Jaipur, (IANS) Despite the Sachar Committee Report of 2006 that showed that the literacy rate among Muslims being far lower than national average, and their representation in managerial and professional classes poor, little has been done to facilitate their greater integration with the mainstream. The Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan, however, is set to change that.
The Rajasthan government has now formed a separate department to address minority affairs to encourage smoother integration of minority groups, especially their youth and women.
“As desired by the minority community, the chief minister has already brought all the different welfare schemes and departments associated with the minority community under one department,” a senior state government official said.
“As a result, administrative control of a host of organisations such as the State Haj Committee, the Waqf Board, Madrassas Board, Minority Commission, Minority Finance and Development Cooperative Corp Ltd is now under one roof,” the official told IANS.
“In the next step towards their welfare, more emphasis is being laid on providing employment opportunities for youth from the minority community through better educational facilities, financial help and by improving training services,” the official said.
Of the state’s total population of 68.62 million, nearly eight percent is Muslim.
Officials said that approval has been granted for opening madrassas (schools traditionally used for teaching Islamic theology) along with schools in areas with substantial Muslim population, to encourage more children, especially girls, to go to school.
According to the State Madrassa Board, the Chief Minister’s Office has also started a madrassa modernisation plan for imparting quality education as also for repairing and modernising madrassa buildings.
“Under the modern education plan, approval have been given for a grant of Rs.10.11 crore to 241 madrassas,” a senior official in the board said.
Among other steps the government has decided to take are:
* Girls’ hostels at each divisional headquarters on the lines of those operating in Jaipur, Kota and Ajmer;
* Rajasthan Knowledge Corp asked to expand its youth employment programme on training the minority community in computers and make them proficient in English;
* Programme for regular education to Muslim children, along with religious texts, so that they don’t get left behind in the modern age;
* Ten Industrial Training Institutes opened in areas with large minority population; and
* An officer assigned in each district to oversee programmes for the minority community.