Chennai, May 22: The Tamil Nadu government today constituted a seperate welfare board for 'Narikkuravas'(Gypsies) to provide them education, alternative livelihood and various other welfare benefits.
An official release here stated this after an announcement made by Finance Minister K Anbazhagan in the State Budget on March 20 this year.
The Welfare Board would be headed by State backward class minister K K S S R Ramachandran. Backward class and denotified community welfare commissioner would be the member secretary.
The finance, revenue, social welfare, backward class and the most backward class and the minorities welfare secretaries would be members of the committee.
The board would also have ten ex-officio members.
It may be recalled that Chief Minister M Karunanidhi holds the 'Narikkuravas' in high esteem and used to call them 'Nerikkuravas' meaning men of honour and principles and with a view of helping them abandon their nomadic lifestyle and settle down at one place, he opened 140 houses for them in Devarayaneri in Thiruverumbur block in Trichy district on March 13 1975.
However, even today, Narikkuravas are continuing to lead a nomadic life and as a result, the fruit of many welfare programmes of the government are eluding them, the release added.