Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday inaugurated the National Waqf Development Corporation (NAWADCO) in a move aimed at bringing transparency to management of Waqf properties worth more than Rs.163 crore across the country.
The corporation has been established with an authorised share capital of Rs.500 crore, and will facilitate and mobilise financial resources for setting up facilities like schools, colleges and hospitals on Waqf properties.
The establishment of the NAWADCO is a follow up of the Sachar Committee recommendation. India has the largest number of Waqf properties in the world.
There are more than 4.9 lakh registered Auqaf (waqf properties) and the current annual income from these properties is about Rs.163 crores.
“The UPA government has been unwavering in its commitment to the protection and promotion of the interests of minorities … We have implemented most recommendations of the Sachar Committee,” the prime minister 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, the properties under Waqf boards across India have the potential to generate an annual income of Rs.12,000 crore, assuming an annual return of 10 percent of the value of property.
Waqf board is the third-largest body with land and properties under it after defence and railways in India.
Minority Affairs Minister K. Rahman Khan said the government has tried to remove the shortcomings in management of Waqf and has brought stringent provisions to punish those who are found guilty of encroaching upon the 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,” Khan said.
“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 added.