'Reduce population cut off for minority districts'

Parliament's Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment while criticising the Ministry of Minority Affairs had recommended that the definition of minority dominated districts should be changed. As of now, such districts with 25% minority population is considered for Multi-sectoral Development Programme [MsDP]  of the  ministry.

Since large funds under the scheme have remained unutilised, the committee has said the districts with 15% minority population will also be made eligible for MsDP.

Meanwhile, Union Law and Minorities Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told Millennium Post: 'We have recommended it and given it to the planning commission, which is examining it and will take a view. If it comes into being it will be of course a good idea because right now only 30% of the population is covered and if it goes down to 15 % then we hope that the population coverage will exceed 50-55% which will be far more successful. There is also an alternative proposal being made if it is to be left at 25% then unit should be of the block rather than the district so that the coverage can be improved. Planning commission will examine both proposals and decide which one they want to implement.'

The Standing Committee panel has recommended that eligibility criteria for minority-dominated districts should be relaxed from 25% to 15% and blocks be made the basic unit of planning for better implementation this scheme.

In its 27th report that was tabled in Parliament during the Budget Session, headed by BSP MP Dara Singh the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment had made these recommendations.

The committee has recommended that the criteria of 25% of substantial minority population used for minority concentration districts [MCD] be brought down to 15%. In its report the panel has said, 'The committee, however, express their apprehension that the criteria of 25% of substantial minority population used for identification of MCDs is very high and would deprive the benefits to many significant minority population districts, which are also relatively backward in socioeconomic or basic amenities.'

If the proposal is implemented then as per reports it will easily add 40 more districts in the existing list of 90 MCDs in the country where the MsDP has been successfully implemented.
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