Telangana State is known for its harmony and peaceful co-existence. At every stage in the people’s life, the spirit of secularism reflects. This is precisely why Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi compared Telangana culture to a mixture of Ganga-Jamuna Tehjeeb. The sprit took a beating during the regime of the United Andhra Pradesh. Several attempts were made to break the fabric of unity among the people. The minorities have been subjected to discrimination and total neglect. How much neglect the minorities have faced in the united AP can be gauged from the fact of 20 Annual State Budget allocations. In 1995-96 a mere Rs 1.20 Crore was allocated for the minorities! Due to discrimination shown to minorities, they were subjected to socio-political and economic backwardness and oppression over the years. This has resulted in these sections feeling insecure, lack of faith and anxiety. After the formation of the Telangana State sincere efforts were made to remove insecurity among the minorities, instill confidence among them and protect their identity. For the welfare and development of minorities who have constituted 14.24 per cent among the population, a comprehensive plan is prepared. For the first in the annals of history, we have allocated Rs 1030 Crore in the first State Budget for the welfare and development of the minorities. The allocations were then hiked to Rs 1204 Crore the same year.
The backwardness among the minorities can be eradicated only through education. A majority of minorities are dependent on petty jobs and trades. Hence they are not been able to send their children for better education. Understanding this, the state government wanted the children of the minorities to get good and quality education without having any financial burden on their parents. The State government has decided to set up Residential Schools exclusively for the minorities at a cost of Rs 8000 Crores in the State. During 2016-17 Academic year, 71 Minority residential Schools were started. Another 129 Schools will be started in the next academic year. With this, there will be 200 Residential Schools for the minorities in the State. Realising that there is a large percent of girls dropping out of the schools, the State government made 100 Residential School for the girls. No other State or government in this country has ever made such a step for the minorities. About 1, 28, 000 students (both girls and Boys) will get a global level education in English Medium from these schools.These revolutionary measures for the minorities will usher in a wonderful future for these youngsters. Past regimes have adopted the policy of offering some small favours to get their votes. But our government is planning for a permanent solution to the problems faced by the minorities forever and brings a qualitative change in their lives through the setting up schools.
For those minorities’ students pursuing their education abroad, for the first time, the government has introduced Overseas Scholarships Scheme. Last year, under this Scheme, 463 students were given Rs 10 lakh scholarship each besides providing their airfare. This year we have increased the scholarship amount from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 Lakh. We have given premetric scholarship to 89,000 minority students at a cost of Rs 35 Crore. On par with SC/ST/BC students, 1, 18,000 minority students studying from Intermediate to PG weregiven Post Metric scholarship to each one who have applied. Like SC/ST students, minorities’ students were also given the fee reimbursement notwithstanding their ranks. We have paid Rs 219.43 Crore to 1,18,000 minority students during the academic year 2015-16.
The minority candidates were given coaching in the famous IAS Coaching centres where the government is paying their fee besides giving the candidates stipend. Study Circles were also set up to the minorities as was done in case of the SC/ST/BCs. The minority candidate are coached to appear for the Civil Services, Group I and II examinations and banking recruitment tests in these Study centres. Coaching is taking place in the old Tend district Centres based on the Notification issued.
To encourage Minority entrepreneurs, TS PRIME, on the lines of TS PRIDE launched for the SC/ST entrepreneurs, is launched. A Special IT SEZ is also being launched in Hyderabad exclusively for the minority industrialists. There is a demand from the Muslims to allocate land to the Anees-Ul-Gubba for the Orphans. The previous government has neglected the demand. We have understood the real service being done by the Anees-ul-Gubba, the only Orphanage of its kind. Hence the government has allotted 4000 square yards of prime land in Nampally to make the Orphanage one of its kind. A multi story complex will be constructed on the area for the Orphaned children and it will become a role model for others.
The state government has launched an innovative scheme in the twin cities called own your Auto. Under his scheme, 1783 minority youth were given Autos on 50per cent subsidy. For the self-employment of the minority youth, the subsidy component of the government has been increased from 50per cent to 80 per cent. Skill development is also imparted to the minorities in association with NAAK, ECIL, CIPET and SETWIN to increase their job opportunities.
Many poor minority families are not been able to perform their daughter marriages due to financial problems. This is leading several social evils. Understanding their plight the state government under Shaadi Mubarak Scheme is paying Rs 51,000 to each family at the time of their daughter’s marriage. So far, under the Scheme 51,452 girls got the financial help at the time of their marriage.
As a symbol of religious harmony, the state government is celebrating Christmas and Ramzaan as the State festivals. On the occasion of Ramzaan, the state government is organising Iftar dinners for the poor on a big scale. New clothes were also given on the occasion to 2, 10,000 Muslim families. Similarly, during the Christmas, Christians were also given dinner in the Churches and 2 lakh Christian families were also given new clothes.
Imams and Mauzams who give their spiritual services at places of worship are given Rs 1000 per month honorarium. All over the State 8934 Imams and Mauzams are getting benefitted. Rs 2 crore grant was given by the State Government as a Special Grant to Telangana State Haj Committee for the pilgrims undertaking visit to Mecca and Madina. The government has also taken steps to protect the Urdu language and develop it. Basic infrastructure is provided to the Urdu medium schools. All over the State Shaadikhanas with Urdu Ghar were granted.
Valuable assets for the Muslim community are Wakf Board and Institutions. Rs 53 Crore grant is given to take up renovation, repair and constructions in the wakf Institutions. Earlier only Rs 4 or 5 Crore was given. The government also gave permission to 11 Wakf lands to lease out to take up construction works. From this the Wakf Board is expected to get about Rs 60 to Rs 70 Crore income. The government is taking all measures to protect the Wakf Board properties. Coordination Committees are formed with District Collector as the Chairman in the district to protect the Wakf properties. Rs 14.65 crore is given for the construction of an auditorium in Jam-e -Nizamia.
Ajmer Dargah in Rajasthan is a holy place for the Muslims and thousands of Muslims from the state go there as a pilgrimage. For the convenience of pilgrims from out state visiting there, the government has sanctioned Rs 5 Crore to construct a Rubaat there. The government has also written a letter to the Rajasthan government to allot a piece of land, once the allotment is made, construction of Rubaat will take place in Ajmer.
The Sudhir Commission constituted to study the living standards of the minorities in the State had toured the State and submitted a report. The Report is sent to the BC Commission to make reservations based on the population figures. The BC Commission is seeking opinions from various sections and will submit its recommendations to the government.
Dalit Christians have launched an agitation for the SC status. We have solved these problems after we came to power. Clear-cut instructions are given to the officials to accord SC status to the Dalit Christians in the State. Hitherto, Christians had to go through a difficult process of getting permission from the district authorities for the construction of Church. We have issued a GO empowering the, local bodies to give permission for the construction of a church. Rs 10 crore was sanctioned in Hyderabad for the construction of a Christian Bhavan.
Since the government has increased programmes under the Minority Welfare department, the department has become important and its activities extended. The employee strength is a mere 35and the government is sanctioning 80 more posts.
We are inheritors of a Telangana Culture where all sections of the society live like members of one family above any narrow differences. The over all development of the State is possible only when the fruits of development reach each and every person equally. The State government is dedicated to Bangaru Telangana where all people live in harmony and happiness.
K Chandrashekhar Rao,