Kerala takes tip from Punjab in forming NRI Commission

Taking a leaf from Punjab, Kerala is readying to put together its own NRI Commission. The commission is intended to handle commercial and labour disputes of the state diaspora that fortifies the state’s GDP with annual remittances to the tune of Rs 72,680 crore.

The state cabinet, which met in Thiruvananthapuram, has decided that the commission should be a quasi-judicial body. A retired high court judge will be chairman, and the members will comprise a retired officer from IAS cadres, two representatives of the Kerala diaspora and a state government official of the rank of joint secretary. Headquartered in Thiruvananthapuram, it is envisaged to meet every quarter and study the cases.

“The bill to enact the NRI commission will be presented in the assembly session that begins next week on November 30,” CM Oommen Chandy told FE. “Officials had been studying the legal possibilities of such an outfit. after continuous requests from NRI organisations,” he said. Kerala has a special NRI police cell, but it doesn’t have the legal teeth to handle the cases that it is called for.

Punjab already has an NRI Commission to cater to its diaspora in US and Europe. In Kerala, the proposed commission will take a call on fraud in recruitment by foreign countries, besides settling disputes over properties, and investment. As a quasi-judicial body, the commission will have more flexibility. The NRI complainants can sign up a lawyer who will appear before the panel. This means the complainant need not waste time, unlike when police handles such cases.

NRIs have been academically defined by policymakers as the backbone of Kerala economy. According to the latest studies by Centre for Development Studies, the number of Kerala emigrants as in 2014 was 23.63 lakh. As many as 90% of the State’s diaspora is settled in Gulf.


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