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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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UAE Expats Worry Over Resurfacing of Nipah Virus in Kerala

A total of 311 people from Thrissur, Paravur in Ernakulam district, and Thodupuzha in Idukki were also under observation

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UAE, Expats, Nipah Virus, Kerala
A fruit and vegetable vendor in the UAE, on the other hand, decided to stop importing produce from Kerala until the scare subsides. VOA

UAE-based Malayalis have expressed concern for their loved ones back home, as a Kerala youth tested positive for the Nipah virus, leading to a number of traders and travellers taking precautionary measures, the media reported.

Besides a Kerala youth being treated for testing positive for the Nipah virus (NiV), state Health Minister K.K. Shailaja on Wednesday revealed that three nurses who treated him, a friend and another person have been kept in isolation.

A total of 311 people from Thrissur, Paravur in Ernakulam district, and Thodupuzha in Idukki were also under observation.

Sharjah resident Sridevi Rajendran, who is from the same town as the infected victim, told the Khaleej Times: “He was in the same school as my son. We are very worried about the situation back home, and my son is there as well. Since there is no clarity as to where the virus has originated, people are generally tensed.”

UAE, Expats, Nipah Virus, Kerala
UAE-based Malayalis have expressed concern for their loved ones back home. Wikimedia Commons

The Nipah virus is transmitted from animals to humans; through contaminated food; or directly between people. It infects a wide range of animals and causes severe disease and death in people, making it a public health concern, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In 2018, a Nipah scare resulted in a temporary ban on Kerala fruits and vegetables in the United Arab Emirates, and a travel advisory to the South Indian state was also issued.

A fruit and vegetable vendor in the UAE, on the other hand, decided to stop importing produce from Kerala until the scare subsides. However, no official ban has been implemented yet.

“We have temporarily stopped the import of fruits and vegetables from Kerala, which make up 25 per cent of our total produce,” said PC Kabeer, founder and CEO of FarmChimp, a company that sells source-traceable produce.

Also Read- India: Prime Minister Forms Two Cabinet panels to Spur Investment and Employment

Kerala-bound travellers told the Khaleej Times that their trips would go as planned, but they would be taking “extra precaution”.

Marketing professional Anand Rajiv, who is flying to Kochi, said: “As long as I am not having local water or food from outside, I should be okay. Of course, I am worried about my health as it is not a joke.” (IANS)