Life is not rosy for lakhs of Indians employed in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries as only five per cent of the NRIs there earn enough to lead a normal life on return to India.
Trust chairman KV Shamsuddin told this correspondent that though only 10 per cent of Indian workers in GCC nations live with families, a majority of them fail to save sufficient money due to low wages and high expenditure on medical treatment. Contrary to the popular belief that Indian workers earn high salaries in the Gulf, a minuscule 15 per cent of NRIs get salaries upward of 4500 Dirhams. As many as 34 per cent of employees do not save at all while only two per cent of NRI families back home save something for future. The salary is as low as 350 Dirhams which works out to just 100 US dollars or Rs 4,500 a month.
An on-line and field survey conducted by Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, a Dubai-based non-governmental organisation working for bettering the lives of Indian workers in GCC countries, a whopping 95 per cent of NRIs in the Gulf do not save anything and return empty handed to India even after working for a decade. Only five per cent of the Indian labour force including the white collared bring enough money to live happily back home.
"We have conducted a survey among middle and low income expatriate Indians in GCC and found only 5 per cent had some financial resources to have some monthly income back home when they return," Shamshuddin said.
The regular remittance to families in India is spent on domestic needs, acquiring a house or on marriage of sisters/daughters. And when they return home, there's hardly anything left. So they once again leave India for the Gulf for re-employment, the survey pointed out.
Kerala NRI association demands government help for jobless diaspora
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Pravasi Malayalee Welfare Association Saturday urged both the state and central governments to come to the aid of the large number of NRIs who are returning to Kerala after losing their jobs due to the global economic recession.
"On an average, every day close to 300 people are returning to the state from abroad. The maximum flow is from the UAE (United Arab Emirates). Something has to be done to rehabilitate them," V. Sreekumar, president of the Pravasi Malayalee Welfare Association, told reporters here.
The association wants the state and central governments to provide NRIs with job reservation, health insurance, special schemes for starting businesses and even a special package for the loans taken by them.
"We have opened a labour bank here and we want all our members to register with their CVs. On Feb 28, we will hold our annual meeting and announce a few programmes to help our members," said Shaji Mathew, vice-president of the association that has 400,000 members.
Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan have also asked the centre to come up with sops for the benefit of the NRIs who have been forced to return to India.
According to the Centre for Development Studies based here, over two million Keralites are living outside the country, 90 percent of them in the Middle East.
For many years now, the remittances by them have kept the state economy afloat. Last fiscal, Kerala received Rs.245.25 billion as remittances, which is about 20 percent of the state's net state domestic product and 30 percent more than the state's annual receipts.