Radiance News Service
Hyderabad: Nov. 12, 2023
Looking to win back the support of minorities in Telangana, the Congress party has come out with Minority Declaration, making a slew of promises for their development and welfare.
The party has promised to increase minorities welfare budget to Rs.4,000 crore along with a dedicated minorities sub-plan.
The present Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government claims to be allocating Rs.2,000 crore for minority welfare every year. This is claimed to be the highest allocation by any state government.
Now, the Congress party has promised it to double it.
The Congress party, which had provided 4 percent reservation for socially and economically backward among Muslims in united Andhra Pradesh by categorising them in a separate group BC(E), has now promised that if voted to power in Telangana, it will conduct a caste census within six months and ensure fair reservation for all backward classes, including minorities in jobs, education and government welfare schemes.
The Congress has assured that it will provide Rs.1,000 crore annually to facilitate subsidized loans for jobless minority youth and women.
It also promised financial assistance of Rs.5 lakh to minority youth completing M. Phil and Ph.D under Abdul Kalam Taufa-e-Taleem Scheme. Students completing post-graduation will get Rs.1 lakh each while Rs.25,000 will be given for graduation, Rs.15,000 for intermediate and Rs.10,000 for 10th class.
The Congress promised monthly honorarium of Rs. 10,000 to Rs.12,000 for priests from all religions including Imams, Muezzins, Khadims, Pastors and Granthis.
The Telangana State Minorities Commission Act, 1998 will be amended to make it a permanent body. The annual report of the Commission will be tabled in the state legislature to make suitable changes for minorities welfare.
If voted to power, the Congress will also digitize land and property records of Waqf Board. Encroached properties of the Waqf Board will be reclaimed and re-registered.
It assured a house site and Rs.5 lakh for construction of houses for all houseless minority families under Indiramma Indlu Scheme. The government will also provide Rs.1.6 lakh to newly-wed couples of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other minorities.
The party released the Minority Declaration at a programme attended by senior leader and former Union Minister Salman Khursheed, MP and national chairman of Congress Minority Department Imran Pratapgarhi, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president A. Revanth Reddy, TPCC working president and former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin, former state minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir, TPCC vice-president Zafar Javeed and other leaders.
However, the Minority Declaration has evoked strong criticism from ruling BRS. Its working president K.T. Rama Rao stated that the Congress had unveiled a dangerous game which would create tensions between minorities and the Backward Classes communities.
He claimed that the Congress plans would “destroy the distinction between BCs and minorities laid down in the Constitution, which recognises Muslims, Christians and Sikhs as religious minorities.”
He said it was clear that the Congress’ manifesto was as per the BJP’s ideology which spoke about ‘Pasmanda’ Muslims, belonging to the weaker sections.