State may give up to Rs 10 lakh to ‘minority’ gram panchayats

The state government is considering to extend from urban towns to gram panchayats a scheme under which up to Rs 10 lakh is provided annually to minority-dominated areas. The cabinet will soon discuss extension.

Minority affairs minister Arif Mohammed Naseem Khan said 564 gram panchayats would benefit. Population will decide amount. If there are more than 10,000 people under a gram panchayat and 50 per cent belong to a minority community, it will get Rs 10 lakh.

Gram panchayats with 3,000-5,000 people will get Rs 7.5 lakh and those with two to three thousand will get Rs 5 lakh. Gram panchayats having less than 2,000 people will get Rs 4 lakh. There is a rider, though. The minister said the money will be released only if provisions such as water supply, sanitation, auditorium and crematoriums/burial grounds are made.

He said the scheme first introduced in urban areas four years ago had got good response. In 2008, 161 municipal corporations and councils benefited. In 2009, 184 and in 2010, 214 municipal corporations and councils received funds. Last year, 244 local bodies benefited from the scheme under which Rs 70 crore was spent.

The minister said to implement the scheme in rural areas, Rs 36 crore was needed and the implementation would will begin after cabinet approval.

Khan said girls belonging to minority communities studying in classes VIII, IX and X will get cycles from next academic year. "Most of the times schools are away from villages and parents feel sending girls to school is unsafe, leading to dropouts," he said.

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