PM inaugurates body to manage Waqf properties (Lead, Superseding earlier copy)

New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday inaugurated the National Waqf Development Corp (NAWADCO) in a move aimed at bringing transparency to the management of Waqf properties worth Rs.1.20 lakh crore across the country.

The corporation has been established with an authorised share capital of Rs.500 crore. It will facilitate and mobilise financial resources for setting up facilities like schools, colleges and hospitals.
The establishment of NAWADCO is a follow up of the Sachar Committee recommendations.
There are more than 4.9 lakh registered Auqaf (Waqf properties), and the current annual income from these properties is about Rs.163 crore.
“The UPA government has been unwavering in its commitment to the protection and promotion of the interests of minorities,” said the prime minister.
“We have implemented most recommendations of the Sachar Committee,” he said.
Waqf is a permanent dedication of movable or immovable properties for religious, pious or charitable purposes as recognised by Muslim Law.
According to estimates quoted by the minority affairs ministry, the properties under Waqf boards across India have the potential to generate an annual income of Rs.12,000 crore.
There are more than 4.9 lakh registered auqaf, and the current annual income from the properties is Rs. 163 crore, the ministry said.
Minority Affairs Minister K. Rahman Khan said the value of these properties was underrated.
“(Their) present market value … would be much higher. Unfortunately, the annual income from these Waqf properties are vary meagre. If these properties are developed properly, it would fetch substantial income.”
The total area under Waqf properties all over India is estimated at about 6 lakh acres, the market value of which is about Rs.1.20 lakh crore, an official statement said.
Khan said the government had tried to remove the shortcomings in the management of Waqf and brought stringent provisions to punish those found guilty of violating Waqf properties.
“The creation of the NAWADCO will assist Waqf Boards and Mutawallis to develop the Waqf properties and provide both financial and technical support to the community by developing Waqf properties for educational empowerment and strengthening the economic base of the community.
“The only way to empower Indian Muslims educationally and economically is to encourage them to save and invest in building infrastructure in education and economic sectors and to create institutional mechanism for the community to contribute their savings for their own development,” Khan said.
Later, speaking at the conference of representatives of state Waqf boards, Khan said computerization of Waqf property records should be done soon.
“The progress of the computerization work has been reported to be very slow. Keeping in view the tardy progress of the data entry work and digitization of records, the ministry has decided to engage an outsourcing agency to complete the remaining … work,” he said.