Ker­ala govt con­sid­ers re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion project for Gulf re­turnees

Kuwait Times - - WHAT’S ON - By Sa­jeev K Peter

The Ker­ala govern­ment will soon con­vene a meet­ing of the mem­bers of non-res­i­dent Ker­alites af­fairs (NORKA) depart­ment and other con­cerned of­fi­cials in or­der to ex­pand the wel­fare schemes for non-res­i­dent Ker­alites and in­tro­duce more in­cen­tives to them, said Kodiy­eri Balakr­ish­nan, the gen­eral sec­re­tary of the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party of In­dia -Marx­ist (CPI-M), Ker­ala.

“The Ker­ala govern­ment is plan­ning to re­form the Pravasi Wel­fare Board with the in­tro­duc­tion of more at­trac­tive in­cen­tives and ben­e­fits for non-res­i­dent Ker­alites,” he said ad­dress­ing a meet-the-press pro­gram prior to an in­ter­ac­tive ses­sion with In­dian com­mu­nity lead­ers in Far­waniya on Saturday.

Balakr­ish­nan, who ar­rived in Kuwait to at­tend a Re­nais­sance Con­fer­ence’ or­ga­nized by Ker­ala Art Lovers’ As­so­ci­a­tion’s (KALA), Kuwait, said the state govern­ment is propos­ing to es­tab­lish le­gal cells in Gulf coun­tries with the help of the cen­tral govern­ment in or­der to pro­vide le­gal as­sis­tance to Ker­alites who are fac­ing le­gal cases in their res­i­dent coun­tries. “These le­gal cells can be at­tached to the re­spec­tive In­dian em­bassies in these coun­tries,” he said.

Sim­i­larly, the Ker­ala govern­ment is also work­ing on a mech­a­nism to sim­plify the pro­ce­dure of repa­tri­a­tion of the bod­ies of Ker­alites who pass die abroad.

Talk­ing about the pro­posed project ini­ti­ated by the Ker­ala govern­ment to re­ha­bil­i­tate Gulf re­turnees, Balakr­ish­nan said, the govern­ment is still for­mu­lat­ing a vi­able project for the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Gulf re­turnees in con­sul­ta­tions with var­i­ous Malay­ali or­ga­ni­za­tions in the Gulf. NORKA-ROOTS has al­ready started reg­is­tra­tion of Ker­alites who return from over­seas for im­ple­men­ta­tion of var­i­ous wel­fare schemes and for­mu­lat­ing poli­cies for their re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

Balakr­ish­nan said the Left Demo­cratic Front govern­ment in Ker­ala has launched a ‘Green Ker­ala Mis­sion’ on De­cem­ber 8, which is a mul­ti­di­men­sional de­vel­op­ment project fo­cus­ing on san­i­ta­tion, water con­ser­va­tion, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and paddy cul­ti­va­tion. “We con­ceive this mis­sion as a peo­ple’s ini­tia­tive with their ac­tive in­volve­ment from grass­roots level,” he said.

He said the govern­ment will iden­tify 1,000 schools in the state in or­der to de­velop them into schools of in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. “Our ob­jec­tive is to pro­vide qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion to all. We will cre­ate 44,000 smart class­rooms in two years’ time,” he said. Balakr­ish­nan ad­mit­ted that around 450,000 peo­ple in Ker­ala are home­less. “The state govern­ment will pro­vide houses to all these peo­ple in a span of five years,” he said.

Cur­rency ban

Talk­ing about the grave is­sue of cur­rency ban by the cen­tral govern­ment and its im­me­di­ate im­pact on Ker­ala, he said, the state will wit­ness a dip of 40 per­cent of its rev­enues this year fol­low­ing the cur­rency cri­sis. “All sec­tors are reel­ing from its im­pact, be it agri­cul­ture or small in­dus­try. Tax col­lec­tion has been se­ri­ously af­fected. There is a mora­to­rium on loan. Co­op­er­a­tive sec­tor is the worst af­fected by the ill-con­ceived pol­icy of the cen­tral govern­ment and the Supreme Court has in­ter­vened in this mat­ter,” he said. He called on the cen­tral govern­ment to an­nounce a pack­age for state gov­ern­ments to tide over the cri­sis sit­u­a­tion.

Re­act­ing to a re­port that Ker­ala Chief Min­is­ter Pi­narai Vi­jayan was prevented by Mad­hya Pradesh state po­lice from at­tend­ing a con­fer­ence in Bhopal, Balakr­ish­nan said, ‘it is a de­spi­ca­ble act that re­flects the ve­he­ment in­tol­er­ance of the BJP govern­ment in the state. It is for the first time in the his­tory of In­dia that a chief min­is­ter was prevented from at­tend­ing a func­tion in an­other state. It is a bla­tant vi­o­la­tion of the fed­eral sys­tem and Chief Min­is­ter Shivraj Singh Chouhan has failed in dis­charg­ing his con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tion,” he said.

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