The issue of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindu migrants has been going on for more than 25 years and it has proven to be quite strenuous and time-consuming. According to the official figures, as many as 62,000 Kashmiri migrant families were registered with the government out of which 40,000 were registered in Jammu, 20,000 in the national capital and remaining 2,000 in the rest of the country. Below is a list the steps taken by the government of India for the rehabilitation and welfare of the Kashmiri Pandits.
PROVISIONS: In 2004 UPA Govt. came up with Prime Minister’s Package- 5242 two room tenements were constructed in Jammu at four locations. 200 flats were constructed at Sheikhpora in Budgam district (Kashmir Valley) for the migrants.
IMPACT– The number of Kashmiri Pandits availing this facility is not known.
PROVISIONS- In 2008 UPA Govt. announced a Comprehensive package of 1618.40 crores for the following-
- Financial assistance for purchase or construction or repair of houses.
- 505 transit accommodations constructed in Kashmir Valley.
- Cash relief to migrants
- Students scholarship
- Self –Employment
- Assistance to the Agriculturists and the Horticulturist and Waiver of interest on unpaid loans.
- The package is being implemented by the Jammu and Kashmir government and so far only one family has returned to the Valley availing the benefit of Rs 7.5 lakh for construction of house.
- State government jobs have been provided to 1,446 migrant youths and 469 transit accommodations have been constructed in the Kashmir Valley and allotted to the newly appointed migrant employees under the package as per Government of India.
PROVISION- The expenditure incurred by the Government of Jammu & Kashmir is reimbursed by the Government of India under Security Related Expenditure for Return & Rehabilitation (SRE). Since 1989-90, a total of 1579 crore rupees has been provided to the Government of J & K by the Central Government under this head.
IMPACT- The Government has been providing cash relief of ₹1650/- per head per month (maximum Rs. 6600/- per family per month) plus dry ration (9 Kg. Rice, 2 Kg. Atta per person per month and 1 Kg. Sugar per family per month) to eligible 18,250 families living in Jammu.
PROVISION- NDA government, in its first budget of 2014-15, earmarked a fund of Rs. 500 crore for rehabilitation of displaced Kashmiri Pandits. In the Union Budget of 2015-16, Rs 580 crore was allocated for rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.
- Only 280 Cr. was provided leaving 300Cr. rupees unutilized as per an India Today report. Also, there has been no document which provides for the manner of utilization of 280 Cr. rupees.
- On May 28, 2016, the Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Syed Basharat Bukhari informed the J&K Assembly that only two Pandit families have returned to Kashmir so far.
PROVISION- Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a package of over Rs 80,000 crore for the state during his visit to Kashmir Valley in November 2015, of which Rs 5,263 crore was meant for security and welfare of displaced people of the state.
IMPACT- According to a report published on April 27, 2017, 25 per cent of funds from the total package, around Rs 19,000 crore, has been released so far and related works are going on.
PROVISION– According to a report of New Indian Express The PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir has identified 723 kanals of land in Kashmir for setting up 6000 transit accommodations for migrant Kashmiri Pandit with the tentative cost of Rs 374.65 crores for setting up these transit accommodations.
IMPACT– There have been no further developments, at least not on the ground level so far.
PROVISION– The Centre has also asked the state government to fill the 6000 job vacancies earmarked for Kashmiri Pandits.
IMPACT– The sources said that as of January 2017 out of 6000 jobs, 1700 had already been filled and the selection process for the remaining 4300 was being completed.
This article is written by Vivek Rai, a law student at NLU – Punjab.