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Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has decided to form a Department for the Welfare of Minorities. The department will function under a Special Officer and 15 new posts will be created. The decision was taken in the state Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday and announced by the Chief Minister. The Cabinet also gave approval for a draft bill to form a Minorities Commission in the state.
Minister Paloli Muhammed Kutty had informed the Assembly on December 22 that the procedures to form the department were in the final stage. In order to implement the recommendations of the Paloli Committee report, a Minority Cell has been formed under the general administration department. A total of 48 posts have been created for various activities related to the welfare of minorities. A welfare fund pension has been implemented for the teachers of Madrasas and its membership registration is progressing. The government has allotted Rs 10 crores to the fund. The minister also informed the Assembly that an Arabic University would be established in Kozhikode.
Kerala has a considerable population of religious and other minorities in the country. But the state had not yet had a department to look into the affairs of the minorities. There have been demands from various corners to form such a department for a long time. But the government got ready for it only when the Paloli Committee recommended so. The Paloli Committee, under Minister Paloli Muhammed Kutty, was formed to suggest how the recommendations of the Sachar Committee report could be implemented in Kerala.
However, the government decision to form the department at this time can also be read along with the moves of the ruling CPI (M) and the LDF to come closer to religious minorities who had left the party and front in the recently held local body polls. The CPI (M) tried to woo the majority community before the polls which did not do quite well. Instead, the party lost the votes of minorities also. After its analysis of the elections, the party had decided to take measures to come closer to the minorities. There are also reports that a new party for minorities is soon to be announced under the blessings of the CPI (M).