DHARAMSHALA: The Department of Finance, Central Tibetan Administration, organised a press conference today to launch the second Tibetan Refugee Livelihood Support Program (TRLSP). As part of the program, the finance department will provide amounts worth a total of Rs 21 Crores (210 Million) at a minimal 4% interest rate to support livelihood of the most vulnerable, needy, and unbanked members of the Tibetan community.
CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay, Finance Kalon Karma Yeshi and Chief Planning Officer Dr Kunchok Tsundue addressed the press conference, which was held at the Kashag Secretariat. Others at the press conference include Finance Secretary Trinley Gyatso and Chief Resilience Officer Kaydor Aukartsang.
President Dr Lobsang Sangay spoke about the success of the pilot program, which was provided last year to almost 900 Tibetan sweater sellers of which 42% was women. The amount was repaid 100% by February/March of this year, earning the admiration of USAID, the funding agency.
“The fact that the pilot program was repaid by 100% of the beneficiaries is a reflection of the Tibetan people’s innate respect for morality and honesty, as advised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” he said.
“As promised last year during the launch of the pilot program, we are increasing the amount and expanding the beneficiary groups this year as a result of the success of the pilot program,” he announced.
“The total amount for the program is increased to Rs 21 Crores this year. Moreover, three additional beneficiary groups have been included in the program which include those selling trinkets on pavements in tourist destinations, those raising horses and mules for traditional caravan services, and those running taxi services, in addition to sweater sellers,” he said.
“We hope this year too the amounts will be repaid completely and the program will be successful. This will not only help us expand the livelihood support program next year but will also help us secure more funds from aid groups,” he said.
Finance Kalon Karma Yeshi spoke about the implementation process of the program and the importance of following the rules and regulation. He particularly urged the respective settlement officers and regional sweater sellers associations to play a key role in making this program a success.
He also clarified that just because the program is announced, it doesn’t mean that it is available to everyone. He called on the applicants to abide by the eligibility criteria and emphasised the importance of repaying the amounts on time so that the program can continue without obstacles in the future.
Dr Kunchok Tsundue, the Chief Planning Officer of the Central Tibetan Administration, gave a brief introduction of the livelihood support program. He explained that the program was rolled out last year by the finance department following a detailed market research, expert consultations and need analysis of Tibetan sweater sellers.
This year’s TRLSP program will benefit 1525 beneficiaries and their families. The four main groups of beneficiaries were chosen by local Joint liability groups (JLG). The program will provide packages ranging from Rs 1 – 6 Lakhs to 1525 beneficiaries residing within the 45 Tibetan settlements in India. The program will be implemented between June–August 2018.
The program is funded by USAID and is implemented by SARD with cooperation from the Tibet Fund.