Submitted by alvin on Wed, 2017-03-15 19:05 Bengaluru: Christian community which amounts to four per cent (28 lakh) of the state’s total population is elated with Rs 175 crore earmarked for the welfare of the community in this year’s budget. Community leaders who welcomed the move urged the state government to set up Christian Development Board on the lines of Wakf Board. Besides, they also want to the community members to be allowed to visit the Holy Land in Jerusalem. Besides, the community hopes to utilise the fund to inculcate skill development among youths in the community, training them for civil services exam. Ivan Dsouza, MLC and chief whip of Legislative Council welcoming the move said "We had a demand an estimation of Rs 300 crore and a separate Christian Development Board and corporation to deliver the better service. However, the government has allocated Rs 175 crore and we are satisfied," he said. Ivan Dsouza He further said that, "Earlier funds were utilised for various development work in the community including setting up institutes or renovation of churches. But this year, we will take up the maintenance of graveyards, which are a part of the church along with training youth in various skills," he added. Besides, “We want the community members to be allowed to go on Holy Land trip – akin to pilgrimage to Haj – as is followed in Andhra Pradesh,” he added. Welcoming the move Dr Seema Fernandes, Vice-chairman of KPCC minority cell said “It is a great move by the chief minister to support the community. This will help us to chalk out welfare programmes for the community.” Dr Seema Fernandes Roy Castelino, former president of Konkani Sahitya Academy and a prominent Christian leader from Mangaluru lauded the chief minister for earmarking funds for the welfare of the community. Roy Castelino "It shows his concern for the community. Although the community is smaller in number, the service rendered towards society is commendable and deserves more assistance. The allotted funds are not sufficient and we hope for more in the coming days,” he said.