New scheme to support overseas Indian workers



New Delhi: In a major initiative to support overseas Indian workers, Government will soon launch a scheme to provide them resettlement expenses, insurance cover and pension benefits on their return to the country.

Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said the diaspora community has been contributing significantly to India's economy by sending billion of dollars in remittances and government is launching the scheme to support them on their return to the country.

"We are very soon going to launch a scheme which would provide for resettlement expenses, insurance cover and pension provisions for emigrant Indian workers," he said addressing the fourth consultative meeting with state governments on issues relating to overseas Indian workers.

"When the migrant worker returns to India, he is older and he has to start economic activity to support himself and his family. That is to support the workers, we have decided to launch the scheme," he said. However, he did not elaborate on details of the scheme.

Seeking support of the state governments in further cementing ties with the diaspora community, Ravi said his ministry was working sincerely to deepen the engagement with around 27 million overseas Indians.

He appreciated various states for appointing nodal civil and police officials to offer solutions to problems related to properties and other issues being faced by the Overseas Indians hailing from their respective states and asked the other states to follow the same.

"I am particularly concerned about the Overseas Indian workers working in the Gulf region. Their total number is over 7.5 million. They migrate for economic reasons and send back remittances. We will have to support them on their return," he said.

Noting that Indian workers often face difficulties in Gulf countries as their contract conditions are changed by their foreign employer, Ravi said government has finalised a web-based attestation system of employment contracts for workers in the UAE.

"In order to overcome this problem, we are initiating with the UAE Ministry of Labour a web-based attestation system of employment contracts in the Indian missions at Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This procedure would help us enforce the contracts conditions," he said.

"We have directed the Indian missions in other countries of the region to establish similar process to attest the employment contracts," he said.

Ravi said government would soon transform the emigration mechanism and to bring the changes the Emigration Management Bill will be tabled in Parliament soon.

The proposed legislation will provide for greater transparency, better regulation and deterrent punishment to the offenders. He said with one year, the entire migration process would be made online.

"Within 52 weeks, we would be able to provide a common electronic platform for all the concerned in the process of migration. This system would link the e-passport system and even the Indian missions abroad to provide a seamless service of migration clearance to the Indian workers going abroad," he said.

He said in view of large number of people from Northeast migrating abroad, government has decided to open an office of protector of emigrant (PoE) in Guwahati. Two other such offices will come up in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

The Minister said his Ministry is also pursuing a framework agreement called Human Resource Mobility Partnership with several developed countries to ensure seamless migration of Indian workers.

PTI