Abu Dhabi: Indian diplomatic missions in the UAE have recently soft launched an Indian Government-sponsored ambitious pension and resettlement scheme for Indian workers.
The scheme gains relevance in the wake of a recent survey among low-and middle-income Indian expatriates in the Gulf states about their saving habits, which found that 95 per cent of them would not be able to continue the same comfortable life, if they were to go back home.
As Gulf News reported recently of the 10,100 respondents, about 34 per cent do not save money at all from their income. The remaining two-thirds claim they regularly save money but not for any productive purposes which would give them a regular income.
The increasing cost of living in the GCC and loans taken by them to pay agents in India for visas to get to the Gulf also affects their ability to save, according to the survey conducted by Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, a UAE based welfare organisation of Indians.
A small number of workers have joined the scheme after the recent soft launch but the enrolment is expected to go up after its official launch in October, a top diplomat told Gulf News yesterday.
The scheme will be actively promoted among workers after the official launch that will be done in the presence of dignitaries from Government of India, M.K Lokesh, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, said.
Although the Indian Ministry of Overseas Affairs announced the scheme last year, its official launch has been delayed for various technical reasons.
The envoy said the Government of India and the Indian missions have already sought the cooperation of the UAE companies that employ large number of Indian workers for the promotion of the scheme.
Indian Workers Resource Centre (IWRC), a support centre for workers, and Bank of Baroda, the official banking partner of the scheme, have informally started enrolling the workers, he said.
Asked whether a large number of Indian social and community organisations will be engaged to promote the scheme, he said: “We will welcome their efforts to promote this scheme among the workers after the official launch.”
K.V. Rama Moorthy, CEO of Bank of Baroda in the GCC, told Gulf News that only 240 workers have joined the scheme after the recent soft launch. “We have been conducting awareness camps at labour accommodations along with IWRC executives to enrol the workers. We will be reaching out to more people in the coming days,” he said.