The Union Cabinet has approved revision of the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) guidelines.
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.
They are expected to provide Indian Missions and Posts abroad greater flexibility in swiftly addressing to requests for assistance by Overseas Indian nationals.
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 ICWF would be funded through budgetary support from the Ministry, funds raised by the Indian Missions by levying a nominal service charge on consular services and through Voluntary contributions from the Indian community.
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 has 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.