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By Abdul Alim Jafri / News Click

Lucknow: Days after singing the national anthem was made mandatory in all madrasas in Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government on Wednesday decided not to provide financial assistance to any new madrasa in the state. In a cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on May 17, the state government cleared the proposal to exclude new madrasas from the grant list. With this, the Yogi government has changed the policy for modernisation of madrasas adopted by the previous government led by Samajwadi Party (SP).

In its budget 2021-22, the state government had allocated Rs 479 crore under the madrasa modernisation scheme. According to reports, there are over 16,461 registered madrasas in the state, out of which 558 are government aided. Around 20 lakh students are enrolled in madrasas across the state.

Uttar Pradesh Minister of State for Minority Affairs Danish Azad Ansari said the madrasas currently receiving government grants will continue to get it, but no new beneficiary will be included in the list.

When asked for the reason behind the decision, the minister told the media that 558 madrasas were already getting government grants in the state.

“It is a big number. The focus of the government is on providing quality education in madrasas. That is why no new madrassa will be included in this list now,” he said.

Ansari further said that the state government was working for the uplift of madrasa education. “Now madrasa students study religious scriptures alongside math, science, and computers,” he added.

Meanwhile, Diwan Sahab Zaman Khan, general secretary of the Teachers’ Association Madaris Arabia UP, said in 2016, the SP government had decided to provide grants to madrasas that were recognised till 2003 and were teaching up to 10th class. A policy was also made by the then SP government, under which the government had included 100 new madrasas in the aid list of 558. However, 46 of the old ones were left out. Some of the left out madrasas had approached the high court seeking government funds, citing the policy made by the SP government. They argued that when they were fulfilling all the norms set by the grant-in-aid committee for financial assistance, why were they not being given grants?

“The managers of the 46 madrasas approached the high court demanding inclusion in the grant list. The court had asked the UP government to provide financial assistance to those madrasa fulfilling the criteria. Later, these 46 madrasas were also included in the grant list. The cabinet had also approved the policy to grant financial assistance to all 146 madrasas. Meanwhile, some people complained to Azam Khan, the minister concerned then, that good madrasas had not been included in the grant list. Khan later ordered an inquiry. Soon the 2017 Assembly elections were announced and the 46 madrasas were excluded from the grant list,” Khan told NewsClick, alleging that the Yogi government had changed the policy so that nobody can now approach the high court for government funds.

The Teachers’ Association Madaris Arabia demanded inclusion of all the madrasas left out in the grants list.

Explaining the disadvantage of being excluded from the grant list, the union leader said: “A teacher has been teaching children for Rs 1,000-1,500 for years with the hope that when his school gets a grant, his salary will be Rs30,000 to Rs 40,000. But, this decision of the government has ruined thousands of such hopes. The government talks about ”Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas” policy and claims to modernise madrasas, but they cannot include 46 madrasas?”

If a madrasa gets government grant, it appoints 15 staff, which consists of 13 teachers, a clerk and a peon. But now that the government has decided to scrap the policy to provide government funds to new madrasas in the state, hence, only two or three people will teach all the subjects with the lowest possible salary. “How will quality education be imparted if a school lacks teachers, funds and basic infrastructure?” said the union.

Anurag Bhadauria, SP spokesperson, also questioned the ‘intentions’ of the Yogi government to exclude new madrasas from the grant list. “The Yogi government is exploring the politics of hate in education too. Every person and child has the right to be educated. If the madrasa is meeting the standard then what is the problem in giving grants. Why are you stopping it, because you have to promote the politics of hate? Public attention needs to be diverted from real issues that is why they are coming up with new issues and orders every day,” he said.

Meanwhile, thousands of madrasa teachers in the state have not been paid salaries for the last five years. NewsClick spoke with multiple teachers in Gorakhpur, Ghazipur, Varanasi and Meerut, who claimed the government paid them salaries for a few months in 2022 but their pending dues from 2017 to 2021 have not been cleared.

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