The Pravasi Malayalee Welfare Association on Saturday urged both the state and central governments to come to the aid of the large number of NRIs who are returning to Kerala after losing their jobs due to the global economic recession.
"On an average, every day close to 300 people are returning to the state from abroad. The maximum flow is from the UAE (United Arab Emirates). Something has to be done to rehabilitate them," V. Sreekumar, president of the Pravasi Malayalee Welfare Association, told reporters in Thiruvananthpuram.
The association wants the state and central governments to provide NRIs with job reservation, health insurance, special schemes for starting businesses and even a special package for the loans taken by them.
"We have opened a labour bank in Thiruvanathpuram and we want all our members to register with their CVs. On Feb 28, we will hold our annual meeting and announce a few programmes to help our members," said Shaji Mathew, vice-president of the association that has 400,000 members.
Kerala Chief Minister V.S Achuthanandan and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan have also asked the centre to come up with sops for the benefit of the NRIs who have been forced to return to India.
According to the Centre for Development Studies based in Thiruvananthpuram, over two million Keralites are living outside the country, 90 per cent of them in the Middle East.
For many years now, the remittances by them have kept the state economy afloat.
Last fiscal, Kerala received Rs.245.25 billion as remittances, which is about 20 per cent of the state's net state domestic product and 30 per cent more than the state's annual receipts.