The Modi government has finalised the country’s first rehabilitation policy for over 1 lakh Tibetan refugees in the country, explicitly giving them access to welfare schemes and subsidies on a par with Indians. The new policy will make it quicker for Tibetan refugees to get identity documents.
The policy — that is yet to be made public — was shared with the Central Tibetan Administration — the Tibetan government in exile the runs out of Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamshala — last month.
Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju recently chaired a workshop attended by Tibetan administration officials and several states to explain the features of the new policy.
Sources told HT that the policy required state governments to sign a 20-year lease agreement with Tibetan rehabilitation bodies for the land given to them, give them the right to decide the purpose for which the land would be used, extend all subsidies and schemes at par with citizens and devise special subsidies to give them access to professional courses and fast track clearances for identity documents that serve as their passports.
A government official rejected suggestions that the policy had anything to do with sending a message to China but suggested Delhi wouldn’t really lose sleep if it did irk Beijing.
The new policy comes just months after the home Ministry declared that the rehabilitation of Tibetan refugees was almost complete.
The home ministry has spent `18.81 crore on their rehabilitation when thousands of Tibetans followed His Holiness, the Dalai Lama to India in 1959.
There are nearly 1.1 lakh Tibetans living in 45 settlements in 10 states including Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Delhi. Many others live outside the settlements.