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National News

May 07, 2020

Plea filed in SC seeking direction to Centre to utilise ICWF for assistance to overseas Indian nationals

Supreme Court
A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Centre to utilise the Indian community welfare fund (ICWF), aimed at assisting overseas Indian nationals in times of distress and emergency, for repatriation of economically weaker citizens who are stranded abroad due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier, the government had decided to facilitate the return of Indians stranded abroad in a phased manner using aircraft and naval ships but is going to charge fare for such repatriation.

The petition, filed by NGO Pravasi Legal Cell, has claimed that a vast majority of Indian expatriates in Gulf countries are involved in low-skilled labour and are struggling to meet their basic needs in the dire jobless situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fixing fare for repatriation of at the time of distress would further put burden on the migrant labourers who are already out of job and proper shelter, putting them in a vulnerable condition living abroad.

The Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF), set up in 2009, is aimed at assisting Overseas Indian nationals in times of distress and emergency in the ‘most deserving cases’ on a ‘means tested basis’.

ICWF has also been a critical support in emergency evacuation of Indian nationals from conflict zones, countries affected by natural disasters and other challenging situations. In view of its immense utility, ICWF stands extended to all Indian Missions and Posts abroad.

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