Special fund for Indian missions

Special fund for Indian missions

Move to help people in trouble

The Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to set up an Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) to meet contingency expenditure incurred by Indian missions in 18 countries for carrying out various onsite welfare activities.

In a meeting chaired by  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the cabinet decided to back the ICWF by a budgetary support of Rs 480 lakh for three years, in addition to resources generated from charging cess on consular services and donation from the Indian community abroad.

Ambika Soni, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, while briefing the media, said the ICWF would help Indian missions to incur the expense of boarding and lodging of overseas Indians working in households or domestic sectors and unskilled labourers.
The ICWF is also meant for extending emergency medical care to overseas Indians in need, providing air passage to stranded passengers and extending initial legal assistance to deserving cases.

The fund also envisages bearing expenditure on incidentals, for airlifting the dead to India and for the local cremation or burial of the deceased in cases where a sponsor is unable or unwilling to do so as per the contract and the family is unable to meet the cost.

“Overseas Indian workers duped by unscrupulous intermediaries in the host countries, runaway house maids, those who becomes victim of accidents, deserted spouses of overseas Indians or undocumented overseas Indian workers in need of emergency assistance or any other overseas Indian citizens who are in distress would be the main beneficiaries of the fund,” the minister said.

Ninety per cent of the estimated five million Indians working abroad are based in the Gulf countries.

The Indian missions in United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain are among those selected to have the ICWF in the first phase.

While a maximum of Rs 15 lakh worth of fund per annum would be created in seven missions abroad, the 11 others will have the coffer worth Rs five lakh each.

DH News Service

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