Kerala Pravasi Federation has demanded that all Non Resident Keralites (NRKs) should be brought under the Kerala Non Resident Keralites’ Welfare Board of the State Government.
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, reception committee president, Thampy Mettuthara and secretary, B. Ansari said that currently those who have crossed the age of 55 could not join as member of the welfare scheme including pension scheme. Another anomaly was that those NRKs who had returned to the State will get only Rs 500 as pension per month, while the NRKs who is still abroad will get Rs 1000.
They also pointed out that nearly nine lakh of NRKs had returned to Kerala due to the global financial crisis in the past. They alleged that the Centre and State Government did not take any steps to provide them any job opportunities or to rehabilitate them. This was happening at a time when the Governments were possessing nearly 20,000 crore of rupees as deposit under the Protection of Emigrants Deposit collected from NRIs.
They said that majority of the NRKs were facing financial difficulties and hence should be brought under the Below the Poverty Line (BPL) category. They should be thus extended aid for house construction, treatment and social welfare schemes.
The airline companies were also charging the same rate from NRKs to Gulf countries and Europe\US. However, flying to Gulf countries takes only three hours while flying to European countries including the UK’s capital London takes seven hours. The Centre was not taking any steps to end this discrimination, they alleged. Also, children of NRKs\NRIs were charged heavily as fees and deposit under NRI quota for admission to education institutions in the country. This was a method of creating two classes of citizens, they alleged.
CPI State secretary, Pannian Raveendran will inaugurate the two-day State conference of the Kerala Pravasi Federation here on May 5.A seminar on the topic, `Kerala’s development and Non Resident Keralites (NRKs)’ will be held as part of the seminar. The delegates meeting will be held on May 6. KPAC’s children’s wing will stage a play `Oru muthassi katha’ at the conference.