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NRK-friendly budget wins praise of Keralite expats in UAE

Filed on February 8, 2020 | Last updated on February 8, 2020 at 10.17 pm
nrk, friendly, keralite

(KT file)

No previous budgets were so focused on the welfare of NRKs.

The slew of non-resident Keralite (NRK) schemes and proposals put forward by the latest state budget of Kerala has won the praise of UAE expats from the South Indian state.

The budget allocates Rs900 million (Dh46.2 million) to Norka - a department under the state government to exclusively look at the affairs of NRKs - and covers existing and new distress relief schemes, pension and insurance schemes, rehabilitation of NRK returnees, skill development for nurses and online Malayalam learning courses among others.

"The allocation of Rs900 million for NRK welfare is definitely a praise-worthy move by the Kerala government. The pension and insurance for NRKs is a good move by the government that will ensure safety and welfare of the expats," said KV Shamsudheen, chairman of the Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust and member of the Kerala Loka Sabha.

Justin Thomas, an office bearer of Shakti Theatres in Abu Dhabi, said the Rs30 million (Dh1.54 million) allocated to the legal cell will make a lot of difference to the plight of expats embroiled in financial cases. "I am glad the legal cell will be strengthened with the extra allocation. There are hundreds of people who need legal help but cannot afford it."

Pushpan Govindan, a social worker in Ras Al Khaimah, said no previous budgets were so focused on the welfare of NRKs. "This is a good sign that the government values the contribution of Keralite migrants in the region. I am particularly happy with the insurance and pension scheme introduced for NRKS as it offers the much-needed stability and protection for the families," said Govindan.

With more than 1.5 million, Keralites form the biggest Indian expat community in the UAE.

'Skill development, employment opportunities to help expats'

NRK businessmen have also hailed the budget as 'far-sighted and NRK friendly. "I must say this is a very NRK focused budget with far-sighted vision of all round development of Kerala," said Yusuffali MA, chairman of Lulu Group International, on Kerala budget.

"Allocation of Rs900 million (Dh46.2 million) for the welfare of NRKs is the highest ever and will bring in much needed cheers to the large expat community here who have been the backbone of our state's economy. The efforts to boost the ranking of Kerala, in terms of ease of doing business index, will surely help in bringing in more investments into the state," he added.

Dr Azad Moopen, founding chairman and managing director, Aster DM Healthcare, called it a balanced budget.

"There is allocation of Rs135 million (Dh6.68 million) for Loka Kerala Sabha, which was a grand success in its previous two editions, allows opportunities for the NRKs to have a platform to air their views and get it addressed effectively.

The allocation of funds for awareness among NRKs, support for NRK associations are shows the concern of the government for the NRKs. It is a very good move to have more focus on job opportunities and skills development," said Moopen.

Staff Reporter

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