Union Cabinet approves revision of Indian Community Welfare Fund guidelines
The approved guidelines would cover key areas like improvement in Consular services, Assisting Overseas Indian nationals in distress situations and Community Welfare activities.
The Union Cabinet on 19 July 2017 approved revision of the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) guidelines. The approval was granted during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The revised guidelines seek to expand the scope of welfare measures that can be extended through the Fund to overseas Indian nationals in times of distress and emergency. The guidelines would cover three key areas namely
• Improvement in Consular services
• Community Welfare activities
• Assisting Overseas Indian nationals in distress situations
In addition, they are expected to provide Indian Missions and Posts abroad greater flexibility in swiftly addressing to requests for assistance by Overseas Indian nationals.
Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF)
ICWF was established in 2009 with an aim to assist Overseas Indian nationals in times of distress and emergency in the most deserving cases on a means tested basis.
Earlier, ICWF also played a critical role in the emergency evacuation of Indian nationals in conflict zones in Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and South Sudan. It also has been a critical support in 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.
The scale and speed of evacuations and assistance that was rendered through the Fund has been appreciated globally and also helped in creating 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.
According to MEA, the ministry has established the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) in 43 Indian Missions across the world that has a significant overseas Indian population. Currently the Fund is administered by the following Heads Missions: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Malaysia, Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Syria, Lebanon, Canada, Iraq and Maldives, Australia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, UK and USA, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji, Reunion Island, Guadeloupe/St. Martinique, France, Guyana, Germany, Italy, Israel, Jamaica, Netherlands, New Zealand, Kenya, the Philippines, Portugal, Suriname, Tanzania and Egypt.