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India’s aid to settle Sri Lankan Tamils on downslide


India’s financial support to Sri Lanka has reduced in the past two years. The actual support given towards rehabilitation of the internally displaced Tamils in the island nation is lower than that mentioned in the budget, Times of India reported.

In 2016-17, the budget estimate was ‘230 crore towards financial support for Sri Lanka, which includes reconstruction expenses for Tamil refugees, who returned home after the civil war ended. But the revised estimates show that the Centre is likely to transfer only ‘155 crore and in the next financial year, the allocation is estimated at ‘125 crore.

“There are many Tamil refugees, who are returning to Sri Lanka and they need help from India. The money allocated by India will be sanctioned only through its embassy and spent on roads, hospitals, schools or other infrastructure facilities,” a Sri Lankan Tamil minister, seeking anonymity, told TOI.

Sri Lanka needs India’s support as many refugees are ready to return home, said Lanka expert Col R Hariharan. “Though many projects have been completed in North and East, the problems faced by Lankan Tamils is not over. Tamil Nadu must also raise its voice with the Centre for the welfare of refugees in the state,” said Col Hariharan.

Getting refugees to remain in Tamil Nadu is not the long term solution and they must be rehabilitated in their homeland. “Tamil Nadu must also speak about long term projects for Tamils in Lanka and this must also be debated in the assembly,” he said.