India will push for a pact that will help its professionals in the US, who pay $1 billion a year to social security schemes, to repatriate their money.
The move was discussed at a high-level meeting chaired by principal secretary to the Prime Minister T.K.A. Nair even as the outsourcing backlash in the US gained momentum.
The meet — attended by national security adviser, foreign secretary and secretaries of commerce and industry and overseas Indian affairs — was scheduled to fix the agenda for Barack Obama’s visit in November, sources said.
Didar Singh, secretary of the ministry of overseas Indian affairs, is set to travel to Washington soon, and India and the US will hold a meeting on the subject this month-end.
The two nations have been locked in protracted negotiations over the social security (totalisation) pact since NDA government days.
There are about 300,000 Indians working in the US under non-immigrant visa categories. Each employee pays 15 per cent of the salary to the scheme, amounting to $1 billion a year. Since their visa term is a maximum of six to seven years, they cannot repatriate the money (as per US law, 10 years’ payment is necessary for getting social security benefits).
The US has argued that it will not gain much on reciprocity because compared to the $1 billion Indians invest, US nationals invest only $50 million in India under a similar scheme.