01/30/2007, 00.00
INDIA
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Hindu nationalists oppose government’s targeted minority welfare policies

by Nirmala Carvalho
The governing UPA administration is preparing a minority map of the country so as to best target social spending at the regional level. BJP nationalists are against.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The United Progressive Alliance government is preparing religion-based geo-demographic data aimed at better targeting minority welfare schemes. But the move has come in for an immediate attack by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led opposition for whom it constitutes an attempt to divide the country along communal lines.

The decision was made in the wake of the Sachar report on economic and social condition of Muslims in the country.

Sources in the Minority Affairs Ministry said the compilation of minority statistics that is being drawn from the latest census can help the government identify areas with high minority concentration and target spending in their favour.

Once available, the data would be distributed to various government ministries and departments to enable them to ensure welfare funds for minorities reached the targeted groups.

“Areas, for example, with more than 25 per cent of minority population will be then prioritised for funding,” a source close to Minority Affairs Minister said. “The whole idea [. . .] is to ensure that most minority groups can effectively benefit from government welfare schemes.”

No time-frame has been set to implement minorities report. However, the BJP has already announced its opposition.

It is atrocious to communalise the nation's geography," BJP spokesman Prakash Javadeker said. “The UPA has already communalised budgets, banking and education. The country will not allow it to be divided on communal lines.”

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