Urban Waqf Development Scheme

So far 96 projects have been completed under this scheme in Karnataka, while Delhi is recorded as the worst state
Urban Waqf Development Scheme
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Dr Shujaat Ali Quadri

A new picture is emerging from the Central Waqf Council’s new scheme ‘Shahari Waqf Sampatti Vikas Yojana’. Massive positive changes have been observed in the country while Karnataka seems to be benefited the most from the scheme. So far 96 projects have been completed under this scheme in Karnataka, while Delhi is recorded as the worst state.

Here, we talk about the Central Waqf Council’s Shahari Waqf Vikas Yojana (Urban Waqf Property Development Scheme) and how this scheme is proving beneficial for Muslims.

The need for this scheme arose because due to various reasons, the income of most of the Auqafs in the country is limited. The result is that it is generally difficult for the mutawalli (manager of the Auqaf) to adequately fulfill the purposes for which these Auqafs were created. Most of the urban Waqf lands have potential for development but the Mutawalli and even the Waqf Board is not in a position to mobilise sufficient resources for the construction of modern functional buildings on these lands.

In order to improve the financial position of Waqf Boards and enable them to increase the scope of their welfare works, this scheme has been formulated with a view to protect vacant Waqf land from encroachers and develop economically viable projects. The objective of the ‘Shehri Waqf Sampatti Vikas Yojana (Urban Waqf Property Development Scheme)’ is to make useful vacant waqf properties more income generating and to widen the welfare activities.

Under this scheme, interest free loans are given to various Waqf Boards and Waqf Institutions in the country for construction of economically viable buildings, such as commercial complexes, marriage halls, hospitals, cold storages etc., on Waqf land.

The Central Waqf Council is implementing this scheme since 1974-75 with annual grants-in-aid from the Ministry of Minority Affairs. Under this scheme, the central government has released a total grant-in-aid of Rs 6293.66 lakh between September 1974 to March, 2021 and in return the Central Waqf Council has given interest-free loans to 155 projects. After appraisal in the year 2017 it was found that the above scheme needs to be continued for at least ten more years so that sufficient number of waqf properties can be developed.

The states gave feedback on the scheme through their Waqf Boards and it has been decided to continue the scheme by incorporating the recommendations made by the National Institute of Labor Economics Research and Development (NILERD), New Delhi. Also it has been changed to Shahari Waqf Sampatti Vikas Yojana (SWSVY). The state that has benefited the most from this scheme till date is Karnataka, which has so far earned a grant of more than Rs 21 crore, while surprisingly Delhi has raised the least grant. Under this scheme, Delhi has taken benefit of only five and a half lakh rupees in the last 46 years till date.

It happened only twice that the Centre did not give any help to this scheme. The first time in the year 2008 and the second time in 2010. During this, Manmohan Singh’s government was at the centre. Since the year 2014, the project is continuously developing.

After Narendra Modi’s government at the centre, the ‘Shahari Waqf Property Development Scheme’ has cost Rs 2.74 crores in the year 2014, 2.65 crores in 2015, 2.79 crores in 2016, 3.16 crores every year in 2017, 18 and 2019 and 3 crores in 2020. Today the work is going on under this scheme in 27 big projects across the country. A total of 13 projects have been provided with revolving fund.

Till now 8 in Andhra Pradesh, 10 in Bihar, 1 in Chhattisgarh, 2 each in Gujarat, Haryana and Jharkhand, 96 in Karnataka, 29 in Kerala, 21 in Madhya Pradesh, 5 in Maharashtra, five in Manipur, 15 in Odisha, 4 in Punjab, 3 in Rajasthan, 28 in Tamil Nadu and 10 projects in Uttar Pradesh have been completed. In comparison with Delhi, Karnataka is recorded as the best in benefiting from this scheme.

Purposes have been made to protect the charitable property of Muslims under Waqf Boards in India. The Central Waqf Council is a statutory body under the administrative control of the Ministry of Minority Affairs established in 1964 as an advisory body to the Central Government on matters relating to the functioning of the Waqf Boards as provided in the Waqf Act, 1954. The ‘Central Waqf Council’ came into existence with the reform of the already prevalent Muslim Waqf Validation Act 1913. Today this council has done very special achievements with its way of administration. The Central Waqf Council was established as a permanent unit to advise on issues relating to the proper administration of Waqfs in the country.

(The author is a freelance Journalist and chairman of Muslim Students Organisation of India)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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