Opening of Bank Branches in Minorities Populated Areas

Opening of Bank Branches in Minorities Populated Areas 
Pursuant to the submission of Sachar Committee Report, with a view to enhance opportunities for education, ensure an equitable share for minorities in economic activities and employment through existing and new schemes, enhanced credit support for self-employment and recruitment to State and Central Government jobs, the Government has undertaken various schemes/initiatives for the welfare of minorities. One of such initiatives include- ‘Public sector banks will be advised to open more branches in Muslim concentration areas’. As on 31.03.2014, a total of 19,119 bank branches of Public Sector Banks have been opened in the areas with substantial minority population. During 2014-15, 1,153 New Bank Branches have been opened in the areas with substantial minority population.

As per the information available with the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, the nodal Department monitoring the initiative of opening of bank branches in the areas with substantial minority population, as on 30th June, 2015 a total of 9,505 Scheduled Commercial Banks branches (2,860 Rural, 3,236 Semi Urban, 2,036 Urban and 1,373 Metropolitan branches) was functional in Tamil Nadu. However, in so far as the the State-wise details of the bank branches opened in the areas with substantial minority population are concerned, the same are not being maintained.

This was stated by Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of State for Minority Affairs in Rajya Sabha today in reply to a question. 
Vacation and Retrieval of Waqf Properties 
According to Section 32(1) of the Waqf Act, 1995, the general superintendence of all auqaf in a State shall vest in the Board established by the State/UT Government and it shall be the duty of the Board so to exercise its power under this Act as to ensure the auqaf under its superintendence are properly maintained, controlled and administered and the income thereof is duly applied to the objects and for the purposes for which such auqaf were created and intended. As such, the matter is concerned with Government of NCT of Delhi and hence Central Government has no information to furnish. 

Waqf Property Leasing Rules 
The Government has formulated and notified the Waqf Properties Lease Rules, 2014 vide notification dated 3rd June, 2014. Some amendments in the Waqf Properties Lease Rules 2014 have been made vide notification dated 26th August, 2015. The details of amendments notified in the above Rules are:

(i) Rule 7: The reserve price per square feet for lease of an immovable Waqf property shall (a) for hospitals, educational institutions and social sectors, be not less than 2% per annum; (b) for commercial activities, be not less than 2.5% per annum, of the market value of the property; and

(ii) Rule 17 (1) : A lease of any immovableWaqf property exceeding the period of three years and extending up to thirty years may be granted for the purpose of carrying out any commercial activity, education or health purposes, with the approval of the State Government and if the State Government fails to grant permission within forty-five days, the permission shall be deemed to be granted.

The percentage of reserve price and not the lease rent has been reduced keeping in view the difficulties faced by the Waqf Boards.

The amendment will not affect the income of the Waqf as the waqf properties will be leased out by the process of competitive bidding after giving wide publicity through advertisement in the Newspapers and the Waqf will fetch the highest lease rent. 

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