NRI Welfare Fund to become a reality soon
New Delhi, June 25: Indian workers abroad may soon expect a helping hand while in distress as the Overseas Indian Affairs (OIA) Ministry has finalised a proposal to set up an NRI Welfare Fund, a long-standing demand of expatriates in the Gulf countries.
The Fund is essentially meant to help Indian workers while in distress in their host countries due to loss of employment and health problems.
It also seeks to extend help to such workers while returning to their home state in India.
The Scheme has already been drawn up by the OIA Ministry under the initiative of Minister Vayalar Ravi, who had realised the urgent need for a welfare scheme after seeing for himself the condition of Indian workers in many host countries.
Official sources said the scheme would soon come up for consideration before the Union Cabinet.
OIA ministry sources said the massive scheme would have an initial corpus of Rs 150 crore which will be mobilised from different sources.
Sources said the ministry was considering more areas where the NRIs in distress could be extended help from the Fund.
The Welfare Fund will be managed by a trust which will be modeled on the existing Employees Provident Fund (EPF). The trust would be headed by a top ranking official from the Centre. It would also have representatives from the states with predominant NRI population.
A major source of contribution to the Fund will be a share from the fee collected at the time of giving Emigration clearance to Indian workers taking up the jobs abroad.
The scheme will benefit most of the unskilled Indian workers in the Gulf region.
Sources said the Fund would assist the Gulf returnees to set up Self Help Groups (SGHs) and launch productive ventures.