New Delhi: Welfare of minorities got a boost today with the Union Budget doubling the allocation for their welfare and introducing a slew of new schemes.
Presenting the Budget for 2008-09 in the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister P Chidambaram announced that the allocation for the Ministry of Minority Affairs has been increased from Rs500 crore in 2007-08 to Rs1,000 crore in 2008-09.
Apart from this, a multi-sectoral development plan for each of the 90 minority concentration districts will be drawn up a cost of Rs3,780 crore. The allocation in 2008-09 will be Rs540 crore.
A pre-matric scholarship scheme with an allocation of Rs80 crore, a provision of Rs45.45 crore for modernising madrasa education, are some of the other schemes announced by the Finance Minister.
A total of 256 branches of public sector banks have been opened this year until December 2007 in districts with substantial minority population. Another 288 will be opened by March 2008.
Chidambaram announced that more candidates belonging to the minority communities will be recruited in the Central paramilitary forces.