Cabinet Includes 5,300 PoK Displaced Families in Its 2016 Resettlement Package

Union minister Prakash Javedkar said that a ‘historical wrong’ had been corrected by the Modi government

Jaipur: The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved the inclusion of 5,300 families, who had been displaced from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and initially settled outside Jammu and Kashmir before being relocated to the region, in the one-time financial assistance package worth Rs 5.5 lakh announced by the Modi government in 2016.

Union minister Prakash Javadekar while making the announcement said, “A historical wrong has been corrected by the [Modi] government. These families couldn’t be included in the package initially since they had settled outside Jammu and Kashmir.”

The minister also added that the move would be appreciated in the Kashmir Valley.

Union minister Jitendra Singh thanked Prime Minister Modi for “another major breakthrough for Jammu and Kashmir.”

The financial aid is in connection with the resettlement package that was approved by the cabinet on November 30, 2016, for displaced families of Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) and Chhamb under the Prime Minister’s Development Package 2015 for Jammu and Kashmir.

At that time, a grant of Rs 2,000 crore was approved by the Union cabinet to provide “enhanced financial aid to 36,384 families, who are mostly living in Jammu region after their displacement from PoK post-Independence” but these families were left out of the package.

Accordingly, each of these families was entitled to Rs 5.5 lakh as aid, a senior government official said and added that the cash benefit would be directly transferred to the Aadhar-linked bank accounts of the beneficiaries. The Jammu and Kashmir government would receive a share of Rs 308 per family, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

During the 1947 Pakistani aggression in Jammu and Kashmir and Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971, a total of 36,384 families were displaced, including 26,319 families from PoK which settled in J&K and 10,065 displaced families displaced from the Chhamb-Niabat area.

The additional 5,300 displaced families, who had initially moved out of Jammu and Kashmir, were not included in the approved package in 2016. “The families have suffered on account of wars and hostilities and the resettlement package will enable them to earn a reasonable monthly income,” the statement said.

As per the data available, the Modi government has provided the Rs 5.5 lakh financial assistance to only 175 displaced families. “Based on the authenticated details of the beneficiaries, received from the state government of Jammu and Kashmir, a total of Rs 9.33 crores have been disbursed to 175 beneficiaries through direct benefit transfer during 2016-17,” a document on the scheme available on the Ministry of Home Affairs website read.