India announces new pension scheme for NRIs

The Pension and Life Insurance Fund (PLIF) for overseas Indian workers, which got the Union Cabinet’s nod on Wednesday, will only be valid for those who take proper immigration clearance before going abroad to work, according to Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vyalar Ravi.

Speaking to the media at the curtain raiser for the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, scheduled to be held in Jaipur from January 7 to 9, Ravi said the PLIF scheme is entirely voluntary for those who want to take it up.

Under the provisions of the scheme, anyone who wishes to save for their resettlement upon their return to India, and old age, the government will co-contribute Rs. 1,000 per annum for all PLIF subscribers who contribute between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 12,000 per year. This would also extend the benefit of a low-cost life insurance to subscribers. Women overseas workers, will be provided an additional co-contribution of Rs. 1000 a year by the government.

The minister also announced that the government was actively engaging with the Gulf nations to stop the practice of employers seizing the passports of Indian workers. “The passport is the property of the government and it should always be in the possession of the workers,” Ravi said. “We have seen some headway in this, and efforts are on to convince them to stop this practice.”

On the issue of NRI voting rights, the minister expressed the hope that the technical issues pertaining to registration of voters in the voters’ list would soon be overcome, paving the way for NRIs with Indian passports to cast their vote in Indian elections. “Since NRI voting rights has already been passed by Parliament and accepted by the Election Commission, it is only a matter of figuring out the ways and means of remotely registering one’s name in the voter’s list of your place of origin,” the minister stated.

Ravi expressed confidence that the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will help foster inclusive growth involving non-resident Indians all over the globe. A separate breakout session has been planned on the final day of the event, where as many as six state chief ministers will make a fervent pitch for involvement and investments in their respective states. “We are creating a platform for NRIs to come, see what all the state governments have to offer, take advantage of the benefits and be involved in the development and growth of India. That is what inclusive growth is all about,” Ravi said.

This year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas has already received more than 1,300 registrations from 54 countries. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be inaugurating the event, while President Pratibha Patil will be giving away the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards on the last day. (Global India Newswire)

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