Remittances by Non Resident Indians (NRIs)



Remittances by Non Resident Indians (NRIs) 
According to the World Bank Migration and Remittances Factbook, 2016, India is the top recipient of remittances in the world for the year 2015.

As per information received from the Reserve Bank of India, the amount of Remittances (i.e., private transfers) to India in last two years is as under:


Year
Amount (US $ Billion)
2014 – 15
69.6
2014-15                   
69.8

Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion formulates FDI policy across various sectors, including investments from Non Resident Indians (NRIs). FDI policy covers remittances for investment in various sectors. As per information received from DIPP to facilitate investment by  Non Resident Indians /Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) extant FDI policy was amended in November 2015 to provide following:

a)    Investment made by NRIs, PIOs and OCIs under Schedule 4 of FEMA (Transfer or Issue of Security by Persons Resident Outside India) Regulations on non-repatriation basis is deemed to be domestic investment at par with the investment made by residents.
b)  The special dispensation of NRIs is also available to companies, trusts and partnership firms, which are incorporated outside India and are owned and controlled by NRIs.
c)    NRIs have special dispensation for investment in Construction development and Civil Aviation sector.

The Minister of State for the external Affairs Gen. Dr. V. K. Singh (Retd.) provided this information in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.
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Fraudulent Recruitment Agencies

In a Statement is laid on the table of the Lok Sabha today the Minister for external affairs Shrimati Sushma Swaraj informed the house that as per information made available to this Ministry by the Indian Missions / Posts in ten Middle East countries, including six GCC countries, there is no general pattern to indicate an increase in cases of torture/exploitation of Indian workers. Details of complaints received during the last three years are at Annexure I. Most of these complaints were addressed by the Indian Missions by taking them up with the concerned foreign authorities. Complaints pertaining to employment were taken up by the Indian Missions with the concerned foreign employer / Labour Department officials in that country.
Government has been writing to all State Governments to take action against fraudulent and illegal recruitment agents, from time to time.  Whenever a complaint is received against any unregistered recruiting agent, the complaint is forwarded to Secretary (Home) of the concerned State Government with a copy to DGP of the State and Superintendent of Police in that District to take immediate action against such unscrupulous agents under provisions of IPC and Emigration Act 1983. As law and order is a State subject, the local police are authorized to take action on its own, if a FIR is lodged by the complainant or his relative(s). Whenever prosecution sanction is required to be issued, on the basis of a request, such sanction is immediately granted. Details of last 3 years are at Annexure II.
Government of India has signed MoUs with 6 Gulf countries, Jordan and Malaysia as per details given at Annexure III.  The broad principles covered in the MoUs include:

(i)      Declaration of mutual intent to enhance employment opportunities and for bilateral cooperation in protection and welfare of workers.
(ii)     The host country to take measures for protection and welfare of the workers in organized sector.
(iii)    Statement of the broad procedure that the foreign employer shall follow to recruit Indian workers.
(iv)    The recruitment and terms of employment to be in conformity with the laws of both the countries.
(v)     Constitution of Joint Working Groups which would meet regularly to find solutions to bilateral labour problems.

These MOUs are renewed/signed afresh, from time to time, during which process any modifications are duly considered for inclusion.

            The Government of India has set up Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) in all the Indian Missions / consulates abroad to meet contingency expenditure incurred by them for carrying out various welfare activities for overseas Indian citizens who are in distress. The objectives of the ICWF include:

(i)      Boarding and lodging for distressed Overseas Indians in need;
(ii)     Extending emergency medical care to the Overseas Indians in need;
(iii)    Providing air passage to stranded Overseas Indians in need;
(iv)    Providing initial legal assistance to the Overseas Indians in deserving cases;
(v)     Expenditure on incidentals and for airlifting the mortal remains to India or local cremation/burial of the deceased Overseas Indians in such cases where the sponsor is unable or unwilling to do so as per the contract and the family is unable to meet the cost;
(vi)    roviding for the payment of penalties in respect of Indian nationals for illegal stay in the host country, where, prima facie the worker is not at fault;
(vii)   Providing the payment of small fines / penalties for the release of Indian nationals in jails/ detention centres;

Government of India have also started an on-line programme ‘Madad’ which includes a helpline for lodging the grievances of the emigrants, which are attended to on priority basis.
The Ministry has set up a 24X7 Helpline ‘Overseas Workers Resource Centre (OWRC)’ in Gurgaon, Haryana which provides information and guidance on all matters and problems pertaining to overseas employment of Indian nationals.  Indian Workers Resource Centre (IWRC) set up in Dubai by Embassy of India, in UAE, provides guidance and counseling on all matters pertaining to overseas Indian workers in UAE.
Shelter homes for distressed Indian nationals; have been set up in Malaysia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  These shelter homes provide free boarding and lodging to overseas Indians in distress pending their repatriation.
Our Embassies in Gulf countries viz. UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar have an Open House on all working days providing direct access to workers to relevant Embassy officials to convey their grievances. Open Houses are also conducted with the presence of our Ambassadors on a regular basis in all these Missions.  Other measures are also in place to enable Indian workers in Gulf countries to contact respective Indian Embassies in distress and emergency situations such as 24X7 helplines, toll-free helplines and mobile applications.


ANNEXURE I


Details provided by the Indian Embassies in ten countries, including six in GCC countries in last three years.

NUMBERS OF LABOUR COMPLAINTS 
No.
Name of Mission
2013
2014
2015
2016
(Feb 2016)
1.
Bahrain(*)
820 (18)
821(15)
833(11)
92(1)
2.
Iraq
-
18
301
50
3.
Jordan
Nil
Nil
03
Nil
4.
Kuwait
2443
3033
3493
414**
5.
Lebanon
Nil
Nil
Nil
Nil
6.
Qatar
3965
3943
4132
787#
7.
Oman
1748
1358
1097
330
8
UAE
1104
1718
1936
383
9.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2866
3732
2921
630
10.
Sudan
Nil
Nil
Nil
Nil

* denotes cases of physical abuse / torture

**Upto January, 2016.
# Upto March 7, 2016.
ANNEXURE II

COMPLAINTS AGAINST FRAUDULENT AND ILLEGAL RECRUITING AGENTS DURING LAST THREE YEARS

Year
No. of complaints
Cases referred to State Govt. /POE for action
Prose-cution
Sanction sought
Prose-cution sanction issued
2013
272
261
05
05
2014
170
153
08
08
2015
195
101
11
11
2016 (Upto
29.2.2016)
15
35
0
0

ANNEXURE III


List of countries with whom the Government of India has signed bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding matters concerning overseas employment of ECR category workers.

S.No
Country
Date
1.
UAE
December 2006 &
 November 2007
2.
Qatar
April 2007
3.
Kuwait
April 2007
4.
Oman
November 2008
5.
Malaysia
January 2009
6
Bahrain
June 2009
7.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
( for Domestic Sector Workers only)
January 2014
8.
Jordan
1980

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Merger of Ministries

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) has been merged with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Administrative arrangements of the merger are currently underway.

A decision was taken to merge the two Ministries to bring better synergy for realising the objectives of bringing Indian Diaspora closer to India. Most policies, programmes, schemes and initiatives of MOIA were being implemented through MEA and Indian Missions/Consulates abroad. Matters pertaining to Indian nationals abroad, their welfare and protection are also taken up by MEA and the Indian Missions abroad. MEA handling the Overseas Indian Affairs would bring in more efficiency in handling matters related to Indian Diaspora. The merger is also in accordance with the Government’s objective of maximum governance with minimum government.

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs was entrusted all matters relating to overseas Indians, comprising Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), excluding matters specifically allotted to other Departments.

MOIA had been handling issues described in part (c) since 2004. However, the policies, programmes and initiatives, schemes of MOIA could not be implemented efficiently, due to MOIA’s dependence on MEA and Indian Missions abroad, and duplication in the functions of the two Ministries. MOIA was also a small Ministry which did not have the institutional mechanisms to attain the objectives that it was set up for.

One representation was received from the Government of Kerala about the decision to merge MOIA with MEA. Our response to the Kerala State Government stated that the decision to merge the two Ministries was taken to further deepen our engagement with our Diaspora, to synergize our resources and to enhance the efficiency with which we address issues pertaining to the Indian Community abroad.

The Minister of State for the external Affairs Gen. Dr. V. K. Singh (Retd.) provided this information in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

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New Route for Mansarovar

Ministry of External Affairs organizes the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra in cooperation with the State Governments of Uttarakhand, Delhi, and Sikkim along with Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). The Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited (KMVN), and Sikkim Tourism Development Cooperation (STDC) make logistical arrangements including accommodation, food, and transport on the Indian side for the Yatra. Since 1981 the Yatra is organized in cooperation with the Government of China which provides logistical facilities on the Tibet side.

A new route via Nathu La Pass in Sikkim has become operational in 2015.

In 2015 a total of 216 Yatris had travelled in five batches on the new route via Nathu La for this Yatra. This year 7 batches are planned of 50 Yatris each.

Government of India takes various steps to facilitate the Yatra which include a dedicated website to further simplify and expedite the registration and selection process, communication with Yatris, and a helpline based on Interactive Voice Response System which provides information in Hindi and English to the Yatris. Medical tests are also conducted for Yatris to ensure their fitness for high altitude endurance. Provision for air-lift of Yatris by helicopter is also available in coordination with concerned agencies in case of emergency. One Liaison Officer is appointed for each batch. The Liaison Officer stays in touch with Indian and Chinese authorities concerned and seeks assistance in case of any emergency for the safety and well-being of Yatris. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) provides security cover and basic medical assistance to Yatris on the Indian side. Facilities are upgraded on a continuous basis along the entire route of the Yatra.

The Minister of State for the external Affairs Gen. Dr. V. K. Singh (Retd.) provided this information in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

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Social Security Agreements

In a Statement is laid on the table of the Lok Sabha today the Minister for external affairs Shrimati Sushma Swaraj informed that as on date, India has signed Social Security Agreements (SSAs) with 18 countries. They are Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Luxembourg, France, South Korea, Netherlands, Hungary, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Norway, Canada, Japan, Austria, Portugal and Australia.

Bilateral social security agreements protect the interests of Indian professionals, skilled workers working abroad by providing the following benefits:

•        Avoiding making double social security contributions: Once an SSA is signed between India and a foreign country, it exempts the Indian worker (working on short term contracts abroad) from making a social security contribution in that foreign country. This exemption is provided only if the Indian worker is covered under the social security system of India and continues to pay his/her contribution during the period of overseas contract.

•        Easy remittance of benefits (Exportability): An SSA between India and a foreign country enables the Indian worker/professional to remit his/her accumulated social security contribution made in a foreign country, in case of relocation to India/third country.

•        Aggregating the contribution periods (in two countries) to prevent loss of benefits (Totalization): An SSA allows aggregating residency periods of social security contribution made by the Indian worker / professional in India and the foreign country to qualify for retirement benefits.

•        All the SSAs are on reciprocal basis. Six proposals are in the pipeline i.e. with Spain, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Russia, Cyprus and USA.

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Visit of Nepalese PM to India

The Prime Minister of Nepal, Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli paid a State visit to India from 19 to 24 February 2016. During the visit, he met with Hon’ble Rashtrapatiji, Vice President and Prime Minister and other senior GoI dignitaries. Wide ranging discussions on diverse aspects of the bilateral relations were held during the visit. Prime Minister Oli also visited the Tehri hydropower project, post earthquake reconstruction sites in Bhuj, and held meetings in Mumbai. The following bilateral documents were signed:

•        MoU on utilization of US$ 250 million Grant component of GOI’s Assistance package for Post-earthquake reconstruction assistance.

•        MoU on strengthening of road infrastructure in the Terai area of Nepal.

•        MoU between Nepal Academy of Music and Drama and Sangeet Natak Akademi.

•        Letters of Exchange on Transit Routes: (i) Transit between Nepal and Bangladesh through Kakarbitta-Banglabandh corridor (ii) Operationalization of Vishakhapatnam Port.

•        Letters of Exchange on Rail Transport: (i) Rail transport to/from Vishakhapatnam (ii) Rail transit facility through Singhabad for Nepal’s Trade with and through Bangladesh

Further, the Muzaffarpur-Dhalkebar transmission line was inaugurated. The establishment of an Eminent Persons Group (EPG) comprising four members from each country was announced.

After the adoption of the Nepalese Constitution on 20 September, 2015, two Constitutional amendments were passed by the Parliament of Nepal on 23 January 2016. Government of India regarded them as positive developments and hoped that other outstanding issues would also be addressed similarly in a constructive spirit. Following the suspension of the agitation at the border posts by the Madhes-based parties in early February 2016, trade flow through the Raxaul Birgunj crossing has commenced.

India and Nepal have maintained regular contacts, including at high political level. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kamal Thapa, visited India twice (17–19 October 2015 and from 30 November–2 December 2015) followed by visit of the Minister of Finance Mr. Bishnu Poudel (7–9 February 2016) and the State visit of Prime Minister Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli (from 19–24 February 2016). India has always stood for peace, stability and prosperity in Nepal and will continue to extend all assistance in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Nepal for socio–economic development of the country.

The entire gamut of bilateral relations, including security issues, was reviewed during Prime Minister Oli’s visit. The Government of India continues to take all necessary measures to safeguard Indian interests in Nepal.

The Minister of State for the external Affairs Gen. Dr. V. K. Singh (Retd.) provided this information in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

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