COMMISSIONERATE OF REHABILITATION AND WELFARE OF NON-RESIDENT TAMILS
This department is dealing with the subject of welfare of Non-Resident Tamils. The representation related to the NRTs are received from the family members of the NRTs directly or through the District Collectors or through NGOs. The grievances are initially registered in ‘MADAD’ website and accordingly Fax/e-mail are being sent to the concerned Indian Missions abroad to sort out the issues.
A good number of people from the State of Tamil Nadu have either migrated or opted for employment to foreign countries (Non-Resident Tamils) due to economic reasons and due to the globalization era. They come across a number of problems which need to be addressed. The Ministry of External Affairs of GOI is deemed to handle the subject, as it relates to the Indian Missions abroad all over the world and since a large number of Tamils are living abroad, it was considered that the State must step in to the issue and protect the rights of its people especially those from low-income groups staying abroad as in the lines of Government of Kerala, Punjab, Gujarat and Goa. The Department of Rehabilitation was re-named as “Department of Rehabilitation and Welfare of Non-Resident Tamils” and functioning w.e.f. 14-12-2010 vide G.O.Ms.No.1141, Public (RH.I)Department, dated 14.12.2010). An Act called “Non-Resident Tamils Welfare Act 2011” was enacted for the formation of a Non-Resident Tamils Welfare Board in the State. Framing of Rules for the Act is under process. This Department co-ordinates with the Indian Missions abroad and concerned Government of India offices as the situations warrants, on the issue by issue basis covering various countries. The verification of Nationality/Antecedents of the Emigrants for whom passports are either lost or lapsed and applied at the Indian Mission abroad are obtained through the Superintendent of Police of the concerned districts and forwarded to the Indian Missions based on their specific request.
Welfare of Non-Resident Tamils :-
- This Department is helping out for rescue/repatriation of the Non-Resident Tamils who are found suffering in foreign countries for various reasons, as per the requests received. Measures are also taken with the help of Indian Missions abroad and also with the coordination of Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India in bringing in back the mortal remains of the Non-Resident Tamils, who unfortunately died in abroad. Steps are also being taken to get the death compensation/insurance claim from the employers abroad on receipt of the representations from the family members of the Non-Resident Tamils.
- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia once announced “Nitaqat” policy, which resulted in the forcible return of a few thousands of Tamils who went for employment. This Department co-ordinated and extended support in bringing back the Tamilians from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- People who were evacuated from Libya and Yemen due to the civil war were received at the Chennai Airport and they were transported to their native places with the help of the concerned District Administration.
- The Principal Secretary/Commissioner was appointed as “Nodal Officer” for Malaysia and UAE for the repatriation of Tamilians (Indian Nationals) who were staying there unauthorized or undocumented. This Department co-ordinated with the District Administration and Police Department for verification of Nationality at the time of issuing “Emergency Exit”.
- A District Welfare Centre (NRT) for the Non-Resident Tamils was created to enable the NRTs and their family members to contact the authorities at the district level. The Personal Assistant (General) to the Collector was designated as “District Welfare Officer (NRT).
- With the financial aid from the Central Government and instructions from the State Government, “Migrant Resource Centre” has started functioning in the Office of the Principal Secretary/Commissioner of Rehabilitation, Chepauk, Chennai-5 w.e.f. 12-6-2015 and offering services (viz) giving advice about the genuineness of visa and guidelines regarding their employment abroad and entering the details of various issues in the GOI ‘s website MADAD. The District Collectors of all districts were requested to use the above website, for which the Login and Passwords were created on behalf of them and intimated the same to them.
- The Government of Tamil Nadu have sanctioned a sum of Rs. 1 crore as Revolving fund to incur the expenditure in connection with the transportation of mortal remains of the deceased Non-Resident Tamils and for repatriation of Tamil Nationals in distress/ medical invalidation.
- Survey on Migrants with the financial aid of Rs. 24 lakhs by the State Planning Commission was conducted and a final report in this regard was also submitted to Government and the State Planning Commission on 16-3-2016.
ISSUES RELATES TO KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA AND MALAYSIA:
- Improvement in working and living condition
- Nonpayment of salary (majority of them are blue-collar workers)
- Confiscating passport by the employer
- Undocumented labour repatriation – KSA –amnesty scheme
- The Government of KSA is arranging Out passes, one-way travel document to travel back home in the absence of passports and exit visas free of cost to the applicants.
- The above not included the Flight Charges. Hence the same may be arranged through GOI as in the earlier years.
- Out of 20000 Indians applied for out passes 1500 blue-collar workers are from Tamil Nadu.
- Statistics on illegal /undocumented emigrant details to be collected through immigration department.
- Training to housemaids before leaving the country.
- Making insurance as mandatory for the emigrants.
ISSUES RELATE TO BAHRAIN / U.A.E./ DUBAI/ IRAN / KUWAIT/ QATAR
In these countries, the main issues revolve around Fishermen. All countries within the region had specific legislation for the management of marine capture fisheries and almost all such legislation provided a fisheries management legal framework. The fishermen who were imprisoned to the minimum period of 3 to 6 months. Hence any compensation for their livelihood may be useful to the family members.
- Documentation required for the clearance of mortal remains may be widely published.
- Early clearance of mortal remains minimising the legal procedures in the host countries.
- Making the employers liable for the repatriation of mortal remains.
- Early clearance of insurance — minimising the legal documents and procedures. As most of them are poor.
- House maids where-ever they go encountering so many problems. Clear-cut policies with the host country may boost the moral support of the emigrants.
The following welfare activities were done by this department during 2014 and 2018 :-
In the year of 2014 & 2019 September, more than 5192 petitions were received relates to repatriation the emigrants from so many countries, requesting death compensation and pending salary from the employer. Some cases relate to medically affected emigrants at foreign countries and they require financial assistance to return India. The mortal remains of the emigrants were transported to India by airway. Some of the emigrants arrested by the police at abroad for some legal issues were rescued with the help of Indian Missions
- Tmt. Kasthuri Munirathinam, who had gone to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was (one of the hands of her was cut off) brought back to Chennai. Considering her poverty, Government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned an amount of Rs. 10,00,000/- from the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund with the instruction that the same has to be deposited in Tamil Nadu Power Finance and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited and the interest amount of Rs. 8,330/- will be paid to her through ECS till her lifetime.
- Twenty-three persons of Tamil Nadu who had gone to Ajman (Dubai) for fishing activities were arrested by the coast guard and with the intervention of Central / State Governments and Indian missions at respective countries were released and repatriated to India.
- Mrs.Dhakshayini, who had gone to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was admitted in the hospital with injuries at her spinal cord, sustained by her, while she was trying to escape from her employer. She was repatriated to India and the Government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned an amount of 10 lakhs from Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund. The amount was deposited in the Tamil Nadu Power Finance Corporation and the accrued interest amount of Rs. 8125/- will be paid to her through ECS till her lifetime.
- 82 persons who lost their jobs at Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were repatriated to India with the help of Indian Mission during. The Tamil Nadu House, New Delhi has made arrangements for food/accommodation and subsequently this Department helped them to go back toothier native place. Rs.1,32,623
- Three Tamil emigrants who had gone to Qatar for employment and they were awarded death sentence. On the request of Indian Mission, we have sanctioned an amount of Rs. 9.50 lakhs and transferred to the Indian Mission at Qatar towards legal fees for filing an appeal with the Supreme Court consequent upon award of death sentence to the 3 Tamil emigrants.
- Mr.Selvamuthu Kumaran (NRT), who was admitted in the Kuching General Hospital at Malaysia had died, despite the medical treatment. This Department had incurred an amount of Rs.4,11,000/- for his treatment and transportation of the mortal remains to his native place.
- An amount of Rs.4,25,000/- was transferred to Indian Mission, Malaysia in connection with the medical expenses and also for repatriation of Mr.Ayyavu to India.
- During 2016 and 2019 September Non-Resident Tamils 25 persons who were medically affected and returned from the foreign countries were received at Chennai Airport and necessary transport arrangements were made through 108 Ambulance Services to the hospital of their choice or to their native places.
- During 2016 and 2018 June (175) one hundred and Thirty-six Non-Resident Tamils who had gone for employment abroad and died in the foreign soil, were received and sent to their native places with the assistance of Indian Red Cross Society.
- An amount of Rs. 17,25,000/- was sanctioned for transporting Mr.Shreenivasan Vijayakumar, a medical student in European Teaching University, Tbilisi Georgia, who was admitted in critical condition in a hospital in Tbilisi Georgia through Air Ambulance from Yerevan, Armenia.
- Cost of train tickets incurred by the Tamil Nadu House, New Delhi on various dates for the returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Funeral assistance from the imprest of the Tamil Nadu House, New Delhi Expenditure sanctioned Rs. 90,667/-
- Reimbursement of the amount for transportation of mortal remains and miscellaneous expenses met by the Embassy of India, Kathmandu, (Nepal) to the A/C of Indian Community Welfare Fund Rs. 99,240/-
- Out of Rs. 1,00,00,000/- sanctioned as Revolving Fund for implementing the schemes of transportation of mortal remains of the deceased Non-Resident Tamils and for repatriation of Tamil Nationals in distress/invalidation and the same is recouped by the State Government to Rs. 1 Crore.
- An amount of Rs. 5 Lakhs was sanctioned vide G.O. Rt. No. 703, Public (RH II) Department dt.218-2017 for taking Short film and also for the issue of pamphlets to create awareness among the people going abroad for education/employment purposes.
- The Government has intervened in the rescue and repatriation of 23 persons from West Africa (Senegal) who had gone for employment from Vellore District and stated to be tortured there without food and salary with the help of Indian Mission Expenditure sanctioned Rs.32000.
- An amount of Rs. 10 Lakhs was sanctioned vide G.O. Ms. No. 986, Public (RH II) Department, dt.01.12.2017 towards the refund of the expenses incurred by the following three families, who were affected due to the missile attack at Zawiya Hospital at Lybia, and returned to India.
Tmt. Susanna Chako George and family Rs. 3,28,692/- Tmt. T.K. Pushpamary and family Rs. 3,49,860/- Tmt. A.Jayanthi and family Rs. 3,46,710/- Total Rs.10,25,262/-
- An amount of Rs. 3,39,392/- was sanctioned from G.O.(Ms) 1000 dt.8-12-2017, Public (RH II) Department, Chennai-9 for repatriation of 10 persons belong to Kancheepuram District who had gone for a pilgrimage and stranded in Jomson Town of Mustang District due to the inclement weather at Nepal. The same is payable to the Embassy of India, Kathmandu, Nepal.
- An amount of Rs. 3,70,000/- has been reimbursed to the account of Consulate General of India, China, by way of Fund Transfer in connection with the transportation of mortal remains of (Late) Shak Alaudin S/o Mr.Inayathulla, who had gone to Chine for employment and died on 23-5-2018.
- The Government has intervened in the rescue and repatriation of 21 persons from Iran who had gone for Fishing from Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli and Kanniyakumari District and stated to be tortured there without food and salary, with the help of Indian Mission.
- The Government has intervened in the rescue and repatriation of 49 workers from Malaysia who had gone for employment from Tamil Nadu and stated to be tortured there without food and salary with the help of Indian Mission. The Expenditure sanctioned is Rs.6,12,280/-.
- The Government has intervened in the rescue and repatriation for Three Indians from, Iran and an amount of Rs. 1,47,210/-was sanctioned for the flight tickets.
- An amount of Rs.7,02,850/- was sanctioned for repatriating 29 persons who had gone to Malaysia to participate in the International Karate Tournament and stated to be stranded at the airport at Kuala Lumpur.
- An amount of Rs. 9,80,000/- was sanctioned for the medical expenses and also for repatriation of Mr.Sampath Pandiyan, a medical student, who had gone to the Philippines, for his higher studies and met with an accident and admitted in critical condition in the hospital.
- The Government has intervened in the rescue and repatriation of 17 Indians from Russia who had gone for employment from Tamil Nadu and stated to be tortured there without food and salary, with the help of Indian Mission. An amount of Rs.58,700/- was paid to the Tamil Nadu House, New Delhi for the arrangement of their train tickets to their native places and also for refreshment charges.
- The Government has intervened in the rescue and repatriation for Nine Indians from, Dubai and an amount of Rs. 3,46,901/-was sanctioned towards the purchase of flight tickets.
- An amount of Rs. 66,815/- was sanctioned towards the purchase of flight ticket for repatriation of Mrs.Jeevitha Balamurugan, who had gone to Malaysia for employment and hospitalised there in critical condition.
- An amount of Rs. 1,02,185/- was transferred to the account of Indian Community Welfare Fund, Embassy of India, Kathmandu, (Nepal) towards reimbursement in connection with the transportation of mortal remains of (Late) Ramachandran Chinnaramasamy.
- Steps were taken to handover the death compensation amounts received from Gulf countries to the family members after due verification of the required certificates.
Pre-Departure Orientation Training / Training of Trainers (TOT) workshop for the migrant workers was conducted by the Government of Tamil Nadu in co-ordination with the India Centre for Migration, New Delhi. The above workshop was held for two days from 21.02.2019 and 22.02.2019 in six Technical Sessions at the Anna Institute of Management, Chennai. Around 52 participants consisting of NGO’s from various Districts have attended the Workshop as Trainers of Training at a cost of 3,54,000.00. Officials from Government of India/Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India have also participated. Booklets on migration prepared by India Centre for Migration in English were translated into Tamil at a cost of Rs. 3 lakhs and republished and distributed to the participants during the programme.
Pre-migration – Organising Awareness Programmes at the Districts through District Non-Resident Welfare Centre
As a follow-up to the TOT programme, Government has sanctioned a sum of Rs.20,00,000/- (Rupees twenty lakhs) for organising awareness workshops in all the districts . In this connection, this Commissionerate has instructed the District Administration to conduct training programmes through the trainers already trained , at a cost of Rs.5,000/- per training. The District Collectors were also instructed to monitor the same and disburse the amounts after completion of the training and also on submission of bills.
PLAN OF ACTION
- As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced “Nitaqat” Policy, which results in forcible return of few thousands of Tamils who went for employment and either relieved by the employer or stranding theirs as document-less workers. Even though the Secretary to Government, Public (RH) Department is appointed as NODAL OFFICER for this cause, this department coordinates all the efforts taken by the Government and arrange to extend support in all possible avenues.
- Finalising the Rules and Schemes, arrangement for the creation of Welfare Board as directed in the Government Order.
- Preparation of new schemes as per the Government of India’s initiative for Tamils returned from Saudi Arabia under the “Nitaqat” scheme is under consideration of Government.
- To design the schemes and welfare measures to the Non-Resident Tamils in the State, a Survey of the Non-Resident Tamils in Tamil Nadu is conducted and a report is submitted to Government.
- Action is being taken to open the Pre-departure Orientation Centre in the O/o. Commissionerate of Rehabilitation and Welfare of Non-Resident Tamils, Chennai to conduct awareness training programmes and the proposal is under consideration of the Government of India.