On Thursday, members from various opposition parties voiced concerns about the Budget’s reduced allocation for the welfare of minorities and accused the government of generally discriminating against them.
MPs accused the government of deliberately omitting the term “minorities” from the Budget.
Samajwadi Party’s member Sahfiqur Rehman Barq mentioned that “There is no mention of Muslims in the Budget. Muslims are part of this country, and they have not sacrificed any less to get freedom for this country. The budget for minorities has been slashed by 38%. Even scholarship, especially for minority students, has been taken away. It shows the slogan ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ is hollow”.
RSP’s N K Premchandran stated that, although the Finance Minister has talked about inclusive growth in the Budget, a thorough examination reveals that the concept of minority has been consciously excluded from the development of inclusivity. In the Presidential address, SCs, STs, the disadvantaged sections of the population, and people from the Northeast and J&K have been named. Still, the word ‘minority’ is absent, signifying a deliberate act of prejudice.
Imtiaz Jaleel of AIMIM expressed his discontent regarding budget cuts for minorities, asserting, “We were once innocent flowers, yet you have transformed us into thorns. Now, you expect us to refrain from drawing blood? We will not stand idly by; I am as entitled to this nation as you are.”
Abdusamad Samdani of IUML said, “How can you say this is an inclusive budget when you are the people of exclusion? You are excluding so many sections of society. You exclude minorities, farmers, laborers, women, and youth. You stopped the Maulana Azad fellowship, and now you have reduced the allocation for the welfare of minorities. In a democracy, the role of minorities is significant. You cannot change the nation’s history by changing names.”
A Raja of the DMK party expressed concern about potential changes to the “basic structure” of India’s Constitution in light of recent remarks by Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar. He warned that such amendments would be “hazardous for minorities.”
M K Raghavan, a representative in Congress, noted India’s longstanding legacy of looking after minorities and pleaded for an increase in their allocation to Rs 10,000 crore.