It has asked the states to identify the minority clusters and also the NGOs working in those areas as soon as possible so that financial and other kind of assistance could be channelised, Secretary, Ministry of Minority Affairs M N Prasad said here today.
Addressing the annual conference of State Channelising Agencies(SCAs) of the National Minorities Finance Development Corporation (NMFDC), he said that Centre was soon goping to set up inter-governmental and inter-ministerial agencies in which experties and resources of various government departments would be pooled to coordinate development in the backward areas.
A list of minority concentration areas has been prepared on the basis of an index of backwardness based on the Census data, and the list would be released soon, he added.
The focus will be on development of special skills of the minority community people and the professions in which they had been traditionally good. Reaching aid to minority clusters was expected to give results as the beneficiaries can be in a better position to draw in support from their immediate neighbourhood.
The government has revised the list of minority concentration district, and in the process also taken note of the fact that in some states, minorities were in fact in a majority, so a different approach was needed while devising schemes for them.
Underlining that minorities cannot be left to the mercy of monopolistics deliveries, Mr Prasad said a major revamp of the NMFDC was in the offing, with more channels for delivery of its assistance being moooted.
He, however, said the existing agencies would be retained but they would have to compete with others.
''The NMFDC) will have a different look from next year. We have the report of an expert committee on the revamping of the Corporation in hand and action on its recommendation will follow soon,'' he said.
Mr Prasad announced that the Government was soon coming out with a 100 per cent grant in aid scheme for state channelising agencies to make them operate in a more effective way.
Initially the aid will be for all but later it will be conditional of the performances of the SCAs.
The Secretary also said the Ministry was actively considering opening of an agency for development of Waqf property, which were worth crores but were not utilised properly for the welfare of the community.
Mr Prasad came down heavily on those states in which SCAs were not performing well. He wondered why some states with large concentration of minorities had not been able to deliver while some states with the same resources and the same constrainst had done well.
He advised the state secretaries to impress up on their respective governments of the need of helping the SCAs in reaching the benefits of the NMFDC schemes to the targeted people.
On this occasion representatives of various states made presentations and by and large finanacial crunch, manpower shortage and poor infrastructure were cited as the main constraints in deliovering meaningful assistance to minorities.
The NMFDC was set up in 1994 as company under Section 25 of the Companies Act. Its mandate is to extend concessional credit to the poor section among the minority communities to enable them start various income-generating activities.