Soon after the budget was announced on Thursday, members of the Muslim community welcomed the steps taken by the new government, but stated that, like its predecessors, it needed to focus more on the 96% of the population than the 3% that goes to Madrasas.
With the basic information available from the speech, members of the community stated that more schools and colleges are needed. "The advanced program for skill development is welcome. It will help a lot of people, but there should have been more emphasis on higher education which the community feels is needed," said Maulana Hakim Mehmood Dariyabadi, general secretary of the All India Ulema Council.
Dariyabadi's views were echoed by many others from the community who dna spoke to. "There are many who can take care of Madrasa education. I do not understand why all the governments are after Madrasas so much. Not more than 1-3% people go there," said Maulana Mustaqeem Azmi, general secretary of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, Maharashtra.
He said that the government should look to provide schools in a 1 km radius of Muslim-dominated pockets, so that the poor can go there. "If government opens it, it will be better, else the state should give permissions from people within the community to do so," he added.
However, not all agreed that money was not required for Madrasas. "Schools and colleges should be opened in Muslim areas and with mixed population so that children learn from teachers and from each other," said Irfan Ali Engineer, director of Centre for Study of Society and Secularism.
Some others who are for educational institutions said that more information was needed, with respect to scholarship programs and other incentives that help the community. "It is a welcome step that there is a program for skill advancement and Madrasas, but I am yet to know what has actually happened with respect to various scholarship programs and the budget of minorities ministry. Before that, I will not be able to comment on the budget on the whole," said Dr. Zahir Kazi, president of Anjuman-I-Islam, an institute that runs several schools and colleges.