The vast diaspora of Malayalees seeking employment abroad often faces challenges as they age, especially when returning home. Recognizing this, the Government of Kerala has introduced the Pravasi Pension Yojana, a pioneering retirement savings scheme for those working in the unorganized sector abroad. This scheme, administered by the Kerala Pravasi Welfare Board, aims to provide financial assistance to non-resident Malayalis during their golden years, fostering a sense of security upon their return.
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The Lifelong Commitment Abroad
A substantial number of individuals who venture overseas for employment find themselves settling permanently abroad. A significant demographic from Kerala, especially those in the Gulf countries, remains expatriates for the entirety of their lives. To address the financial needs of this aging population, the Kerala Pravasi Welfare Board offers an expatriate pension, providing a monthly stipend of Rs. 300, along with invaluable medical benefits.
To qualify for the expatriate pension, individuals must have worked abroad or outside the state for a minimum of two years. Non-resident Malayalis aged between 19 and 60 can enroll for this scheme. The monthly pension, available after the age of 60, is contingent on a consistent contribution over five years, with an annual return of three percent on the minimum pension of Rs. 2,000.
Contributions and Membership
Expatriate Malayalis working abroad must contribute a minimum of Rs. 300 per month, while those residing outside the state contribute Rs. 100 monthly. Continuous contribution is vital, as non-payment for a year leads to cancellation of membership. Notably, employees of central and state governments are ineligible for this scheme.
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Enrolling in the pension scheme is a straightforward process involving the completion of three different forms based on the individual’s status – NRKs working abroad, NRKs in Kerala after two years abroad, and NRKs working in India outside the state. The application can be submitted online through the Kerala Pravasi Welfare Board’s official website, accompanied by attested copies of required documents.
Beyond the monthly pension, participants enjoy a range of additional services. The expatriate family pension provides financial support to the nominee in the event of the subscriber’s demise. In case of critical illness, up to Rs. 50,000 is available for health-related expenses. Furthermore, contributors for three or more consecutive years receive financial assistance of up to Rs. 10,000 towards their children’s marriage expenses. Female members contributing for at least two years are entitled to financial aid for maternity and abortion-related expenses.
Conclusion: Kerala’s Pravasi Pension Yojana goes beyond a mere financial assistance scheme; it symbolizes a commitment to the well-being of its diaspora. By offering a holistic approach to the needs of non-resident Malayalis, this initiative not only ensures financial security during retirement but also provides a safety net for various life events, reinforcing the connection between Kerala and its global citizens.