Union Minister for Minority Affairs Dr Najma Heptullah Monday said that government would utilize the property of 6 lakh acre land of the Muslim Waqf Board under private- public partnership, which would generate Rs 12,000 crore economy across India.Minister also said that the government would also take every possible step to vacate the Waqf land illegally occupied across India.“The recent report of Sacher committee says there are 6 lakh acre Waqf land across India. We have sought reports from all the states and Waqf Boards to identify the land so that same could be commercialized by utilizing private-public partnerships and would generate revenue of over Rs 12,000 crore,” Heptullah told a press conference at SKICC.She said the revenue that could be generated by the Waqf property could be utilized on the children of minority community for their education.The Union Minister said the government will vacate Waqf land from encroachers, who have occupied it illegally.She said the government wants to digitalize the Waqf property for its transparency.Stating that BJP government was committed to safeguard and protect the rights of the all six minority communities across India, she said. “We have to create a conducive environment. Narendra Modi has said that rights of the people will be protected and there will be no discrimination on the basis of religion, creed and caste. It is also your (media men) responsibility to create a conducive atmosphere to make all six-minority communities feel comfortable,” she said.
The Union Minister said skill development training would be given to Madrassa students to create job opportunities for them. “Prime Minister Modi said that he wanted to see Quran in one hand and computer in another hand to Madrassa students. We want to see minority communities self-reliant so that they can stand up on their feet for the betterment of the country,” she said.She said USTAAD scheme has been introduced in JK to impart training to artisans and launch their products globally.However, she refused to comment on Udhapmur assault and Dadri incident. “We have to move ahead and talk about the positive. It is the responsibility of all to show them right path,” she said. Union Minister for Minority Affairs Dr Najma Heptullah who earlier also chaired a high level meeting to discuss the implementation of minority welfare schemes of the Ministry of Minority Affairs in the states and Union Territories of Northern India. Representatives from seven states and Union Territories attended the meeting which was held at the Sher-I-Kashmir International Convention Centre.Addressing a media conference after the meeting, Dr Heptullah expressed satisfaction over the pace of work being done by the concerned departments and said that it is heartening to know that most of the chief ministers of northern Indian states are themselves looking after the implementation of schemes for the welfare of minorities. She said that today’s meeting proved to be a fruitful one and expressed hope that the citizens will be able to reap the benefits of the schemes devised for their benefit.
Talking about the welfare schemes launched in various parts of the country, she said that Ministry of Minority Affairs has started imparting region specific skill training to members of the minority communities so that their prospects of earning a decent livelihood are increased. The USTAAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) scheme is one such example, she added.Speaking with reference to Kashmir, Dr Heptullah said that the traditional arts and crafts of Kashmir are suffering as the younger generation is not keen to adopt them as a profession. She identified loopholes in marketing as the cause for such a situation and said that the Ministry will work along with the stakeholders involved towards removing such hurdles so that the artisans can reach out and sell their products to consumers across the country and the globe.Dr Heptullah also said that the Government of India intends to develop Waqf land across the country for development purposes and is working out the modalities of a Private Partneship model for the same. The Minister gave an assurance that encroached Waqf lands will be retrieved at the earliest.She also said that the Ministry has started skill development and training programmes for the students of Madrassas so that they can get wordly knowledge also in addition to religious education. She said that such trainings will help the students to cope better with the challenging requirements of the present day job markets. (KNS)