Minority Welfare Minister Azam Khan has opposed his own departments budget proposal of adding a rider of poverty
line to a scheme for giving financial assistance of Rs 30,000 to Muslim girls for marriage or pursuing higher education after Class X.
Azam has conveyed to the government that the rider will eliminate many Muslim girls from the scheme because a large proportion of Muslim poor do not have BPL cards. The matter now rests with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The scheme is one of the promises the Samajwadi Party had made in its election manifesto. The only condition then mentioned was that the beneficiary girls should have passed the Class X exam. The proposal was approved in the very first meeting of the Akhilesh cabinet on March 15.
However,in the state budget – which the chief minister,who is also the finance minister – presented in the Assembly on June 1,the poverty line rider was added. There is a budgetary provision of Rs 100 crore for the scheme.
There is no need to give the benefit only to BPL families. This will curtail the ambit of the scheme. We intend to extend the benefit to every poor Muslim family, said Khan.
According to the BPL census of 2002,the total number of BPL households in the state is 99,56,384,including 33,36,552 scheduled castes,67,860 scheduled tribes,and 50,83,747 OBC households. There is no demarcation on the basis of religion in the BPL list,but the OBCs include Muslims.
According to Khan,It is a known fact that most Muslims,despite being poor,are not part of the BPL list. Very few of them have BPL cards. Thus their girls will not qualify for the scheme. The scheme was presented to me in this form but I returned it with a note to drop the BPL tag.
He wants that girls
from poor Muslim families,whether they have the BPL card or not,should be eligible for the benefit. An income certificate should be enough to establish that they are poor. Once it is established that they are poor and the girl has cleared Class X examination,they should get the benefit, said Khan.
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