(Pervez Bari): The two-day Capacity Building Workshop on “Budget Analysis and Advocacy” here at the India Islamic Culture Centre, concluded on Saturday with the delegates resolving that they would prepare an advocacy agenda for improving the implementation process in the minority related programmes.
The delegates were unanimous in their resolve to disseminate the understanding, knowledge and information gained at the workshop about the policies and budgets meant for minorities/Muslims by holding such workshops for NGOs in their respective areas and regions from where they hailed on their return. The workshop was organised under the aegis of Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, (CBGA).
The workshop helped the participants from all over the country comprehend the technicalities and methodologies involved in assessing budgets from a certain perspective. Such workshops play a critical role in spreading budget work in the country, since they try to enhance the capacity of the participants to actually carry out budget analysis and advocacy.
Hyderabad-based social worker Mr. Aariz Mohammad addressing the last session to plan the way forward and future advocacy agenda exhorted the delegates to make sustainable efforts to continue awareness programmes about the processes of budgeting by the Union and State Governments and to assess the budget from the perspective of disadvantaged sections.
Mr. Aariz informed about that efforts made by his group in organising such workshops in Andhra Pradesh which bore fruits and the budget for the minorities was doubled by the state government. Similarly, he said more than four dozen Muslim MPs were got together to call on Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to submit a memorandum on Key Interventions for Muslims in 12th Five-Year-Plan. He revealed that following the meeting with the Prime Minister the demands of Selection of Minority Concentrated Blocks, (MCBs), with 15 per cent of the minority population for planning and unit of implementation to be ward of Gram Panchayats/town. The demand of expansion and coverage of Prime Minister’s new 15-Point Programme across ministries and departments was acceded from 12 to 27 ministries, he added.
He said the main thrust of the memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister was to ensuring the implementation of the recommendations of working group on Empowerment of Minorities for 12th Five-Year Plan and also recommendations made by NAC. The other important point was that of providing the adequate financial resources for 12th Plan period for Minorities which would be Rs.58588.78 crore.
Mr. Subrat Das, Executive Director CBGA, speaking in the last session said that after a gap of one year the lessons learned and commitment made in the workshop would be reviewed as by then some progress would have been made.
Mr. Jawed Alam Khan, Senior Research Officer working with CBGA, making a point said there is mismatch of allocation of funds for minorities, especially in the case of Muslims, by the government. He called for creating grievance redressal mechanism and making monitoring system strong.
Mr. Jawed said among the different stakeholders, a crucial set of individuals is the Parliamentarians – the elected representatives. Through a dedicated team, CBGA informs the Parliamentarians about the gaps in policies, budgets and implementation and the possible measures to address the same. CBGA has also tried to engage them in a strategic way so that a relationship of mutual interest is developed with them in the long run. In recent years, significant progress has been made in this regard. Several Parliamentarians have asked questions on the basis of CBGA analyses, he added.
Meanwhile, the second day of the workshop started with two presentations by Mr. Jawed Alam Khan. He first made a Power Point presentation on “Understanding the Implementation and Impact Process” wherein he explained at length the implementation and impact for minority related Programmes. The topic of second presentation was “Group Work on Budget Analysis” wherein group work and discussions were held.
Ms Priyadarshini Mohanty, Programme Officer in CBGA, made a Power Point presentation on “Group Work on Budget Advocacy” with group work and discussions. She said strategic analysis of budget is very necessary while setting up specific objectives which must be achievable, realistic, measurable, time bound etc.
Prof. Shakeel Samdani of Aligarh Muslim University and president of Sir Syed Awareness Forum, speaking during the discussions said that the Union Government has failed to implement the recommendations of Sachchar Committee and only half-hearted measures are being adopted by it. He said that only 2 per cent of the total budget reaches to the minorities instead of 15 per cent out of which 10 per cent reaches to the Muslims of India.
Prof. Samdani said this is due to two reasons one, under allotment of the budget by the government and non-implementation by the government officials. Sometimes the guidelines are not clear but vague. Lack of awareness among Muslims is also a contributory factor. He appealed to the delegates to do the following: (i) Publish a few pamphlets on the basis of knowledge gained in the workshop and distribute among Muslims; (ii) Collect information through RTI about Government’s welfare schemes and then distribute it; (iii) Call a meeting of all NGOs of respective districts to apprise them of the details of this workshop and (iv) Devote more time and energy to social work.
Dr. Abuzar Kamaaluddin, Principal of MPS Science College, Muzaffarpur, said according to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) knowledge is our weapon which gives empowerment and entitlement as well. Armed with the information at the workshop we may strive for our cause in the current idiom and jargon through the democratic process while keeping in mind the sensibilities of a plural society. No section of the society should remain deprived as such there should be inclusive development policy, he added.
Mr. Mohammad Khalid, secretary United Muslim Organisation, (UMO), Lucknow, said that this type of programmes should be organised in different cities especially state capitals in which some government officials, MLAs, MPs etc. should participate so that they may pressurise their governments for implementing the ministry’s welfare schemes, He said that wide publicity should also be done in newspapers.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Salim Engineer, general secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, who attended the workshop on the second day, presented a book entitled “A Guide to Uplift Minorities” to Mr. Subrat Das, Executive Director CBGA, on the occasion. The book has been compiled by Mr. Abdul Rasheed Agwan and is edited by Mr. M. Gauhar Iqbal.
It may be pointed out here that on Friday Mr. K Rahman Khan, Member of Parliament and former Deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha, had inaugurated the workshop. Mr. Khan in his inaugural address had called upon the NGOs participating in the workshop to create a social awareness in the masses and make a targeted approach in getting government schemes implemented for the welfare of minorities.
It may be mentioned out here that CBGA promotes transparent, accountable and participatory governance, and a people-centred perspective in the policies shaping up government’s budgets. It is engaged in research on public policies and budgets focus on the priorities underlying budgets, quality of government interventions in the social sector, responsiveness of budgets to disadvantaged sections of population and structural issues in India’s fiscal federalism. The CBGA’s efforts also include building the capacities of various stakeholders on budgets and policy advocacy. (firstname.lastname@example.org)