The PTI reports:

The five-year plan (2007-12) was approved by the National Development Council, the highest policy making body of the Centre and the states, amid demands by the Chief Ministers for greater flow of funds to them for tackling regional imbalances. Pointing out that the plan is for the poor, the Prime Minister said it pays special attention to the needs of the marginalised groups and targets them in a precise manner.

It was this “special attention” that came in for criticism from Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP Leader Narendra Modi. Continuing with his Modi’s specific objections were

The correct criteria for flow of funds for various schemes and programmes should be based on principal of equity by taking only socio-economic criteria alone and leaving the implementation of such schemes to the states.

Meanwhile the Hate-Modi media fest continues with the “rebuke” spin the wire stories have been carrying. Left to its machinations the mainstream media would have us all mouting its “newspeak”. The Prime Minister closing speech which carried the below remarks was anything but a reproval or a reprimand and was too late in the session to even be characterised as an attempt to check or repress Modi. By which dictionary were these mildly defensive remarks a “rebuke” should puzzle even the least erudite of us:

The plan does not attempt to divide people on the basis of caste, creed or gender or religion”. Manmohan Singh said that it was a reality that there are certain social groups who are relatively badly placed on all developmental indicators. The plan does pay special attention on the needs of these marginalised groups and targets them in a precise manner. “Inclusiveness does mean better targeting and it is not at the cost of other groups. You will all agree that if we hope to have a prosperous, equitable, just India, we must cover all groups and ensure that no one is left behind,”

The media spin apart let us examine if the substance of what the Prime Minister’s proposing and if it indeed stands up to the criteria that he has laid out.

The Planning Commission late last year had put out an approach paper on “inclusive growth”, section 5.7 talks about Minorities. Let us look what specifically it lays out for Minorities:

– It makes no mention of religious minorities in general

– It makes specific mention of only “poor” Muslims and Muslim Women

– It calls for

– special focus by SSA in areas with large concentration of Poor Muslims

– Special schemes for creating educational infrastructure in areas with large concentration of Poor Muslims

– Special incentives for students from Poor Muslim background

– Access to credit to Muslim Women

– Presence of Muslim Women in “decision making bodies”

– It then goes on to talk about a 15 point programme aimed at improving the quality of life for the Muslim Population (note there is no reference to poor or otherwise)

The 15 point programme in turn talks about

– earmarking 15% of all targets and outlays to target minorities (read Muslim as the Planning Commission paper is very specific)

– locating benefits in areas of substantial minority population (read Muslim)

– Revising schemes for modernisation of Madrassas and appointment of Urdu Teachers

– Most importantly it also includes the Communal Violence Bill and the Posting of Muslims in Muslim Concentration Areas

It also wants by 2007-2008 15% of all credit flow from the Banks going to Minorities (read Muslim).

It targets districtions with 25% Minority Population with additional parameters on socio-economics and basic amenities.

Also thrown into the gravy train or pork barrel are provisions for a National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation, Wakf Agencies and Maulana Azad Education Foundation. Offstumped dug deeper into the MAEF’s finances to highlight how this Communal Socialism by Manmohan Singh is resulting in Entitlements and communal ones at that. The foundations lists 718 institutions it has granted aid to of which more than 90% are Muslim run educational institutions. In between grants for school buildings and equipment one sees odd entries titled Sadbhawana Kendra. For example Bhabua in Bihar’s West Champaran District had 3 Sadbhawana Kendra’s obtain grants during 2005-2006.

The Prime Minister has said this is about better targetting and inclusive growth while his advisor Montek Singh Ahluwalia has said that this only targets the areas while everyone i.e. non Muslims benefit as well.

Well let us see how non-Muslims below the poverty line benefit from this or if any of this has anything to do with Quality of Life for Muslim Population in general

– Posting Muslims in Muslim Concentration Areas

– Appointing Urdu Teachers

– a Communal Violence Bill (doubt if Muslims benefit from this either)

– a central government run finance corporation to lend money exclusively to Muslims

– managing grave yards

– a Delhi based autonomous body running at the tax payers expense that doles out entitlements to Minority run educational institutions and not necessarily Minority education.

Offstumped Bottomline: Enough with your Communal Socialism Mr. Prime Minister. This is about Muslim Appeasement and Vote Bank Politics and not about Freedom or Opportunity.  Your proposals fail the inclusivity and better targeting tests that you have spelled out in defense of your proposals. Leave it to the States and Local Communities to better target beneficiaries.

Originally Posted here

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