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Eye on assembly polls, DF govt woos minorities

Eye on assembly polls, DF govt woos minorities

Author: Mohammed Wajihuddin
Publication: The Times of India
Date: May 15, 2009
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Eye-on-assembly-polls-DF-govt-woos-minorities/articleshow/4531835.cms

The Democratic Front (DF) government has announced a slew of sops for minorities a few months ahead of the assembly polls. At a cabinet meeting chaired by CM Ashok Chavan on Tuesday, the government decided to enlarge the scope of several existing schemes for minorities and announced a few new ones.

Five thousand sq mt of land has been allotted for a Sunni Muslim graveyard and 2,500 sq mt has been earmarked for the Shia Bohra community at Aarey Colony in Goregaon. "This was an old demand,'' minority affairs department minister Anees Ahmed said.

Minorities, especially Muslims, have often complained that work in the department moves at a snail's pace. The Rs 167-crore allotted to the department was not spent for an entire year because of bureaucratic sloth. "No fund will be allowed to lapse,'' Ahmed said.

A part of the funds will support students from minority communities who wish to pursue higher education. Those going for medical and MBA courses will now get a scholarship of Rs 40,000 each; the scholarship for students pursuing higher education in other courses remains Rs 25,000. Riot-affected minority community members will receive interest-free loans up to Rs 5 lakh through the Maulana Azad Financial Corporation.

The government will build two Urdu ghars (one each in Mumbai and Nanded). The Urdu Academy will also be awarded a yearly grant.

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