Working Towards Progress
A two-day All-India Conference on Wakfs in Chennai focused on some path-breaking reforms to uplift the Muslim community.
It was first in the history of Wakfs in India and it is Tamilnadu which has taken the lead. A two-day all-India conference on Wakfs was held on 15th and 16th November 2005, to discuss various issues pertaining to Wakfs in the country. Around 22 delegates from across the country representing the Wakf Boards of different states and the Central Wakf Council converged on a common platform.
They discussed various issues like improving the economic conditions of the Muslim community, providing education to the underprivileged, taking care of health problems and establishing Baitul Mals, giving aid to the marriages of the poor Muslim girls, imparting technical education like computer training, tailoring, candle-making etc. The main thrust, however, was on the removal of encroachments and developing the Wakf properties in order to gain more revenue both for the Wakfs as well as the Wakf Boards.
The high-profile conference was inaugurated by J. Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, who had taken keen interest in organising this conference. She not only stressed on removing the encroachments, but also on the need to empower Muslim women both in education and economic fields. She said,” My vision is to build a modern Tamilnadu as a progressive, egalitarian society, providing space for all, irrespective of caste and creed. A sense of feeling of security should be reinforced among the minorities and Tamilnadu should stand out as a symbol of religious, cultural and linguistic harmony”. She called upon all State Wakf Boards to focus on expansion of literacy to the Muslim women. In the first ever commitment by any Chief Minister, she declared that her government would provide all necessary assistance to protect Wakf properties in Tamilnadu and would render all support to retrieve the encroached lands of Wakfs, so that the original charitable purposes of the Wakfs is fully realised.
Highlighting the welfare measures, Jayalalithaa said that Rs. 2.10 crores were sanctioned for renovating mosques, constructing compound walls and fencing around burial grounds. Added to this, Rs.1.20 crores have been sanctioned for building a new office for the State Wakf Board. The Board’s revenue target has been fixed at Rs. 1.60 crores. Among other welfare measures, she said that Rs. 6 lakhs were paid to the needy divorced Muslim women.
Under entrepreneurial development, 1000 Muslim youth would be given a loan upto Rs. 25,000 for self-employment ventures. A total of 121 Muslim youth were given loans to the tune of Rs.1.01 crores for purchasing auto-rickshaws. Mrs .Bader Sayeed, Chairperson of the Tamilnadu Wakf Board and the chief organiser of the conference in her speech, highlighted the achievements of the Board in the last four years.
(Wakf Board - Tamilnadu No. 7/4, 9th Cross Street, Indira Nagar, Adyar, Chennai - 20. Ph: 24423786)