MHA’s wide ranging directions to J&K Govt on West Pak refugees

MHA’s wide ranging directions to J&K Govt on West Pak refugees

17 September 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued wide ranging requests-directions to Jammu and Kashmir Government to address long pending problems-grievances of West Pakistan refugees, who have been denied state subject rights here in view of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which barred ‘outsiders’ from owning property, applying for State Government jobs or vote in the elections excepting Parliament polls. 'The State Government has been requested to intimate actions taken by them on various observations made by the Supreme Court in its judgment, which had suggested that the Government may amend the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of People Act (RPA) and Village Panchayat Act (VPA) to enable the West Pakistan refugees to qualify for inclusion in electoral rolls of the State Assembly and Panchayats’’, an official letter of the MHA said. It added 'the State Government has been suitably advised in the matter (regarding grant of voting rights to West Pakistan refugees in Assembly and Panchayats and allow them to contest these elections) and had been requested to intimate the action taken in this regard’’. On providing employment opportunities to West Pakistan refugees in the State Government to which they were not entitled so far as they were not treated as permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir, the MHA said this can be possible only if the Government made amendments in Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, which rendered a person, who is not a hereditary state subject, for appointment to any service under the State Government. The Central Government order said the State Government has been suitably advised on the subject. 'The West Pakistan refugees can also set up Small Scale Industries either from their own financial resources or by availing loans from banks without collateral security or third party guarantee under the Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme. The official letter said the West Pakistan refugees can also apply for the Central Government jobs with age relaxation, which was applicable to residents of Jammu and Kashmir till December 31, 2013. Responding to a petition filed by BJP MP from Punjab in Rajya Sabha, Avinash Rai Khanna before the Rajya Sabha Chairman, the Union Home Ministry has said 46,466 kanals (5808.25 acres) of State- Evacuee Property land has been retained by the refugees. The MHA observed that a proposal to allow the West Pakistan refugees to repair their houses, which have been constructed on Evacuee Property land was already under consideration of the State Government. Pointing out that 5764 families of West Pakistan refugees of 1947 had landed in Jammu province after partition of the country in 1947, the Government of India said the Supreme Court of India has already maintained that executive orders could be issued by the State Government for making eligible the children-grand children of the West Pakistan refugees for admission in educational institutions in Jammu and Kashmir and for this purpose there was no need to enact any legislation. 'For facilitating admission of children-grand children of West Pakistan refugees in technical educational institutions, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) had already issue separate guidelines, which provided for extensions in date of admission by about 30 days, relaxation in cut off percentage up to 10 per cent subject to minimum eligibility requirement, waiving of domicile requirement, permission to implement up to maximum 1 per cent supernumerary increase in intake to admit students of West Pakistan refugees and facilitation of migrations in second and subsequent years’’, the official order said. It added 'the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has been advised to take up the matter with the banks and other financial institutions operating in the State, which were enlisted as Member Lending Institutions for providing coverage under the Credit Guarantee Scheme to the West Pakistan refugees. 'Under the Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme (CGFS) for Micro and Small Enterprises, collateral and third party guarantee free credit is available to SSIs and Small Scale Service and Business Enterprises. The eligible credit facility under CGFS could be provided to refugees from West Pakistan settled in Jammu and Kashmir provided that credit was sanctions by the Member Landing Institutions such as J&K Bank Limited, J&K Development Finance Corporation Limited, Jammu and Kashmir Grameen Bank and Public Sector Banks, enlisted as MLIs under the Scheme. As per the available information, the State Bank of India (SBI) has sanctioned 70 loan cases during 2011-12’’. The MHA said the State Government has reported that provision of basic civic amenities in the areas of habitation of West Pakistan refugees was under their consideration. 'As far as Scheduled Castes among the West Pakistan refugees settled in J&K were concerned, they can’t avail the reserved quota in the State Government jobs in the absence of SC certificates. They can’t avail benefits under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes implemented in the State’’, the MHA admitted but said 'the State Government has been advised to cover the refugees from West Pakistan under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes and to issue SC-ST-OBC certificates and BPL card to eligible persons’’. On demand for compensation to West Pakistan refugees, the MHA said 'the West Pakistan refugees settled in India were granted compensation under the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954. This Act has since been repealed. For this purpose, the State Government has been requested to furnish details of Government land and Evacuee Property land, which have been allowed to be retained by the State Government to each refugee family and details of assistance availed by these refugees from the then Ministry of Rehabilitation so that their demand of compensation after six decades of migration to the State could be examined’’.