Need to protect rights of people of all faiths, communities: CM
Kolkata: Stating that Bengal stands highest in the country by providing scholarships to 2.03 crore students from minority communities, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Minority Rights Day once again reiterated the need of protecting "the rights of people of all faiths, communities, castes and creeds" for the sake of the country's "unity".
This came when Banerjee repeatedly held the BJP-led Centre responsible for adversely affecting the federal structure of the country and disturbing the fervor of the country's "communal harmony".
In a tweet on Friday, Banerjee has stated that "Today is #MinorityRightsDay. India is the land of unity in diversity, and it is our duty to protect the rights of people of all faiths, communities, castes and creeds. We believe in communal harmony. Unity is strength. Divided we fall."
Stating about the series of projects taken up by her government for development of minority communities, Banerjee further stated in her tweet: "Government of West Bengal runs the "Aikyashree" scheme to provide scholarships to minority students. Since 2011, 2.03 crore scholarships worth Rs 5,657 crore have been provided to minority students, the highest in the country." In the past nine years the planned budget for minority development has increased eight times to Rs 3600 crore in the past nine years and it stands at Rs 3600 crore in 2020-21 financial year. Out of 2.03 crore scholarships under Aikyashree scheme providing Pre Matric, Post Matric, Merit-cum-Means Scholarships to the minority students, at least 42 lakh students were benefitted in 2019-20.
The Mamata Banerjee government has also provided scholarships to more than 45 lakh students from minority communities at the critical time of Covid pandemic. Students from communities including Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain and Parsee have received the benefit with the amount getting directly transferred to their bank account at the earliest after required assessment of their application.
This year already Rs 287 crore has been sanctioned for Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) and it is expected to cross the last fiscal's figure of Rs 424 crore by the end of March 2021, an official said. Bengal continues to stand first among all states in implementation of MSDP.
More than around 530 hostels for minority students were up. Moreover, more than 600 smart classrooms in madrasahs have been introduced to facilitate e-learning besides more than 115 computer labs in madrasahs.
As many as 315 karmatirthas have been set up and construction works of Aliah University, minority bhavans, ITI and polytechnics, a third Haj House at New Town, boundary walls around graveyards were also being carried out by the state government.