Abu Dhabi: Expatriates from the south Indian state of Kerala will be able to support the infrastructure development in their home state by joining a specially designed saving scheme for them, officials said at an event late on Saturday.
The Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE), a state government-owned non-banking company, will launch ‘Pravasi Chitti’, the designated saving scheme for Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs), in January 2018, said the delegation of officials who came from Kerala to promote the scheme in the UAE.
The KSFE would offer additional benefits to NRK customers, compared to its 1.6 million domestic customers in Kerala, they said while interacting with the community at the Indian Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) in Abu Dhabi.
Customers can join schemes with monthly contributions ranging from 2,500 rupees (Dh142)to 25,000 rupees (Dh1,422) for a duration of 30, 40 or 50 months.”
The KSFE’s existing schemes offer 8 to 18 per cent returns and NRKs can also expect the same. Free life insurance including cost of repatriation of body in the event of death, insurance for partial or full disability and an optional pension benefit are the major advantages, they said.
“Kerala Government plans to raise rupees 100 billion [Dh367 billion] from NRKs through Pravasi Chitti to finance its two new highway development projects. We plan to enrol 100,000 [one hundred thousand] NRKs in the first year,” said Peelipose Thomas, chairman of KSFE.
He said the money from Pravasi Chitti would be invested in the bonds of state-owned KIIFB [Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board] in the name of KSFE.
P.V Unnikrishnan, a director of the KSFE, said the scheme is part of the government’s plan to generate rupees 500 billion for infrastructure in the next five years. The government has already implemented a 10 per cent annual increase on vehicle taxes in the state and introduced a cess on petroleum products. This additional income will be used to keep the government’s guarantee to return the investments in Pravasi Chitti.
The KSFE’s schemes are run based on an auction system that enables a customer to get the full amount of his or scheme in advance by bidding the lowest amount (with a minimum cap of 30 per cent) every month. NRKs can participate in the online auction and, if they win, they can get the auctioned amount within 15 days after furnishing required details of collateral security online. “They can complete the remaining transactions at any of 600 branches across Kerala,” he said.
“We are planning to link the scheme with the government’s existing lottery scheme and the subscribers may get a chance to win the lottery,” Unnikrishnan said.
The KSFE is also looking into the possibility of linking the Pravasi Chitti with schemes of National Pension System (NPS) administered by an Indian government authority and welfare and pension schemes of the Kerala Non-resident Keralites Welfare Board, he said.
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac is expected to visit the UAE soon to promote the scheme and state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will launch it in the UAE.
Jayachandran Nair, acting president of the Indian Social and Cultural Centre, presided over the function.
Advantages of the saving scheme for NRKs:
1. A 24/7 call centre to answer enquiries of customers
2. Online registration and subsequent e-transactions facilitated
3. Those who win the auction and become eligible to receive full amount of the scheme in advance get the money within 15 days by furnishing details of required security online. Further transaction at any of 600 branches in Kerala
4. NRKs can participate in regular online auction
5. Free insurance for life, repatriation cost of body from abroad, permanent and partial disability etc.
6. Optional pension scheme in cooperation with Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India
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KSFE fact file
- Operating under Kerala government for 48 years with around 600 branches across the state
- Rs 330 billion annual business turnover
- Rs180 billion annual turnover in ‘chitties’