for this Campus with an area of 2.4 acres. Both the constructions are at advanced stage.
Hostels for boys and girls:
Construction work for 254 hostels (162 under MsDP and 92 under state plan) have been taken up. involving a cost of Rs. 243.84 cr . Further, a working women hostel is near completion at Dilkhusha Street, Park Circus involving a total cost of Rs 1.32 crores. The hostel shall accommodate 71 nos. of hostellers.
Third Haj House:
Five acres of land has been allotted for construction of third Haj House at Rajarhat, New Town. Construction of the new Haj complex with all modern facilities has started. The project cost is Rs. 97 crores. In the year 2012 & 2013, 11658 & 9591 Haj pilgrims of West Bengal visited Saudi Arabia to perform obligatory Haj, respectively. The corresponding figure for 2010 & 2011 were 9589 and 9783 respectively. During this year (i.e.2014) around 9906 Haj Pilgrims are to perform Haj.
The MsDP an area development program was launched in the 12 identified Minority Concentrated Districts (MCD). The objective was to address the development deficits by creating socio-economic infrastructure and providing basic amenities. Out of total approved schemes of 1,03,094 units 67,865 (24915 completed during 2008-2011 and rest 42,950 completed during last three years) units i.e. 66% have since been completed.
ITI and Polytechnics:
With a view to boosting up technical training and employability of the Minority youth steps have been taken to establish 24 ITIs and 7 polytechnics in minority concentrated areas. With infrastructural support under MsDP all these will be maintained and run by Technical Education & Training Department of this government.
Integrated Minority Development Program (IMDP):
With a view to extend developmental works in non-MsDP districts, this scheme has been introduced in seven districts. During the last three years 5325 units of works similar to MsDP has been taken up involving Rs. 90 crores.
Boundary wall for graveyards:
Protection of the public graveyards and safeguarding the same from encroachment and defilation was taken up. A total of 1400 boundary walls have been taken up during the last 3 yrs involving Rs. 73.74 crores.
A decision was taken to construct Minority Bhaban in all the districts to ensure easy access for the minorities by providing a single window facility for all programmes and schemes of the government. Till now 15 such Bhabans have been completed in the districts of North24 Parganas, Murshidabad, Birbhum, Dakshin Dinajpur, Bankur, Darjeeling, jalpaiguri, Coochbehar, Uttar Dinajpur, Nadia, Burdwan, Purulia, Paschim Medinipur, Purba Medinipur, Hooghly and have since been functioning.
Honorariums to Imams and Moazzins:
Imams and Moazzins hold a respectable position in the Muslim society. Besides leading mandatory prayers, Imams and Moazzins also guide the community towards subscribing a codified and disciplined life in the society. They contribute a lot in mobilizing and sensitizing the community in execution of different schemes, including health and hygiene, of the government. The Board of Wakfs has been disbursing monthly honorarium to Imams and Moazzin @ Rs 2500/- and @ Rs 1,000/- only. 27154 Imams and 16898 Moazzins totaling 44052 beneficiaries have been given honorarium worth Rs 97.92 crores.
Promotion of Urdu:
This Government has notified the West Bengal Official Language (Amendment) Act, 2012 which has come into force from December 2012. Urdu has been given status of official Language in areas having more than 10% Urdu speaking population. The legislation has in effect redressed the long pending demand of Urdu speaking people to interact in their mother tongue with the Government offices. People who are resident of West Bengal and whose mother tongue is Hindi, Urdu, Nepali, Oriya, Santhali and Gurmukhi languages, have been notified as Linguistic Minorities in West Bengal.
Bi-cycles for Girl students of Madrasahs:
To encourage education of the Muslim girl child and to curb drop out among girl students (thereby ensuring family reforms) this scheme has been initiated by this Government during 2012-13.Rs.61.07cr have been released for providing bicycles to 2, 09, 121 Girls students studying from class IX-XII. This has great impact on enrolment of Girls students.
Vocational /Skill Development Training:
Since a large section of the Muslim workers are engaged in self- employment, skill development and credit related initiatives need to be tailored for such groups. Keeping this aim in view the department has been providing skill development/ vocational training to the youths to enhance their employment opportunities. Free coaching is also being provided to the youths for appearing in competitive examinations. During the last three years 2.66 lakhs youths with a provision of Rs 57.52 crores have been provided vocational/skill development training and coaching for different recruitment examination .
Scholarship & Loan:
The WBMD&FC in association with Wakf Board, Aliah University and Urdu Academy has been able to increase its beneficiary coverage with improved services fulfilling the urges and aspirations of the minorities in West Bengal.
There has been a quantum jump in the number of approved scholarship over the last three years.
1. Schemes- Pre-matric, Post-matric, Talent Support, Merit cum means, Education Loan, Wakf/ Urdu Academy/ Educational loan etc.- a) No. of students supported- 8,68,856 b) Amount Rs- 192.88 Crore (Year 2006-07 & 2010-11) and c) No. of students supported- 57,35, 416 d) Amount Rs- 991.17 Crore (Year 2011-12 to 2013-14)
Training & Self-employment:
This is an important sector taken up on priority considering the huge requirement for opening up employment opportunities for the Minorities youth.
Schemes have been taken up by Aliah University and WBMD&FC
1. Schemes- Vocational training and free coaching- a) No. of students supported- 27,583 b) Amount Rs- 32.26 Crore (Year 2006-07 & 2010-11) and c) No. of students supported- 2, 43, 744 d) Amount Rs- 57.52 Crore (Year 2011-12 to 2013-14)
2. Schemes- Term loan, Micro finance and MWEP- a) No. of students supported- 1,30,666 b) Amount Rs- 256.12 Crore (Year 2006-07 & 2010-11) and c) No. of students supported- 3,10, 551 and d) Amount Rs- 535.51 Crore (Year 2011-12 to 2012-13)
A significantly larger proportion of Muslim workers are engaged in small proprietary enterprises and their participation in the formal sector employment is significantly less. For the purpose of employment generation this department has spent Rs. 535.51 Crore in the Term loan, Micro finance and Minority Women Empowerment Programme categories. About 3,10,551 youths and women have been financed during last three years.
Providing shelter to the poor is one of our objectives for ensuring improvement in quality of life. Four numbers of housing schemes are under execution by the department. An amount of Rs. 655.71 Crores has been utilized for construction of 75,404 units of Housing under Geetanjali Housing Scheme, Housing for destitute minority women rehabilitation programme, IAY under Special BRGF and IAY under MsDP, IMDP programmes during last three years.
The following initiatives have been taken by the Directorate of Madrasah Education:-
(1) All the text books were provided to 185940 Madrasah students of primary level (class - I to V) in the year 2013-14. The corresponding figure for 2011-12 & 2012-13 are 134425 & 150577
(2) 176686 girl students studying in Madrasahs (class- I to VIII) were provided dress grants in 2013-14. In the year 2011-12 & 2012-13 the number was 112500 & 174870 respectively.
(3) While 460 science laboratories being strengthened in secondary level in 2013-14. The number was 158 in 2011-12 and 424 in 2012-13.
(4) Besides several other schemes viz. improvement of libraries, reading rooms, common rooms for girls, drinking water, toilets, support for furniture and equipments for madrasah, additional class rooms for junior high schools have also been taken up.
Upgradation of Madrasah:
During the last three years 7 numbers have been up-graded from Junior High to High, 27 nos. from High to Higher Secondary and 17 nos. from Alim to Fazil. Further, 6 new setup Madrasahs have been sanctioned.
The government has decided mainstreaming of Madrasahs for ensuring quality education by providing affiliation to Madrasahs under the un-aided Madrasah scheme. 2223 applications have been received till date against which approval to 235 Madrasahs have been granted.
Upcoming projects under pipeline:
(1) Construction of 123 Marketing Hub (Karmateertha) for enhancing marketing facilities for Artisans & Cultivator and improving self employment opportunity for Minority youth are going on. Out of which 6 Marketing Hubs have already started functioning.
(2)Minority medical college along with a multi speciality medical hospital with 150 MBBS students and 750 bed capacity is being set up at Nalmuri Mouza, PS Bhangar of South 24 Parganas.