The Congress’s 39-page election manifesto promises “to provide government grants to all such schools and colleges for minorities, including technical and engineering institutes, that are run by organisations without charging any educational or hostel fee for the last five years”.
Aiming to win over minorities, the manifesto states, “The process to procure scholarship for minority community students will be made easy and they will be given sufficient educational loans or scholarships for higher studies.”
“Minority community students studying in technical fields like information technology, mechanical and civil engineering, MBA, MCA or even non-technical fields will be given 100 per cent scholarship for their studies,” it adds.
The party has also promised to set up a Gujarat State Minority Educational Institute Commission to monitor the overall functioning of schools for the minority community.
The party has also promised to set up a State Minority Commission in Gujarat, which never had one.
It has also promised a Gujarat State Financial Development Corporation, which will have more powers than the existing State Minority Financial Development Board.
However, not all Muslims were impressed with the Congress promise to implement Sachar Committee’s recommendations. “Why the Congress is not implementing it at the Centre and in the Congress-ruled state?” asks city-based businessman Zafar Sareshwala. “Charity must begin at home,” he says.
The Sachar panel report, which is of the nature of a diagnostic report about the conditions of Muslims in the country, was submitted to the central government in 2007.
President of Majlis Tahaffuz-e-Madaris (Association for Protection of Madrasas) Mufti Ahmed Devlavi says, “BJP must elaborate what it means by ‘modernisation’ of madrasas? If they mean offering facilities for teaching modern subjects like English, Gujarati, Hindi, mathematics, science, computer science and technical subjects, we are all having it in almost all madrasas in the state.”