Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh’s budget for the year 2009-10, with a total outlay of more than Rs 1 lakh crore, has come as a big disappointment to the Muslim minority as the state’s Congress government has not increased a single rupee in its last year’s allocation of Rs 177 crore.
In the budget presented by the state finance minister K Roshaiah in the state assembly, the total budget of minority welfare department has been retained at Rs 177 crore. But the total figure has been shown as Rs 222 crore by adding the Rs 45 crore of central government’s schemes for the minorities.
The allocation of Rs 177 crore out of the total budget of Rs 1 lakh three thousand crore means that the share of the minorities was less than quarter of a percent. On the contrary, the government has allocated Rs 702 crore for the backward classes welfare and Rs 309 crore for the tribal welfare.
According to the Census 2001, Muslims constitute 9.17% of the state population of 762,10,007.
An amount of Rs 700 crore will be spent on the educational scholarships and fee reimbursement of BC students and Rs 83 crore on tribal students.
The minority welfare budget, which was Rs 120 crore in 2007-08, was increased to Rs 177 crore in 2008-09 crore. As the support of the Muslim minority had played a crucial role in bringing Congress back to power both in the state and the center, the minority community was hopeful of being rewarded with a handsome increase in its budget. But they were in for a big disappointment as the allocation for some of the schemes was drastically reduced.
The state government has earmarked an amount of Rs 153 crore for the educational scholarships and fee reimbursement and the central government has provided another Rs 45 crore for the scholarships to the minority students of Andhra Pradesh. This will take the total fund for educational programs to Rs 198 crore.
There has been a big change in the component of scholarship and free reimbursement. The budget for pre and post metric scholarship has been reduced from last year’s Rs 80 crore to Rs 75.09 crore, the allocation for fee reimbursement for the higher education and professional courses has been increase from Rs 35 crore of last year to Rs 72.75 crore. Rs 10 crore is provided for the minority girls residential schools.
However the budget for the mass marriages, which was Rs 5 crore last year has been reduced to mere Rs 1.25 crore Similarly the budget for the repair of mosques and churches was reduced from Rs 5 crore to Rs 1 crore. The government retained Rs 2 crore subsidy for the Christians going on pilgrimage to Bethlehem.
Voicing the dejection and unhappiness of the Muslim minority over the budgetary allocation Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen described the budget as “ridiculous and disappointing”.
“Several representations were made to the state government for the welfare and over all development of minorities specially Muslims. But the decision of the government shows that it only wants to use Muslims as a vote bank”, said MIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi.
Warning the Congress party to change its attitude, Owaisi said that Muslims can not be placated by offering the lollypops.
“The state government is making a lot of noise about allocations for the educational scholarships and fee reimbursements, but the fact is that still there are thousands of minority students at every level who are not getting the scholarships”, he said.
Apart from causing the disappointment all around, the budget will also have a crippling impact on various minorities institutions including the AP Urdu Academy, Waqf Board and state Haj Committee. The petty allocations made include Rs 34.62 lakhs for minorities commission, Rs 36 lakhs for Urdu Academy, Rs 2.80 lakh for Dairatul Maarif, 8.61 lakh for Waqf properties administration and Rs 15.68 lakh for Waqf Tribunal.
Demand for higher allocations for the minorities also echoed among the Muslim leaders of Congress party. The state Congress general secretary Abid Rasool Khan said that while an amount of Rs 6000 crore was allotted for the welfare of all the sections of society, the budget for minority welfare should be increased to Rs 1000 crore.
He pointed out that Muslims will also benefit from the budgetary allocations made for various other schemes like free health insurance and Indiramm Housing.