Modi government slammed for opposing aid for minority students

The federal government has in an affidavit in the Supreme Court blasted the Narendra Modi administration for opposing the Prime Minister’s pre-matric scholarship scheme for students from minority communities, mainly Muslims.

By Mahesh Trivedi

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Published: Tue 20 Aug 2013, 12:05 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:14 PM

Responding to a Gujarat government challenging the scheme in which the Centre offers 75 per cent of the funds, the affidavit by the Centre expressed surprise over reluctance to give scholarships to Muslims, Christians and other minorities despite the “deteriorating condition” of the Muslims in Gujarat.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs has filed the hard-hitting written oath after the apex court sought its response to the Gujarat government plea against the scheme formulated as part of the prime minister’s new 15-point programme that came into effect in 2008.

The affidavit stated that Gujarat, according to the Sachar Committee report, had fared poorly “in terms of mean per capita expenditure of the Muslim community”.

Gujarat, which has moved the SC against the Centre’s scheme, is the only state that has not implemented it. An attempt by the Modi government to get it quashed failed after the Gujarat High Court on February 20 this year upheld the scheme.

“The claim that minorities in Gujarat are far more developed than in other states of the country is entirely without basis,” stated the Centre’s affidavit.

But the Gujarat government has been arguing that the Centre’s scholarship for minorities is a scheme based on religion and it cannot compel the state to implement it and that a similar scheme was in place in the state for all poor students irrespective of their religion.

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