New measures for the welfare of overseas Indians were announced on Monday by Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi.
Opening the 7th Heads of Indian Missions (HoMs) conference in New Delhi, Ravi announced the revised Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) scheme, which includes the enhancement from 15 to 30 days towards boarding expenses per head by HOMs; payment of penalties in respect of Indian nationals for illegal stay in the host country where prima facie the worker is not at fault; and payment of small fines/penalties for the release of Indian nationals in jail/detention centre.
The scheme also provides support to local Overseas Indian Associations to establish Overseas Indian Community Centres in countries that have populations of overseas Indians exceeding 1,00,000.
Furthermore, support will be given to start and run Overseas Indian Community-based student welfare centres in countries that have more than 20,000 Indian students’ presence.
Ravi called upon the HoMs to bestow special attention to overseas Indians and cooperate on the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana which provides the overseas Indian workers a pension, a sum for return and resettlement and life insurance during the period of five years.
He mentioned that the MOIA has undertaken eMigrate Project with a vision to transform emigration into a simple, transparent, orderly and humane process. The Project is an effort towards strengthening the regime of regular migration from India.
Informing that the Government has given the voting rights to NRIs, Ravi said the Government is also getting the PIO and OCI card scheme merged into one scheme and asked HOMs to suggest how to encourage NRIs to register in large numbers.
The conference is organized by the MOIA every year to discuss the issues related to protection and welfare of Overseas Indian workers.
The conference is being attended by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as well as Jordan, Yemen, Malaysia, the Maldives Angola, Thailand, Nigeria, Iraq and Libya.
There are approximately 7.5 million semi-skilled and unskilled overseas Indian workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Malaysia on temporary employment/ contract visas, predominantly in the construction, healthcare and household services sectors. The MOIA is the nodal Ministry for protection and welfare of Overseas Indian workers.
New measures for welfare of overseas Indians
By: Babu Thomas
Tuesday, 18 September 2012, 0:49 (IST)
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