Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government announced a slew of measures for the Kerala diaspora, including setting up of a NRI Commission and beginning recruitment for jobs in Middle East countries, outlined in Kerala Governor P.Sathasivam's address to the state assembly on Friday.
"Visa cheating and criminal offences against the life and property of non-resident Keralites (NRK) has become a very serious problem today. My government has decided to establish a NRI Commission to deal with such cases exclusively and effectively. My government has initiated steps to start the recruitment of persons to various Gulf countries by government agencies," said Sathasivam.
Incidentally, it was the first address by Sathasivam to the assembly after becoming the governor last year.
However, the Left opposition walked out of the assembly as soon as Sathasivam rose to read out the government's policies for the year.
Leader of opposition V.S. Achuthanandan rose at the same time as the governor and was heard speaking a few sentences which were not audible.
The governor smiled and paused for a while before going on to read his address as the entire Left opposition walked out of the house.
Sathasivam pointed out that Kerala is hugely indebted to the NRK's for their contribution to Kerala.
"The total remittance of NRK's to Kerala is more than Rs.90,000 crores, over and above the NRK deposits of about Rs.97,400 crores in the various financial institutions as on 30th September last year," said Sathasivam.
The most recent study conducted by K.C. Zachariah and S. Irudayarajan of the Centre for Development Studies revealed that the number of Kerala emigrants as of 2014 was 23.63 lakh, with 90 percent residing in various Middle East countries.
The only state in the country that has set up a NRI (non-resident Indian) Commission is Punjab and Kerala has already studied its functioning. The announcement to set up such a Commission is expected to be made next Friday when Mani presents the budget for the next fiscal.
The NRI Commission would have the status of a quasi-judicial body and the diaspora could engage lawyers, who would be appearing before the Commission on their behalf.
Other major announcements:
- Construction on the Vizhinjam container terminal work to begin soon
- Work on the Kannur airport to be completed in May, 2016
- Kerala to be made an organic State next year
- Two more medical colleges to be started in Thiruvananthapuram and Konni
- Elephant sanctuaries in Wayanad and Nilambur
- Special consideration for entrepreneurs belonging to Scheduled Castes
- Reservation for farmers' children in Veterinary and Agriculture varsities
- LED bulbs for street lights
- Meritorious award for children belonging to Scheduled castes
- Multi-level parking facility in urban centres
- Shubh Yatra scheme for road safety