• May 28, 2018
    Last updated 2 minutes ago

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Kerala allocates $12.5m for diaspora

Kerala budget allocates Rs800m for diaspora initiatives

IANS
15:51 February 2, 2018
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac presenting his third budget in the Kerala Assembly on Friday

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala budget for the 2018-19 fiscal saw the largest-ever allocation of funds -- Rs80 crore [Rs800 million, Dh45 million] --  being set aside for various initiatives for the state's diaspora.

State Finance Minister Thomas Issac while presenting his third budget in the Kerala Assembly on Friday said the allocation of Rs800m for various projects and programmes for the Kerala diaspora is the largest-ever such allocation.

"The various fresh allocations for the diaspora include Rs19 crore [Rs190m] for the conduct of the Global Kerala Festival and the second edition of the Loka Kerala Sabha, which has been the outcome of the recent first Loka Kerala Sabha (a meeting held last month here which saw numerous Keralaites settled abroad getting together here to chalk out plans and programmes to see that the diaspora participates in the development of the state)," said Issac.

A sum of Rs16 crore [Rs16m] has been set aside for the benefit of the diaspora that earns less than Rs100,000 annually to meet their urgent needs.

"A new job portal that will provide information of new job opportunities in the Middle East will be set up, for which Rs8 crore [Rs80m] has been earmarked. Likewise, Rs7 crore [Rs70 million] will be used to set up a real-time data base of the Kerala diaspora," said Issac.

"Rs17 crore [Rs170 million] has been set aside for setting up a business facilitation centre, which will help the returning diaspora set up their own ventures," said Issac.

He pointed out that all arrangements have been put in place for the launch of "chitties" or chit funds for the diaspora.

"This will be launched by Kerala State Financial Enterprise and will be available online. Those who take part in the chit funds will get an insurance cover besides a pension scheme with conditions," added Issac.

The Kerala diaspora is around 2.5 million, with close to 90 per cent in various Middle East countries.

According to latest figures from the State Level Bankers Committee, the total non-resident Keralite deposit in Kerala banks stands at Rs1,54,252 crore [Rs1542.52 billion].

Remittances from migrants have been instrumental in sustaining Kerala's economy, constituting 36.3 per cent of the state's net domestic product.

It is now widely accepted that migration has played a significant role in poverty alleviation and in raising the living standards of about one-third of the state's Malayali households.