Malayalis are the among the world’s most explorative people. They have traveled far and wide. 2.2 Million Malayalis are currently working abroad and among them some 90% are in the GCC countries. Though they have made the world their home, they remain Malayalis at heart. Their contribution to the development of the State is invaluable, and it is only fair that the State government must make a contribution in their lives too.
The Left Democratic Front in the state is committed to the welfare of Non Resident Keralites. The state budget of 2017 is a prime indicator of the Government’s earnestness. Rs. 0.61 Billion was allocated to NORKA, Kerala government’s entity for delivering services to Pravasi Malayalis. Another Rs. 0.13 Billion was allocated to Santhwana fund providing emergency compassionate help for pravasis in distress, and Rs. 60 Million was allocated to their welfare fund. Pravasi pension was increased four fold from Rs. 500 to Rs. 2000.
Government is constantly improving the services provided by NoRKA. It exists to redress the grievances of Pravasis abroad and to have a sustainable partnership with them. Currently it provides essential services like Certificate Attestation, 24/7 Toll Free Call Center, Pravasi Legal Aid Cell (PLAC), Pre Departure Orientation, Emergency Repatriation, etc. NoRKA also conducts awareness campaigns to warn people of fraudulent recruiting agencies. As of now we lack an accurate census about the population of Malayali pravasis living abroad, most calculations are based on sample surveys. Government is preparing a database of NRKs. To promote enrollment in the scheme Rs. 50 Million has been allocated in the budget towards an insurance scheme, for people who register with it.
NoRKA ROOTS, licensed by Protector General of Emigrants, is a licensed recruiting agency under NoRKA providing secure recruitment. All recruitment for Nursing and domestic workers will be allowed only through NoRKA-Roots. NoRKA ROOTS provides training and orientation to prospective emigrants. Skill upgradation programme of NoRKA focuses on upgrading the skills of Keralites to meet the challenges in the global employment market. 1200 candidates were trained in 11 courses at 25 ITIs during the period of 2016–17.
NDPREM (Norka Department Project for Return Emigrants) is government’s rehabilitation scheme for Pravasis who have returned back to Kerala. Pravasis who have worked for a minimum of 2 years abroad can benefit from this scheme. NoRKA ROOTS has entered into MoUs with five nationalized banks and these banks will give loans to Pravasis for starting modest enterprises. So far 15374 applications have been received and every month the centre is receiving around 1500 applications. So far this scheme has enabled 1800 enterprises.
NBFC — NoRKA Business Facilitation Centre provides expert knowledge about the investment opportunities in Kerala for pravasis. The budget of 2016 allocated Rs 58 Million for NBFC & market intelligence services of NoRKA.
Making Bonds Stronger
Pravasi Malayalis are an integral constituent of the Malayali society. But they lack a proper representation in the State. So the Government is coming up with a platform for Pravasi Malayalis where they can make their voices heard. Named as the World Kerala Sabha, it will consist of the members of the Kerala Legislative Assembly and nominated representatives of Pravasi Malayalis from various countries. The number of representatives from each country will be based on the population of NRKs there. This platform will meet every year and transform the way government interacts with the Pravasi community. A global cultural festival of Malayalis will be organized every year to promote our culture and language as well. Rs. 65 Million has been allocated in the budget for these initiatives.