A Gulf-based labour welfare organisation has urged the Kerala and central governments to introduce some kind of a pension scheme for those Indians returning to India unexpectedly without much savings.

K.V. Shamsudheen, Chairman of Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, said the body has been demanding such a scheme for a long time but there has been no progress.

Shamsudheen was responding to reports of a large number of Indians in Saudi Arabia reportedly preparing to return home following the country’s nationalisation drive as it plans to reserve 10 per cent jobs for locals, a move which will hit over 3 lakh low and semi-skilled Indian workers especially from Kerala.

“We have been making such a request for a long time and this time the Government must consider it. There are thousands of Gulf returnees struggling to earn a living in all States and the Government is not taking care of them,” Shamsudheen told PTI.

“Indian authorities could request the Saudis that when they send back illegal Indians, they should avoid entry ban so that they can come back to the country legally later. Saudi Arabia wants to legalise employment sector and stop exploitation of workers by sponsors and middle-men. Countries like the UAE have done it long back,” he said.

Also, despite the latest drive, Indians remain the most favoured expatriate workforce in Saudi Arabia.

Shamsudheen also said that Kerala received over Rs 60,000 crore in remittances from non-resident Keralites (NRKs) from all over the world in 2012 which is more than the State’s revenue.

As per the current budget, the State’s revenue was Rs 55,000 crore. In 2011, 2.28 million Keralites were working abroad. Of them, some 570,000 are in Saudi Arabia, according to a report.

(This article was published on April 5, 2013)
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