Elderly border citizens to get India tours

Elderly border citizens to get India tours

Elderly border citizens to get India tours

In a major policy move, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) will sponsor India-wide excursion tours for senior citizens living in the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh to build strong ties with the people in these areas.

The people of the areas were described by Home Minister Rajnath Singh as "strategic assets".

The paramilitary force has also decided to almost double, to a dozen in a year, the number of such regular educational tours for children living in border areas.

The steps are understood to be undertaken in the backdrop of India's strategy to enhance security on its borders.

Official sources said the  move to take elderly citizens on excursion tours to mainland India, including  New Delhi, was  planned after Singh recently told  the ITBP that they should always keep in mind that the border population living along the Sino-India border were the country's "strategic assets".

Addressing  the troops at their camp in Uttarakhand's Joshimath in September after a forward area tour, Singh had  them ensure that this population is taken care of, as their migration would put India's security at risk.

According to  a blueprint prepared by the force, it is "proposed for the first time that apart from schoolchildren, elderly inhabitants, including senior citizens of the border population, will be the part of future excursion tours by the force."

The force has also decided to earmark fresh funds from its Civic Action Programme (CAP) budget to ensure air tickets for these guests.

CAP  funds are otherwise given by the home ministry to the forces to undertake outreach initiatives for locals in their area of deployment.

Funds for air tickets  are required, officials sources said, as many border villages are located in remote locations and journey by air will cut down the overall travel time.

"With such initiatives, the force has been eyeing to win the hearts and minds of the remote population and to provide them an opportunity to experience the rich social, cultural and historical heritage of the nation," the blueprint said.

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