The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) has established the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) in Indian missions across the world, in countries that have a significant overseas Indian population. The ICWF aims to provide ‘on site’ welfare services on a means tested basis in the most deserving cases including:
• Boarding and lodging for distressed Overseas Indian workers in household / domestic sectors and unskilled
• Extending emergency medical care to those Overseas Indians in need.
• Providing air passage to stranded Overseas Indians in need.
• Providing initial legal assistance to the Overseas Indians in deserving cases.
• 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.
• Providing 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.
• Providing the payment of small fines / penalities for the release of Indian nationals in jail / detention
• Providing support to the local Overseas Indian association to establish Overseas Indian community centres in countries that have population of Overseas Indians exceeding 100,000.
• Providing support to start and run Overseas Indian community-based student welfare centres in countries that have a presence of more than 20,000 Indian students.
According to Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Mr Vayalar Ravi, the ICWF would be funded through budgetary support from the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, funds raised by the Indian Missions by levying a nominal service charge on consular services and through voluntary contributions from the Indian community.