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Published in the 16-31 March 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Interests of Muslims ignored in the Budget

The Milli Gazette Online

New Delhi: Immediately after presentation of the general budget in Parliament on 28 February, Rajya Sabha member Shahid Siddiqui met Union finance minister P. Chidambaram and protested that Muslims have been ignored in the budget. He said that there are limited projects for Muslims and that no amounts have been allocated to them as a result even those scheme will only remain on paper and will never be implemented. In 1997 Rs 100 crore was sanctioned for Maulana Azad Education Foundation Corpus, with the promise that every year additional Rs 100 crore would be given to it. It was expected that at least in this budget the promised amount will be added in the corpus. But it did not happen and because of this Muslims are disappointed, Siddiqui said.

When the finance minister said that nobody brought it to his attention, Siddiqui said that he himself had written a letter to him in this regard. He expressed surprise as to why no Congress MP or minister brought this important point to his notice.

Chidambaram, however assured him that he will consider it in the revised budget. Siddqui also said that thousands of crores of rupees have been allocated for projects meant for backward classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women but very small amount has been allocated for projects concerning Muslims whose overall condition today is worse than Dalits. He added that the government which talks about secularism every now and then has not introduced any solid scheme for Muslims in its budgets.

Moreover no amount has been allocated in this budget towards a fund meant for the appointment of Urdu teachers and as a result this scheme too cannot be implemented, Siddiqui said. 

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