The Uddhav Thackeray-led coalition government in Maharashtra on Wednesday approved Rs 1.81 crore grants for 121 madrassas in the state under the Dr Zakir Hussain Madrassa Modernisation scheme. The amount will be used to pay for teacher salaries as an incentive for offering formal education in madrassas.
As part of the scheme, introduced by the erstwhile Congress-led Maharashtra government in 2013, registered madrassas with residential facilities for students can avail government grants if they teach subjects such as science, mathematics, social sciences, Hindi, Marathi, English and Urdu, along with religious studies. The institutions found eligible to receive funds for teachers’ salaries and also upgradation of basic infrastructure, setting up of libraries and computer laboratories.
Maharashtra’s Minority Development Minister Nawab Malik said the “grants approved are for the teachers’ salary component. An independent proposal will be formulated with infrastructure grants due to these institutions”. The decision to split up the grants in two packages was taken on account of curbs on expenditure in place owing to the coronavirus lockdown.
Of the 121 shortlisted madrassas, 80 are in Aurangabad region, 13 are in Thane, 12 in Washim, seven in Jalna, three each in Parbhani and Wardha, two in Buldhana and one in Hingoli. The shortlisted institutions had applied for the disbursal of grants under the scheme in 2019-20. Their proposals were also put up to the government, but there was a delay in their approvals.
“In view of the lockdown, we felt there was a need to immediately release the grants towards teachers’ salaries,” said Malik. He also announced plans to set up a high-level committee to review the implementation of the state and recommend measures to further improve fund utilisation.
The district collector is the nodal agency for the shortlisting of the beneficiary institutions. Malik said that he would also seek updation of district-wise data of eligible madrassas.
The state government also plans to review why the response to the scheme has been dwindling. As per records, 536 madrassas had availed benefits in 2014-15 with the government disbursing over Rs 18 crore in all. The number of beneficiaries dipped sharply since then. In 2015-16, the first full year of the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led government, the number of beneficiaries had dropped to 188, dipping further to 175 in 2016-17, 144 in 2017-18 and to 121 in 2019-20. Those interested in availing the grants have to apply every year.
Malik said that the coalition government will make efforts to make the scheme popular.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines