New Delhi: The Centre is all set to initiate and implement plans for the welfare of the minorities. The strong vote-bank of Congress, Muslim community will be the centre of focus while laying down the projects.

With the commencement of work on the minority agenda for the 12th Five Year Plan, the community can expect a slew of benefits on their way. Not only the Muslim community, but others as well will be benefitted by the special plans laid for them.

The government is mulling on a plan to bring opportunities for the promotion of minorities in the coming years. For this, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has also set up a committee, which is expected to hold its first meeting next week.

According to sources, in order to focus more on the development of the minorities an amendment in the selection procedure of minority-dominated districts tops the priority list.
At present, a district is included in the minority list if it meets the criteria of housing 25 percent of the minority population and that of backwardness. On this basis, presently 90 districts find a place in the list.

It is expected that the bar of 25 percent minority population might be brought down to 20 percent in the project undertaken during the 12th Five Year Plan. This will ensure that more benefits percolate to majority of the minority communities.

Presently, all the SC and ST students are eligible for educational stipends while in case of minority students the number of scholarships is fixed. To bring the stipend at par, recommendations have been made to include all the minority students under the stipend facility.

Although the government has started working towards ensuring a better future for the minorities, there are a few past issues in this regard still haunting the Centre.
The government had to form a national data bank of the minority community on the basis of the recommendations received by the Sachar Committee and build a body to provide equal opportunity to the disadvantaged sections. But all these and more plans have yet to see the light of the day even after passing of four years of the 11th Five Year Plan.

JPN/Bureau