New Delhi: The government has started a leadership development scheme to empower 40,000 women from minority communities by providing them knowledge tools and techniques for interaction with banks and other institutions at various levels.

In a written reply in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Minority Affairs Ninong Ering said, "Implementation of scheme has started from current financial year. The target under the scheme during 2012-13 includes providing training to 40,000 women belonging to notified minority communities."

Replying to a separate query on welfare of minorities, the Minister said that the Planning Commission has allocated Rs 17,323 crore for the welfare of minorities in the 12th Five Year Plan.

On whether the government proposes to further increase the plan allocation for welfare of minorities, he said, "The Ministry has written for further increase in the 12th Five Year Plan allocation."

The Planning Commission has intimated that the 12th plan allocations were made on basis of availability of resources and inter-sectoral priorities and, therefore, no increased plan allocation for welfare of minorities was being made at this stage, Ering said.
    
In reply to a query on IIM-Ahmadabad study on Sachar Committee report, the Minister said, "The opinion, views and conclusions expressed in the working paper are those of the authors and not that of IIM-Ahmadabad."

However, he added, as compared to other religions, Muslims have a higher perception of unfairness and their participation in education is relatively low.
    
Ering informed the House about the steps being taken by the government to enhance education level among Muslims.

(Agencies)

Latest News from India News Desk