The government is committed to "empowerment and not appeasement", and is making "intensive" efforts for the education and socio-economic development of the minorities, President Ram Nath Kovind said today.
In his maiden address to the joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament, Kovind also said the government is "continuously" working with "utmost sensitivity" towards empowerment and economic inclusion of the over 2.50 crore 'divyang' (persons with disabilities) in the country.
"Committed to 'empowerment and not appeasement', my Government is making intensive efforts for the economic, social and educational empowerment of the minorities," the president said.
Kovind also talked about the government's reform to allow women above 45 years of age to perform Haj without 'Mehram' (male guardian). This year, more than 1,300 women will undertake the pilgrimage without Mehram.
He said employment opportunities have been provided to the youth belonging to six notified minority communities -- Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi and Jains -- through programmes such as 'Seekho Aur Kamao', 'Usttad', 'Garib Nawaz Kaushal Vikas Yojana', 'Nai Roshni' etc. The schemes were being implemented by the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
"More than 45 lakh students have also benefited from scholarships, fellowships, skill development and coaching schemes during the last one year," he said.
The president also referred to the government enacting the 'Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016'.
He said provision has been made to offer four per cent reservation in government jobs and five per cent quota in higher education for persons with disabilities.
"In the last three years, over six thousand camps have been organised benefiting more than nine lakh needy 'divyang jan' with necessary aids and assistive devices," he said.