Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Free Essays for Competitive Exams-Schemes of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs

Schemes of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and the Salient Features

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) is the quintessential people's agency, a one-stop address for the Overseas Indians. Established in 2004, it is a young, compact, interactive and contemporary Ministry of the Government of India. Driven by a larger mission of development through coalitions sans borders MOIA seeks to connect the matrices of the Diaspora story. It is therefore the nodal point which Overseas Indians, Diaspora associations, trade and industry, lawmakers, think-tanks and opinion builders, key stakeholders of society and governance, and state governments, turn to for information, partnerships and facilitation for all matters relating to overseas Indians. Small and unconventional, the Ministry is headed by a Cabinet Minister and has four functional service divisions:
  1. Diaspora Services
  2. Financial Services
  3. Emigration Services
  4. Management Services
Simplicity is of essence at MOIA. Positioned as a 'services' Ministry, it is an ideas-driven Ministry run in a de-layered manner, drawing on the power of partnerships and outsourcing. Decisions are swift, and action followed through diligently. Our mission is simple - drive policy and build partnerships with the Diaspora. This is best summed up by the agenda that we pursue in India's engagement with its Diaspora which in brief includes:
  1. Developing an inclusive agenda for the Diaspora to benefit from India's development.
  2. Seeding the idea of Indian Diaspora networks and drawing up a road map for establishing them.
  3. Making the home and Diaspora institutions active stakeholder partners in the networks.
  4. Developing templates for individual initiatives and community action to leverage the knowledge and other resources of the Diaspora.
  5. Drawing a road map for meaningful engagement of the Diaspora in our development efforts round the year and across the globe.
  6. Developing templates for ongoing dialogue between India and its Diaspora at the National and state levels.
  7. Partnering with the Diaspora in new initiatives in the economic, social and cultural space.
  8. Developing capacity building programs in the states to respond better to the needs of the Diaspora as well as potential emigrants.
In implementing this agenda aimed at promoting and nurturing a mutually beneficial and organic relationship between India and Overseas Indians, MOIA is guided by four key principles:
  1. Offer customized solutions to meet the varied expectations of the Overseas Indian community
  2. Lend a strategic dimension to India's engagement with the Diaspora
  3. Tap the investible diasporic community in terms of knowledge and resources
  4. Anchor all diasporic initiatives in the States
To enhance its outreach and delivery capabilities the focus of the Ministry has been on developing networks with and amongst overseas Indians. We recognize that sustainability in efficient service delivery is determined by institutions and partnerships. The key institutions that drive MOIAs mandate include the Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) for investment and business, the Council for Promotion of Overseas Employment (ICOP) for International Migration, Overseas Indian Centers (OIC) for welfare and protection, and a variety of public private partnerships.
Besides dealing with all matters relating to Overseas Indians (Ols) comprising persons of Indian origin (PIOs) and non-resident Indians (NRIs), the Ministry is engaged in several initiatives with Ols in promotion of trade and investment, emigration, education, culture, health, and science & technology among others. Given the region and country specific ethos and expectations of the Diaspora, MOIA has policies, programmes and schemes that seek to meet the varied expectations and needs of the diverse Overseas Indian Community under the following rubrics:
  1. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
  2. Overseas Citizenship of India
  3. Know India Programme
  4. India Health Care Initiative (AAPI)
  5. Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojana
  6. Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra
Schemes of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs which are presently in force and the salient features of each of the schemes are as follows:

(1)        Know India Programme (KIP)          

The objective of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs’ ‘Know India Programme’ is to help familiarize Indian Diaspora youth, in the age group of 18-26 years, with developments and achievements made by the country and bringing them closer to the land of their ancestors. KIP provides a unique forum for students and young professionals of Indian origin to visit India, share their views, expectations and experiences and to bond closely with contemporary India. The Ministry has conducted 28 editions of KIPs so far and a total of 866 overseas Indian youth participated in these programmes.
The participants are selected based on nominations received from Indian Missions/Posts abroad. They are provided hospitality and are reimbursed 90% of their economy class return airfare from their respective countries to India. The programme content broadly includes the following:
(a)    Presentations on India, the Constitution, the political process, etc.
(b)   Interaction with faculty and students at a prestigious University/ College/ Institute
(c)    Presentation on industrial development and visit to some Industries
(d)   Visit to a village to better understand the typical village life in India
(e)    Exposure to Indian media and cinema
(f)     Interaction with NGOs and organizations dealing with women's issues
(g)    Visits to places of historical importance or monuments
(h)    Participation in Cultural programmes
(i)      Exposure to Yoga
(j)     Call on high dignitaries, which may include the President of India, the Chief Election Commissioner of India, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, and Ministers in-charge of Overseas Indian Affairs, Youth Affairs and Sports, etc.

(2)        Study India Programme (SIP)

The SIP enables Overseas Indian youth to undergo short term course in an Indian University to familiarize them with the history, heritage, art, culture, socio-political, economic developments etc. of India. The focus of the programme is on academic orientation and research. Cost of boarding, lodging, local transportation, course fee during the programme and 90% of the cost of air-ticket by economy class is borne by Govt. of India. Gratis Visas by Indian Missions are granted to the participants.
The first 'Study India Programme' (SIP) was organized from 25 September to 23 October, 2012 in Symbiosis University, Pune, Maharashtra with participation of 9 youths of Indian origin from four countries like Trinidad & Tobago, Malaysia, Fiji and South Africa. Like KIP, SIP has immense potential of connecting youth Indian Diaspora with India through the channel of educational institutions.  The 2nd SIP was conducted from 01.11.2013 to 28.11.2013 at the Symbiosis University, Pune, Maharashtra with the participation of 14 youths of Indian origin.

(3)        Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children (SPDC)

A scheme called 'Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children (SPDC)' was launched in the academic year 2006-07. Under the scheme 100scholarships upto US$ 4000 per annum are granted to PIO and NRI students for undergraduate courses in Engineering/Technology, Humanities/Liberal Arts, Commerce, Management, Journalism, Hotel Management, Agriculture/Animal Husbandry etc. The scheme is being implemented by Educational Consultants India Limited (Ed. CIL), a Government of India Enterprise under the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The scheme is open to NRIs / PIOs/OCIs from 40 countries with substantial Indian Diaspora population. A total of 660 candidates have availed the scholarship since inception of the scheme. SPDC scheme has been modified and it has been decided to do away with the "Common Entrance Test (CET)" for selecting PIO/OCI and NRI students for the award of scholarships. The applications from students who meet the prescribed eligibility criteria are evaluated and short listed by a selection committee consisting of officers from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ed.CIL (India) Ltd. and MOIA and recommended for selection to the competent authority.  

(4)        Scheme for Legal/ Financial Assistance to Indian Women Deserted/ Divorced by their NRI Husbands

Issues related with desertion of Indian women by their overseas spouses are complex and sensitive. They also fall within the purview of private international law. The approach of the Ministry in addressing these issues is to create awareness amongst prospective brides and their families regarding their rights and responsibilities and the safeguards to be adopted while entering into matrimonial alliances with grooms residing overseas.
The Ministry has taken various proactive steps in this direction during the year 2011-12. Scheme of providing legal/financial assistance to Indian women deserted by their overseas spouses, launched by the Ministry in 2007, has been revised with effect from 30th November, 2011 and its scope has been widened to include marriages solemnized in India or overseas, with an Indian or foreigner husband. Besides, the quantum of assistance under the scheme has been almost doubled. The scope of the scheme has also been liberalized to cover certain categories of Indian women married to overseas husbands who had not been included earlier.
The objective of the scheme is to provide financial assistance to needy women in distress due to being deserted/ divorced by their overseas spouses, for getting access to counseling and legal services. The counseling and legal services are provided through credible Indian Women’s Organizations/Indian Community Associations and NGOs empanelled with the Indian Missions/Posts abroad in the countries like USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore(included in 2013-14) and the Gulf countries.
Twenty seven (27) NGOs have been empanelled by the Indian Missions/Posts abroad to provide the assistance. A sum of nearly Rs.1.34 crore has been disbursed by the Indian Missions/Posts to the NGOs overseas and 136 Indian women have been assisted.
As part of awareness campaign to appreciate legal, social and related issues in the context of marriages falling in cross-country jurisdiction, a Seminar was organized in Bengaluru in December, 2013 which was attended by the officers of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Pudducherry, Maharashtra, Lawyers, Researchers and some NGOs.

(5)        Tracing the Roots

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs is running a scheme since October 2008 known as "Tracing the Roots" to facilitate PIOs in tracing their roots in India. PIOs who intend to trace their roots in India need to apply in a prescribed Form, through the Indian Mission/Post in the country of their residence. Application Form for this purpose is available on the website. Persons of Indian origin desirous of tracing their roots in India would be required to fill up the prescribed application form and deposit it with the concerned Indian Mission/Post located in the country of their residence along with a fee of Rs. 30,000 (Rupees Thirty Thousand only) in equivalent US $, Euro or any other foreign currency acceptable to the Indian Mission/Post. The traced details of roots in India, i.e. name of close surviving relative(s); place of origin of their forefathers (paternal and maternal side); and a possible family tree, are made available to the applicant.  In case the attempt is not successful, the Indian Mission is authorized to refund Rs. 20,000 (Rupees Twenty Thousand only) to the applicant.  

(6)        Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY)

            It is a specially designed social security scheme for the skilled and semi-skilled overseas Indian workers with ECR passports and employed on temporary work permits across 17 ECR countries.  The scheme was launched on a pilot basis at Kerala on 1st May, 2012.  The objective of the scheme is to encourage and enable such overseas Indian workers and by giving government contribution to (a) save for their return and resettlement, (b) save for their pension and (c) get a life insurance cover against natural death.  The Government contribution available under the MGPSY is for a period of five years or till the return of subscribed worker back to India, whichever is earlier.  The main features of the scheme are:

1)      Government contribution of Rs. 1,000 per annum in line with Swavalamban platform for all MGPSY subscriber who save between Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 12,000 per year in NPS-Lite.
2)      An additional Government contribution of Rs. 1,000 per annum by MOIA for the overseas Indian women workers who save between Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 12,000 per year in NPS-Lite.
3)      A special Government contribution of Rs. 900 by MOIA towards Return and Resettlement (R&R) of the overseas Indian workers who save Rs. 4,000 or more per annum.

(7)        Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana (PBBY)

This scheme is an insurance cover upto Rs.10 lakh payable to the nominee/ legal heir in the event of death or permanent disability of any Indian emigrant who goes abroad for employment purpose after obtaining emigration clearance from the concerned Protector of Emigrants (POE).  The insurance policy is valid for 2 years or period of employment, whichever is longer.  In case of death, economy class return airfare is also re-imbursable by the insurance company. Besides, it also provides medical insurance cover of Rs. 75.000/- in case of hospitalization of the insured worker and Rs. 50,000/- in case of a family member of emigrant worker in India.  Maternity benefits to women emigrants upto Rs. 25,000/- are also available.  In addition, the insurance policy provides for a cover of Rs. 30,000/- for legal expenses incurred by the emigrant subject to prescribed norms.  The premium charged for the PBBY policy is Rs. 275/- and Rs. 375/- plus service tax for a period of 2 and 3 years respectively.

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