UP govt reserves 20 pc funds of welfare schemes for minorities In a huge sop for the minorities ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the UP Cabinet Tuesday reserved 20 per cent allocations of 85 various schemes of 30 departments for their welfare. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said the decision was a 2012 poll promise of the Samajwadi Party. "The step has been taken to remove social, economic and educational backwardness of minorities in the state. It is the fulfillment of the promise made in our manifesto that we will work in accordance with the recommendations of Sachar Committee and Ranganath Mishra Commission." To implement the 20 per cent quota in development schemes which benefit specific areas, wards, gram panchayats or hamlets, it has been decided to select such areas where the minority population is at least 25 per cent. Schemes which have been included in the list are different social pension schemes, rural and urban housing for poor, Kanya Vidhya Dhan, free of cost boring of hand pumps, etc. It has also been decided that while the actual rules, guidelines, selection criteria for beneficiaries under the original schemes would remain the same, the 20 per cent benefit would be given to the minorities under a new scheme. However, such projects which cater to larger public interest like construction of highways, over-bridges, canals, power generation, community health centre, routine immunisation, Janani Suraksha Yojana are excluded from the scheme. For implementation and monitoring of the scheme, separate committees would be formed under the chief secretary at the state and under the district magistrate at the district level . Each committee would have at least two members from the minority community. Apart from advertisements, the state government would publicise the scheme using posters, banners, handbills at public places, like schools, hospitals, tehsil office, bus stations, railways stations, etc. A website in Hindi and Urdu would be launched to ensure transparency of the new scheme. The BJP Monday said the SP government has taken the decision only to attract votes. "BJP has no objection if facilities are given to Muslims for their upliftment. But why doesn't the state government give similar benefit to Dalits, backwards and other general categories according to their economic conditions?"