There are about three million Non-Resident Indians (NRI) in the Gulf, of which 40 per cent of them are estimated to be from Kerala alone and more than three fourth of the total NRIs in the Gulf are from Middle and lower income group. We conducted a study on the saving habits and rehabilitation prospects as well as the lifestyle of lower and the middle-income NRI groups. The findings by and large portray a disturbing picture about their future during their life in the Gulf and when they return to their homeland. To provide a platform for the welfare of these NRIs we have registered a charitable trust, “Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust”(PBWT) on 16th August 2001 in Calicut, India. Even though the registered office is in Kerala, the Trust’s services will be available to NRIs from all states in India. The Pravasi Bandhu would act as a forum to help and guide the needy in the following areas.
The majority of Indians working in AGCC countries earn less than Dh.1500 (Approximately Rs. 18,800). They landed in these countries by paying hefty service charge to recruiting agents or middlemen by pledging or disposing of whatever little they had. These NRIs sacrifice even basic necessities to save the maximum possible from their meagre earning to look after their dependents. Major portion of their earning have been remitted to the dependents. They have to keep aside 25% of their earning for air ticket and other things to visit their families once in two years. Living alone and away from their dear ones put tremendous pressure on them psychologically. Relatives back home spend their hard-earned money without the knowledge of the hardship and insecurity of their job. This is the case of thousands of workers mainly from Kerala, Punjab, Hariyana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
The tiny state of Kerala, received remittance of RS 95, 000 crore in the last 25 years from NRIs. If we could save 10% of that remittance and deploy it for development, Kerala would have been one of the richest states. That has not happened and instead thousands of families back home have got used to a lifestyle-which has no relation to the earning capacity of the breadwinner overseas. What is applicable to Kerala is also relevant for other states.
When the NRIs return home without any savings, they will not be in a position to plan their life or maintain the lifestyle of their relatives. This situation leads to socio-economic problems in the society. There have been incidents of those who returned to India after many years of life abroad being compelled to go back to the same country and take up job at lower wages. There are cases of NRIs selling the only house they had built, as they cannot maintain it. We will motivate these NRIs to improve their saving habits.
Motivational Programs to upgrade Skills for better Prospects
While abroad, very few NRIs try to get a better job by upgrading skills. So, majority of them continue in the same job they initially joined decades ago. It is in fact easy to get into a better job after some time with his foreign experience and by learning and developing some new skills. But very few think on those lines.
NRIs are very good entrepreneurs. Many of them could start small business from zero. After the success of their business, we have seen, very few are taking keen interest to develop the business further.
We believe that any financial improvement of a person is not for him only but it is for the society and nation. Pravasi Bandhu will organize workshops and classes to change the attitude and motivate them to reach higher levels in career and business.
How to take up jobs in India on return using the foreign expertise experience and work culture
The number of Non-resident Indians returning to India is increasing day by day. If the number of returnees from abroad to Kerala in 1991 were 20,000, it increased to 125,000 in 1999. They go back with a new work culture and wealth of experience form abroad. But very few are ready to utilize their expertise and work experience when they return to home country. In many states there are good job opportunities for skilled labour. If the returnees can change their attitude and come forward to work in India when they go back, the wages are good enough to ensure a good life. But it requires a lot of effort to motivate and to prepare them for that. We decided to help people to change their mindset and make them ready to take up jobs in India. We will enlighten the authorities how to utilise the talent and work culture of NRI returnees in many areas.
High quality Education
In Kerala alone 4.2 million unemployed youth are registered in employment exchanges waiting for a job opportunity. In such a situation people will have to seek jobs abroad in the future also. Globalisation gives more opportunities to get jobs abroad. So, our youth should get education and training, which is internationally accepted, to exploit these opportunities abroad. We will try to motivate parents to give the best education for their children.
In addition to that we require a number of training centres which monitor opportunities abroad and give suitable training to make people fit for the jobs abroad. The Government of Kerala is considering setting up one training centre.
A good number of NRI – especially in the Gulf Region –could not pursue higher education due to various reasons. Now several universities have come forward offering Distant Education facilities to the needy.
Fight Against Social Evil Dowry System
We come across number of youths who could not go home for many years because they had to meet financial commitments taken up to pay dowry for women members in their family back home. They had to pay huge dowry for which they spent all their savings and earning. There are young men with social commitments who are willing to forego the dowry and find their life partners. They will be registered with us on our home page and we will help to find suitable match for them. Parents interested in this noble venture can register their name on our home page and we will assist them to find suitable life partners for their girls.
We are identifying suitable investment avenues for non-resident Indians in India and abroad and will inform the NRIs through this media. We will assist the NRIs if they face any problems regarding their investments in India. By collectively approaching the authorities such problems can be solved easily.
Representation and suggestion to the authorities
NRIs are a National Resource of India. But never has there been a proper attempt to tap this resource for the development of the country except through mobilisation of IDB, RIB and IMD. The Central and State Governments have no clear-cut idea on how to utilise NRI resources productively. They talk in terms of total figures of remittances to the country without realising that only a fraction of that is spent fruitfully. The Trust will generate suggestions from the NRIs as to how best this unique resource can be utilised for nation building. We already made a representation to the finance minister of India to introduce a long-term recurring investment scheme by the banks, which will work as provident fund for the returning NRIs. The Trust would function as a platform for such activities.
Audio Cassettes and Documentaries
Pravasi Bandhu is planning to produce audiocassettes with guidance on earning, saving and other objectives and distribute free among NRIs. We are planning to produce documentaries to promote our objectives. Suitable assistance in this area would be solicited by the Trust.
Mode Of Operation
The Trust office bearers and volunteers will be available for guidance and presentation on the above issues to individuals, groups or organisations. Pravasi Bandhu hopes more like-minded people and organisations will come forward to take up these core issues of NRIs. The Trust volunteers are ready to visit any NRI organisations to give free advice on how to improve their earning, saving and jobs. Any NRI organisation or gatherings can contact us if they require our assistance. We are sure that more and more individuals and organisations in the Gulf and India will come forward to join hands with us for the success of this venture. With this beginning with the blessing of the Almighty God we are sure that more and more individuals and organisation will start to provide these services to NRIs.
1. We appeal to all NRI socio-cultural-literary-religious organisations, influential individuals, businessmen and leaders to come forward to guide targeted NRIs on how to improve earning, savings and career. We request them to make it one of the main agenda in their day-to-day activities.
2. We request all employers to motivate and help their employees for better savings habits.
3. We request all periodicals and newspapers to publish articles on our objectives.
4. We request television channels to telecast and radios to broadcast programmes to support these objectives for the benefit of NRIs and the nation.
5. We require volunteers in all cities and request interested persons to register with us and work few hours in a week to fulfill these objectives.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for registration.
Membership and Survey among NRIs
Any NRI can be member of Pravasi Bandhu, by simply submitting the application form. The application cum questionnaire will be available on our web site and we are planning to distribute the questionnaire through various organisations also. We request all NRIs to distribute these forms to your friends with a request to fill and send it to us by email or by post to P B No. 940, Sharjah, and UAE. The result of the survey will help us to know the present position, future plan, family status, employment and educational background, income and saving nature, etc. We request all NRIs to co-operate, participate, associate and help us for the success of this noble venture.
“Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust”(PBWT)
(Reg. No. 325/IV/2001)
Registered Office: 7C Glendale Point, Bank Road, Calicut 673001, India
Overseas Contact: Mr. K V Shamsudheen
Post Box No. 940, Sharjah, UAE