PMO orders urgent impact assessment of schemes for minorities

The PMO has directed the Minority Affairs Ministry to assess within two months as to what extent the Multi-Sectoral Developmental Programmes (MSDP) launched on the basis of Sachar Committee recommendations have improved the lot of minorities in the 90 identified districts across the country, sources said today.

The assessment is aimed at finding out to what extent the MSDP, launching in 2008, has improved the lot of minorities and what more can be done in this regard, sources told PTI.

In the third year of implementation of the schemes, the government wants to identify gaps so that these can be plugged in the 12th Five Year Plan.

The quick assessment, at least in terms of statistics, has been ordered so that the future programme of action with regard to uplift of minorities could be incorporated in the next Plan, the sources said.

The move comes in the backdrop of complaints that the benefits are not reaching the targeted people.

The MSDP were launched in 90 minority concentrated districts in 2008 as part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 15-point programme following Sachar Committee recommendations.

The government has earmarked Rs 3000 crore for these schemes of which Rs 2,100 crore have been released already, the sources said.

Utilisation of these funds is 50 per cent only, they said, adding officials have been asked to undertake field visits to find out the reasons for less utilisation of funds.

The sources rejected the notion that these schemes are not being implemented, saying this was "misinformation".

Under the MSDP, government also has scholarship schemes for minorities in four categories -- pre-matric, post-matric, merit-cum-means for professional courses and fellowships for higher studies.

Every year, around 40 lakh scholarships are given, of which about 35 lakh are availed at pre-matric level, nearly 5 lakh at post-matric level, about 80,000-90,000 for merit-cum-means scheme and about 900 fellowships for doctoral studies.

The government is planning to reform the implementation systems so that decisions are taken at lower level.

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