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Cabinet approves Rs 2K-crore package for refugees from PoK

Cabinet approves Rs 2K-crore package for refugees from PoK

The Centre on Wednesday approved a `2,000- crore development package for the displaced people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) residing in the country.

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the Home Ministry proposal to provide enhanced financial aid to 36,384 families, who are mostly living in Jammu region after being displaced from PoK after Independence.

Each of the beneficiaries’ families will get around `5.5 lakh as aid, a ministry official said. The refugees from West Pakistan, mostly from PoK, are settled in different areas of Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir. However, they are not permanent residents of the State in terms of the State Constitution.

Some of the families were displaced during Partition in 1947, and others during the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan. The displaced people can cast their votes in Lok Sabha polls but are not entitled to vote in the elections to Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.

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The NDA government, in January 2015, had approved certain concessions for the refugees from West Pakistan settled in Jammu and Kashmir after considering the hardships being faced by them. The concessions include special recruitment drives for induction into Central paramilitary forces, equal employment opportunities in the State, admission for the children of refugees in Kendriya Vidyalayas, among others. Meanwhile, India will have a patrol-free, multi-layered smart fence along its borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh by the end of 2017 even as 20 big global firms are undertaking a technical evaluation for the same, Director General of BSF KK Sharma said on Wednesday.

Sharma said the force, after getting sanctions from the Home Ministry, is working to implement a Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System where the security of these two sensitive and difficult terrain borders will shift from the regular troops patrolling system to a quick reaction team pattern where guards strike once they notice a blip of infiltration on their surveillance radars.

“In this regard few pilot projects are already on … two in Jammu and one each in Punjab and Gujarat where we have marshy areas,” the director general said.

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