ABU DHABI — The Government of Kerala will conduct a feasibility study on setting up a bank exclusively for non-resident Keralites (NRKs), says Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of the south Indian state.
Chandy, who is on his first official visit to the UAE, was speaking on Friday after inaugurating the third global meeting of the Overseas Indian Cultural Congress (OICC) at the Indian Social Centre in the Capital.
He said the study would look into the feasibility of coming up with a cooperative bank model exclusively for NRKs which could provide loans at lower interest rates for them.
As per official figures released last year, NRKs sent a staggering total of over Rs500 billion (Dh33.6 billion) to banks in Kerala during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Most of this was from Malayalees employed in the Middle East. The NRK Affairs Ministry in the state has already announced plans for floating development project bonds for NRKs and is reportedly in contact with the Reserve Bank of India to explore the possibilities of opening an exclusive bank for them. Affiliated to the Kerala unit of the Indian National Congress Party (Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee), the OICC is engaged in socio-cultural and welfare activities of expatriate Keralites in various countries. About 1,200 delegates from OICC units in the GCC countries, the US, the UK and other countries have come to the country to attend the meet, which ends today.
Chandy said the recommendations of the meet will be taken into consideration when making necessary policy changes to support expatriate Keralites.
President of the OICC’s UAE Central Committee M. G. Pushpakaran said the sessions on the issues affecting expatriates included discussions on online voting facilities and smoother air travel, with the proposed Air Kerala Airline, among other things. Delegates from the UAE have also recommended setting up a Norka Centre in the UAE so that attestation of documents from the state can be done faster.
Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K. C. Venugopal, Kerala NRK Affairs Minister K. C. Joseph, Kerala Tourism Minister A. P. Anil Kumar and KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala were also present. Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi will attend today’s session.