Special funds in Budget for minorities

New Delhi: With apparently an eye on the upcoming Assembly elections especially in central Indian state Uttar Pradesh, the Indian government is toying with the idea of having a special component for minority welfare in the Union Budget.

The proposal, which also includes providing funds for minority-related schemes directly at the block level, has been mooted in an inter-ministerial memo being discussed by the government.

The move was initiated after some Muslim MPs approached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the monsoon session of Parliament with complaints that schemes for minority welfare were not being implemented properly.

Singh is understood to have asked the MPs to meet Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia with their grievances.

It was later decided to take up the issue for inter-ministerial consultations which could culminate in a note for consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs.

The move comes ahead of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Goa next year.