File image of UPSC candidates standing in queue for inspection by police personnel outside an exam centre in Gurugram | PTI
File image of UPSC candidates standing in queue for inspection by police personnel outside an exam centre in Gurugram | PTI
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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has halved the budget allocation for minority community candidates appearing in the UPSC exams.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Saturday slashed the funds — from Rs 20 crore last year to Rs 10 crore.

Students from the minority communities are given free and subsidised coaching under the ‘Support for students clearing prelims conducted by UPSC, SSC, State Public Service Commissions etc’ scheme.

The government had substantially increased the budget for this scheme last year — from Rs 8 crore to Rs 20 crore.

Sitharaman also slashed the budget allocation for the ‘Free Coaching and Allied schemes for Minorities’ — from Rs 75 crore in FY 2019-20 to Rs 50 crore. 

Under this scheme, minorities are provided free coaching to prepare for admission in technical and professional courses.

The overall budget allocated to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, however, has been increased — from Rs 4,700 crore to Rs 5,029 crore.

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Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has time and again emphasised on empowering the minorities through education. 

In 2017, over 50 Muslim candidates had cleared the UPSC exams, creating a new record, which was repeated in 2018. Naqvi had subsequently announced free coaching for UPSC aspirants in Haj Houses.

The Sachar Committee report released in November 2006 had shown that Muslims comprised only 3 per cent in the civil services despite it being the largest minority community in the country.

Track live updates on Union Budget 2020 here.

Also read: Eye on slowdown, Modi govt revs up infra spending with Rs 1.7 lakh crore outlay

Marginal rise in allocation to other minority schemes

The budget, however, has shown a marginal improvement in the allocation to pre-matric and post-matric scholarship schemes for minorities.

The pre-matric scholarship scheme’s budget has been increased from Rs 1,220 crore to Rs 1,330 crore, and the budget allocation for the post-matric scholarship scheme has been increased from Rs 496 crore to Rs 535 crore. 

The Merit-cum-Means Scholarship for professional and technical courses (undergraduate and postgraduate level) has also been increased from Rs 366 crore to Rs 400 crore.

However, some other important schemes have seen a marginal decrease.

The budget for Nai Manzil, an Integrated Educational and Livelihood Initiative for the Minority Communities, has been decreased from Rs 140 crore to Rs 120 crore, and that for the Leadership Development of Minority Women scheme has been decreased from Rs 15 crore to Rs 10 crore. 

Also read: Only 1.82% hike in defence budget could hurt military acquisition & modernisation plans


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