The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved revision of the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) guidelines, to expand scope of welfare measures that can be extended through the fund to overseas Indian nationals in times of distress and emergency.
The 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.
“The revised guidelines being made broad-based seek to expand the scope of welfare measures that can be extended through the fund. The guidelines would cover three key areas – namely Assisting Overseas Indian nationals in distress situations, community welfare activities and improvement in consular services,” said an official statement.
“They are expected to provide Indian Missions and Posts abroad greater flexibility in swiftly addressing to requests for assistance by overseas Indian nationals.
“Apart from assisting Indian nationals in distress abroad, ICWF has been a critical support in emergency evacuation of Indian nationals in conflict zones in Libya, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan and other challenging situations like assistance extended to undocumented Indian workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the Nitaqat drive in 2013 and the ongoing Amnesty drive in 2017,” it added.
Noting that the scale and speed of these evacuations and assistance rendered through the fund has been universally appreciated, the statement said that it “also created a sense of confidence among the migrant workers going overseas about the support they can expect from India during critical times”.
“ICWF stands extended to all Indian Missions and Posts abroad and is primarily funded by levying service charge on various consular services rendered by Indian Missions and Posts abroad,” it added.