New Delhi: On Tuesday, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi clarified that the security, dignity and identity of minority communities wasn’t a “political propaganda”; instead it was a “candour commitment” to empower the minorities.
The minister, who holds charge of the minority affairs portfolio said, “Irrespective of caste and religion, the Narendra Modi government treats every citizen of the country as an Indian and inclusive growth of all sections of society is its priority.”
While addressing students and scholars in a seminar on “Shifting Paradigm: Re-envisioning Minority Issues and Minority Studies in India” organised at Jamia Millia Islamia, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the “vote politics” is played on the issues of social, economic and educational welfare of the minorities.
Minorities, especially Muslims, are generally left behind on the path of development even after spending money on their growth and empowerment. He blamed the loot of public money by middlemen as the major reason behind this problem.
Naqvi further said that this situation has “completely changed” after the NDA government came to power; “With the mantra of ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas‘, the environment of fear created by some political parties in the minds of minority communities against the BJP has been removed.” Naqvi urged the minority communities to rightly assess the Modi government on the basis of its work and not through the eyes of so-called “champions of secularism”. Then only they will be able to understand that the government is committed towards their security and dignity.
Mumbai, October 8, 2017 : A government-appointed panel for revising India’s Haj policy has recommended abolishing subsidy for the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mekkah and Medina in Saudi Arabia besides allowing women devotees aged over 45 to travel in a group of at least four without a male relative.
The proposed Haj Policy 2018-22, submitted to Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, has been drafted in light of a 2012 Supreme Court direction to gradually reduce and completely remove the subsidy by 2022.
“It is advisable that the existing reduction plan (phasing out of subsidy) be followed,” according to the recommendations.
In a major reform, the draft Haj policy proposes to partially quash an earlier rule that barred women Haj aspirants to travel without ‘mehram’, a close family member like husband, father or brother.
“Ladies above 45 years of age be allowed in a group of four or more to go for Haj without a mehram,” the panel recommended.
Women below 45, however, will have to be accompanied by a male family member, according to the draft Haj policy that proposes to increase the quota for mehrams from 200 to 500.
Among other recommendations, made by the panel headed by former secretary Afzal Amanullah, are bringing down the number of embarkation points from which pilgrims can take flights to Saudi Arabia from the present 21 to nine.
The embarkation points for Haj pilgrims from next year would be New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Kochi and Ahmedabad.
The distribution of quota between Haj Committee of India and private tour operators will be in the ratio of 70:30 — almost a five percent hike for the private players.
This year, the Haj quota for India — home to the world’s third largest Muslim population — was increased to 170,025, of which 125,025 was allocated to the Haj committee and 45,000 to the privater tour operators.
On the long-pending proposal to revive Haj pilgrimage by ship, Naqvi said the Saudi government would be consulted and then it would float an expression of interest to guage the market for such travel.
Independent tour operators say travel by ship would drastically reduce the cost per pilgrim to around Rs 60,000, making it affordable to a larger section of the population.
Regarding the distribution of Haj quota among states and union territories, the panel has recommended that it should be in the ratio of the Muslim population and in proportion to the number of applications received from each state or union territory.
Special quota for Haj pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir will be increased from existing 1,500 to 2,000.
The reserved category of applicants in the 70-plus age group and fourth-timers has been abolished and they would go through the normal lottery. (IANS)
The Hindu refugees, who fled to Bangladesh, have placed their hopes on the Modi government
The Hindu refugees are scared of moving back to the Buddhist majority Myanmar’s Rakhine state
The Indian government was waiting for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal against the home ministry’s plans of deporting Rohingya Muslims from the country
New Delhi, September 21, 2017: The crossfire between Rohingya insurgents and Myanmar’s military has left hundreds of Hindus, who fled to Bangladesh, placing their hopes on the Indian government.
Around 500 Hindus have taken shelter in a cleared-out chicken farm, in a Hindu hamlet in the southeast of Bangladesh. The place is situated at a distance of a couple of miles, where most of the 421,000 Rohingya Muslims, who also fled violence in Myanmar since August 25, have taken abode, mentions the Reuters report.
The Hindu refugees are scared of moving back to their villages in the Buddhist majority Myanmar’s restless Rakhine state. Modi government, meanwhile, is working to make things easier for Hindus, christians, Buddhists, and other minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh to gain access to Indian citizenship.
“India is also known as Hindustan, the land of the Hindus,” said a Hindu refugee, Niranjan Rudra, “We just want a peaceful life in India, not much. We may not get that in Myanmar or here.”
The fellow refugees agreed and shared their desire of getting this message received by the Indian government through media.
The Indian government, however, has declined to comment on hopes of Hindu refugees. it was waiting for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal against the home ministry’s plans of deporting around 40,000 Rohingya Muslims from India.
Achintya Biswas, a senior member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) also called the World Hindu Council, on the other hand, stated India as the natural destination for the Hindus fleeing Myanmar.
“Hindu families must be allowed to enter India by the government,” Biswas said, according to a report by Reuters, “Where else will they go? This is their place of origin.”
Biswas said the VHP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, would be submitting a report to the home ministry demanding a new policy that would be allowing Hindu refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh to seek asylum in India.
While India’s Home Ministry spokesman, K.S. Dhatwalia declined to comment, a senior home ministry official in New Delhi, on the condition of anonymity, mentioned that no Hindu in Myanmar or Bangladesh affected by the violence had approached Indian authorities.
“At this juncture we have no SOS calls from Hindus,” the official said.
“Also, the Supreme Court is yet to decide whether India should deport Rohingya Muslims or not. The matter is sub-judice and any policy decision will be taken only after the court’s order.”
Hindus form a small but an established minority in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Rudra along with other Hindu refugees talked about how they fled soon after Rohingya insurgents attacked 30 Myanmar police posts, instigating a fierce military counterattack.
“Our village in Myanmar was surrounded by hundreds of men in black masks on the morning of Aug. 25,” said Veena Sheel, a mother-of-two whose husband works in Malaysia.
“They called some men out and asked them to fight the security forces … a few hours after we heard gunshots,” she added.
Soon after taking office in 2014, the Modi government issued orders stating that no Hindu, or refugees of other minority from Bangladesh and Pakistan would be deemed as illegal immigrants even if they had entered the country without having the required documents, on or before December 31, 2014.
India, indeed, is in a tough situation, where it can’t compromise with the principles it holds being a Secular nation that is always engaged in humanitarian activities, but will also need to keep in mind the potential security threats that might come along with such an act of acceptance.
-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha
Mr Modi lied to Indians when he spoke about minimum government, maximum governance
The expansion of maternity leave to 26 weeks for women who work in any establishment with more than ten employees
Mr Sabhlok emphasised that Swarna Bharat Party is not against longer maternity leave
New Delhi, September 3, 2017: Mr Sanjeev Sabhlok, a professional economist and Overseas Coordinator for Swarna Bharat Party, called upon the Modi government to abolish most labour laws, including minimum wage laws, laws restricting hiring and firing of labour and laws that set employment conditions, such as the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017.
Mr Modi lied to Indians when he spoke about “minimum government, maximum governance”. Immediately upon coming to power, he has dramatically expanded the remit of government in every field.
The expansion of maternity leave to 26 weeks (for the first two children) for women who work in any establishment with more than ten employees has been a particularly damaging intervention. In a country with chronically high unemployment, this Tughlaquesque provision is going to put many young women out of jobs, depriving them of the opportunity to gain valuable work experience.
Mr Sabhlok emphasised that Swarna Bharat Party is not against longer maternity leave. But this is a matter purely between employers and employees. Indeed, across the world, many companies voluntarily choose to implement strong maternity leave policies in order to attract and retain top female talent.
On the other hand, most jobs only require low-level skills. For such jobs, no employer can afford to pay half a year’s wages without any work. They will necessarily reject young women and hire male labour, instead. Or they will pay all women employees less. Moreover, we know that government inspectors’ bribe demands will increase.
The government must get out of the way and leave the people of India free to agree to their own wage bargains and other labour conditions as grown up adults. The only function a government has in relation to private employment contracts is to ensure strong enforcement of these contracts through the judiciary. A government has no business to set the terms of these contracts.
Mr Sabhlok said that the Modi government’s focus should be only on one thing: on the urgently needed governance reforms to provide basic rule of law, security and justice – as detailed in Swarna Bharat Party manifesto. He regretted that Mr Modi is even more wedded than his predecessors to the failed ideology of socialism and big government.