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Sachar sought a dedicated wakf cadre,govt said no

Nationwide,wakf properties constitute a land bank worth Rs 1.2 lakh crore.

Written by Saba Rahman | New Delhi |
March 3, 2011 1:40:30 am

Nationwide,wakf properties constitute a land bank worth Rs 1.2 lakh crore and could have generated annual returns of Rs 12,000 crore but yield only Rs 163 core,the Sachar Committee had observed. To correct this,the committee had recommended a new cadre of officers,on the lines of the civil services,so that the state wakf boards and Central Wakf Council would be managed better.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs turned down the recommendation,saying a new cadre is neither practicable nor legally feasible.

“There is no legal hurdle in creating the Indian Wakf Service,” said Justice Rajendar Sachar,who headed the Sachar Committee that prepared a status report on Muslims in India. Article 312 of the Constitution provides that Parliament may by law provide for the creation of one or more all-India services common to the Union and the states.

An NGO headed by Zafar Mahmood,officer on special duty with the Sachar Committee,filed an application under the RTI Act and found how the recommendation was rejected. He said the merits of the recommendation were not discussed.

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“We found that a deputy secretary with the ministry had struck down the recommendation for an Indian Wakf Service in three sentences,” he said.

Deputy secretary Virendra Singh had noted: “The state wakf board has the autonomy to decide the number of personnel,their deployment status or pay. The state boards do not have a defined relationship with the CWC (Central Wakf Council) unlike the position between the states and the central government and,therefore,replication of an all-India cadre on the lines of the AIS is not practicable. Amendment to the Wakf Act to induce the envisaged centralisation may neither be legally feasible nor desirable.”

A copy of the notings is with The Indian Express. Singh refused to discuss the matter.

Mahmood said a subsequent Cabinet note had only four words: “This is not recommended.”

“Obviously,it was not felt necessary at any higher level to hold any discussion,” he said.

Rajendar Sachar said his committee had found “a severe shortage of senior government officers who are Muslim to manage wakf affairs. A separate cadre would mean officers who are not only permanent but also qualified enough”.

Most of the 27 state wakf boards are headed either by not-too-highly qualified CEOs or by government officials holding the post as additional charge.

The Sachar Committee had said “up to 200 Group A officers are needed to service the wakf affairs across India “ and recommended,“The government may,therefore,consider creating a new cadre of officers to be recruited by the UPSC so that they can deal with the specific affairs of the wakfs efficiently.”

How it works
Wakf: Permanent dedication of a property for any purpose recognised by Muslim law as religious or charitable; these fall under entry no. 28 in the Concurrent List of the Constitution

6 lakh acres
Total area of 4.9 lakh registered wakf properties across India
R 1.2 lakh crore
Current market value
R 163 crore
Current annual income
R 12,000 crore
Potential annual income
(As per Sachar Committee Report)

Some wakf board heads
Puducherry
: A Sherfuddin,matriculate
Andaman and Nicobar: Md Akhtar Hussan,higher secondary,ex-officio capacity
Tamil Nadu: Khaleelur Abdul Rahman,poet,writer

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