NEW DELHI: A month after he sought to make a feverish pitch to shut down Madrassas operating in the country over their archaic education delivery, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday ratified his cabinet’s decision to protect the indigenous Muslim population by dividing them into five sub-groups that may entail welfare benefits.
Himanta cabinet’s decision means that five community sub-groups – Goriyas, Moriyas, Jolhas, Deshis and Syeds – have been given the status of indigenous Assamese Muslim ranks.
“The move will ensure the development of the community in terms of health, cultural identity, education, financial inclusion, skill development and women empowerment,” a government official said.
The move is seen as an attempt to bolster the state’s vexed policy of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), enforcement to help the state identify genuine Indian citizens on the basis of their domicile and draw state doles. The influx of illegal immigrants from porous borders has put the state at loggerheads with infiltrators and a burden on the constabulary to grapple with ULFA-I.
“The decision was taken in line with the recommendation of 7 sub-groups/Committees constituted by the state government,” an official added.
The policy’s immediate effect may also be seen as an attempt to outreach the beleaguered Muslims who wish to engage with a hawkish Hindutva.
In other key decisions, the state government also decided to honour the ex-servicemen by exempting them and their widows from paying property tax. The government will amend the Guwahati Municipal Corporation Act, 1969 and Assam Municipal Act, 1956 for the same.
The state government has also decided to approve the collaboration between the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) under SIDBI and the government of Assam. The decision aims to boost the MSME sector in the state as it will provide additional guarantee coverage for loans given by lending institutions to micro and small units in the state.
In another key decision, the cabinet also approved the Vehicle Scrappage Policy of Assam, 2022 to ensure proper dismantling and scrapping of operations of End of Life Vehicles.
The state government also launched a one-time settlement scheme for a specified time period so that the owners are given tax waivers up to 75 per cent against their outstanding arrears or dues for the voluntary offer of their vehicles to the Registration and Functions of Vehicle Scrapping Facility.