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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sonia Gandhi at Waqf function to launch NAWADCO in New Delhi

Sonia Gandhi: We must be cautious of communal forces who want to weaken our secular culture
New Delhi: Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi said that one must be cautious of communal forces who want to weaken our secular culture. She was talking on the occasion of the launch of the National Waqf Development Corporation Limited (NAWADCO), a new Central Public Sector Enterprise under Ministry of Minority Affairs. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh inaugurated the Corporation.
“We must be cautious of communal forces who want to weaken our secular culture. Even small disturbances can harm our harmony and brotherhood” said the Congress President. “We believe in unity in diversity... Our system guarantees protection of rights of all citizens including the minorities. It is the responsibility of the administration to protect the secular fabric of our country and to ensure equal opportunities to minorities” said Sonia Gandhi. ”We must know that inclusive growth is necessary for overall development and to bring happiness in the lives of the people of all sections” added the UPA Chairperson.
“Empowering the women belonging to the minorities is utmost important. The UPA Government has therefore launched ROSHNI to provide education, skill development, technical knowledge, to spread awareness about the benefits of government schemes and to provide banking facilities. This will boost their morale and self confidence” further said Sonia Gandhi.
“We witnessed a ten-fold increase in the expenditure for the minority affairs, in the last ten years, whether it is Prime Minister’s 15-point programme for minorities, allocating 15% funds for minorities in all flagship government programmes or for improving the quality of education. Our focus has been to ensure equality for minorities” emphasised the Congress President.
This Corporation will prove to be an important institution for the development of Waqf properties for the community welfare particularly for Muslims in India. The establishment of NAWADCO is a follow up of Sachchar Committee recommendation. India has the largest number of Waqf properties in the world. There are more than 4.9 lakh registered Auqaf (waqf properties) and the current annual income from these properties is about Rs.163 crores. Sachar Committee has estimated that such properties, if properly developed, with a minimum return of 10%, would be capable of generating an income of Rs.12000 crore per annum.
NAWADCO will facilitate and mobilize financial resources for the development of Waqf properties for community development purposes in a joint venture with the State / Union Territory Waqf Boards and the Mutawallis. The Waqf Boards and the Muthawallis were not having the financial resources to develop the properties leading to encroachments. The Central Government has recently enacted the Waqf (Amendment) Act, 2013.This will make administration of waqf properties transparent and will provide an enabling environment for development and utilization of waqf lands for welfare of minorities.

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