Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
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Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

Working Day and Night for an Inclusive Nation

Counted among the most successful and popular leaders of the nation, Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has been dedicatedly working for the welfare of minorities. He has numerous valuable initiatives to his credit for the inclusive growth of India such as the creation of ‘Hunar Haats’ all across the country which have provided more than 5,00,000 jobs to craftsmen, sculptors, artisans, and the related workers

Q. Hon’ble Minister Sir, you are the most successful and popular leader of the Minority Affairs and under PM Modi’s agenda of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas,’ there are various important and valuable steps that have been undertaken by you for the benefit of minorities. Please elaborate.

A. First of all, for our Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji, the outlay of development has never, was never and will never be a business for votes. In 2014, it was the resolve of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ when the people gave their public mandate. And with the resolve of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas,’ we work towards the direction of development without discrimination and empowerment without appeasement. And PM Modi Ji’s government had worked continuously and actively for all the sections of society including poor, weaker sections, backward sections, and minorities so that they can see and witness development, feel happiness in their eyes and bliss in their lives.

When our government came into power in 2014, at that time, for example, the dropout rate of school-going girls in the minorities section was 72-73%. This means that these girls were leaving their schools after attending it for a few standards whose major reason was their economic adversity and due to this they left their schools. So our Prime Minister said that we have to work in this regard and we started scholarships. Earlier scholarships were distributed a little bit and were handled by the middlemen. In the last five years, we have given approximately 3.75 Crores scholarships and from them, 60% were given to girls. And as a result, the previous drop-out rate of 72-73% comes down to 30-32%. In the coming days, we are going to make it zero and we are working on this.

Q. What are your views on the ‘Vocal for Local’ call of our Hon’ble Prime Minister and what measures or strategies your ministry has adopted to further this agenda?

A. India is a land of rich culture and heritage. If you watch our craftsmen, sculptors, and artisans, you will find plenty of fabulous and lively heritage spreading from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari and from Attock to Cuttack. But this rich cultural heritage is disappearing slowly. And as a result, these craftsmen, sculptors, and artisans who are carrying on their family business started leaving their business and gets involved either in some other work or started doing other menial jobs.

We have provided these craftsmen, sculptors, and artisans suitable opportunities and marketplace and for this, we have offered them an effective and perfect platform with the name of ‘Hunar Haat’. And through this ‘Hunar Haat’ we have provided more than 500000 jobs to these craftsmen, sculptors, artisans, and related people. So, this is the resolve of ‘Vocal to Local and Local to Global’ through our ‘Hunar Haat’ that covers PAN India’s craftsmen, sculptors, artisans whether they are involved in clay sculpting, brass work, zardozi work, cotton work, or any leatherwork.

Prime Minister had visited the ‘Hunar Haat’ and stayed there for a long time. Moreover, the surprise personal visit by the Prime Minister surprised and overwhelmed these craftsmen, sculptors, artisans who came across India. A few of them started crying that they had never imagined the personal presence of not only India’s but the world’s greatest leader for encouraging them and they got big inspiration from him.

We are supporting through these ‘Hunar Haats’. Apart from this, we also provide market linkage and financial support, at a large scale, to these craftsmen, sculptors, artisans, and related people who are related to our centuries-old crafts so that they can strengthen it, gives an edge to it, reinforce it according to market requirements. We are getting it done through various banks, National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation, and our scheme of USTTAD.

Since these craftsmen, sculptors, artisans manufacture very beautiful and good quality of items in Hunar Haat, and when people visit these Hunar Haat from various parts of India and around the world, they get surprised with the kind of magic done by our Indian master craftsmen and artisans. But these items are not packaged. We have a very old saying of judging the book by its cover. Nowadays, it is an era of packaging. Therefore the packaging institutes of the central government are giving them training in packaging. Training is started for those in making the items of brass like glasses or jugs or if one is manufacturing any earthen items or any item of glass but there is no packaging and is displayed with it. Moreover, these government packaging institutes set up stalls in ‘Hunar Haat’ and provides training to these craftsmen, sculptors, artisans in addition to other kinds of help.

Apart from this, there is the GEM Portal and we are about to launch our own ‘Hunar Haat’ portal through which we will see how market and opportunities are provided to them. As well as, we endeavor to provide training to them through USTTAD and forming self-help groups. We are also providing training and preparing females as more than 50% of craftsmen are females in our ‘Hunar Haat’. And you will be surprised that during these last 5 months of Corona, a large number of craftsmen in Assam have manufactured items of cane. And they are contacting us that they have utilized this time and based on our PM’s invocation, worked with an affirmation of turning disaster into opportunities. And today, a large number of craftsmen along with their 100-150 artificers have produced a large number of indigenous products. For them, we have also announced that we are going to re-launch ‘Hunar Haat’ on a large scale again in the month of September 2020 in various parts of the country so that the large produce can get their market.

There was a huge gap when we talk about inclusive development and empowerment by touching all bases. We have to think that one part of society shouldn’t be deprived or untouched of development in inclusive development and the other part/section of society keeps on growing. So for inclusive development, there must be schools and colleges in every area.

Therefore, when we talk about inclusive and all-around development, every section of society must believe in the development. And to partner with development, all the facilities are needed that are required by the section of society. PM Modi said that there are around 150 areas that are aspiring districts and there are minority-dominated areas where there is poverty-stricken by lack of basic facilities like schools or colleges or hospitals.

So in the last five years, we have provided more than 34000 schools, colleges, it is, hospitals, hostels, drinking water facilities. All this happened in just the last 5 years as compared to 18000 by previous governments since independence.

And as a result of this, there are revolutionary changes and transformations in terms of children are going to schools, hospitals in the immediate vicinity for medical, hostel facilities for students, and the opening of Navodaya Vidyalaya and Kendriya Vidyalaya in various parts of the country.

Currently, the Ministry of Minority Affairs is a very sensitive ministry according to our current government. This is because of a perception that has been made that we are anti-minority. But today, those who made this perception don’t speak that about discrimination of any section of the society based on socio, economic, educational empowerment or development by PM Modi’s government.

And that’s why today we said ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, we lived up for ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ in the last 5 years and after it, people believed it. And that is why we invocate ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ and we are moving on and growing.

Q. Sir, you are very popular among young and the youth of India consider you as their ideal. What’s your message to them?

A. Our country is full of opportunities and today if there is an emerging power in the world, then it is India. The entire world is understanding and accepting the opportunities in India and we have to strengthen these possibilities through evenly sharing and participation. During this pandemic situation, our Prime Minister took a big pledge. You must have known that more than 3 dozens reforms have been done whether it is related to social, economic, educational, or agricultural or related to space sciences or aviation. And as a result of these reforms, ease of doing business, ease of doing production or agriculture, and all related things are now at ease.

Therefore, our youth, within the country, must partner firmly and intensely and contribute to the development and advancement of our country by becoming a rider and driver of journey of Make In India, StandUp India, StartUp India and Vocal for Local.

Q. What is your message to AsiaOne Magazine and Mr. Rajat Shukal for our initiative started with CNBC TV18 and ZEE TV Middle East.

A. I would like to congratulate Mr. Rajat Shukal and his initiative that he has started a persuasive effort and I am confident that the result of his efforts will be visible shortly. This initiative is all about showing and inspiring those people who become partners and contributors for the development of India whether these are related to industry vertical or sports or agricultural or political or societal or any other areas.