Minorities Affairs and Madrasah Education Department [ renamed from Minority Development and Welfare Department vide Home (C&E) Department Notification No. 42-Home (Cons.)/R2R(Cons.)-4/2007, dated 18.02.2008] has been created in 1996 with the sole aim to cater to the aspirations of the Minorities of the State, specially in the field of Development and Welfare. Originated from the ‘Minority Cell’ of Political Branch of Home Department, the Minority Development & Welfare Dept. started functioning as a full fledged Department by amending the Rules of Business vide Home(C&E) Department Notification No. 705-Home (Cons.), dated 30.05.1996.
The Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education Department (MAMED) is catering to the specific needs and aspirations of the large minority community in the State. The Department works for the development and welfare of minorities, thereby ensuring the protection of rights and providing opportunities for growth.
Infrastructural Development : In the field of infrastructural development, the Department has undertaken schemes for construction of School Building, ACR, School Toilet, AWC, Health Centres, Water Supply Projects, Karmatirthas, Hostels, Sadbhav Mandap, dwelling houses for destitute minority women under DMWRP, Boundary Wall around public graveyard, Eidgah & Mazar, infrastructural support to reputed NGOs running education projects for the development & welfare of minorities etc are being implemented under MsDP, IMDP, MDW and State Plan.
Educational Upliftment : With a view to address the problem of educational backwardness in minorities, schemes such as Aikyashree (Pre matric, Post Matric and Merit cum Means scholarship), Swami Vivekananda Merit cum Means scholarship schemes (SVMCM) and Post Matric Stipend (under Talent Support Programme) have been undertaken to prevent dropout and encourage the students belonging to minority communities to pursue higher studies.
Facilitation in self employment/ employment through loans and skill development training : The Department through WBMDFC has been providing loans to minority youth and SHG in the form of Term Loan and Micro Finance at a minimal interest rate to encourage self employment through small trades/ business and other economic activities. Moreover, Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) has also been launched for Skill Development and capacity building of the individual entrepreneurs & SHGs so that they are better equipped to run and manage their trades/ business also Skill Development Training Programme are conducted through reputed like IIFT, NIFT & MSME etc. for various arts/ crafts and trades to increase the scope and opportunity of employment available to minority youth.
Coaching for job oriented competitive examinations : The Department has been organizing coaching classes for various job oriented competitive examinations including WBCS(Exe.), Primary TET, Police Constable and other examination conducted by PSC, SSC etc. through its parastatal organizations viz WBMDFC, Urdu Academy and State Haj Committee.
Promotion of Technical Education through new ITIs and Polytechnics : With a view to boost technical education and employability of youth, 39 ITIs and 8 Polytechnics are being set up in minority-concentrated areas. These are being operated by the Technical Education and Training Department. So far 27 ITIs & 5 Polytechnics have been completed and made operational.
Reservation in Government Sector & Higher Education : A 17% reservation in the State Government jobs for OBCs has been introduced. As more than 97% of Muslim population in the State has been brought under the purview of OBCs, this will benefit the entire community.
Similarly in Higher Education, 17% reservation has been granted to OBCs -mostly from minority communities- by the West Bengal State Higher Educational Institutional (Reservation in Education) Act, 2013 without curtailing the general category seats.
Promotion of Urdu Language & Literature through the activities of Urdu Academy: The West Bengal Official Language (Amendment) Act, 2012 has come into force from December, 2012. Urdu has been given the status of official Language in areas having more than 10% Urdu speaking population. The legislation has in effect redressed the long pending demand of Urdu speaking people to interact in their mother tongue with the Government offices.
Modernisation of Madrasah Education : With a view to impart Madrasah education through a modern and updated mode of teaching, 600 Smart Class Rooms have been set up and e-books have been made available in 300 Madrasahs in two phases. Computer Laboratories are being set up in 115 madrasahs to improve the students’ computer skills and to render them more employable.
Free books are provided to all the students of Government aided Madrasahs, MSKs and SSKs. Besides, School Dress, Bag and Shoes are provided to all students of Class I to VIII of all Government aided Madrasahs, MSKs and SSKs.
English-medium Madrasahs are being set up in 14 districts to fulfil the minority students’ aspirations for modern education. Out of these, 12 have become functional.
Construction of dedicated District Level offices of MA & ME Department (Minority Bhawans) : For better monitoring and implementation of minority welfare activities, Minority Bhawans have been set up in each District Head Quarter, headed by a WBCS officer. So far 20 such Bhawans have started functioning. Work is in progress in the remaining 3 districts.
Facilitation of Haj Pilgrimage through State Haj Committee
The West Bengal State Haj Committee makes arrangement for transportation and accommodation of the Haj Pilgrims in Kolkata to and from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. Financial support is given by the State Government for meeting different expenses in connection with the Haj. 84,771 Haj Pilgrims performed Haj during 2011 to 2019.
Setting up of “The West Bengal Pahadia Minorities Development Board”
The ”West Bengal Pahadia Minorities Development Board” has been established for a more focused development of minorities in the Hill Region of the State. Till date 1495 units of “House of Joy” houses have been constructed by the said board @ of Rs. 2 lakh per unit in the districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
The functions of the Minority Affairs & Madrasah Education Department are as follows :