Kerala extends generous hand to Gulf returnees

Minister for Rural Development K C Joseph informed the House that under the rehabilitation package offered to Non-Resident Keralites who had to return from certain Gulf countries, 605 persons have opted to avail of the self-employment scheme loans offered to them, under which a maximum of Rs.20 million was offered as a loan for which NORKA would give Rs.300,000 as a subsidy.

The interest rate for the loan repayment has been fixed at 3 percent less than the RBI rate. NORKA has thus far paid Rs.4.08 crore as subsidy for 605 self-employment projects.

Air Kerala proposed State-owned aviation company offering air travel for NRIs in the Gulf region will become a reality if the Civil Aviation Ministry eases two conditions.

Minister Joseph said the government has been most sincere in its efforts to be of assistance to expatriates. It was the only state that took the initiative to bring back their nurses from war zones in Libya and Iraq.

However the minister admitted that no banks except the Union Bank of India and Canara Bank had shown interest in helping out those Keralites who returned after the Saudi Nitaqat implementation. That too, regardless of the fact that NRI deposits alone in the banks in Kerala exceeded Rs.1 lakh crore.

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