For the first time, Nepalese workers going to India would be provided mandatory insurance cover under an ambitous plan unveiled by Prime Minister Prachanda for the welfare of people working in foreign countries.
Prachanda on Tuesday said that the government is to regulate Nepali migrant workers going to India, issuing them permission letters and provide insurance and other facilities such as are enjoyed by migrant workers in other countries.
This is the first time that the government has decided to regulate Nepalese working in India since the signing of the Nepal-India Treaty of Peace and Friendship, 1950.
“Now onwards, those going to work in India have to obtain a permission from the district administration office (DAO).
Before issuing such permission the DAO has to enlist them for a mandatory insurance and welfare fund,” according to the plan.
Migrant workers for destinations other than India will now have to buy life insurance and general insurance coverage worth Rs 2 million from January 28.
However, workers going to India, after taking permission from the concerned district administration office from February 12, can buy the insurance worth up to Rs 1.25 million.
Hundreds of Nepalese cross the porous southern border with India every day in search of job opportunities. It seems difficult to implement such a plan due to lack of mechanism to stop the movement of migrant workers at Nepal-India border.
While unveiling the plan, Prachanda said it was aimed at providing better social security schemes to migrant workers, more importantly to the families of those killed and injured at their work destinations.
The decision, if enforced, could benefit more than 5 million Nepalese working at more than 110 work destinations across the world.
Officials said it might be extremely hard to persuade workers to buy insurance package due to bureaucratic hassle and cost factor.
“A majority of the people go India because they cannot afford to pay to go to the Gulf or Malaysia. Each worker will at least need Rs 20,000 to follow the due process,” according to the official.