In his role as chairperson of National Commission for Minorities (NCM),former Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of India Wajahat Habibullah called upon the Muslim community to use the Right to Information (RTI) Act to hold governments accountable to them and demand their rights.
In its report (submitted in November 2006),the Sachar Committee made 40 recommendations to the government for improving the condition of minorities. However,the Centre has implemented only one of them,and that too,partially-scholarships for minorities. Muslims should ask the government as to what it is doing about the rest of the recommendations by filing RTI applications, Habibullah said at a function here on Sunday.
The event was organised by a Gujarati daily which is perceived as a Muslim-community newspaper.
The first CIC of the country said that the government announces a host of welfare schemes for minorities but drags its feet in their implementation due to lack of public pressure. The government has identified 90 districts with concentration of minorities and allocated crores of rupees for welfare of minorities. But hardly any work has been done on the ground level. Araria district of Bihar is a case in point. It is one among the 90 districts but not a single new school has come up in Bhajanpura,one of its villages, the NCM chairman,who had visited the village after the death of four people in police firing there in June,said.
Citing another example of the governments ineptitude,the retired IAS officer said,Baghpat district (in UP) has 25% Muslim population. The government sanctioned Rs 25 crore to set up two polytechnics in the district under a welfare scheme for minorities. However,it decided to found these institutes in two villages of the district where not a single Muslim lives.
He appealed Muslims to question government in such matters by using the RTI Act. You should tell the government that you have not received benefits that you were supposed to get, he added.
Retired IAS officer of Gujarat cadre Moosa Raza suggested that instead of districts,villages should be made units for implementing minority welfare schemes. He said the Centre had allocated Rs 72,000 crore for welfare schemes for minorities.
Habibullah to meet Modi Habibullah said that he would meet Chief Minister Narendra Modi over some issue,which he did not disclose. A delegation from Gujarat had made a representation to me recently and I have decided to meet the Chief Minister in this connection, he said,without elaborating who were there in the delegation and what issue they had raised.