Union Minister Najma Heptulla on Saturday said that as minority affairs minister her responsibility has been to bring a “qualitative change” in the lives of millions of downtrodden.“Our prime minister's motto is 'Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas'. So as the minister for minority affairs, I had my job cut out for me. It was to bring qualitative change to the lives of poor among the minorities,” she said while speaking at an event to mark her ministry's two-years' achievements.“But to usher in this change I had to swim against the tide. There were many challenges to overcome,” she said.Heptulla said an increase of Rs.168 crore in the plan budget of her ministry for 2016-17 "proves all the apprehensions and canards spread by some people wrong". “There was this apprehension that if BJP comes to power, it would either abolish the minority affairs ministry or would drastically cut its budget. But what is happening is a proof of this government’s commitment towards development of minorities,” she said. She reiterated that the priority focus of the government has been development of minorities through skill development and educational empowerment.
“While new initiatives such as ‘Nai Manzil’ and ‘Usttad’ were launched, budget outlay for ‘Seekho aur Kamao’ (learn and earn) was increased during last two years to achieve the vision of ‘Sabka Saath,Sabka Vikaas,” the minister said.She announced that Aligarh Muslim University has agreed to open 100 public schools in PPP mode where below poverty line (BPL) students can have access to quality education. The ministry has given Rs.10 crore for 10 such schools to be run by AMU.During this event, a short film showcasing the achievements of the ministry was also screened.Two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were also signed for minorities' skill development by Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS). MANAS signed one MoU with AA EduTech (P) Ltd., an organisation run by former cricketer K. Srikanth and another with Madhya Pradesh Madrasa Board.Heptulla also launched the 'Nai Udan' portal, and the MANAS web portal for Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping of training centres of MANAS and their online monitoring and evaluation through real time CCTV cameras.She also inaugurated 10 new skill development centres established in traditional educational institutions in Leh (Ladakh) and the Delhi NCR region through remote video link.