All India Waqf conference gets underway

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Ministry, Nawadco and CWC collectively striving to use auqaf for welfare of Minorities Specially Muslims: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi  

New Delhi, Jan 7: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge)  and Parliamentary Affairs said that the Centre, National Waqf Development Corporation (NAWADCO) and  Central Waqf Council  together have launched a campaign to utilise the Waqf properties for socio-economic-educational empowerment of  minority communities specially Muslims.The Minority Affairs Ministry has been working on different strategies for welfare of Muslim community which include protection and development of Waqf properties, he added.

Naqvi stated this while inaugurating All India Waqf Conference in New Delhi today. He said that several States have come forward for better utilisation of Waqf properties, for progress of Muslims. Most states have been performing well but more needs to be done by all the States and UTs.

All States should constitute the three Member Tribunals, the Minister said further.   Naqvi said that all efforts are being made to ensure that all Waqf Boards and their records across the country are computerised and Minority Affairs Ministry has been providing all possible help to the State Waqf Boards. The Computerisation of Waqf Boards and their properties will help in ensuring transparency in functioning of Waqf Boards

Appreciating all participants for their efforts in ensuring that all auqafs under their charge are properly maintained, controlled, he urged to use the income from such properties to achieve the    laid objectives for which such auqafs were created.  He urged them to extend their full cooperation in implementing the Waqf Act, Lease Rules, relevant schemes etc., which will not only help in computerization of all records but will also increase the income of the Waqf Boards/Muttawallis.  

During the meetings, power point presentations on waqf issues were made by the Ministry of Minority Affairs; Central Waqf Council; NAWADCO, Haryana, Karnataka and Kerala State Waqf Boards and extensive deliberations were held on all the items of agenda.

Speaking on the occasion  Ameising Luikham,the Secretary, Ministry  of Minority Affairs said  that Under the provisions of the amended Waqf Act, 1995, the Ministry of Minority Affairs notified the Waqf Properties Lease Rules on 3.6.14.

These rules provide for restriction on grant of lease in certain cases; procedure to be followed for lease/registration/renewal of lease properties; rights and obligations of the lessor and lessee etc. Based on the difficulties faced by some State Waqf Boards in implementing the notified rules, some amendments therein were modified on 25.8.2015. One of the important provisions of the Act relate to framing of Waqf Rules by the State/UT Governments.

For assisting the State/UT Governments in this regard, the Ministry of Minority Affairs prepared the relevant model rules and provided copies thereof to all States/UTs on 18.7.16 for consideration.  However, most states are yet to notify revised rules.  He hoped that constructive and positive results will emerge from today’s deliberations.

Earlier welcoming the gathering Jaa-ne Aalam,J S in the Ministry outlined the agenda of the meeting.

Ashok Pai, CEO, NAWADCO said that income of merely Rs.163 crores from huge Waqf properties shows that  steps need to be taken to improve the management of Waqf properties. Emphasising the effective implementation of Lease Rules under revised Act, he promised to extend all possible help in developing the Waqf properties. He said across the country 100 properties have been identified and intentions received for developing 35 properties, so far.

The Secretary CWC Jamal Ahmad gave vote of thanks at the end of inaugural session.

Management of Waqf properties is a very important area of public policy.  The Waqf Act 1995 regulates the administration of Waqfs. The Ministry has also launched several schemes.  This Conference has been organized to review the implementation of the schemes for strengthening of Waqf Boards and computerization of records as well as to review the functioning of the Waqf Act 1995.

To deal with complaints regarding Waqf properties, one-man “Board of Adjudication” will be established soon at the Centre level to be headed by a retired Supreme Court Justice or retired High Court Chief Justice. Three-member Tribunals are being established in the States. About 15-16 states have established these tribunals.

 The conference will discuss various issues related to implementation of amendments incorporated in the Waqf Act, 1995; Waqf Properties Lease Rules, 2014; framing of Waqf Rules by the State/UT Governments; review of progress under the schemes relating to grant of financial assistance to the State Waqf Boards for computerization of Waqf  properties; strengthening of Waqf  Boards; and development of Waqf properties by National Waqf Development Corporation Ltd. (NAWADCO).    

Officials from about 20 States/UTs  are participating in the Conference besides Officers from the Ministry, NAWADCO, CWC and NMDFC. Those participating include Assam,Chhatisgarh,Delhi,Haryana,Kerala,Madhya,Pudducheri,Orissa,Tamilnadu,Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh  etc.

(illustration by muslimvillage)