Minorities Current Affairs
Union Ministry for Minority Affairs has launched the country’s first National Scholarship Portal Mobile App (NSP Mobile App). It aims to provide smooth, accessible and hassle-free scholarship system for students from poor and weaker sections.
NSP Mobile App
The mobile app will be beneficial for beneficiary students in many ways as they will get all information regarding various scholarships on this mobile app, they will be able to apply for scholarships sitting in their home. Using it, students can also upload necessary documents and can check the status of their application, scholarship disbursement etc. Students from far-flung, hilly areas and North East will be the mostly benefitted from this app.
Ministry of Minority Affairs has completely gone online to provide benefits of every scheme directly to the needy without any obstacle and eliminating middlemen. Transparent and hassle-free scholarship system has helped in this endeavor by going online. All the scholarships are being given directly into bank accounts of needy students under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode through National Scholarship Portal which has removed any scope for duplication and leakage. Moreover, Central Government’s “Empowerment without Appeasement” policy has ensured that record about 3 crore students belonging to poor and weaker sections of Minorities have been benefitted from various scholarship programmes. The beneficiaries include about 1 crore 63 lakh girls
The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs has decided to end Haj subsidy from this year as a part of its policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement.
This decision was taken based on the recommendations of Afzal Amanullah Committee and May 2012 Supreme Court order.
The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims. It is mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey and can support their family during their absence.
The number of Hajj pilgrims from India is largest among all countries around of world. Government’s Haj subsidy mainly included cheaper airfare and central assistance to pilgrims to reach specially-designed Haj departure terminals at airports. It also included food and medical care. Now onwards, proceeds from Haj subsidy will be used for educational empowerment and welfare of girls from minority communities.
The Supreme Court in May 2012 had directed that Haj subsidy should be done away gradually by 2022. The order of court reiterated Holy Quran verses (Verse 97 in Surah 3, Al-e-Imran mandates that Hajj should be taken up only if a Muslim can afford it) and said that amount spent should be used in education and other measures for social development of the minority community.
In accordance with the order, Union Government had constituted committee headed by former secretary Afzal Amanullah to suggest framework for new Haj policy for 2018-22. It had submitted its report in October 2017. The committee had recommended for gradual withdrawal of Haj subsidy. It also had recommended to allow older Muslim women to travel to haj without male guardians.
Haj withot Mehram
Earlier, Union Government had allowed Muslim women above age of 45 to go on Haj without male company, in a group of at least four. Earlier, women were not allowed to travel without ‘Mehram’ (husband or a male first blood relation as guardian).