The ministry of overseas Indian affair’s social security scheme for overseas Indian workers has come a cropper, with the pilot project in Kerala attracting only 154 subscribers.
Last year in May, the ministry had started the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojna, which targets semi-skilled and unskilled workers who are working in the 17 emigration check required (ECR) countries, to encourage them to save for their old age, to facilitate their return back to India and also be an insurance cover.
The pilot project was started on May 1, 2012 in Kerala, while the enrolment centres were established two months later from July.
In April, when the parliamentary standing committee on external affairs completed its hearings on MOIA’s various schemes, it learnt that the new scheme had only attracted 154 applicants.
“A total of 154 subscribers have been registered in MGPSY during 2012-13, out of which 45 subscribers were found to be eligible to receive Government co-contribution under MGPSY,” the MOIA told the panel.
The “co-contribution” refers to the money to be added by the government on an annual basis, after the subscribers manages to reach a prescribed level of savings. As per the scheme, government will contribute Rs 1,000 for male workers and Rs 2,000 for women workers, if the subscriber saves between Rs 1,000 and Rs 12,000 per year.
Describing themselves as “dismayed” at the low level of response, the committee asked the ministry to “critically analyse the reason for such low registration and huge rejection including lack of publicity and convincing of the prospective beneficiaries and the stringent norms prescribed to avail the benefits under the new scheme.”
In its report tabled recently in parliament, the panel said that the norms of registration should be relaxed to attract maximum number of subscribers and increase the number of enrolment centres.
So far, the enrollment centres are located at protector of emigrant offices and only at a few select branches of the public sector Bank of Baroda.
“The Committee, strongly desire that Ministry should make all possible efforts to make the Overseas Indians aware of the scheme,”said the report.
Further, the ministry has said that in the next phase, the enrolment will start in United Arab Emirates and two other states year itself.
But, the allocation sought by ministry of overseas Indian affair for the project was considered as “inadequate” by the parliamentary committee.