Centre to make WP, PoJK refugees’ relief time bound

MHA to issue SOP, modalities soon

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Aug 8: The Central Government planned to make time bound the disbursement of financial package for West Pakistani and remaining Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK) refugees in view of delay in disbursement of relief by the State Government to just 37,819 families of PoJK and Chhamb migrants as the task couldn’t be completed even after more than one and a half year of the formal sanction.
Official sources told the Excelsior that previous PDP-BJP coalition Government took very long time in completion of formalities and disbursement of relief to 26,319 PoJK refugee families, who had settled here in 1947, and 10,500 Chhamb migrant families, who had migrated in 1965 and 1971, a result of which the Central Government was forced to extend the Scheme till 2020, which was otherwise scheduled to be completed in 2018. However, the process has been expedited by the administration after imposition of Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir.
“To ensure that the package for 5764 families of West Pakistani refugees, who will also be provided Rs 5.5 lakh per family at par with PoJK refugees and Chhamb migrants, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, which has approved all these packages, has decided to make them time-bound to ensure that the State administration meets the deadline,” sources said.
They added that a formal announcement for making cases of the refugees time-bound was expected to be made shortly in consultations with the State administration, which too reportedly was in favour of the idea as it would keep the Nodal Officers on toes. It may be mentioned here that the State administration had to finalize the cases and forward them to the MHA, which directly transfer the amount to accounts of the beneficiaries under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme.
Exact period of time-bound for disbursement of relief was likely to be announced by the Central Government in next couple of days. However, it could be between six to eight months as the Government wants to ensure that maximum refugees are benefited by the schemes well before next year’s Lok Sabha elections in April-May.
The Centre Government had in November 2016 announced Rs 2000 crore worth package for 26,319 families of PoJK refugees and 10,500 Chhamb migrants with Rs 5.5 lakh to be paid to each family.  However, even after lapse of one and a half year, not even 50 per cent PoJK and Chhamb refugees could be disbursed the amount due to slow pace in completion of the formalities.
The process to disburse Rs 5.5 lakh per family to 5764 West Pakistani refugee families was yet to start though the package was announced by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his visit to Jammu and Kashmir on June 7 and 8 and the scheme was formally notified on June 13.
“The administration was engaged in working out Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and modalities for identifying the West Pakistani refugees including the documents they were required to submit in support of their claim for being a refugee,” sources said, adding that it was in this context also that the Centre would make the scheme time bound to ensure that the refugees are benefited without much delay.
There are a total of 26,319 PoJK and 5764 West Pakistani refugee families and 10,500 Chhamb migrants, all of whom have been sanctioned Rs 5.5 lakh relief per family by the Central Government. The relief scheme for PoJK and Chhamb refugees, which was announced in November 2016, had to be extended till 2020 as it was due to expire this year and large number of families were yet to get the relief.
Sources said the Centre was confident that by making completion of formalities and disbursement of relief time-bound, the process of payment would be expedited by the administration. Moreover, the beneficiaries will also complete their formalities expeditiously.
Sources said the problems have cropped up in certain cases as Aadhaar and related data was not tallying and the Government wants to be fully sure before disbursement of relief to ensure that it was paid to genuine persons only.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on November 7, 2015 announced Rs 80,068 crore worth package for Jammu and Kashmir named Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) and Rs 2000 crore were reserved for payment of relief to PoJK and Chhamb refugees. However, a formal order of approval of Rs 2000 crore package for PoJK and Chhamb refugees was issued by the Union Home Ministry in November 2016.