Poverty and unemployment do not have any caste, community or religion; therefore, development is equally important for all and there is no room for differentiation, observes Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Union Minister of State for Minority and Parliamentary Affairs, in an exclusive interview with Elets News Network’s Gautam Debroy
You have been given a very vital ministry. How will you work for the development of minorities?
The socio-economic and educational backwardness of the minority community is clearly visible. Unfortunately, “champions of the secular parties” have been directly or indirectly exploiting the minority community for their own benefit and doing mere vote bank politics in the past. Now, this is our duty to ensure development of all sections of the society through good governance.
IT can play a big role in the implementation of different minority-related projects and schemes across the country. We will chalk out various IT initiatives for speedy and proper implementation of projects
Will you also work for the minorities in line with the policies of the previous UPA Government?
First of all, I don’t want to accuse or criticise anybody. One thing is very clear, poverty and unemployment don’t have any caste, community or religion; therefore, development is must for all and there is no room for differentiation. If we consider development on the basis of minority and majority (community), it will be vote bank politics. We are here for overall development with good governance. However, our emphasis will be on proper and timely implementation of the already sanctioned projects for development of minority communities.
Our emphasis will be on proper and timely implementation of the already sanctioned projects for development of minority communities
Education and employment are the two crucial factors in development. How will you work for these two?
You are right! These two are really important factors. Education and employment complement each other. If you fail to get a job despite having proper education, then obviously you will be depressed. After completing education, you must get a job. Hence, our focus will be on job-oriented education. There are several such projects and schemes already operational in the country. However, to make those successful, a positive mindset of both government and the employers is a must.
Also Read: e-Auction for Transparency
What is the role of Information Technology in your ministry?
IT does have a significant role to play. The world is changing swiftly, with technology playing a crucial role in it. With the help of IT, we can take the nation on the path of progress. It helps us go hand-in-hand with today’s changing and progressive world. IT can definitely play a big role in the implementation of different minority-related projects and schemes across the country. We will chalk out various IT initiatives for speedy and proper implementation of projects.
What are your major challenges as the minority affairs minister?
The first and foremost challenge is to instil a sense of security amongst the minority people, as it had been one of their prime concerns during the previous regime. They have been living in fear. We have to take them out of this and assure their safety. Also, we must ensure their development, prosperity and education. But right now our focus will be to ensure the security of the minorities.
A section of people allege that the BJP and Modi Government try to woo minorities. What is your take on that?
We don’t try to influence others. We want an overall development of both majority and minority communities. We will certainly take initiatives to ensure that everyone from majority to minorities, adivasis and other sections get a fare chance for development and prosperity. Our attitude for an overall development is crystal clear. Our government has a positive and clear thinking on the issue of development.
In some states, especially in Northeast, the minority communities are being used by different political parties as vote banks. What would you say?
Many areas in the Northeast are lagging far behind in development. We must ensure development in those areas. Our government is giving top most priority to the northeast region. Prime Minister Narendra Modiji is having meetings with the Chief Ministers and other government officials on all issues, especially development. We want that the government should reach the remotest places of the landlocked region.
Emphasis will be laid on proper implementation of all the developmental projects. Loot is going on everywhere in the Northeast. We want that central funds should be utilised for the development of the needy and genuine persons.
Will there be any action against those states which are not utilising the minority development funds properly?
We will definitely take action. We recently sent a notice to the Uttar Pradesh Government, seeking fund utilisation report. All projects must be implemented properly. And, most significantly, the implementation should not be on the paper but on the ground. We will certainly review all implementation projects across the country.
What are your views on the Nalanda project and the Sachar Committee Report?
We are looking into the Nalanda project of my ministry for minorities higher educational institutions. As I am also the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, and currently the parliament session is on, we will definitely look into all the issues related to the minorities. We will make sure overall development of the minority communities. As far as Sachar Committee Report is concerned, we know the recommendations of the Committee are based on ground realities. So we know what the minorities need. There are certain recommendations in the report which are related to the educational development of the minorities.
In fact, we have decided to take the Ministry of Minority Affairs to at least 100 districts across the country. With this initiative, we will try to understand the present status of different projects as well as the requirements of the minority people.
Tell us about how you intend to deliver as the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs.
Through communication, coordination and constructive cooperation, I am sure that I will perform in this ministry. In fact, we have started getting constructive cooperation. This is visible from the fact that we have already passed three crucial bills in the Rajya Sabha, where we are not in majority. The bills include Labour Reforms Bill, Police Reforms Bill and Apprentices Amendment Bill.