New Delhi: “Jiyo Parsi” – The Central Sector Scheme for Containing Population Decline of Parsis in India was launched with much fanfare last year but a look at the budget data shows that this scheme was not thought through properly. Only 1/3rd of the budget allocated for this scheme has been used so far.
Census 2001 data showed that there were only 69,001 Parsis in the country. Alarmed by the declining numbers, government planned to launch schemes to stem the decline of Parsi population. A decade later very little has been achieved in reality by the government.
In its last year’s budget government allocated Rs.2 crores for protection of Parsi community and its heritage but at the end of the year only 0.66 crores were actually utilized for the purpose implying government’s lackadaisical behavior towards what it announced for the waning community in the country whose population was measured 69,601 in the year 2001 as compared to 76,382 in 1991.
After becoming the minister Najma Heptulla said Parsis will be focus of her attention as they are the real minorities and not Muslims. However, the funds allocated in this budget continues to be 2 crores and government has yet to announce any new schemes or plans to make current schemes more effective.
Dr. Najma Heptulla, the Union Minister of Minority Affairs held a meeting with the eminent members of Parsi/Zoroastrian community on Monday evening and repeated Government’s stand towards declining population of the Parsi community and asked members of Parsi Community to come forward to avail benefits of “Jiyo Parsi” initiative and benefits under various educational, skill-development and infrastructure development programmes of the Ministry.
During the meeting, members of the Parsi community drew attention of the minister to the problems being faced by the community. A number of issues raised included encroachment on both Parsi’s community and individual properties, economic and educational decline besides declining population and aging community. They sought government cooperation in developing their sacred places.