The Central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving 100 per cent financial assistance to use Waqf properties for the empowerment of minorities, said Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi here on Monday.
Naqvi, who was chairing the meeting of newly constituted Central Waqf Council, said: "For the first time since the Independence, the Central government is providing 100 per cent financial help to utilise Waqf properties across the country for educational empowerment and job-oriented skill development of the needy sections of the society."
"The Central government has provided basic amenities to ensure educational empowerment and job-oriented skill development of Minorities, especially girls, in those backward areas of the country which were deprived of these facilities since the Independence," he said.
"Under Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK), the Minority Affairs Ministry, for the first time after the Independence, has constructed schools, colleges, ITIs, skill development centres, multi-purpose community centres on Waqf properties across the country," he said.
"During the last about four-and-a-half years, under PMJVK, 28 degree colleges, 2,197 school buildings, 40,201 additional classrooms, 1,213 hostels, 191 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), 50 polytechnics, 39,586 Anganwadi Centres, 405 Sadbhavna Mandaps, 89 residential schools, and 527 market sheds have been constructed by the NDA government in the minority concentrated areas," he said.
The meeting started with observing two-minute silence to pay tributes to 40 CRPF security force personnel who were martyred in a terrorist attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.
"Works have been done on a war-footing to provide basic amenities to ensure socio-economic-educational empowerment and job-oriented skill development of minorities, especially girls in 308 districts of the country," he said.
"While only 90 districts of the country had been identified for minority communities' development during the earlier Central government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA government has expanded development programmes for minorities in 308 districts of the country," he said.
"The campaign to utilise Waqf properties across the country for socio-economic-educational empowerment and job-oriented skill development has been successful. There are around 5.77 lakh registered waqf properties across the country," he said.
He said the report of a five-member committee, constituted to review Waqf properties lease rule, headed by Justice (Retd) Zakiullah Khan, has been submitted. "The recommendations of the committee were discussed in today's meeting," he said.
The minister said that the recommendations of the committee will ensure that Waqf rules are made easy and effective for better utilisation of Waqf properties and to free these properties, several of these entangled in disputes for several decades, from disputes.
Naqvi said the Central Waqf Council is providing financial help to State Waqf Boards for digitalisation of records so that state Waqf boards can complete digitalisation work within decided timeframe as 90 per cent waqf properties already have been digitised.
He said that the Central government has provided scholarships to about 3.83 crore students belonging to the minority communities during about last four-and-a-half years which include about 60 per cent girl students.
"Thanks to the Central government's efforts for educational empowerment of all weaker sections including minorities, school dropout rate among Muslim girls, which was earlier more than 70 per cent, has now been reduced to about 35 per cent. Our government is working with a mission to bring it down to zero per cent in the coming years," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)