The Central Government on Tuesday submitted before the Kerala High Court that the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) is being utilised in a proper and effective manner for the welfare of overseas Indians.
It also submitted that the major challenge that the Indian community in Saudi Arabia is facing is the role of middlemen, agents, selfstyled social workers and touts who exploit Indians in distress by operating outside deportation centres and jails.
The statement was filed in response to a petition filed by R Muraleedharan, seeking a directive to frame guidelines for providing initial legal assistance to overseas Indians and better utilisation of the ICWF. In the statement, Adolphus, Protector of Emigrants, Kochi, said that the allegation that the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia is not utilising ICWF properly is baseless.
“The embassy has not rejected any request for ICWF assistance in deserving cases. The Indian Embassy had suggested to the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs for further expansion of the scope of ICWF by providing ex gratia to help families facing serious injuries or accidental death in Saudi Arabia. Two committees regularly monitor all the expenditure from the ICWF. The service of the Indian Embassy is praised by all sections of the society,” he said.
“The suggestion of the petitioner to set apart 10 per cent of the fund for legal assistance is arbitrary and lacks logic. Such budgetary allocation would not help better utilisation of the ICWF. Rather, it would act as a constraint in utilising the fund as require for deserving cases,” he said.