Tuesday, November 30, 2021

J-K: PoK refugee aid stuck in Centre-state tussle

This was the first time that an allocation of Rs 2,000 crore for providing relief was sanctioned without first setting up a State-Centre committee to examine the demands.

Written by Rahul Tripathi |
February 7, 2017 4:52:41 am
Jammu : Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) refugees shouting slogans during a protest for their various demands in Jammu on Tuesday. PTI Photo   (PTI12_20_2016_000138B) Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) refugees shouting slogans during a protest for their various demands in Jammu on Tuesday. (PTI Photo) 

A one-time financial aid approved by the Union cabinet for refugees of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) living in Jammu and Kashmir has run into rough weather. While the Home Ministry wants the money to be transferred through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, the Jammu and Kashmir government has already disbursed Rs 10 crore, assuming that the money will be transferred through the state government.

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The grant of Rs 2,000 crore was approved by the cabinet in November last year to provide “enhanced financial aid to 36,384 families, who are mostly living in Jammu region after their displacement from PoK post Independence.” Each of these families was to get around Rs 5.5 lakh as aid, a senior government official said, adding that they were still waiting for the Mehbooba Mufti government to provide details of the beneficiaries’ bank accounts. The Ministry, which had time till April this year to transfer the money, is yet to even start the process.

Under the scheme, the Centre was to transfer Rs 5,49,692 to each family, while the state government had agreed to pay Rs 308 per family. At this rate, the total cost to the state government comes to Rs 1.12 crore, but it has already spent Rs 10 crore. Meanwhile, the delay in implementation of the scheme has forced the Finance Ministry to cut the grant from Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 500 crore in the recently-announced budget.

This was the first time that an allocation of Rs 2,000 crore for providing relief was sanctioned without first setting up a State-Centre committee to examine the demands. However, BJP and PDP, who are part of the ruling coalition, are vying with each other to take credit for the financial package.

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