OIA plans rural micro-financing scheme using NRIs contribution

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New Delhi, Nov 7 (UNI) The Overseas Indian Affairs (OIA) Ministry is working on a scheme to lend micro-financing in rural areas of India by channelising the fund from affluent Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told mediapersons that the scheme would be put before the delegates of the forthcoming Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Delhi during January 7-9 next year.

Saying that he had already discussed the proposed scheme with NRIs during his recent foreign trips, he pointed out that some of them had volunteered to involve themselves in the scheme.

Explaining the salient features of the scheme, he said a group of NRIs could join together and contribute their money to the micro-financing scheme for implementation in their native place in India. Though it was possible to ensure a marginal return for them for the money invested in the scheme, it has an angle of philanthropy too.

''The scheme, if implemented, will generate unparalleled economic activity in rural areas,'' Mr Ravi said, while pointing out that a proper ''institutional method'' had to be put in place.

The scheme, the brain child of Mr Ravi himself, seeks to adopt blocks as the basic unit and to entrust Block Development Officers (BDOs) with the responsibility of implementing the scheme.

Mr Ravi said more discussions were needed for giving a final shape to the scheme. Since the involvement of state governments was envisaged, detailed discussions would have to be held with the state governments.

On his ministry's relentless war against fraudulent NRI marriages, he said India would soon become a signatory to the Hague Convention on International Private Law. The Netherlands had already proposed India for being included as a member of the Convention.

''Once we become a member of the Convention, it will be possible to make the member-countries execute the decrees of Indian courts in the country where the husband, who committed fraud in marriage, lives,'' Mr Ravi said.

Referring to the MoU signed by India with the UAE and Bahrain on labour, he said the chances of Indian workers getting cheated in these countries had narrowed. The UAE government, after signing the MoU, had eliminated the 'sponsor' system. With the role of the sponsor eliminated, any labour agreement is now between the employee and employer, reducing the chances of harassment by the sponsors.

He said the Bahrain government had floated a Manpower Regulatory Authority to ensure the social safety and security of Indian workers. This was done in the wake of India signing an MoU with Bahrain.

UNI

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