Babu Raghavan, a 74-year-old from Chendamangalam, was hopeful of getting some kind of assistance as he walked into the NoRKA-Roots office in the city on Saturday.
He had worked as a photographer for two decades in Dubai before returning home more than 10 years ago. He lost his passport along with many other valuables that were washed away during the deluge of 2018. For someone who had taken the passport in 1978, he now possess just a copy of it.
Mr. Raghavan was among those who turned up for the adalat on the Santhwana programme of NoRKA-Roots. He, however, emerged somewhat despondent since he was found ineligible for the specific programme.
As per Central government norms, a person is no longer eligible for the status of an expatriate a decade after his or her return from abroad. But the window for being a beneficiary of the programme varies.
For instance, an expatriate who returns home after just two years abroad should apply for benefits within the next two years. For those who return home after spending any term in excess of a decade abroad should apply within 10 years of their return.
However, many expatriates seemed unaware of the conditions. “It didn’t help that a YouTube video recently emerged suggesting that all expatriates could apply for the programme irrespective of when they returned. This has created a lot of confusion, and we have got a flurry of enquiries since then,” said NoRKA-Roots sources.
Santhwana programme extends financial assistance to expatriates or their dependants under four categories provided their annual income does not exceed ₹1.50 lakh. The most number of applications, however, are received for medical assistance of ₹50,000. Dependants receive a one-time assistance of ₹1 lakh on the death of the expatriate, ₹15,000 for the marriage of one of the daughters of the expatriate, and ₹10,000 for buying equipment for the differently-abled.