The Centre is likely to scrap the Ministry of Minority Affairs — established by the UPA government in 2006 — and merge it with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, sources in the government told DH.
All schemes being implemented by the ministry will continue after the merger, they said.
Ministry officials refused to comment.
“The BJP-led NDA government is of the view that there is no need for an independent ministry for minority affairs. It believes the ministry was created as part of UPA’s appeasement policy. Now, the Modi government wants to bring it back under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment as the ‘Department of Minority Affairs’,” one source said.
Congress Rajya Sabha member Syed Naseer Hussain described the proposed move as another attempt by the BJP to polarise society.
“The purpose of setting up a separate ministry was to bring minorities to the mainstream with focused programmes for their uplift. However, the BJP government is using every opportunity against minorities for political gains,” he said.
The Ministry of Minority Affairs was carved out of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment by the then UPA government “to ensure a more focused approach towards issues relating to Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis and Jains”.
Syed Tanveer Ahmed, secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said, “Abolishing the ministry is against the spirit of the Constitution. It will harm the human development index of the country. Instead, the government should focus on sanctioning more money and strengthening the ministry for the welfare of minorities.”
Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani is presently holding additional charge of the Ministry of Minority Affairs after Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi resigned in July on expiry of his Rajya Sabha term. He was only the Muslim face in the Modi government.