Kolkata, March 14: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed the state has claimed the top spot in providing scholarships to students of minority communities this fiscal.
"West Bengal ranks No.1 in the country in the current financial year (2014-15) in awarding scholarships to students of minority communities, as per web report of the ministry of minority affairs, government of India," she wrote in her Facebook page.
The Trinamool Congress chief said since May, 2011, the state government has "sanctioned nearly Rs.1,456 crore scholarships to around 82 lakh minority students for their higher studies, which is an all time record".
"Term loan and micro credit amounting to more than Rs.600 crore have so far been provided to nearly 3.5 lakh minority community persons, which is also a record," she said.
Banerjee claimed the state also ranked first in the country in terms of utilisation of funds under MSDP (Multi-sectoral Development Programme of the ministry) for creation of long term assets in sectors like education, health, housing, drinking water for minority communities."
"We have brought 94.5 percent of the Muslim communities of the state under OBC and made provision for reservation in jobs and higher education without disturbing seats for general and other candidates," she said.
She also highlighted the increase in budgetary allocation for the minorities and madrasah education department. "State budget for minorities and madrasah education department has been significantly raised from Rs.472 crore in 2010-11 to Rs.2,383 crore in 2015-16, almost four and half times increase. "
Our government is fully committed to holistic development of our brothers and sisters belonging to minority communities and ensuring their well being," she added. Banerjee's comments follow criticism by two muslim leaders about her government's performance in minority welfare.
Peerzada Toha Siddiki of Furfura Sharif and Imam of the city's Nakhoda Mosque Mohammad Safique Kasmi both recently said though the minorities voted overwhelmingly to bring Banerjee's Trinamool Congress to power in 2011, the government has done precious little for them during its nearly four-year rule.