An estimated 5 million Indian Nationals with ECR (Emigration Check Required) passports are working on temporary employment/contract visas in the Gulf Countries. It is observed that a majority of the earnings periodically remitted by overseas Indian workers to their families in India are rarely accumulated as savings and often cause only a temporary improvement in the consumption expenditure of their families. As a result majority of overseas Indian workers face the risk of poverty when they return to India and when they are too old to work.
Overseas Indian workers are largely excluded from formal social security benefits available to residents of ECR countries. The Government of India has demonstrated a sustained and deep commitment to inclusive growth and has taken a number of important steps to improve income and provide employment opportunities and equal access to social security for its citizens. However there has been no mechanism as yet to overseas Indian workers to benefit from such policy initiatives.
In this context the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), has introduced a special social security scheme named Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY) for overseas India workers in ECR Countries. The scheme named after Mahatma Gandhi, is a voluntary scheme aims to encourage and enable the workers to meet their three major needs. It helps them to save for their pension in old age through NPS-Lite (National Pension Scheme); save for their return and resettlement and obtain free cost of life insurance cover, Ministry will also co-contribute under this scheme for a period of five years or till the return of workers to India, whichever is earlier.
Pension in Old Age
The scheme will help the worker to save for their old age. Old age savings will be managed by credible public sector pension funds. While a worker save between Rs.1000 to Rs.12000 in his/her pension account they will get a co-contribution of Rs.1000 in case of male and Rs.2000 in case of female in the NPS-Lite account from Ministry.
Return and Resettlement (R&R ) Saving
To address the immediate monitory need of the worker on his return back to India, the scheme provides an option in the form of R&R saving. The scheme will help to save money over a period of time to cover the resettlement expenses in the short term. While the worker invest Rs.4000 in this scheme they will also get a Ministry co-contribution of Rs.900 in their R&R account.
An overseas Indian worker enrolled in this scheme would be provided with a free cost life insurance cover and applicable as long as they are working in ECR country.
Ministry’s Co-contribution to MGPSY
If a worker contribute Rs.5000 per year, then the Ministry’s Co-contribution will be Rs.3000 in case of female worker and Rs.2000 in case of male worker for the whole scheme. Ministry co-contribution is subjected to subscriber making necessary contribution to the scheme. This co-contribution will be applicable for a minimum period of 5 years or for the period of employment whichever is earlier.
Overseas Indian workers with ECR passports and aged between 18 and 50 years on an employment/contract visa are eligible to join the scheme. The Ministry has authorized the Life Insurance Corporation of India and Bank of Baroda to deliver the scheme to eligible overseas Indian workers. Bank of Baroda and LIC will assist eligible to open MGPSY accounts and will deliver a range of services to subscribers.
A secure and well regulated institutional framework has been designed to encourage, enable and assist overseas Indian workers to participate in this Scheme. In order to motivate broad-based voluntary enrolments, encourage regular savings and pension accumulations of overseas Indian Workers.