Sunday, 16 September 2012

Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana

An estimated 5 million Indian Nationals with ECR (Emigration Check Required) passports are working on temporary employment/contract visas in the Gulf Countries. It is observed that a majority of the earnings periodically remitted by overseas Indian workers to their families in India are rarely accumulated as savings and often cause only a temporary improvement in the consumption expenditure of their families. As a result majority of overseas Indian workers face the risk of poverty when they return to India and when they are too old to work. Overseas Indian workers are largely excluded from formal social security benefits available to residents of ECR countries.2

India received over USD 66.13 billion in remittances in the year 2011-12 as compared to USD 55.62 billion in the previous, a hike of 19 per cent. The remittances to the country through private transfer of funds have been on the rise in the last few years. Remittances from Gulf countries accounted for an average 27 per cent of the total remittances to India (RBI study). 

The Scheme
In the above context the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), has introduced a special social security scheme named Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY) for overseas India workers in ECR Countries, in May 2012. [Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced the scheme during the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Jaipur in January 2012, fulfilling a long-standing demand of the over five million workers, especially those in the Gulf]. The voluntary scheme aims to encourage and enable the workers to meet their three major needs: 

1. Pension in Old Age: will helps them to save for their pension in old age through NPS-Lite (National Pension Scheme). While a worker save between Rs.1000 to Rs.12000 in his/her pension account they will get a co-contribution of Rs.1000 in case of male and Rs.2000 in case of female in the NPS-Lite account from Ministry.Old age savings will be managed by credible public sector pension funds. 

2. Return and Resettlement (R&R ) SavingTo address the immediate monitory need of the worker on his return back to India, the scheme provides an option in the form of R&R saving. The scheme will help to save money over a period of time to cover the resettlement expenses in the short term. While the worker invest Rs.4000 in this scheme they will also get a Ministry co-contribution of Rs.900 in their R&R account.

3. Insurance Cover: An overseas Indian worker enrolled in this scheme would be provided with a free cost life insurance cover applicable as long as they are working in ECR country.

Ministry’s Co-contribution to MGPSY: If a worker contribute Rs.5000 per year, then the Ministry’s Co-contribution will be Rs.3000 in case of female worker and Rs.2000 in case of male worker for the whole scheme. This co-contribution will be applicable for a minimum period of 5 years or for the period of employment whichever is earlier. The workers would get a minimum of Rs 33,000 on their return, 

Eligibility: Overseas Indian workers with ECR passports and aged between 18 and 50 years on an employment/contract visa are eligible to join the scheme. 
- Eligible workers can open an MGPSY account at designated offices (Protector Of Emigrants office) in India. For eg: the Ministry has opened some enrolment centres in Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram. 
- Special help desks located at the authorized offices in ECR countries. 
- The Ministry is shortly going to start Pravasi Suraksha Yojana enrolment centers starting with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


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