Kerala mulls new bank and university for NRKs

December 30th, 2011 - 9:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 30 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Friday held out an assurance that the state government will look into all the legal and technical issues of floating a new bank and a university that will set up as a joint venture between the state and the Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs).

“With regard to setting up a bank, the most important clearance has to come from the Reserve Bank of India and for that we will first look into all the legal issues in this regard. Then comes the technical aspect,” said Chandy told a Global Non-Resident Keralites Meet here.

The education department will look into the setting up a seperate university, with special preference to the children of NRKs and the NRKs returning to the state, Chandy said.

“See, I do not want to make an announcement that both these demands will be implemented because there are lot of clearances required. But one thing I can assure you that both issues would be definitely pursued and we will do our best to ensure that this becomes a reality,” added Chandy.

According to the latest figures, there are 34.50 lakh non-resident Keralites and they have sent a staggering Rs.50,000 crore to their bank accounts in the state.

The demand for a bank and a university has been there for a while, T.K.Manoj Kumar, secretary of the Non-Resident Keralites Affairs(NORKA) department, told IANS.

“The proposed plan for the bank is that the state government will hold 26 per cent equity and the rest will come from equity participation of NRKs. Likewise, the university would see the children of NRKs and NRK returnees getting preferential treatment when it comes to admissions,” said Kumar.

An official from NORKA would visit Saudi Arabia next month and hold discussions with the Indian embassy officials to initiate steps and ensure that the Keralites who were jailed due to want of proper papers are released, said Chandy.

“The centre will foot the bill of travel of some who will be repatriated and we welcome the offer by Siddique (an NRK businessman), who has agreed to meet the travel expenses of jailed Keralites in Saudi Arabia,” Chandy said.

In a two-hour interaction with the delegates, numerous suggestions and complaints came up.

Mary Joseph, who works in Saudi Arabia, pointed out that the NRK identity card issued by the NORKA was not accepted as a valid identity card in banks, and even in state government offices.

“This complaint would be immediately attended to, and will see to it that steps are eased when it comes to renewal of NRK identity card,” said State Minister of NRKs K.C.Joseph.

State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala, who addressed the gathering, requested the state government to open cooperative societies exclusively for NRKs in all the 14 districts.

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