The Narendra Modi government has set a new target - to give out five crore scholarships for the education of minorities over the next five years. The programme, part of the government's outreach to minority communities, will have a huge focus on girls. Various scholarships - for before and after school boards -- will be provided to 5 crore students, which will include 50 per cent girl students, Minority Affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi announced on Tuesday.
The outreach is part of the government's efforts to create an atmosphere of healthy inclusive growth by eradicating the "disease of communalism" and appeasement politics, Mr Naqvi said. The Narendra Modi government is a dispensation committed to "samaveshi vikas, sarvsparshi vishwas (inclusive growth with trust)," the minister added.
Following the recent Lok Sabha election, the Prime Minister had expanded the "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas" slogan to "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas". The huge mandate in a state like Uttar Pradesh, he said, had made it clear that the minorities has rejected the communal politics of Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati.
Under the new plan, girls from minority communities who have dropped out of schools will be linked to education and employment. They will be provided with "bridge courses" from reputed educational institutions of the country.
There will be a "Padho-Badhi" campaign, focussed on areas where minority families do not send their daughters to school.
At a later stage, students will be coached for free if they want to sit for competitive exams - including in Central and state administrative services, banking services, staff selection commission and railways exams.
This will be provided to all economically weaker students from minority communities -- Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, and Parsi.
Madrasa teachers across the country will be given training from various institutions in mainstream subjects. This programme will be launched next month.
The scholarships would include more than 10 lakh Begum Hazrat Mahal Girls Scholarship for the economically weaker sections.
In the interim budget announced in February the government had allocated Rs. 93,847 crore - a jump of 10,000 crore from previous year's allocation.