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Kerala allocates Rs 150 cr for NRK schemes

Thomas Isaac

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 31 (UITV/IANS) - Various schemes to the tune of Rs 150 crore to benefit the diaspora community of the state were announced in the Kerala Budget 2019-20 here on Thursday.

Presenting the budget in the Assembly Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said the biggest allocation of Rs 81 crore was for the various programmes of the Loka Kerala Sabha (LKS) .

He said that starting in the new fiscal, the bodies of Keralites who die in various Middle East countries will be brought free to their homes.

The LKS was formed in 2018 by the Pinarayi Vijayan government when 351 members, including 141 legislators, parliament members from the state and some 130 selected representatives of Kerala-based organisations from within and outside the country, got under one roof to discuss the issues of the Kerala diaspora.

"Rs 25 crore has been set aside for the Santhwanam Scheme wherein the returned diaspora member who earn less than a lakh annually will be given assistance in case of emergencies.

"Rs 15 crore has been set aside to provide for interest and capital subsidies to be given to those returned diaspora members who begin independent ventures.

"Rs 5 crore has been set aside to meet the expenses of various diaspora festivals to be held outside India," said Isaac in his speech.

The Minister announced a 'Pravasi Dividend Pension Scheme' that will provide a regular monthly pension of Rs 2,000 to all Non-Resident Keralites (NRK) on a onetime payment of Rs 5 lakh.

The monthly pension payment will begin after five years of joining the scheme and those who wish to avail a higher pension could pay in multiples of Rs five lakhs.

Issac also set aside Rs 15 crore for rehabilitation programmes of returned diaspora and another Rs 9 crore for the NRK Welfare Fund.

According to a study there are 2.1 million migrants from Kerala across the world whose estimated total annual remittances to the state have been found to be Rs 85,092 crore.

Of these close to 90 per cent are in various Middle East countries.

It has also been estimated that there are around one million NRK who have returned to the state.