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Gujarat to provide funds for soft loans to minorities

Indian Muslims listen to Muslim leader Shoiab Iqbal speaking against British author Salman Rushdie at Jama Masjid in New Delhi on March 16, 2012. Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on March 14 abruptly cancelled a visit to India after it emerged British author Salman Rushdie would speak at the same conference. AFP PHOTO/Prakash SINGH

Mumbai: Gujarat will soon provide funds to the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) to make soft loans available to minorities, state government officials said on Friday.

The assurance to release funds to NMDFC that works for economic upliftment among backward section of minorities, was given here to union Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla during a review meeting of minority welfare programmes of the western region.

Speaking at the occasion, Heptullah expressed her concern about protection of Parsis (a religious community) and their properties in Gujarat and Daman and Diu.

Minority Welfare Ministers of Maharashtra and Rajasthan – Eknathrao G. Khader and Arun Chaturvedi – attended the meeting.

In addition, senior officers from states and union territories of western region–Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Daman and Diu, and Lakshadweep “were among those present at the review meet”.

Interacting with the union minister, the officials raised the issue of protection of Wakf lands from encroachments, Union Minority Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The additional chief secretary of the Madhya Pradesh government urged Heptullah to raise the number of scholarships, funds for maintenance of projects under Multi Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP) and implementation of Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTAAD) scheme.