By Pervez Bari, MuslimMirror.com,
Chennai: IMDAD India, an ambitious Nationwide Network of Information & Service Centres launched here on the India’s 72nd Independence Day. The programme with the aim of connecting the deprived people to the Government was launched under the aegis of India 2047 Project of Empower India Foundation (EIF) in the presence of Dr. J. Sadakathullah, the former Regional Director of Reserve Bank of India, Chennai.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sadakathullah, who was the cheif guest of the function, appreciated the efforts of EIF and especially the initiative of IMDAD India saying it is the need of the hour. Lauding EIF’s project document “India 2047: Empowering the People”. India-2047, he said it is not just a Vision Document, but a Vision-to-Action Project. It has been planned nationally but action has to be taken locally which thereby will empower Muslims and other backward communities in near future, he added.
It is coincidence that on the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day, late Justice Rajindar Sachar, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, had released the 250 page “India 2047:Empowering the People” Project Document of EIF in New Delhi. Speaking after the release of the document, Justice Sachar had made observations that EIF has done such a stupendous job which the government of the day could not do in the last 70 years of Independence and India 2047” project is like taking up the cudgels to empower Muslims and other marginalized communities of India”.
With the help of power point presentation, Ahmad Kutty, Head of Relations, India-2047, said it is the Information and Service Centre Network which is a part of India-2047 initiative promoted by Empower India Foundation. IMDAD aims to provide assistance to get information and to avail services on various government schemes. It also provides support to empowerment initiatives related to education, health and economy. There will be services of two types. One is providing information to the client and other is delivering services in the said categories. The centres shall be located centrally in the habitation for ease of access and regular connectivity.
Kutty also threw light on the objectives of the programme saying these include providing information on all government schemes and welfare programs to deserving people, ensuring all eligible citizens have government issued identity documents; providing information on higher education institutions, admission and scholarships to the target group; and notifications on job openings in government and private sector etc.
Within a period of 10 years, the project should be able to elevate the community to a status wherein, more than 90 per cent of the eligible members are using available welfare schemes and tapping empowerment opportunities delivered through various government departments, he added.
Kutty said social awareness is a consciousness within a society on social welfare, change and social justice. He pionted out that the successive state and central governments design welfare programmes for the weaker sections and try to deliver it through different channels but thses cannot reach to the real beneficiaries and IMDAD would work in this direction.
In his presidential remarks, EIF chairman EM Abdul Rahiman said India is passing at a crossroad while the Constitutional rights are under threat and minorities especially to Muslims are being denied their rights. He said the rise of right wing communal politics and their control of government institutions including soft Hindutva of secular parties and their governments are also making Muslims as soft target.
He pointed out that public perceptions built against Muslims with the help of biased media which brands Muslim movement as “terror promoters”, citizenship is being denied in Assam following NRC row while Citizenship Act is being amended etc. “With such a scenario prevailing in the country the need for empowerment of Muslims becomes a necessity as it is part of nation building. Muslims have to swim against the adverse tide to be hopeful of a better bright future,” he added.
He said that EIF is a voluntary platform which focuses on providing conceptual, intellectual and motivational support for empowering weaker sections of the Indian society. EIF has started working on the idea of formulating a vision and mission at the beginning of the year 2014, to take the backward community of Muslims towards the dawn of the second century of our Independence – 2047.
He said there no doubt India is developing and the wealth of this nation is growing. However, growth and development at the cost of social justice is a real challenge. The gap between the privileged and marginalised sections is also growing. Along with Tribals and Dalits, the Muslims are the victims of this unethical and unbalanced growth. He said: “Our dream is of a strong India. Strength of the people is the real strength of the nation. Our vision is of an all inclusive just India as the nation will remain handicapped till all sections are equally empowered. The Project Document “India 2047: Empowering the People” is a community centered project, but not a communal project and is also a national project, he stressed.
Abdul Rahiman pointed out that alliance building with other classes and communities is a pre-requisite for the empowerment of a particular community in a plural society like India. Responsibility lies at the top and bottom levels. At the top are the duties of the governments of the day while at the bottom are the duties of concerned communities. he emphasized that this task cannot be accomplished by any single group, institution and organization. “Let us act as Agents of Change – volunteering, networking, micro-planning, execution, grass-root level system building etc.”, he exhorted.
Muhammad Raphey, executive secretary India-2047, briefed the assemblage about the progress of Pilot Projects undertaken by EIF under its India-2047 Project.
Raphey told that 11 Focus Areas were identified and separate teams were constituted to collect data, conduct research and suggest possible initiatives to be undertaken. These 11 Focus Areas included: 1. Governance; 2. Economy; 3. Education; 4. Health; 5. Media; 6. Women; 7. Children & Youth; 8. Civil Rights; 9. Broad based Alliance; 10. Social Reformation & 11.Culture & Heritage. Three Support Areas viz. Human Resource Department, Finance & Marketing and Organization were also identified for the successful implementation of the project. About three years of arduous task culminated in the final draft of the Project report which was completed in June 2016. This Project Document was released on the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day i.e. on 15th August 2016 in New Delhi, he added.
While presenting the Project activities report, he recalled that as the first step of the initiative a concept paper was prepared and presented in November 2013. Later on brainstorming sessions were held during January-August 2014 on plans to empower the Muslim community in all spheres of life by 2047 – the dawn of the second century of India’s Independence. Six national seminars, more than 50 cities get-together programmes across 15 states of India, consultation with eminent experts in social development etc. followed.
During the function, the second edition of the India-2047 Project Document of Empower India Foundation was also released by Ms Qurrath, Chairperson Seethakathi Trust. She handed over the document to Journalist Pervez Bari of Bhopal.
O. M. A. Salam, National chairman of Popular Front of India, Journalist Pervez Bari, M. Mohammed Ismail, TN president of PFI; K.K.S.M. Dehlan Baaqavi, National vice president of Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI); Afzal Chandrankandi, secretary Rehab India Foundation; Dr. C. K. Abdullah, NRI representative and others also spoke on the occasion.