Tibetan refugees to be given benefits of welfare schemes

By Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times

SHIMLA, June 02: Half-a-century after the Tibetans-in-exile came to India along with their spiritual head Dalai Lama, the central government is now keen that the state government should extend benefits of public welfare schemes to Tibetan refugees scattered across different states in the country.

As per a letter of the union ministry of home affairs (MHA) dated May 15, the Centre has laid new guidelines for the states in this regard.

Under the new policy, it is mandatory for all the state governments to sign lease documents for the land occupied by the Tibetan refugees. The government policy clarifies that the state government should sign lease agreement with the Central Tibetan Relief Committee and not with individuals.

There are nearly 1.10 lakh Tibetans residing in 45 different settlements located in ten different states. Besides, there is a sizeable number of Tibetans living outside the settlements. The central government wants that the state governments bring about uniformity in extending different benefits to the Tibetan population.

The government has directed the state government to extend the benefits of the central and state-sponsored schemes to the Tibetans.

“It has been observed that there is no uniformity in extension of benefits of central schemes to the Tibetan refugees. Government of India categorically wishes to clarify to the state governments that the Tibetan refugees living inside the settlements and outside are as entitled to all the development schemes of the government of India as any Indian citizen,” reads a letter from MHA.

Tibetans living in India can now avail the benefits of the MGNREGS, Rajiv Awas Yojana, NHRM and the public distribution system. Tibetans can also avail loans from the nationalised banks.

Besides, there is also a proposal for extending scholarship benefits to Tibetan children.

As per the new guidelines, the central government has directed to provide special subsidies to Tibetan children pursuing professional courses. The states have been asked to give special permission for separate land allocations to Tibetans for running ‘Tibetan bazaars’. All the co-operative societies run by the Tibetans will be registered in the state. However, the moot question remains whether the Narendra Modi government would like to adopt the new policy drafted by the previous UPA regime, which was conveyed to the state governments through a letter on May 15, a day before the results of the LS polls were announced. Tibetan Spiritual leader Dalai Lama fled Lhasa in 1959 after the Chinese army marched into the erstwhile capital of Tibet.


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