Union minister of minority affairs Najma Heptulla inaugurated six skill centres for minorities in Punjab on Saturday. Five of these centres were in the constituencies of the Badal family.
The centres will impart training in sewing and embroidery to minority communities for free and students will be given a yearly stipend of Rs 4,000 per annum.
“Apart from religious education, one can also develop their skills thorugh this initiative under the Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills,” said ADC(D) Rajinder Batra from Sangrur district.
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Two such skill centres are in Mansa villages, Hero Kalan and Kulrian, which fall in the Parliamentary constituency of Union Minister Harsimrat Badal, while two more are in villages Abul Khurana and Lambi, which are in CM’s home district of Muktsar. The fifth skill centre has been opened in Nagkalan village, constituency of Punjab Revenue Minister Bikramjit Singh Majithia, brother of Harsimrat Kaur Badal. The sixth one is at Malerkotla.
Heptullah inaugurated one skill centre at Mansa’s Mata Sundri Girls college while the rest were inaugurated through remote video link. The choice of centres was given by the state..
Heptullah, who was on her maiden visit to Punjab, lauded the role of Sikhs in the Independence struggle and even in the wars post independence. “The country will always remain indebted to Sikhs for their contribution to the safety of this country,” she said.
She said that under Pado Pradesh scheme, students from minority are also given Education loan to study abroad. “Under the Digital India scheme, we are also imparting computer knowledge to minorities so that they can remain updated in the world of computers.”
When asked if there was a cut in scholarships to minorities in the current budget, she said, “There is no cut. Rather, the budget has been increased from Rs 20,101 crore to over Rs 3,000 crore. The corpus fund under The National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) has also been increased from Rs 1,500 crore to Rs 3,000 crore.”