Amendments in wakf Bill cleared by Cabinet

With the Lok Sabha election just a year away, the UPA government Thursday moved to fulfil one of the long-standing demands of Muslim groups. The cabinet cleared the official amendments that the government proposes to make in the Wakf (Amendment) Bill — the significant among them being permitting lease of wakf properties for commercial purposes up to 30 years from the present cap of 10 years.

The Bill amending the Wakf Act, 1995 was cleared by the Lok Sabha in 2010, but ran into objections in the Rajya Sabha after which it was referred to a select committee. Minority Minister K Rahman Khan hopes to get the Bill passed in the Budget session itself. The Bill is aimed at checking rampant encroachment of wakf properties as it makes encroachment of wakf properties a cognizable and non-bailable offence and provides for a maximum punishment of two years rigorous imprisonment.

The Bill that was passed by the Lok Sabha allows lease or sub-lease of wakf property for commercial activities for up to 10 years. For purposes of education and health, it allows lease for up to 30 years.

NUHM decision deferred

The cabinet on Thursday deferred without any discussion a proposal to set up a Rs 22,000 crore dedicated public health delivery system to address medicare challenges in urban slum pockets. The proposal, National Urban Health Mission, was conceived to address health needs of urban dwellers living in slum areas. As per the proposal, the NUHM is to come under the overarching body of National Health Mission and had already been approved by the Planning Commission under the 12th Plan.

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