Insurance schemes planned for Indian expats
Manama, September 29, 2012
The Indian government is currently reviewing new social insurance schemes for all overseas Indians including those in Gulf countries, the country's top diplomat in Bahrain said.
Indian Ambassador Dr Mohan Kumar said this was announced by top Indian officials during his visit earlier this month to New Delhi for the seventh Heads of Indian Missions (HoMs) conference.
"It is a major concern for us that a large number of Indians working in Gulf countries are not insured," said Dr Kumar.
The diplomat was speaking during the monthly Open House held at the embassy in Adliya.
He said there were "challenges involved" in the implementation of the schemes which is open to all Indian citizens working abroad.
"The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) is working on special schemes for non-resident Indians such as the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana and the Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojana Policy."
During the HoMs forum, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi called upon diplomats to co-operate in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana, which provides overseas Indian workers a pension, a sum for return and resettlement, and life insurance for a period of five years.
The annual conference is organised by the MOIA every year to discuss issues related to protection and welfare of non-resident Indians.
"It is important to create awareness among workers about these insurance schemes. But I would like to say here that no insurance company provides cover in suicide cases."
Based on reported incidents, 36 expatriates have committed suicide since the start of the year, majority of them Indians.
Dr Kumar said the embassy along with social workers formed a task force to provide counselling and deal with distressed workers by visiting them or during medical camps to hear their grievances.
He said another ambitious project discussed during the HoMs meeting was the eMigrate project, which will help put in place a databank on Indians emigrating.
According to the Indian Emigration Act 1983, Emigration Check Required (ECR) categories of passport holders (not completed high school) need to obtain "Emigration Clearance" for travelling to 17 countries.
Under the eMigrate project, all holding ECR passports will be screened and MOIA will be launching the project and integrating it with several Indian ministries that will help put in place a databank on Indians emigrating.
In addition, it will monitor citizens going abroad for jobs, particularly in the blue collar sector.
"Tata Consultancy Services will carry out the eMigrate project that will help check if those leaving the country are covered by insurance schemes," said Dr Kumar.
According to the MOIA, there are approximately 7.5 million semi-skilled and unskilled overseas Indian workers in the GCC countries and Malaysia on temporary employment/ contract visas, predominantly in the construction, healthcare and household services sectors.-TradeArabia News Service