Turn away from the trivial

Recently I met a group of people to whom I never deny an appointment. It included a maulana, an academic and some activists. I have been meeting them regularly over the last four years. They give me strength to continue my work for the minorities, which is one of my sectoral responsibilities in the Planning Commission. They said that they were very pleased with the content of the chapter on minorities in the 12th Five-Year Plan.

The chapter was written with the greatest care, ensuring that it defined a roadmap to fill the developmental gaps for the community. A very important instrument of filling these gaps is the prime minister's 15-point programme, which requires that each of the 11 identified ministries reserve 15 per cent of their total allocations for minorities. Another instrument is the pre-matric and post-matric scholarship plan, which is to ensure that no child is denied an education for the lack of means. A third is the multi-sectoral development plan for 90 minority concentration districts to correct the development deficit. This will now become operational at the block level. At the National Development Council meeting held on December 27, all chief ministers put their signatures to these promises, which come with financial commitments. They are scattered all over the Plan; their nodal ministry is minority affairs, which is responsible for implementing them.

If we leave these well-thought out policies in the pages of the Plan, they will stay there for the next five years. They need to be explained, piece by piece, to the whole country. Muslims, and all Indians who believe in the importance of inclusive growth, have to understand these policies and put their strength behind them. The Muslim community has to move away from the usual emotive subjects and concentrate its collective energies here.

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