Mumbai, (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said that for the benefits of growth to percolate down to the last man, especially minorities, it is important that the growth rate is high enough.
“While higher growth rate impacts all, by way of offering economic opportunities, certain minorities have lagged behind and those areas need to be addressed,” Jaitley said at a conference here on “Empowerment through Education – Taalim-o-Tarbiyat”.
The Finance Minister said the world is facing two kinds of challenges — political and economic. He asserted that India is on a better wicket on both the fronts.
Speaking about economic challenges, Jaitley said amidst global slow down, the Indian economy has managed to register seven to 7.5 per cent growth, which is commendable.
He called upon the members of the minority community to empower themselves through education, acquire skills and tap opportunities availing of benefits like MUDRA Scheme and other programmes.
“Post-1991 economic liberalisation, the acceleration of growth rate has led to substantial reduction in poverty. All communities have shown reduction in poverty levels, but it is uneven,” he said.
“While poverty rate among Muslim community has gone down from 52 per cent in 1991 to about 27 per cent in 2011, some communities like Jains and Parsis have overcome the challenge of poverty,” he added.
Jaitley said education is the key to improve the conditions faster which would aid conversion of skills into opportunities.
He said Madrassas are an important institution in imparting education for children belonging to the Muslim community and complimented the efforts of Zafar Sareshwala, Vice-Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, for blending technology and traditional teachings.
“Barring occasional skirmishes, often magnified by media, there are no major incidents in our country. Our society continues to speak in one voice,” he added.