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Indians in distress make use of community fund

Sajila Saseendran/Abu Dhabi
Filed on February 26, 2016 | Last updated on February 26, 2016 at 05.28 am
Indians in distress make use of community fund

As much as Dh2.43m was spent from the fund in 2015 within the UAE.


Distressed Indians in the UAE have been urged to make use of a Dh11.7m community fund to which Indian expats contribute every time they avail a consular service.

Needy Indians - including those stranded after losing jobs, runaway housemaids, and critically ill patients - are among those who can avail monetary support from the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF).

Dinesh Kumar, First Secretary (Community Affairs) at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi told Khaleej Times that the fund under the mission currently has an amount of Dh11.7m (Rs21crore).

As much as Dh2.43m was spent from the fund in 2015 within the UAE and an additional Dh6.7m was disbursed from the same for the evacuation of Indians in Iraq last year, figures from the Embassy showed.

"An amount of Rs12crores was allotted to the Indian Embassy in Baghdad for the evacuation of the Indians stuck there (due to the civil war in Iraq).We still have about Rs 21 crore left in the fund," said Kumar.

At the launch of a family protection scheme for NRI families from Aster DM Healthcare and RAK Insurance this week, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE T.P. Seetharam urged Indians in distress to seek help from the fund.

"There are various categories of distressed Indians who can approach us for financial aid from the fund. These are issued under the guidelines for Indians in the UAE and are also published on our website and facebook page," he pointed out.

He said there are over 8,000 Indian associations or community groups in the UAE and sought their help in bringing the cases of distressed Indians to the attention of the Indian missions here.

'Indians in distress'

"We provide a shelter to runaway maids, we offer modest accommodation for workers thrown out of their accommodations, and we also offer daily sustenance fee of Dh40 for up to one month for Indians in distress after losing jobs."

However, he clarified that the government will not be providing any monetary support to people who plunge into debts by using credit cards and availing loans.

"We will, however, able to pay small amount of fines to release Indian prisoners of petty financial crimes if their release is not happening due to non-payment of fines," he said.

Kumar said financial aid is provided for initial legal assistance in circumstances when a stranded person or a poor person is caught in cases such as false implication and mistaken identity. The corpus for the fund is created by charging Dh6 for every passport or attestation services provided by the Indian missions in the UAE.

More beneficiaries in 2015

The figures showed that the number of needy Indians who sought the financial support from the ICWF saw an increase of over 48 per cent from 2014 to 2015.

While the number of beneficiaries of the fund in 2014 was 732, apart from the community organisations, as many as 1,086 Indians were provided with monetary help from the fund in 2015.

Nearly 6,000 needy Indians in the UAE benefitted from the ICWF fund till 2013 since it was established by the erstwhile Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. Over 1,000 air tickets were also issued to send home some of them.

In 2015, Indian workers, who were stranded mostly due to job loss, topped the list of beneficiaries. Some 479 such workers were provided with subsistence allowance from the fund. Over Dh250, 000 was released from the ICWF for this whereas in 2014, the amount issued for sustenance of 353 such beneficiaries was just over Dh212, 000.

One way air tickets were issued to 220 individuals while the mortal remains of 44 Indians were repatriated using the fund in 2015.

Indian associations in Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain also received millions of dirhams from the ICWF for building a crematorium in Sharjah and community centres in the other two emirates in the past two years.

The functioning of the Indian Workers' Resource Centre is also aided through this fund. Over Dh89,000 was paid to IWRC in 2015 for the services of the 24X7 helpline office and the legal counseling centre and for conducting awareness camps for workers.

How it works:

Indian expats contribute Dh6 for every passport or attestation services provided by the Indian missions in the UAE.

For whom it works: Runaway maids, workers thrown out of their accommodations, Indian prisoners

What it offers:Offers daily sustenance fee of Dh40 for up to one month for Indians in distress after losing jobs; Small amount of fines to release Indian prisoners of petty financial crimes if their release is not happening due to non-payment of fines.

sajila@khaleejtimes.com

 





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