The government on Wednesday approved a Rs 2,000-crore development package for displaced people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) living in the country.
The Union Cabinet also approved inclusion of 15 new castes and modification in 13 other castes in the Central list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
The Home Ministry's proposal to provide enhanced financial aid to 36,384 families, who are mostly living in Jammu region after their displacement from PoK post Independence, was approved by the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Each of these families will get around Rs 5.5 lakh as aid, a senior official said.
The refugees from West Pakistan, mostly from PoK, settled in different areas of Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts.
However, they are not permanent residents of the state in terms of Jammu and Kashmir 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 not in the elections to Jammu and Kashmir assembly.
Jammu and Kashmir Sharanarthi Action Committee (JKSAC), an organisation representing the displaced people of the PoK has been maintaining that the package should not be seen as final settlement as Rs 9,200 crore was required to settle all of them.
The Modi government had in January 2015 approved certain concessions for the refugees from West Pakistan settled in Jammu and Kashmir after considering the problems being faced by them.
The concessions include special recruitment drives for induction into paramilitary forces, equal employment opportunities in the state, admission for the children of refugees in Kendriya Vidyalayas, among others.
The Union Cabinet today approved inclusion of 15 new castes and modification in 13 other castes in the Central list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
The National Commission of Backward Classes (NCBC) had recommended a total of 28 changes in respect of 8 states --- Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand.
Out of these 28, 15 were new entries, 9 were synonyms or sub-castes of the castes which were already in the list and 4 were corrections.
"The changes will enable the persons belonging to these castes/communities to avail the benefits of reservation in Government services and posts as well as in Central Educational Institutions as per the existing policy," according to an official statement.
They will also become eligible for benefit under the various welfare schemes, scholarships etc. being administered by the Central Government, which are at present available to the persons belonging to the Other Backward Classes, it added.
On the NCBC recommendation, a total of 2479 Entries for inclusion, including its synonyms, sub-castes, etc. in the Central List of OBCs have been notified in 25 States and 6 Union Territories.
The last such notification was issued till September, 2016.
NCBC examines requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in such lists. Its advice is binding upon the Central Government.
Meanwhile, the Centre is already considering to relax the creamy layer norms for the OBC and note in this regard was already under consideration.