Kerala to set up NRI panel to resolve diaspora woes

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 25 (IANS) Kerala will set up an NRI commission to help resolve problems faced by the diaspora, a minister said Thursday.

Following numerous complaints from the Kerala diaspora, regarded as the backbone of the state economy on account of their remittances, the Oommen Chandy government is to set up a NRI Commission before which the diaspora can approach with all issues they face in Kerala, Minister for Home Ramesh Chennithala told IANS.
The minister that he has already spoken about this to State Diaspora Minister K.C.Joseph and in the coming week they will sit down with officials to work this out.
The commission would be a quasi judicial body.
“This will be put before the Cabinet Jan 7. Punjab is the only state in the country where such a commission exists and it is working well,” said Chennithala.
“I have been flooded with requests from the diaspora community about the various problems that they face in Kerala. Most of the complaints pertain to boundary disputes on their property…,” added Chennithala.
The most recent study conducted by K.C.Zachariah and S.Irudayarajan of the Centre for Development Studies reveal that the number of Kerala emigrants as on 2014 was 23.63 lakhs, with 90 percent of the Kerala diaspora is in the various Middle-East countries.
During the 12-month period ending March 1, 2014 the total remittances stood at Rs.72,680 crores. Remittances were 1.2 times the revenue receipt of the state, 4.9 times the money that the state got from the centre as revenue transfer and 1.5 times the entire government expenditure.
“Even though we have a special NRI Police Cell, there are limitations in its functioning and the commission is being set up to address this lacunae. Given the nature of it being a quasi-judicial body, the diaspora can engage a lawyer who will be appearing before the commission and the complainant need not waste his/her time,” said Chennithala.
Incidentally, Kerala was the first state to set up a separate department for the diaspora and it was only after this, the central government followed suit.