The Milli Gazette Online, 24 June 2006
New Delhi: The Union Cabinet today gave its approval to the Prime Minister's New 15 Point Programme for welfare of minorities. The Programme covers the following points:
A. Enhancing opportunities for Education
i) Equitable availability of ICDS Services
ii) Improving access to School Education
iii) Greater resources for teaching Urdu
iv) Modernizing Madarsa Education
v) Scholarship for meritorious students from minority communities
vi) Improving educational infrastructure through the Maulana Azad Education Foundation.
B. Equitable Share in Economic Activities and Employment
vii) Self-Employment and Wage Employment for the poor.
vii) Upgradation of skills through technical training
ix) Enhanced credit support for economic activities
x) Recruitment to State and Central Services
C. Improving the conditions of living of minorities
xi) Equitable share in rural housing scheme
xii) Improvement in condition of slums inhabited by minority communities.
D. Prevention & Control of Communal Riots
xiii) Prevention of communal incidents
xiv) Prosecution for communal offences
xv) Rehabilitation of victims of communal riots
The Cabinet has also decided that 15% of the funds may be earmarked wherever possible in relevant schemes / programmes, for the nationally declared minorities.
The 15 Point Programme has been recast to focus action sharply on issues intimately linked with the social, educational and economic uplift of minorities and provide for earmarking of outlays in certain schemes so that the progress is monitorable.
The existing 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of minorities was formulated in May, 1983. It covered 15 different aspects for action, commonly known as the "Prime Minister's 15-Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities". These points were reiterated by the then Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi, in his letter dated August 28th, 1985 addressed to all Chief Ministers.
The original 15-point programme
Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister wrote the following letter on 11 May 1983 to the Home Minister and sent its copies to all Members of the Council of Ministers regarding the problems of minorities:
“The increase of communalism in recent months and the large number of attacks on the lives and properties of minorities is cause for deep sorrow. These incidents are a blot on the good name of our country. They have been deliberately created by militant communal elements who do not hesitate to sacrifice the strength and security of the country for their own narrow nefarious ends.
“From my earliest childhood I have been committed to the secular ideal. The India of our dreams can survive and prosper only if Muslims and other minorities can live in absolute safety and confidence. Since the meeting of the Integration Council, in Srinagar, several measures have been suggested from time to time. But perhaps because the situation had improved, some slackness crept in and there is need to take new initiatives to combat this growth of communalism and to prevent and deal promptly and firmly with communal tension. We must devise mechanisms by which the conscience and political power of the entire nation are enlisted to deal with such situations.
“I have met several delegations of Members of Parliament and other representatives of Muslim and other minority groups and have discussed measures to prevent the recurrence of communal violence and to improve the economic conditions of minorities. After careful consideration of the suggestions which emerged I have decided that immediate action should be taken as indicated below:
I. Communal Riots
“The State Governments are being advised that in the areas which have identified as communally sensitive and riot prone, District and Police officials of the highest known efficiency, impartiality and secular record must be posted. In such areas and even elsewhere, the prevention of communal tension should be one of the primary duties of DM and SP. Their performances in this regard should be an important factor in determining their promotion prospects.
“Good work done in this regard by District and Police official should be rewarded.
Severe action should be taken against all those who incite communal tensions or take part in violence.
Special courts or courts specifically earmarked to try communal offenses should be set up so that offenders are brought to book speedily.
“Victims of communal riots should be given immediate relief and provided prompt and adequate financial assistance for their rehabilitation.
“Radio and TV must also help in restoring confidence, communal harmony and peace in such affected areas.
"It is unfortunate that certain sections of the press sometimes indulge in tendentious reporting and publication of objectionable and inflammatory material, which may incite communal tension. I hope that editors, printers, publishers and other concerned will co-operate in finding a way to avoid publication of such material.
II. Recruitment to State and Central Services
“In the recruitment of police personnel, State Governments should be advised to give special consideration to minorities. For this purpose, the composition of Selection Committees should be representative.
“The Central Government should take similar action in the recruitment of personnel to the Central Police Forces.
“Large-scale employment opportunities are provided by the Railways, Nationalised Banks and Public Sector Enterprises. In these cases also the concerned departments should ensure that special consideration is given to recruitment from minority communities.
"In many areas recruitment is done through competitive examinations. Often minority groups have been handicapped in taking advantage of the educational system to compete on equal terms in such examinations. To help them to overcome these handicaps, steps should be taken to encourage the starting of coaching classes in minority educational institutions to train persons to compete successfully in these examinations.
“The acquisition of technical skills by those minorities who are today lagging behind would also help in national development. Arrangements should be made to set up it is and Polytechnics by Government or private agencies in predominantly minority areas to encourage admission in such institutions of adequate number of persons belonging to these communities.
III. Other Measures
“In various development programmes, including the 20-Point Programme, care should be taken to see that minorities secure in a fair and adequate measure the benefits flowing therefrom. In the various committees which are set up to oversee the implementation of such programmes, members of those communities should be actively involved.
“Apart from the general issues to which I have referred, there are various local problems which develop into needless irritants to minorities. For instance encroachment of Wakf properties and on graveyards have led to protest and grievances in some places. Suitable steps should be taken to deal with such problems on an expenditure and satisfactory basis.
“Problems relating to minorities need to be attended to on a continuing basis so that apprehensions are allayed and genuine grievances redressed. To facilitate this, a special cell will be created in the Ministry of Home Affairs to deal with matters relating to minorities.
Some other measures are also under consideration. Decisions on them will be announced as early as possible. I am sure that the measures that I have indicated above and others which will be announced shortly, will facilitate the full participation of Mus
lims and other minority groups in all aspects of national life and thus promote the cause of national integration.
I would like to receive from you a special report every quarter on the results of action taken to implement the above decisions.
All Members of the Council of Ministers
Copy also endorsed to :
All Chief Ministers of States/UTs.