Unjust Sectarian Funding in Telangana

The much contested and awaited election results of 5 states including UP is out. BJP+ won a massive mandate in UP winning 325 out of 403 of available seats. One of the major themes of election campaign slogans has been ‘Shamshan Vs Kabristan’ coined by PM Shri Narendra Modi. This slogan touched a chord amongst the population of UP, having seen the blatant communal and sectarian funding of basics and also populist programs in the form of laptops and cycles for girls.

It did not bother the people that the laptop came pre-installed with Akhilesh Yadav screen saver and crashed when some students tried to remove it!  It bothered a majority of people that these gifts were given on narrow communal and sectarian considerations.

Unfortunately, Akhilesh Yadav is not alone in this blatant sectarian funding. Mamta Banerjee, CM of WB with 27% Muslim population, and K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), CM of Telangana are following his terrible footsteps. After Telangana-AP split, Hindus constitute 85.09% and Muslims 12.68 % of the total population in Telangana as per Census 2011.

Undeterred by the drubbing Akhilesh Yadav received in UP, KCR, Telangana (TS) CM who is also the Minority Affairs minister of his state, said on 11 March, 2017 that he will pass a bill for Muslim reservation of 12% in the budget session. This is his latest communal minority appeasing act. Earlier in the budget, there were several schemes that were specifically for minorities only. Some of the schemes are –

(i) Driver Empowerment Program: This scheme was started in Feb 2017, According to this scheme, some drivers belonging to specific communities (SC, ST, OBC and Muslim) can avail a loan from TS govt. Also, the minority class i.e. non-Hindu drivers will get much more relaxation in the loan amount. This scheme does not apply to Hindu ‘Other Castes’. It is not as if there are no poor people in OC category. This clubbing together of SC, ST, OBC with Muslims is sinister since Muslims were rulers of Telangana till 1948 under Nizam.

(ii) Minority Student Circle Free coaching: Only for minorities, as if poor Hindu people do not need any coaching for higher education. KCR has also promised that his Government will bear the cost of all self-financing courses in minority degree colleges.

(iii) Chief Ministers Overseas Scholarship scheme: This scheme is available only to minorities and 132 students were selected for this scholarship last year. The list has 119 Muslims, 12 Christians and one Jain student. Under this scheme, each student will get 20 lakhs and a one way ticket to study in foreign countries. Similar scheme is available for SC, ST and OBC Hindus, but none for Hindu ‘Other Castes’. It is interesting to note that there is pro-rata basis when it comes to minority allocation. When it comes to minority vs majority there is no pro-rata basis in allocation of resources.

(iv) Minority Only residential schools: TS state govt has proposed 200 minority residential schools across the state, 71 had already begun operations during the 2016-17 academic year.

(v) Shaadi Mubarak Scheme: According to this scheme, Muslim brides will get a benefit of one time Rs 51,000/- for their wedding. Equivalent of this scheme for Hindu is Kalyana Laxmi Scheme where SCs, STs, get Rs. 51,000/- for their weddings. This scheme was not available for OBCs till 2016, after criticism KCR admin set aside Rs. 300 Cr for OBCs in the budget for year 2016-17.  This scheme is not available for poor of Other Caste (OC) Hindus.

(vi) Judicial powers to Wakf board: TS Government is all set to give judicial powers to Wakf Board to initiate action against land grabbers. No such empowerment is planned for Hindu temples whose lands are encroached even as the temples are controlled by Government run endowments department. Government “honorarium” to Muslim imams & mauzams has been increased from Rs. 1000 to 1500. Temple priests in the meantime can survive on hundi collections, that too at the mercy of endowment department.

(vii) Exclusive IT SEZ for minority industrialists: One wonders what obstacles minorities face in existing IT SEZ of Telangana, that the Government had to plan for exclusive SEZ for minority industrialists?

Table: 1.1 Kalyana Laxmi, Shaadi Mubarak scheme funds allocation in Telangana

Year 2014-15 Accounts in Cr[1] 2015-16 budget estimate in Cr[1] 2015-16 revised est in Cr[1] 2016-17 budget estimate in Crs[1] 2017-18 budget estimate in Crs[2]
Kalyana Laxmi For SC Funds 27.4 157 157 200 210
Kalyana Laxmi For ST Funds 12.8 80 1 88 90
Kalyana Laxmi For OBC Funds in crores  _  _       _ 300 400
Shaadi Mubarak Scheme for Muslim Brides 26.92 100 269 150 150

From the table it is clear that in year 2015-16, Muslim brides received 269 Crs which is  more money than SC, STs combined (158 Cr). This is a huge travesty on all counts since Muslims were rulers till 1948. There is more rationale for reservation for Other Castes (OCs) compared to Muslims, because under Nizam’s rule over 90% of his administrative staff was Muslim, even though 90% of population was Hindu. And Nizam’s henchmen, the much reviled Razakars, wreaked havoc on the hapless Hindu community.

All the above ‘schemes’ require funding.  And KCR administration increased funding for minorities from 321 crores in 2014-2015 to 1226 crores in 2017-2018. On a pro rata basis Hindu OCs must get several times 1218 crores based on population.

Table: 1.2 Telangana Funds allocated for minorities

Year 2014-2015 Accounts 2015-2016 Revised estimate 2016-2017 Budget estimate 2017-2018 Budget estimate
Funds in crores  for Minority welfare Dept 321 1028 1200 1226

Part of the funds of Rs. 1226 crores for KCRs minority only schemes are centrally sponsored by Modi admin. It is very disappointing that CM Modi was against sectarian scholarships, but PM Modi increased minority-only funds from 2157 crs in 2012-13 during UPA era to 4072 crs, nearly double, during his regime. The sad part is there is no provision for poor of other caste Hindus.

All Bharat Hindu population percentage is 79.8, and Muslim population is 14.23 according to 2011 census. This is the union budget allocations for minorities, SCs, STs.

Table: 2.1 Funds allocated for centrally sponsored core schemes

Year 2012-2013 in Crs [3] 2013-2014 in Crs [3] 2014-2015 in crs [3] 2015-2016 Actuals in Crs [4] 2016-2017 Revised Estimate in Crs [4] 2017-18 Budget estimate in Crs [4]
Development of Minorities 2157.98 3007.49 3067.11 3810 3791 4072
Development of ST 2934 3332 3490
Development of SC 4201 4883 5114
Development

Of Vulnerable grp

1240 1536 1580

Percentage of SCs is 16.6%, STs is 8.6% (according to census 2011). Amount allocated to minorities is just 20% less than SCs who are the most deprived of all in Bharat, whereas many Muslims have been rulers till 1947/48(Nizam). The contrast is stark.

As author realitycheck says, move towards ‘rule of law’ will happen only if we have to “preserve the secular nature of the public purse,  if you are to function as a coherent whole.  The idea is to have common public goods and ensure equitable distribution within the program. Not to run separate programs”.

Unfortunately, the actions of Telangana CM are very sectarian and will not unify the state. When Telangana state was formed there were great expectation amongst the population. KCRs promise of bangaru (golden) Telangana resonated with people. After winning, and halfway through the 5-year term, KCR’s TRS (Telangana Rashtriya Samiti) has become a sectarian govt, even surpassing the Sonia-MMS administration. That is no mean feat.

The people of TS are patient, but not foolish. The politicians should realize that they do not have a lock on people’s votes.

References

[1]https://finance.telangana.gov.in/uploads/budget-2016-17-books/Volume-III-12.pdf

[2] https://finance.telangana.gov.in/uploads/budget-2017-18-books/Volume-III-12.pdf

[3]  http://minorityaffairs.gov.in/sites/default/files/RE-BE-2012-13to2015-2016.pdf

[4] http://indiabudget.nic.in/ub2017-18/bag/bag7.pdf


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About the Author

Mallika Patlolla
MS in Computer Engg; Worked in several Silicon Valley companies in 1990s and 2000s. Avid reader and completed some Journalism courses from San Jose State Univ. Now a resident of Hyderabad, Telangana. I volunteer in local Poor Students Ashrama and for social causes like rain water harvesting, dry waste segregation and recycling.