Par panel recommends reducing cut-off for minority districts

Par panel recommends reducing cut-off for minority districts

A Parliamentary panel has proposed reducing the cut-off percentage of minority population from the present 25 per cent to 15 per cent to designate a district as 'minority concentrated'.

The recommendation, if implemented, could add 40 more districts to the existing list of minority concentrated district(MCDs) taking to 130 the total number.

The panel report tabled in both Houses of Parliament today also wants the unit of planning for deignating MCDs brought down from district to block level.

The 27th report of the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment headed by BSP MP Dara Singh recommended that Minority Affairs ministry should obtain the latest block level data of 2011 Census and take immediate steps to achieve the objective.

It held that bringing down the unit of planning from district to block level will help cover more and more population of minorities.

The Committee expressed apprehension that the criterion of 25 per cent minority population for identification of MCDs is very high and would deprive benefits to many significant minority population districts, which are relatively backward in terms of socio-economic conditions or basic amenities.

The Minority Affairs ministry was also striving to scale down the percentage to 15 per cent, a move which could easily add 40 more districts to the existing list of MCDs.

Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had in 2010 expressed the hope that he would be able to get the change in the definition done in the 12th plan period(2012-17).

The panel's recommendation, as such, has come as a shot in the arm for the ministry, pursuing the objective.

The committee also noted with dismay that even after three years of the launch of Multi Sectoral Development Plan (MsDP), the district plans of all the 90 MCDs have not been fuly approved. "There are still 28 MCDs whose plans have been approved only partially," it said.

The panel pointed out that since its inception in 2008, an amount of Rs 2359.39 crore was released against which the expenditure of only Rs 1174.93 crore has been reported by states and Union Territories.

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