After a delay of more than a year, an ambitious pension scheme sponsored by the Government of India for Indian workers in the UAE will be officially launched in Dubai next week.
As a local daily reported in July 2012, the pension and life insurance fund, namely, the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY), was launched by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in India. Although the ministry had then announced that it would be officially launched soon in the UAE, it was delayed due to certain technical reasons.
Finally, Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, will formally launch the scheme next Monday at the Indian Consulate premises in Dubai, the consulate announced yesterday.
UAE is the first foreign nation where the scheme is being launched officially, M.K Lokesh, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, said yesterday
The scheme was soft-launched in the UAE a few months ago and workers were being informally enrolled in the scheme.
However the response from the workers was not encouraging, Lokesh said.
“We will devise new means to publicise the scheme among the workers after the official launch,” he said.
The scheme is meant for 5 million overseas Indian workers holding the Emigration Clearance Required (ECR) category passports, and working in 17 foreign countries. India issues ECR passports to those who have not passed matriculation (Grade 10). About 65 per cent of more than two million Indians in the UAE are blue collar workers and most of them are in the ECR category.
The voluntary scheme offering three important benefits will help skilled and unskilled workers between the ages of 18 and 50 to save money for their old age, to have financial means when they go back home and a life insurance cover for Rs100,000 (Dh6,000) during their work abroad.
The Indian Government will provide a contribution of up to Rs2,000 (Dh120) per year for male workers and Rs3,000 (Dh180) per year to women workers for up to either five years or until the worker returns home, whichever is earlier. The proposed contribution shall flow to the individual Pension and Life Insurance (PLIF) account of each eligible subscriber.
The workers have to contribute between Rs1,000 (Dh60) and Rs12,000 (Dh 720) per annum towards the pension fund and Rs4,000 (Dh240) towards the return and resettlement fund. They will derive corresponding benefits when they go back home and during their old age.
The ambassador said the Indian missions are involving IWRC (Indian Workers Resource Centre), a support centre for Indian workers in the UAE, and Bank of Baroda, the official banking partner of the scheme to enrol the workers.
About the role of Indian community organisations, he said, “We have invited them to the ceremony and we will hear from them and what they can do to promote the scheme among workers.”