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Meet focus on minority funds

Development of minority communities can only help in building a vibrant nation and for that funds allocated by the government needs to be fully utilised.

Jharkhand state minorities commission chairperson Shahid Akhtar made this observation while delivering the key note address at a regional workshop on minority rights and issues organised by Mumbai-headquartered Agricultural Finance Corporation at a Ranchi hotel on Tuesday.

The objective of the workshop was to create a public platform for discussion among various sections of the society and to make the minority communities aware about their rights and privileges bestowed by the Constitution and various legislations.

Supported by Union ministry of minority affairs and the state minorities commission, the event was attended by about 40 representatives of various NGOs that work for the betterment of the socially and economically backward strata of the society.

“Implementation of constitutional provisions and proper utilisation of minority development funds can bring in changes. But unfortunately such funds often get lapsed due to dilly-dallying attitude of the officials,” Akhter rued.

He urged the media to play a constructive role in making people aware about the availability of such funds.

Speaking on the status and challenges of the minorities in the state, Harishwar Dayal, director (eastern region), Institute for Human Development, pointed out that meeting the development deficit was a big challenge in six districts, namely Ranchi, Khunti, Gumla, Simdega, Sahebganj and Pakur that were dominated by Muslims and Christians.

Claiming that minorities in these districts lagged behind in education and suffered from social exclusion, Dayal said: “While implementation of the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme was far from satisfactory, funds for multi-sectoral development plan were also under utilised in these districts.”

Media was also blamed for the minorities’ plight to some extent.

“Minority issues are also largely ignored by the mainstream media because most of the media persons don’t belong to the minority communities and so have limited knowledge about the issues,” opined Rituraj Sapkota, assistant director, Xavier’s Institute of Communications.