Keeping "past experience" in mind, a new package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants is being "carefully" finalised in consultation with the state government and the representatives of the displaced people, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today.
He noted that the Centre had earmarked Rs 500 crore in this year's budget for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants but a revised proposal had been subsequently received from the state government envisaging financial implication of Rs 5,820 crore.
Responding to a calling attention motion, Singh asserted that the government will not rest till it ensures return and rehabilitation of the Kashmiri migrants and wanted Parliament to adopt a resolution to endorse this commitment. "Whenever we make a commitment, we do so after giving a full thought and strong conviction. Whether is Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Parsi, no one will be a refugee in his own land," the Home Minister said.
While referring to the provision of Rs 500 crore for the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants, he said, revised proposal with financial implication of Rs 5,820 crore has since been received from the Jammu and Kashmir government, envisaging upward revision of the existing PM's package of 2008. "In view of the past experience, it has been felt that the new package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants should be carefully finalised in consultation with the state government and the representatives of the migrants. Our government has already started the process of drawing the contours of the scheme," Singh said. He, however, did not elaborate on his contention about the "past experience".
At present, a total of 60,452 families of Kashmiri migrants are registered in the country, of which 38,119 are in Jammu, 19,338 in Delhi and 1,995 in other states. The Home Minister rejected any link between participation of Kashmiri Pandits in the controversial Kausar Nag Yatra and their rehabilitation.
Government has announced various packages, from time to time, for Kashmiri migrants, the Home Minister said, adding at present, the Prime Minister's package amounting to Rs 1,618.40 crore announced in 2008 is being implemented.
The package provides for financial assistance for purchase or construction or repair of houses in the Valley,construction of transit accommodations in the Valley, scholarship to students, government jobs to migrant youth, assistance for self-employment, assistance for agriculture and horticulture, waiver of interest on unpaid loan etc, he said. "The review of the rehabilitation plans and packages announced for the return of Kashmiri migrants is a continuous process," he said.
Singh said Parliament should pass a unanimous resolution that it was committed for the return of the Kashmiri migrants, making it clear "we will not rest till we don't rehabilitate them." He was responding to a calling attention by K Kavitha (TRS), Anurag Thakur, Sanjay Jaiswal (both BJP) and B Mahtab (BJD) regarding decision to disallowing Kausar Nag Yatra in South Kashmir.
A highlight of the calling attention was that BJP veteran LK Advani too participated, perhaps for the first time in this Lok Sabha, seeking implementation of the recommendations of an earlier Standing Committee during the earlier UPA rule on the issue of Kashmiri Pandits. "As far as the government's plan for return and rehabilitation of the Kashmiri migrants to the Kashmir Valley is concerned, it will not be affected by the recent incident of 'Kausar Nag'," the Home Minister said.
The issue of Kausar Nag yatra had led to a major controversy between the Jammu-based groups and Kashmiri Migrant Committee but it has subsided for the time being, he said.