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Uttar Pradesh: Increased Budget for minorities but no new schemes, state pushes for “modernisation” of madrasas

The Uttar Pradesh government, led by Yogi Adityanath, introduced its annual budget on Friday, with Rs 2,575 crores allocated under the name of minority development and welfare schemes.

Rajesh Agrawal, Finance Minister at Uttar Pradesh, informed while announcing the budget that out of the allocated Rs 2,575 crores, Rs 404 crore will be spent modernising Arabic and Farsi Madrasas of the state. Moreover, Rs 486 crore will be used as a grant for Arabic schools, and Rs 215 crore of ‘Aalia level’ madrasas.

The recent budget of Uttar Pradesh sees a rise of Rs 282 crore from the last year’s budget allocated under the same head. State minister Mohsin Raza claimed that increasing the budget is a welcome step and shows government’s commitment towards the agenda of ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’.

The budget allocation under minority head for the fiscal year 2018-19 becomes important as, since its election in 2017, the state government has been cracking down on Madrasas for several reasons. During August 2017, the government put out an order asking all the Madrasas of the state to submit proof of celebration of Independence Day.

The state government it seems, however, is using “modernisation of madrasas” to distract any attention over the absence of new schemes of minority welfare. State minister Mohsin Raza told, “Modernisation of Madrasas in the state is one thing which every regime till now has been overlooking. This year’s funds expenditure under minority head will be used chiefly for modernisation of madrasas.”

“Muslim community is backward,” said Raza while adding that “the government is trying to link the modern education with the religious teachings of madrasas”. Raza further explained, “We see many Muslims studied ‘Maulviyat’ (the study of Islamic clericalism) past independence, but we know only a few in the society. The rest struggle hard to get into the mainstream. They are not doing any good. We want to change.”

Coming again to the absence of new schemes, Mohsin Raza said that the state government will assist the central government in implementation and increased the reach of its various programs, “which are not just for minorities, but for all the religions, castes and groups of the society”.

Commenting on the budget, Khali Rashid, a Lucknow-based cleric, said, “The government did not introduce any new scheme. The Muslim community is facing unemployment. The government could have increased scholarship more. Also, it would have looked towards handloom practices, which is the major source of living in Muslim community, the budget would be more welcoming.”

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