Migrant Workers From India Get Help

The Indian Government, through the Ministry of Overseas Affairs is making efforts to persuade the many thousand migrant workers to save for their return home. Rather than send home their earnings, the ministry is suggesting that their earnings can be used to enhance their lifestyles upon their inevitable return.

Just in the Gulf region alone there are over five million Indian nationals on temporary employment or contract visas. These people are mostly employed in construction, in medical care facilities and as domestic helpers. These migrants and their compatriots worldwide were able to transfer money to India in the amount of $64 billion USD during calendar year 2011. This huge amount of money makes Indians the largest receivers of remitted money in the world; some 30 % of this money comes from the Gulf. The government realizes that the bulk of this money ends up being spent by wives, parents and children, with only a very small amount going to savings.

When migrants transfer money to India, they know that upon their return, the improved and enhanced lifestyle of their dependents will drop. The government expects that the new financial saving’s plan will help workers help themselves upon their return home.

The program that the Ministry is implementing is starting in the Gulf region, with the plan launch to be in the United Arab Emirates. The program is being targeted at workers aged 18 to 50. Workers who participate in the program eventually will benefit from a pension which varies based on their savings while working overseas. The plan also provides for a resettlement savings benefit and free life insurance funded by the Ministry. In the event of the worker’s death while abroad, the beneficiary would receive the rupee equivalent of $1,350 and if the worker was permanently partially disabled, the subscriber would receive half that.

The premiums for this pension/insurance are pegged very low in hopes of attracting the maximum number of participants in the scheme. The plan pays 3,000 rupees from the ministry each year to women who contribute 5,000 rupees and 2,000 rupees for men. This benefit continues for five years as long as the worker remains in the Gulf region.

The plan is made simple on purpose. Most Indian migrant workers are nearly illiterate and any plan that would expect them to understand finance is being avoided. The government is attempting to educate these workers on the need to save rather than simply send money home without accountability. The government is conducting seminars in India where an attempt is being made to educate the recipients of a money transfer to India just how hard their husband or brother works, and the sacrifices he is making.

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