The BJP government in Karnataka headed by Chief Minister Yeddyurappa has cut the funding to minority welfare schemes by a whopping 44%, which translates into Rs 468 crore for the ensuing financial year. The allocation for minorities welfare that was Rs 1,418.98 crore in 2019-20, has been now cut down to a meager Rs 950 crore for the current year.
The welfare of minorities in the State is look after by the Minorities Welfare Department by undertaking and sponsoring time bound sustained development programs for the minorities such as scholarships for education, construction of marriage halls/community centers, family welfare schemes, funds for girl’s marriage and so on. The identified minorities include Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Budhist, and Parsi communities in the State.
According to information tabled by Karnataka Minority Welfare Minister, Prashanth Patil, in the State Assembly last week, as a result of this cut in funds five welfare schemes aimed at minorities welfare are dropped, which included Bidaai or Shaadi Bhagya (minority communities girl’s marriage), construction of Muslim marriage halls (Shaadi Mahal), Chief Minister’s Minorities Development Scheme, and financial assistance to Sikh, Jain, and Buddhist communities. Under the Bidaai scheme, there were 32,516 pending applications in 2019-20 and each one was given Rs 25,000 in a one-time settlement, for which Rs 81.29 crore had been released, Patil informed the Assembly.
Siddaramaiah-led Congress government has started the Bidaai scheme in October 2013 for which a Rs 50,000 one-time marriage assistance was given to minority girls, over one lakh girls have been covered under the scheme since its inception. In its budget during March 2020, the Karnataka government has scrapped this scheme.
The government has also cut funds for several ongoing programs that included financial assistance for training for competitive exams, learning interventions in state-run minority schools, Vidyasiri stipend, and construction of new hostels.
The Congress has termed the slash in minorities welfare funds as “BJP’s known attitude towards the minorities.” The Minorities Welfare Department is managed through the Directorate of Minorities, which was carved out of Directorate of Backward Classes during 1999-2000, to ensure focused approach towards issues of the notified minority communities.