Tamilnadu government providing financial aid for Christians to visit Jerusalem -2011

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in 2011, announced the State government's financial assistance to Christians to take pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

“In the first phase, 500 Christians belonging to all denominations would get the assistance,” she said while participating in Christmas celebrations organised by her in Chennai.

Recalling her promise made by her last year in this regard while participating in the celebrations in Arumanai in Kanyakumari district, Ms Jayalalithaa said she would also consider other demands of the community.
While seeking support for her government in its effort to spearhead a revolution in agriculture and industry and make the State self-sufficient in electricity production, she made an appeal for upholding the principles of love and sacrifice, giving up vendetta and selfishness.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said she really enjoyed the Christmas celebration, especially carol singing by students of Sacred Heart Matriculation School, Church Park, her alma mater.
“It reminded me the days when I was a student. On many occasions, I also, like the girls, had stood on a platform and had sung carols,” she added.

Ms. Jayalalithaa cut the Christmas cake and Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore diocese A.M. Chinnappa fed her with the first piece. Both the Chief Minister and the Bishop re-enacted the scene on a request from the photographers.
“Thanks to photographers I got the opportunity to be fed by the Bishop twice,” she said.
The Archbishop also expressed support for good governance and good schemes of Ms. Jayalalithaa.

Church of South India (CSI) Diocese of Madras Bishop V. Devasahayam said the spirit of Christmas was reflected in all the efforts taken by the Chief Minister in the interest of the State.

Tour package details:


In the G.O first read above Government have sanctioned financial assistance
of Rs.1 Crore for undertaking tour to the land of Jerusalem by all sections of Christian
communities covering 500 Pilgrims (Rs.20,000/- for each pilgrim) during the year

2. Consequent to the above, the Government have constituted the following
committees for the conduct of the pilgrimage:-

To implement policies and directions of the Government in the interest of
Jerusalem Pilgrims with the following composition:-
1. Hon’ble Thiru S.T. Chellapandian, Minister for Labour - Chairman
2. Thiru A. William Rabi Bernard. M.P - Member
3. Thiru. J.C.D. Prabhakar, M.L.A., - Member
4. Arulthanthai M. Arulraj - Member
5. Dr. V. Devasagayam - Member
6. Dr. M. Prakash - Member
7. Thiru. Justin Selvaraj - Member
8. Dr. E.D. Charles - Member
9. Tmt. C. Gunaseeli - Member
10. Thiru P.W.C. Davidar,I.A.S.,
Special Secretary to Government ,Higher Education Department- Member

11. Secretary to Government
Backward Classes, Most Backward Classes and Minorities
Welfare Department.
- Member
12. Principal Secretary to Government, Tourism & Culture
- Member
13. Commissioner of Minorities Welfare - Member–


To scrutinize the applications and select pilgrims, with the following
1) Secretary to Government (Backward Classes, Most Backward Classes and
Minorities Welfare Department) or his nominee.
2) Commissioner of Minorities Welfare
3) An officer nominated by Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Minorities Economic
Development Corporation
4) Thiru Z. Abraham, Under Secretary to Government, Municipal Administration
and Water Supply Department, Secretariat, Chennai -9 and
5) Thiru R.Rubandoss, District Backward Classes and Minorities Welfare Officer,
Tiruvallur District.

To select the Tour Operator under the Chairmanship of Commissioner of
Minorities Welfare with the following members:-
1. Commissioner of Minorities Welfare - Chairman
2. Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development
- Member
3. Deputy Secretary to Government, Finance
Department, Secretariat, Chennai- 9
- Member
3. This apart, the Government have also framed the following guidelines for
providing financial assistance for the implementation of the scheme.

(A) Places to Visit :-
The pilgrimage may mainly covers the following places :-
(i) Bethlehem - Place of Birth
(ii) Jerusalem - Place of Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection
(iii) Nazareth - Place of bringing up
(iv) Jordan river - Place of Baptism
(v) Dead Sea & Fresh Water Lake (Sea of Galilee) - Place of Preaching and
(vi) Several other places connected with Christian faith etc.
The places will be finalized after the selection of Tour operator. In the event of
any International disputes arising, some of the places may be dropped.
(B) Tour period:-
The Tour period will be from 7 to 10 days.
(C) Implementing Agency:-
The Tamil Nadu Minorities Economic Development Corporation Ltd
(TAMCO) will be the implementing agency for this scheme.

(D) Criteria for selection of pilgrims:-
The following criteria will be adopted for selection of the pilgrims:-
(i) Applicant must be Domicile of Tamil Nadu;
(ii) Applicant must be a bonafide Christian;
(iii) Applicant should possess Passport with minimum one year validity;
(iv) Applicant should have no encumbrances for undertaking tour
outside the country at the time of submission of application;
(v) Applicant must be medically fit for Pilgrimage outside the country;
(vi) Applicant should give an undertaking to pay the expenditure over and
above the Govt. assistance, one month prior to the date of departure,
(vii) No age limit be prescribed for the pilgrims, and
(viii) No income ceiling prescribed for the pilgrims

(E) Inviting Applications:-
(i) The Tamil Nadu Minorities Economic Development Corporation (TAMCO)
will publish the advertisement in the News papers inviting
applications from the eligible Christian Pilgrims in Tamil Nadu.
(ii) The applications are to be submitted to the Tamil Nadu Minorities
Economic Development Corporation (TAMCO) along with the following
Documents within the stipulated time:-

a) Transfer Certificate(TC)/Baptism Certificate/ Tahsildar Certificate
(Proof for bonafide Christianity)
b) Family Card, Passport, Driving Licence,Voter ID, PAN Card
or any other proof acceptable to Govt. (Residential Proof)
(F) Mode of Selection:-
(i) The beneficiaries will be selected through computerized draw of LOT
(based on District-wise Christian Population) by the Screening
(ii) Cover system will be considered for Draw. The maximum no. of persons
included in a single application shall be four (4) members which may
include 2 infants with age of 2 years and above;
(iii) Preference will be given to the pilgrims of over 70 years and above with
one companion.
(iv) The selected pilgrim will be required to undertake the tour through
the identified Tour Operator.
(G) Eligibility and Selection of Tour Operator:-
(i) Tamil Nadu Minorities Economic Development Corporation (TAMCO) will
call for applications through advertisement for Expression of Interest (EOI)
from among the Travel Agents in Chennai.
(ii) The Agents who submit the EOI will be shortlisted based on the following

(a) Should have recognition from the International Association of
Travel Agent (IATA) and approval from the Government of India,
Ministry of Tourism.
(b) If the Travel Agent is a Member of International bodies and
Travellers Agents Association of India (TAAI), it will be an added
(iii) The Travel Agent should have a registered Office with minimum 3
years of Standing in the Trade in Tamil Nadu, should provide document
of in-corporation,
(iv) The organization should have conducted such tours with those
professing Christian Practices viz, Baptism, Eucharistic
Celebrations, Mass, Nativity, Via Dolorosa, Holy Sepulcher etc,
since this is essentially a Religious Trip
(v) An interview will be conducted to check about the authenticity and
reliability of the Travel Operator;
(vi) The bid document shall be in 2 parts
(a) Technical Bid and (b) Financial Bid
(H) Release of Financial Assistance:-
The Tamil Nadu Minorities Economic Development Corporation will release
the funds to the Tour Operator after satisfactory completion of Tour.
(By Order of the Governor)



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