Kerala Governor, CM Moot Role of LKS in Ensuring Welfare of Expats
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Muhammed Khan inaugurated the second edition of Loka Kerala Sabha (LKS), a platform of Non-Resident Keralites from 47 countries and 21 States, in early January.
Speaking on the occasion, the Governor expressed hope that LKS would evolve a lasting mechanism to help the State Government come out with relevant suggestions to assist the Union Government in addressing the legal, professional and human rights issues being faced by expatriates, so that the Ministry of External Affairs could make more effective interventions. He also urged successful Malayali entrepreneurs to come forward to create more employment opportunities in the IT, tourism and electronics sectors of the State.
Stating that LKS would discuss steps to enhance the quality of life of future expats, Pinarayi Vijayan, State Chief Minister, said the government is committed to ensure the welfare of expatriates as well as rehabilitation of returnees. “The State Government will press the Centre to frame necessary legislation to ensure the welfare of expatriates. Currently, there is no national policy or legislation for the welfare of expatriates despite the challenges and exploitation being faced by them,” he said.
In a scathing attack on the Union Government, Pinarayi Vijayan also alleged that the “insensitive approach” of the Centre towards the NRI community is quite unfortunate. “Despite our limitations, we have taken a lot of initiatives in this regard. However, the Centre is yet to set up a system to provide support or information to those who wish to migrate to other countries, or to ensure their safety. We have initiated pre-departure training and started skill development courses to cater to the needs of professionals working in foreign countries. Moreover, we set up the Pravasi Legal Cell for extending maximum support to those Pravasis in need,” he said.
The Chief Minister also highlighted the steps taken by the State Government to ensure rehabilitation of returnees. “In Kerala, the expats have invested in major projects like airport, multi-speciality hospitals and convention centres. Pravasi Investment company, Pravasi Chitti and bonds offer secure investment options for the Pravasis,” he said. Vijayan also suggested the setting up of a consortium involving expatriates, State Governments and the Centre. He urged the members of LKS to get actively involved in policy-making platforms related to migration.
Meanwhile, the event assumed a political colour with the Opposition parties boycotting it alleging that the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Government has not yet implemented the decisions taken at the first edition of LKS.
V Muralidharan, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and senior BJP leader from Kerala, termed LKS as “a scam of global scale.’’ “It is nothing but an event to raise funds for the CPM. The State Government did not hold any discussions with the Centre in connection with the conduct of LKS,” he said. DK