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Attractive rehab package awaits Keralites returning home: CM Pinarayi Vijayan

The Keralite diaspora is estimated to be three million strong, and a major chunk of them is located in the Middle East

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CM Pinarayi Vijayan. Image Source: PTI
  • The Keralite diaspora is estimated to be three million strong, and a major chunk of them is located in the Middle East
  • The existing welfare scheme for the returnees is not attractive enough as is borne out by low take-up
  • Presenting the state budget on July 8, Finance Minister Thomas Issac increased the welfare fund for the needy returnees from just Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 crore

Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 14: The Kerala government will offer a more attractive rehabilitation package to those who had to return from the Middle East because of economic downturn or other reasons, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Thursday, July 14.

Vijayan told the assembly that Keralites settled in the Middle East have not only been facing economic downturn due to falling oil prices but also governmental regulations requiring employers to reserve jobs for the locals.

Fall in oil prices. Image Source: venturesafrica.com
Fall in oil prices. Image Source: venturesafrica.com

“On both these issues, it’s our diaspora which will bear the brunt as there is a likelihood of our people returning back,” Vijayan said in response to a calling attention motion moved by CPI-M legislator K.V. Abdul Khadar.

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“To tackle this, the state government will chalk out special rehabilitation schemes and welfare packages. Already there are programmes, but it appears they have not yielded the desired results,” said Vijayan.

The Keralite diaspora is estimated to be three million strong, and a major chunk of them is located in the Middle East.

Thousands of Indians working in these countries have been returning home on account of the downturn caused by steep fall in oil prices as also regulations that aim at increasing the proportion of locals in employment vis-à-vis migrants.

Vijayan said the existing welfare scheme for the returnees is not attractive enough as is borne out by low take-up — only 1.40 lakh people have taken advantage of it.

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“We will work in tandem with the various diaspora organisations to see that the scheme is revised. We will also work with financial institutions to work out suitable schemes for the returnees to set up self-employment schemes and also avenues for employing them,” he said.

The Chief Minister said “path-breaking land reforms” and the “contribution of our diaspora” are two biggest achievements of the state and now the government will do its best to tackle the issues facing Keralites living abroad and those returning.

Dr. Thomas Issac. Image Source: twitter
Dr. Thomas Issac. Image Source: twitter

Presenting the state budget on July 8, Finance Minister Thomas Issac increased the welfare fund for the needy returnees from just Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 crore.

Issac also doubled the fund for the scheme for lending money to the returnees from Rs 12 crore to Rs 24 crore. (IANS)

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Kerala Government Decides to Revise The List of Women Who Prayed at Sabarimala

The list of 51 women is not part of an affidavit but only referred to by the state government counsel in his arguments. Soon the list was highlighted in the media

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Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

Stung by widespread criticism over the numerous errors in the list of women who prayed at the Sabrimala temple, the Kerala government has decided to re-prepare the list.

A counsel of state government had presented the list in the Supreme Court on Friday, which reportedly had discrepancies in the age and names of women. The list was taken from the records of the online system, through which pilgrims register for having “darshan”.

The row erupted over flaws in the actual age of some of the 51 women, whom the counsel had referred to in the list as “banned” — on account of they being of menstruating age group of 10 to 50 years — who prayed at the temple this season.

State police chief Loknath Behera on Saturday asked senior officials to revise the list, which included even the name of men, besides several of the women above 50.

State Devasom (temples) Minister Kadakampally Surendran told the media that his department has no role in the preparation of the list, while the president of the Travancore Devasom Board – custodian of the temple, A. Padmakumar said they are not responsible for this as they do not prepare statistics of the pilgrims in the temple.

Kanam Rajendran, state secretary of the Communist Party of India – the second biggest ally of the ruling Pinarayi Vijayan government, said the entire responsibility of what has happened lies with the state government.

Sabarimala
Kerala to revise list of women who prayed at Sabarimala.

But the Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan, the closest aide of Vijayan, defended him by saying that it is not just 51 women, but so many women have had “darshan” at the temple.

Kanaka Durga and Bindu Ammini, both in the “banned” age group of 10 to 50 years, prayed at the Sabarimala temple.

It was after they approached the apex court seeking security for having safe “darshan” that a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari directed the state government to arrange adequate protection for them.

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The list of 51 women is not part of an affidavit but only referred to by the state government counsel in his arguments. Soon the list was highlighted in the media.

“This goof-up reveals the abject failure of the way Vijayan is running the state,” said state BJP president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai.  (IANS)