May 04, 2012 at 10:49am IST

Pravasi Pension Project launched

KOCHI: Keralites in Gulf countries would benefit from the Pravasi Indian Workers Pension and Life Insurance project, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said. Presiding over the launch of the project here, the Chief Minister said that the Centre has promised to consider Unique ID cards for NRIs also, once the project is successfully completed in the country.
“Majority of Keralites in the Gulf countries are common people who return to Kerala without much investment in hand. They are unable to meet their children’s educational demands, among other needs. The new project will be helpful for such people,” he said. The Chief Minister asked the Centre to ensure that the project benefits more people in future.
Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi inaugurated the project. It will be implemented in a contributory pension model, he said. Those who join the project will get pension after 60. Also they will get rehabilitative aid and accident insurance, said Vayalar Ravi.
As per the project, if the beneficiaries contribute `5,000, the ministry will give `2,000. In the case of women going abroad for domestic work, contributory share from the ministry will be `3,000. The amount will be divided into three, and used for pension, insurance and rehabilitation.
The minister said that various agencies under the government are associating with the new project. The contributory share will be received only as a cheque. Each beneficiary will be given an identity number. Information on each individual will be available using this number. The new initiative, which has been launched as a pilot project, will be supported by financial organisations like the Life Insurance Corporation and Bank of Baroda. The project is being initiated as there are presently none for NRIs, said Ravi.
The ministry has already resorted to different measures to support it. Only those who go abroad with ECR (Emigration Clearance Required) Passports will benefit from the project.
Vayalar Ravi said that the approval for the project was obtained after putting a lot of pressure on the Centre. The decision to implement it came after two years of thorough discussions and deliberations.
The Cabinet approval was given after the Finance Minister was briefed about the importance of the project. Ravi said he had also asked other ministers not to raise objections when the project comes for Cabinet clearance.
Minister K C Joseph, who is in charge of Non-resident Keralites’ Affairs (NORKA), said next year’s Pravasi Indian Diwas should be celebrated in Kochi. Excise Minister K Babu, K E Ismail MP, Hibi Eden MLA, Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry Secretary Parvesh Divan and Oversees Affairs Department Secretary T K Manoj Kumar also spoke. K S Shaji, N N Sathyan and A M Rafeeq, who got clearance for jobs abroad, were issued fund kits during the function.