New Delhi, November 30: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved Rs 2,000 crore development package for refugees coming from Pakistan occupied Kashmir and are living in India. The approval was done today in the backdrop of demonetisation row due to which both the houses of Parliament were not functioning smoothly.
The Union Cabinet today signed the final draft which was prepared by the home ministry explaining the details of the package. Earlier there were reports that Jammu and Kashmir government has identified 36,348 such families who were eligible to get around Rs 5.5 lakh each from the Union Government.
During the partition, it was learned that refugees seeking shelter in India came from Pakistan, mostly from Pakistan occupied Kashmir and settled in different parts of Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts over a period of time. Since then they didn’t have a status of permanent residents.
According to reports, some of the families were displaced during partition in 1947 and others settled there in 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan. The displaced refugees have a right to vote in Lok Sabha polls but not in he Jammu and Kashmir state elections.
An organisation representing the displaced people of PoK had earlier said that the Rs 2,000 crore package must not be seen as final settlement as more Rs 9,200 crore is required to settle all of them.
The Narendra Modi government in January 2015 approved certain concessions for refugees settled in Jammu and Kashmir after looking into their problems. The concessions includes special recruitment drives for induction into paramilitary forces, equal employment opportunities for all and admission for children of refugees in Kendriya Vidyalayas.
On August 15 during his Indendence Day speech Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first time talked about the plight of people of PoK, Gilgit-Balistan and Balochistan and had also raised the issue at an all-party meeting.
Since then the Union Government has maintained that PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan are part of Jammu and Kashmir. There are repors that the government is planning to invite the diaspora from PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan for the next Parvasi Bharatiya Diwas which will be held in Bengaluru.