'We are a letter-writing ministry' | Society | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Cruise control
    July 20, 2013
    We are educating girls, raising their aspirations, even giving them a taste of professional life, and then asking them to rein in their ambitions.
  • Home can be the place you want to leave
    July 20, 2013
    Amitava Kumar attempts to capture the essence of Patna in a short biography, quite unattractively titled 'A Matter of Rats'.
  • Legal fees are on the house
    July 20, 2013
    Corporate social responsibility has entered India's legal corridors. Top law firms and lawyers are doing pro bono so that they can give back to…
More in this Section
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy

'We are a letter-writing ministry'


Why is the ministry of minority affairs considered an ineffective ministry?
The problem is that the work that the ministry should be doing hasn't been given to us yet. The annual Haj pilgrimage is still with the external affairs ministry, the human resources development ministry oversees all minority education institutions and madarsas, and many welfare schemes are still with the social justice ministry. If we want to fully justify the existence of this ministry, we will have to ensure that it has the full mandate, that the mandate is deliverable and that it is properly equipped to do so.

Some people feel that the MMA should be wound up.

I was not in favour of this ministry when I was outside government. There are two views on the relevance of MMA. The disadvantage of having a minority ministry is that everybody else thinks they don't have to do anything for the minorities because we are there. But I believe that having it helps to focus more sharply on issues and problems related to the minority communities.

Do you agree that the ministry has not evolved the way it should have?

We've evolved into a letter-writing ministry ! I keep on writing letters to Kapil Sibal (HRD minister), Mukul Wasnik (social justice minister), Pranab Mukherjee (finance minister for banking-related issues for the minorities). Look, there are conceptual issues here. We should have a debate on what the vision for this ministry should be. We have to move beyond conventional thinking. We should be a ministry that can intervene effectively.

What is your vision for the ministry?

My vision is to make it into a ministry for equal opportunities and minority affairs. It should be the nodal body for all disadvantaged groups like internally displaced people such as the Kashmiri Pundits and homosexuals. It should also look after communities like the Jains, Jews, Bahais and so on, which are not defined as minorities under our constitution. The United Kingdom has merged race relations, human rights, and equal opportunities into one body. It's difficult to do this in our country because they become turf issues.

One of the issues that has been raised is the poor utilisation of the funds that you keep releasing for minority welfare projects and programmes. What can you do to ensure that the money is used better?

Since January this year, we have set up national level monitors to track the progress of approved projects and fund utilisation. We have roped in the MPs and MLAs as well. Of course, there are delays. We keep sending officials to the states to push the governments. We are not leaving any stone unturned. Some states have reported good performance, like West Bengal and UP. The problem is that everything is personnel-driven. If there is a good officer, things move.

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik | MensXP.com


itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service