Nitaqat: Government set to launch rehabilitation scheme

The State Government is all set to launch its rehabilitation scheme for the expatriates returning from Saudi Arabia against the backdrop of the Saudi Government implementing the Nitaqat law.

The rehabilitation package will be discussed by the Cabinet in detail before giving it the final approval.

Minister for Non-resident Keralites Affairs K C Joseph told Express that the rehabilitation scheme would be rolled out within a fortnight and it was in the process of getting finalised.

“The Norka (Non-resident Keralites’ Affairs) Department has already come up with an extensive plan for the rehabilitation. Various State Government Departments will coordinate to implement it. It is being consolidated and INKEL chairman T Balakrishnan has been asked to work on other modalities during the implementation of the rehabilitation scheme,” he said.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who held bilateral talks in Saudi Arabia on Saturday had forewarned all the states, including Kerala, to come up with a viable rehabilitation scheme for those returning from Saudi Arabia.

The relaxation of three months to the Nitaqat law by the Saudi Government will end on July 3.

Noyal Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Norka Department, said that the rehabilitation scheme has been prepared in such a way that it could be linked with the ongoing schemes of various ministries.

“A fund for the rehabilitation will be announced by the State Government once the Cabinet discusses the plan in detail. We are not expecting a mass exodus and the number could be less than 5,000. But we are prepared for the rehabilitation even if the number exceeds it,” he said. Noyal Thomas said that the names of those returning would be added to the list in the labour bank and they would be offered jobs in collaboration with the Labour Department.

“Also, associating with the Social Welfare Department, like that of Kudumbashree units, groups will be formed in every district. These units which will be created in each district consisting of those who return from Saudi Arabia will have seven to 10 members. They will be given adequate help to start new ventures,” he said.

Thomas said Norka is in touch with established NRI groups, which have their presence in Kerala, to provide job opportunities to the Saudi returnees.

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