Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fund sought for Gulf returnees

The Gulf Today, 15 Sep 2009

A UAE-based expatriate organisation has urged the Indian government to constitute a bill on a welfare fund to pay pension and other benefits to low-income segment returnees of Non-Residents Indians (NRI).
The Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust has sent the proposal to the Indian Union Ministry of Overseas Affairs and various state governments for the welfare fund that will benefit low and middle income NRIs.
According to KV Shamsudheen, Chairman of the Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, the Central government of India and state governments should implement a legislation to help NRIs from the respective states, emulating the example of the state of Goa in this regard.
The Goa government had recently drafted a bill for the Non-Resident Goans' Welfare aimed at constituting a welfare fund to pay pension and other benefits to non-resident Indians of Goan origin, when they return and settle permanently in Goa.
"The proposed welfare fund for all Indian expatriates would bring great relief for the low and middle-income group among them. The low-income segment faces a challenging financial situation as they have no resources to continue their present lifestyle when they return to India," said Shamsudheen.
"We request various Indian state governments as well as the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs to constitute a scheme like Provident Fund to safeguard the low and middle income category of NRIs," he said.
According to him, states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Predesh, Rajasthan and Bihar should follow the Goa model for the benefit of the expatriates from those states.
"The Non Resident Goans' Welfare Fund proposes that every non-resident Goan (NRG) member contribute Indian rupees 300 per month. Also, the NRG returnee member who settles permanently in Goa shall contribute 100 rupees to the fund each month," he added.
He explained that the Goan government will also contribute two per cent of the fund annually. NRGs aged between 18 and 55 years were eligible to register as a member of the fund. But a member cannot withdraw from the fund for five years.
"The proposed fund would be used for payment of pension to members who completed 60 years. It would also be used for payment of family pension on the death of a member, provide financial assistance during illness or accident, for marriage or maternity benefit of women members," he said.

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