Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Saturday launched a scheme to provide monetary assistance of Rs 4,000 each to 13,553 Sri Lankan Tamil refugee families living outside refugee camps to alleviate their difficulties in view of Covid-19. The initiative, being launched for the first time, aims to extend the cash assistance scheme being implemented for rice ration cardholders and the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in government refugee camps and will cost the state exchequer Rs 5.42 crore.
After the Commissionerate of rehabilitation and welfare of non-resident Tamils, Chennai, informed that non-camp Lankan Tamil refugees do not receive any government assistance, and recommended the monetary assistance scheme for them, the Tamil Nadu government came out with an order and allotted Rs 5.42 crore, an official release said. Following this, the chief minister launched the scheme by providing relief to five families today.
Minorities Welfare, Non Resident Tamil Welfare, Refugee and Evacuees minister K S Masthan, chief secretary V Irai Anbu, public (rehabilitation) department secretary D Jagannathan and commissioner of rehabilitation and welfare of Non Resident Tamils, Jacintha Lazarus, were among those present on the occasion. As on June 1, 58,822 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees (18,944 families) have been accommodated in 108 regular refugee camps and in a special camp, which are all run by the government.
About 34,122 refugees (13,553 families) opted to reside outside the camps and they are registered with the police, the Government Order said. Many among the non-camp refugees are poor and eke out a living as water can suppliers, photographers, assistants in service apartments and jobs in the informal sector such as painters and tailors.
Most non-camp refugees live in urban areas by renting out houses and sending their children, mainly to private schools.