Kerala doubles allowances for diaspora

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government Wednesday doubled the financial assistance extended to the weaker and poorer sections of the state’s diaspora, which includes assistance to bring back the bodies of those who pass away abroad and medical assistance.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy made the announcement after the weekly cabinet meeting.

“The financial assistance for medical assistance and to take care of funeral expenses of those who pass away abroad has been doubled from Rs.10,000 to Rs.20,000. The assistance for conducting marriages of the children of the diaspora has also been doubled to Rs.15,000,” he said.

The state government will also provide cash assistance of Rs.10,000, under the Santhwana Scheme, to the physically challenged to buy a wheel chair.

The number of people from Indian state of Kerala living abroad in 2011 is estimated to be 2.28 million, up from 2.19 million in 2008, 1.84 million in 2003 and 1.36 million in 1998.

More than half of the diaspora is generally considered to be in the category of ordinary workers and this increased benefit is going to benefit a major section of the Kerala diaspora.

According to the latest studies done by the Centre for Development Studies here, remittances from the diaspora comprise 31.23 per cent of Kerala’s net state domestic product.

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