Insurance to double for migrant workers: PM

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 25, 2017-

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Tuesday unveiled a “highly ambitious” plan to provide insurance cover for Nepali migrants going to work in India and double that for those leaving for other 110 work destinations abroad.

Beginning on Sunday, each foreign-bound (except India) migrant will now have to buy life insurance cover and general insurance coverage worth Rs2 million. Migrants going to India, who will have to take permission of the concerned district administration office from February 12, can buy insurance schemes worth up to Rs1.25 million.

The announcement was made at the prime minister’s residence in Baluwatar. The PM said the move is aimed at providing better social security schemes for migrant workers, most importantly the families of those killed and injured in the work destination. Tuesday’s decision, if enforced, could benefit more than 5 million Nepalis working in the countries permitted by the government. But not all are convinced that it will happen owing to a lack of concrete plan to put it into effect.

Though Dahal spent more than an hour justifying the rationale behind the decision, he failed to explain how his government plans to provide the insurance cover for those going to work in India when it lacks even proper documentation of Nepalis crossing the porous border.

“The plan is to make it binding for workers to obtain work approvals from the concerned district administration office. But it’s going to be very difficult to implement it as anyone can freely cross the open border,” said an official at the Ministry of Labour and Employment. 

Officials said it may be extremely hard to persuade workers to buy an insurance package due to bureaucratic hassles and the cost.

“A majority of people go to India because they cannot afford to go to the Gulf or Malaysia. Each worker 

need will at least Rs20,000 to follow the due process,” said the official.

The PM failed to explain how the government would help the migrants currently working abroad to pay the additional premium that would be required to benefit from the new package.

The workers may be required to submit almost 50 percent more in premium though the exact amount remains unknown. Insurance companies currently charge Rs2,066 to Rs15,660 in premium from workers depending on the length of stay, age and gender of the workers.

“The government will pay the premium on behalf of the needy workers and those currently doing time in detention camps and jails abroad. It will be done within the next three months,” the PM’s secretariat stated.

Labour Ministry officials said they were working to increase the compensation to Rs700,000 from the current Rs300,000 to be claimed by the kin of migrant workers who die abroad. Inured migrants would also be entitled up to Rs700,000 depending on the severity of injury after the new rule comes into effect in the next 45 days.

Published: 25-01-2017 08:11

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