Govt looking at Relief-Rehab policy for displaced persons: Patil

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New Delhi, Mar 24 (UNI) Home Minister Shivraj Patil today said the government is considering a Relief and Rehabilitation policy for people displaced by natural or man-made disasters, developmental intervention and conflict in the country.

''The government is actively considering as how to provide relief to the affected people and resettle them,'' Mr Patil said in his address at the inaugural session of NHRC's two-day conference on 'Displaced Persons'.

He said the policies made so far only addressed the compensation aspect and not rehabilitation providing ''better facilities''.

''We have to ensure that these people have to be given better rehabilitation options than they already have... must have a policy by which the money they get is utilised properly and not wasted.

land for Land policy cannot be adopted across the board,'' he added.

Terming the National Disaster Management policy as the most ''important law in the recent times'', the Home Minister called for adopting a ''holistic approach'' in implementing it.

He sought participation of state governments, NGOs and individuals in mitigating the suffering of displaced persons.

''The Central Committee is headed by the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers are heads of State level committees but unfortunately work is not happening there for the implementation of the policy,'' he added.

''Not only Centre or State Governments but NGOs, individuals and members of the judiciary can join in this initiative,'' he said.

About the Land Acquisition Act, he said it was the most ''developed law'' and Supreme Court and High Court orders pertaining to it had also become part of the law.

Listing out the Commission's objectives for the Conference, NHRC Chairperson S Rajendra Babu said an attempt has been made to bring various stakeholders on the same platform to discuss human rights issues related to displacement in a holistic manner, particularly to suggest legislative and other changes in handling such issues.

''To protect basic human rights of displaced persons, that human rights guarantees for such persons must be incorporated in appropriate legislation. The basic principles and norms among others on which implemented policies and plans are decided, should also be part of legislation,'' he added.

''In recent times, our country has been witnessing an ever-widening gulf between individuals who have benefited from economic growth and the vast group of others who seem to have been left out of the process.... Displacement of people from their natural habitat resulting in loss of source of livelihood is a manifestation of this ever-widening gulf,'' Justice Rajendra Babu said.

Displacement on account of development interventions has led to a lot of controversies and violence in a number of states, including West Bengal, Orissa and Goa in the past one year, he added.

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