Hyderabad: Former minister and ex-Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir on Monday strongly condemned the TRS-led state government for not spending the allocated budget for the welfare of minorities. He said that the per capita expenditure on minorities' welfare in Telangana was a mere Rs. 147 per month.
Mr. Shabbir Ali, in a media statement on Monday, said the state government was conspiring to stall the development of minorities and was deliberately delaying releasing welfare funds. "Not even 15% of Rs. 1,602 crore allocated in the budget for the financial year 2021-22 have been released in the last five months. The TRS government has been cheating the Muslims on the welfare budget since 2014 by not releasing even 50% of the allocated amount. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao's claim of a Rs. 2,000 crore-budget for minorities' welfare is fake and misleading," he alleged.
The Congress leader said that the TRS government has allocated Rs. 11,052 crore for the welfare of minorities in eight annual budgets from 2014-15 to 2021-22. However, it has released only Rs. 5,772.51 crore in the last seven years. The estimated population of Telangana in 2021 is 3.51 crore while the Muslim population is about 48.45 lakh (12.70%). Even if the overall spending on minorities' welfare is rounded off to Rs. 6,000 crore, then TRS government has spent only Rs. 147 per month on each Muslim in the state, Mr. Ali said.
"KCR is apparently expecting the minorities, especially Muslims, to achieve growth, get education and jobs, start a business, protect Wakf properties, promote Urdu, and carry out other welfare activities with a monthly budget of Rs. 147 per person," he said.
Mr. Ali pointed out that the Commission of Inquiry on Socio-Economic and Educational Conditions of Muslims, headed by retired IAS officer T.S Sudhir, submitted its report to the government five years ago on 12 August 2016 with several recommendations for the welfare of Muslims. "The Sudhir Commission has clearly pointed out that STs and Muslims top the list of large populations that have never attended any school. It also concluded that Muslims were worse off in higher education with a high dropout ratio. They have poor access to health facilities and live in poverty and slum-like conditions. Nearly 43% of Muslims are living in rented accommodation. Further, only 19.2% of the Muslims are salaried and 16.4% of the Muslim workers are self-employed in non-agricultural activities," he said.
He further pointed out that besides recommending 12% Muslim reservation, the Commission had also recommended the constitution of the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC), implementation of 'diversity index' and appointment of an expert group to study or revise the criteria for assessing the backwardness of a community. However, the state did not implement a single recommendation made by the Commission in the last five years, Mr. Ali added.
Similarly, he said no action was taken to implement other recommendations of the Sudhir Commission which included filling up of Urdu teachers' posts; implementation of Urdu as the second official language; sub-plan for Muslims on the lines of SC, ST Sub-Plan; collateral-free business loans for small entrepreneurs belonging to the Muslim community, and scholarships for Muslim students.
The Congress leader demanded that the TRS government provide Rs. 10 lakh to each poor minority family in the state on the lines of Dalit Bandhu scheme. He said it should treat all communities equally and it could not discriminate against minorities by spending just Rs. 147 per month. He said the Chief Minister should announce the implementation of the 'Minorities Bandhu' scheme and start its immediate implementation.