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QUESTION NO.1938 FINANCIAL/ LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO WOMEN ABANDONED BY OVERSEAS INDIAN SPOUSES

January 04, 2018

RAJYA SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.1938
TO BE ANSWERED ON 04.01.2018

FINANCIAL/ LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO WOMEN ABANDONED BY OVERSEAS INDIAN SPOUSES

1938. SHRIMATI VIPLOVE THAKUR:

Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether Government has introduced a scheme to provide financial assistance to Indian women abused/abandoned by their overseas Indian spouses, so that they can get access to counselling and legal services, with Indian Missions/Posts abroad;

(b) if so, the details thereof;

(c) the details of the countries where the scheme is being implemented;

(d) whether Government proposes to implement the scheme in rest of the countries also; and

(e) if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor?

ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
(SHRI M. J. AKBAR)

(a) Yes.

(b) & (c) The Ministry’s scheme for providing legal/ financial assistance to Indian women abused/abandoned by their overseas Indian spouses was in operation in 2007 initially in 8 countries. It was reviewed in 2011 and was extended to 4 more countries with increase in financial assistance to US$ 3000/-per case in case of developed countries and US$ 2000/- in respect of developing countries. With inclusion of Singapore in Financial Year 2013-14, the scheme was in operation in 13 countries, namely USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates until 31.08.2017. Now, enhanced benefits including financial assistance and scope of the scheme have been incorporated in the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF).

(d) & (e) Under the current revised ICWF Guidelines effective from September 1, 2017, its benefits have been extended to the Scheme, which is now applicable to all overseas Indian Missions/Posts abroad. The amount of legal & financial assistance to distressed/ abused/ abandoned Indian women married to NRI spouses has been increased to USD 4000 per case. The assistance is released to the empanelled legal counsel of the applicant or Indian Community Association/ Women’s Organisation/ NGO concerned to enable it to take steps to assist the woman in documentation and preparatory work for filing the case. There is also a provision in the revised ICWF guidelines for maintaining a panel of local lawyers/ firms to assist deserving Indian national in distress in Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) and top 20 countries with major Overseas Indian national population.

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