Indian professionals pay “huge amounts” as social security contributions in the United States but are unable to draw any benefits on the basis of such contributions, Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said on Thursday at a meeting with his United States counterpart Hilda Solis.

Mr. Kharge echoed the comments made last month by Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Sachin Pilot. Speaking at a gathering of business leaders here, Mr. Pilot said Indian companies operating in the U.S. make “contributions to social security that they never see at any point.”

Following two meetings during an employment-focussed summit here, Mr. Kharge told Ms. Solis that Indian professionals were not allowed to stay long enough to qualify to receive the benefits of social security contributions. It would be mutually beneficial to work out a suitable reciprocal arrangement to “avoid the hardship of double payment of social security,” he pointed out.

In an indication of growing concern within the Indian establishment about the situation Indian entities paying for social security in the U.S. find themselves in, Mr. Kharge called for the commencement of negotiations on a bilateral Totalisation Agreement to remedy the situation.

At the meeting with Secretary Solis and other U.S. officials, the Indian delegation also emphasised that India had achieved “significant progress towards comprehensive social security coverage,” according to Minister for Press, Information and Culture Rahul Chhabra.

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