West Bengal State government announced to frame Tibetan Refugee Rehabilitation policy by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on 1 September last year. Though the policy has yet to be framed, the state government had decided to include the Tibetans in the list of beneficiaries of MNREGA, NRHM, PDS, and extension of loan facilities by the nationalised banks.
According to the report in TheStatesman, there are around hundred thousand Tibetans settled in 10 states in India. There are around 30,000 Tibetans staying in West Bengal alone. The draft guidelines of the rehabilitation policy framed by the state government said it will provide subsidies for education of Tibetan children in schools and Universities in the state.
Besides, it also says that special subsidy will be provided to Tibetan students who are pursuing professional courses like engineering, medical science etc. The state government will also provide special permission and separate land to the Tibetan refugees to run Tibetan bazaars, where they can trade Tibetan artifacts, handlooms and handicrafts.
The draft guidelines also mention that the state government would extend financial grant-in-aid to the Tibetan Co-operative societies and make them self-sustainable. The state government will also sign land lease agreement with the Central Tibetan Relief Committee (CTRC) so that Tibetans can get land rights. The CTRC will decide which portions of land are to be used for agriculture and commercial use.
The rent tenancy certificate will be issued by the state government and the government will collect the revenue fee from the local settlement officer of the Tibetan settlement. Officials, however, added that a meeting is scheduled to be convened in January to discuss how the policy can be implemented for the Tibetans.
This is a very strong support from the West Bengal government headed by Mamata Banerjee for the Tibetans in the state. Since the policy that is as guided has not yet been framed and implemented, it is still a long distant benefit. We hope the government fastens its pace in framing the policy so that the Tibetans can sustain well in the state.