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NEW DELHI: Alwar may have lately been in the news for all the wrong reasons for instances of cow vigilantism but the district, with a significant population of Muslims, will have a reason to cheer as it has been picked for the first of five specialised skill centres planned by the minority affairs ministry. The national institutes for specialised education and skill training are part of an outreach to minorities and a confidence-building measure.

On the choice of Alwar as the location for the first institute, minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was a step towards opening up opportunities for people in an area with pockets of backwardness. He said Alwar was near Mewat, which was ranked as the most backward district by Niti Aayog and was on the list of aspirational districts.

The adjoining regions have often witnessed tensions over cattle smuggling and cow vigilantism. The Centre is also planning an interactive camp in Srinagar where information and loans will be given to eligible persons by the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) on September 29.

“This is the first of its kind camp in Srinagar. This will help bolster confidence among people and will be a way to convey the message that the government stands for development without discrimination,” Naqvi said. The foundation stone for the skill training institute in Alwar is expected to be laid by the end of this month. Open to all, the institute will focus on health sciences and have a skill and vocational training segment.

To decide on the kind of courses and facilities that will shape the institute, Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) has initiated a study to put together a project report. Also, its proximity to Delhi makes the institute viable in terms of access to students aspiring for education in health sciences. From the skills perspective, the institute can feed a lot of automobile industries in the region, an official said.

Noting that there was a vital gap in affordable and quality school education, especially for children from minority communities, a high level committee under MAEF had last year made recommendations to improve education facilities. It was recommended that five national level institutes be set up for specialised education in the fields of science and technology; health and allied sciences; architecture, planing and design; climate change and disaster management; and renewable energy and food security.