Union Budget 2023-24: Minorities Have Nothing to Cheer

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The Narendra Modi government has proposed a huge cut of over Rs 1923 crores in the allocation for the minorities by giving them only Rs 3,097.60 crores in the budget

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – There is nothing to cheer about for the minorities in the Union Budget for 2023-2024 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament here on Wednesday.

The government has proposed a huge cut of over Rs 1923 crores in the allocation for the minorities by giving them only Rs 3097.60 crore in the budget.

Earlier, minorities had a budget of Rs 5,020.50 cores. However, this year’s allocation is higher than the revised budget of 2022-23 when Rs 2,612.66 crores were allocated.

Sitharaman said that the Budget 2023-24 is largely focused on four major points: empowering women, focusing on tourism, helping out “vishvakarma” or those toiling traditionally through their hands for the country, and green growth. 

But, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi criticised the budget claiming that it has no vision to create employment and deal with the growing gap between the rich and the poor.

Reacting to the cut in the budgetary allocation for the minorities, Navaid Hamid, outgoing President of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawart (AIMMM), said he was shocked and dismayed. Equally shocking, he said, was that no one was speaking against this discrimination.

“With each passing day, the hollowness of the slogan “Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas” is being exposed by the working of the Modi government with its approach towards the Muslim community. It is sad that budgetary allocation for the minorities has been slashed,” he said.

Hamid also expressed concerns over the fact that out of Rs 5,020 cores, Rs 2,611 crores remained unutilized. He fears that the huge percentage of the current budget allocated for the minorities will also remain unutilised as it was in the previous year.

“It is a joke for the Muslim community…the systematic discrimination is the policy of the government. Muslim community does not have strong leadership,” he said.    

He also criticized the government for discontinuing minority scholarships and fellowships. Recently, the government has discontinued the minorities scholarship of class I to VIII, the Maulana Azad National Fellowship and other schemes.

Hamid said that it would increase the dropout rate among minority communities in the long term.  

When it comes to the details related to the latest budget, out of a total budget of Rs 3,097.60 crores, Rs 132 crores have been allocated for the establishment expenditure of the Centre, Rs 1,689 crores for the schemes and the projects of the Centre, Rs 64.40 crores for the skill development and livelihoods, Rs 26.10 crores for the special programmes for minorities and Rs 540 crores for the PM-Vikas Committed Liabilities.

A total of Rs 2,336.50 crores has been allocated for the Central schemes and projects while Rs 19.10 crores have been earmarked for other central sector expenditures.   

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