Wednesday, November 22

Pravasi Welfare Fund Benefits and Updates

Pravasi Welfare Fund Benefits and Updates

The government of the Indian state of Kerala set up the Kerala Pravasi Welfare Board which governs the Pravasi Welfare Fund for the Kerala Pravasi Pension Scheme (PPS). This Pravasi Welfare Fund benefits the citizens of Kerala who are Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) and engaged in an occupation in a foreign country (NRIs) or in other parts of India.

Kerala has a sizeable population of NRIs working outside the state. A majority of these NRKs are lower or middle income group citizens who have moved out of the state in search of employment. However, most of them are engaged in unregulated or unorganised sectors and therefore do not enjoy any employee benefits, including pension.

To ensure a stable post-retirement financial benefit to these NRKs, the state government of Kerala introduced the Kerala Pravasi Pension Scheme.

In this article, we will look at the Pravasi Pension details, including the features, benefits, eligibility, application and payment guidelines for the scheme.

What is the Kerala Pravasi Pension Scheme?

The Kerala Non-Resident Welfare Act was passed in 2008 by the state government of Kerala and subsequently, the Kerala Pravasi Welfare Board and the Pravasi Welfare Fund were formed to provide various welfare schemes, such as the Pravasi Pension amount to eligible Non-Resident Keralites.

The Kerala Pravasi Welfare Board, under the guidelines of the Kerala Non-Resident Welfare Act and with the help of the Pravasi Welfare Fund manages a wide range of Pravasi Pension Schemes - pension plans for NRKs, family pension plans, pension plans for invalids, pension plans for medical assistance and so on.

The Kerala Pravasi Pension Schemes are also applicable to NRKs who have come back to the state for permanent residence after spending at least 2 years in a foreign country.

Features and Benefits of the Kerala Pravasi Pension Scheme:

Following are some features and benefits of the Kerala Pravasi Pension Scheme:

Eligible individuals need to register themselves with the Kerala Pravasi Welfare Board and remit the necessary monthly contributions to be entitled to receive the Pravasi Welfare Fund benefits.

  • Contributing members will receive the applicable Pravasi Pension amount after the age of 60 years.
  • Contributing members will receive a minimum monthly Pravasi Pension amount of ₹2000 after the age of retirement in return for a continuous contribution towards the Kerala Pravasi Welfare Fund till the age of 60 years.
  • Members of the Kerala Pravasi Pension Scheme who contribute for more than 5 consecutive years will get an additional 3% of the minimum Pravasi Pension amount (i.e. ₹2000) every year after the completion of 5 years.
  • The minimum monthly contribution for NRKs abroad is ₹300, and for NRKs in India, it is ₹100.
  • In case of no contributions for an entire year, the membership will be cancelled.
  • The minimum period for contribution is 5 years.
  • The Central and State Government employees cannot avail of the Pravasi Pension Scheme.
Eligibility Guidelines for Kerala Pravasi Pension Scheme

Non-Resident Keralites between 19 years to 60 years of age can enrol with the Kerala Pravasi Welfare Board to receive the Pravasi Pension amount under the Kerala Pravasi Pension Scheme. The Pravasi Welfare membership can be enjoyed by the following groups of NRKs:

  • NRKs employed abroad
  • NRKs who have permanently returned to India after at least two years of foreign employment
  • NRKs working outside Kerala but within the geographical limits of India

Application Procedure for Kerala Pravasi Pension Scheme

As we saw above, eligible NRKs can register themselves for the Kerala Welfare Fund under three categories. Each category has a separate registration form:

  • Form 1A for NRKs employed abroad
  • Form 1B for NRKs who are back to the state working for at least 2 years in a foreign country
  • Form 2A for NRKs who are working outside the state but in India

Once the eligible applicants have identified their category, they can apply for the Kerala Pravasi Pension Scheme online by following the below step

  • Go to the official website of Kerala Pravasi Welfare Board.
  • Select ‘Service’.
  • Select ‘Online Apply’ in the online registration menu.
  • On the official page of the Pravasi Pension Scheme Application Form, select the type of registration - 1A, 1B or 2A.
  • Provide all the relevant information and details as prompted by the screen.
  • Submit the attested soft copies of the necessary documents.
  • Click on ‘Submit’.
Various Scenarios Under Which the Pravasi Welfare Fund Benefits Can be Claimed

Pravasi Pension Scheme: As already discussed, the Pravasi Pension amount is paid after the contributing member turns 60 years of age. The monthly pension amount depends on the contributions made; however, the minimum monthly pension is ₹2000 per month. In case the member contributes regularly for more than 5 consecutive years, they will receive an additional amount of 3% of the applicable pension or ₹4000, whichever is lower.

Pravasi Family Pension Scheme: If an enrolled member eligible to receive the pension passes away, then the applicable amount (based on the cause of death, mode of pension payment and type of registration) will be paid to the appointed nominee.

Payment Scheme for Medical Aid: If an enrolled member is diagnosed with a critical illness, they are eligible to receive up to ₹50,000 from the Kerala Pravasi Welfare Fund. However, they should not have received benefits under any other central, state or local government’s welfare schemes.

Financial Assistance for Marriage: An enrolled member who has contributed for 3 or more consecutive years can receive up to ₹10,000 (only twice) as financial assistance for a daughter’s marriage. Note that if multiple members of a family are enrolled under the scheme, only one member can apply for this benefit.

Payment of Financial Assistance for Maternity: An enrolled female member contributing for at least 2 years will get financial assistance for maternity expenses as well as for abortion.