Kochi, Jan 8 (IANS) Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi made it clear Tuesday that the government was willing to go to any extent to help Indians to return from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under the amnesty offer of the UAE government.
"We do not want any Indian to suffer because they don't have money to pay for their fare. We will make all arrangements for them," Ravi told reporters at the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas being held here Jan 7-9.
"We will use the India Community Welfare Fund for the repatriation of Indians," said Ravi.
Speaking to IANS, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said they are baffled by the poor response ever since the amnesty offer started Dec 4.
"So far just 300 Keralites have registered for it. We will find out why there has been such a poor response," said Chandy.
According to reports from the UAE, 800 Indians have registered for the amnesty, which ends Feb 3.
"We want to ensure that our people can continue to work legally in the UAE. But as a government we will be able to do little in that respect because the laws of that country have to be respected," said Chandy.
State Minister for Diaspora K.C. Joseph told IANS that the state government will lend a helping hand to those who return.
"We can link up with commercial banks in the state to provide soft loans to the returnees to help them start a business," said Joseph.
The Kerala government had earlier announced that they would set apart Rs.25 lakh to meet repatriation expenses of Keralites who wish to return.
The last time the UAE offered an amnesty was in 2007 and 40,000 Indians made use of it and returned. Another 37,000 used the offer to legalise their stay in the UAE by paying reduced penalties.