Know Your Rights: Here's how overseas Indians can avail benefits of ICWF scheme introduced to assist in distress situations

Know Your Rights: Here's how overseas Indians can avail benefits of ICWF scheme introduced to assist in distress situations

The ICWF has played a critical supporting role in the emergency evacuation of Indian nationals from conflict zones, countries affected by natural disasters and other challenging situations.

Bimal BhutaUpdated: Monday, February 20, 2023, 08:39 AM IST
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Know Your Rights: Here's how overseas Indians can avail benefits of ICWF scheme introduced to assist in distress situations | Representative image

The Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) is a scheme by the Ministry of External Affairs for the welfare of Indians who are overseas and to assist them in situations of distress. The ICWF has also played a critical supporting role in the emergency evacuation of Indian nationals from conflict zones, countries affected by natural disasters and other challenging situations.

Overseas Indian workers duped by unscrupulous intermediaries in the host countries, runaway housemaids, those who become victims of accidents, deserted spouses of overseas Indians or any other overseas Indian citizens who are in distress are the main beneficiaries of this fund. The ICWF is also extended to all Indian missions and posts abroad.

Eligibility

Applicant must be an overseas Indian

Applicant must be in a distress situation (as defined under the scheme)

Assistance provided in distress situations

Transportation of mortal remains and expenditure on incidentals of deceased to India or local cremation/burial of deceased in such cases where the employer, sponsor or insurance company is unable or unwilling to do so as per the contract and the family is unable to meet the cost

Boarding and lodging for deserving distressed Indian nationals on a means tested basis in budget category or shelters run by missions / posts or NGOs empanelled with a mission

Air passage for stranded overseas nationals to India

Legal assistance on a means-tested basis to deserving overseas Indian nationals who have committed minor crimes or offences, or have been falsely implicated by their employer and put in jails

Assistance to fishermen, seamen, sailors or Indian students in distress

Payment for small fines and penalties for minor offences / crimes; for illegal stay in the host country where prima facie the worker is not at fault, and to enable release of Indian nationals from jail/detention center

Emergency medical care on means-tested basis to overseas Indians involved in an accident (with serious life-threatening injuries) and have life-threatening medical conditions or suffer a serious disability

Support for community welfare activities

To promote Indian culture by organising cultural programmes by recognised Indian diaspora organisations at major Indian festivals, national days of India; Indian culture programmes by recognised local artists or Indian artists based in India etc

Payment of honorarium for teachers / facultyteaching Indian languages, art forms

Welfare activities for Indian students towards organising annual day functions for Indian students at universities / educational institutions to discuss problems and issues faced by Indian students, including their visa, residence status, work permit, finances, welfare and other issues with participation of students

Improvement of consular services

Hiring of limited additional staff for rendering various consular services

Hiring vehicles on a need basis for visits to jails, police stations, detention centres,prisons, labour camps, welfare camps, shelters for distressed Indians, hospitals, morgues and to airports for deportation / repatriation of distressed Indian nationals

Hiring of local interpreters on a case-to-case basis for consular visits

Bearing costs of design, publication and translation of pamphlets by missions/posts about local labour laws, regulations, norms, dos & don'ts and welfare measures pertaining to overseas employment in the host country

Organising labour camps / consular camps for interacting withIndianmigrant workers and informing them about issues related to overseas employment, labour laws, welfare and protection measures of the government

Setting up 24x7 toll-free helplines and walk-in resource centres for providing information, advice, and guidance on problems faced by distressed Indian nationals and to help them register their grievances with the mission / post

Development of e-governance solutions and applications to address consular / welfare matters

(The writer is a Vile Parle-based social activist)

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