Launching the 1800-11-2001 helpline, Rahman Khan said the service will empower minorities through up-to-date information. It will be initially available from 9 am to 6 pm on working days and, depending on its success, may be made round the clock.

The minister said phones had reached every nook and corner and a dedicated helpline would be useful in "spreading information about welfare programmes and (lodging) related complaints".

"The helpline would not only help in inclusive growth of minorities but will also increase transparency and efficiency in governance," Rahman Khan said.

Ministry officials said lack of information and "field-level bottlenecks" were constraints in people taking full advantage of welfare schemes. They said that benefits of campaigns through print, electronic and new media could not be maximized due to limited shelf life of these insertions.

They said the helpline will allow people to get information on their queries in an easy conversational manner. "A student sitting in a village or remote area can get instant information about scholarship schemes through the helpline. An unemployed youth from the minority community can get instant information about skill development training programmes and employment opportunities," an official said.


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