New Delhi: Certain sections of both political class and the civil society might be pitching for giving special emphasis on welfare of Muslims under the development schemes targeted for minorities, but going by the long-term impact of any policy decision of that nature the Minority Affairs Ministry has objected to any such move.

Turning down National Advisory Committee (NAC) member Harsh Mander’s recommendation for separate budgetary allocation for development scheme for the Muslims, Union Ministry for Minority Affairs has made it clear that such move may tarnish the government’s image.

In the same context, the Ministry has also recommended not using the term ‘Muslim’ while naming the development schemes for the minorities.

Harsh Mander’s NGO, Centre for Equity Studies has recommended making a provision for a separate budgetary allocation for development schemes for Muslims.

The NGO has contended that Muslims are getting fewer benefits from the minority schemes. The Government has been held responsible for poor implementation of the schemes meant for the Muslims.

The Ministry also disagrees with the assertion of the NAC that the Multi Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) being run in 90 districts which are minority-dominated, should focus only on Muslims.

In its reply to the Prime Minister’s Office and the NAC, Ministry has clarified that MSDP covers people belonging to the lower strata of the society, including the SC/ST.

If the scheme is run for only Muslims, it will create divisions in the society.

Several Public Interest Litigations (PILs) have been filed in the various High Courts against the Ministry over certain schemes being run exclusively for minorities.

JPN/Bureau