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Soon after the first refugees started coming to India from Tibet, the Department of Home was established to coordinate the immediate relief assistance for them and to find…
Soon after the first refugees started coming to India from Tibet, the Department of Home was established to coordinate the immediate relief assistance for them and to find a long-term solution for the resettlement of refugees. The resettlement of refugees, however, also involves providing basic amenities and adequate source of livelihood. As a result, towards the end, the Department of Home had established 58 Tibetan settlements in India, Nepal and Bhutan, and the welfare and interests of these settlements are looked after by their respective representative or welfare officers. These settlements are primarily assisted by the Government of India and other voluntary aid organizations. There are a total of 58 settlements, out of which there are 39 major and minor settlements in India, 12 in Nepal and 7 in Bhutan based either on agriculture or agro-industries or handicrafts. Of these, 39 major and minor settlements spread across the length and breadth of the country; 11 settlements are found in the north-eastern part of the country, most of which is concentrated in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim and West Bengal. The present study discusses the socio-economic status of the Choephelling Tibetan settlement in Miao, Arunachal Pradesh, established in 1975. As per the 2008–2009 annual report, the current population is 2,816. The major source of livelihood for the settlers is farming. Alternatively, some of the settlers have also started carpet weaving as an alternate source of income. However, one of the greatest problems in the settlements is that the population is rapidly growing, due to the number of births in the community and the steady streams of new refugees, which has increased since 1980 when travel restrictions from Tibet became more relaxed. This has put a strain on the already fragile economy and infrastructure of the settlements, and the housing, sanitation, health clinics, schools and other facilities are no longer equipped to deal with the number of people in the settlements. This study attempts to address and discuss some of the major socio-economic issues faced by the settlers.