The office of NRI Affairs has finally credited the pension of retired seafarers and widows along with the arrears, but the beleaguered seafarers have a simple question – when will the promised permanent pension scheme for the seafarers finally see the light of day?
While the seafarers are now expected to get their monthly pension for the next four months with the government extending the scheme by six months from November last, questions are being raised in seafarer circles about when the government will finally launch the permanent scheme.
The Goan understands that the office of NRI is in the process of giving touches to the permanent schemes, but it isn’t clear when the scheme will be made permanent.
For, the Home Minister is believed to have called for a meeting between the Goa Chief Secretary and the Director General of Shipping to find out and ascertain whether the deductions of the seafarers are being utilised for the betterment of the seafaring community, including social welfare benefits such as the pension.
Questions, however, are being raised in many quarters about whether the government is trying to link the deductions made of seafarers by the shipping companies to the government’s pension scheme. “There is no clarity why the government has called for a meeting between the Goa Chief Secretary and the Director General of Shipping. We only hope the government is not trying to link the seafarers’ deduction to the pension scheme,” remarked a seafarer.
Sources informed that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant recently had an interaction with the officials of the office of NRI Affairs and the Home department and is believed to have given his nod to work out a permanent pension scheme for the seafarers.
The pension scheme for seafarers was first unveiled by former Chief Minister late Manohar Parrikar after his return to power in the 2012 polls.
The scheme, however, came to an abrupt end in October 2019, leaving the pension beneficiaries in the lurch.
In June 2021, the Pramod Sawant government revived the scheme, but only for six months, before extending the same by a year, which expired in November 2022. Given that the government is yet to fulfil its promise to work out a permanent scheme for the seafarers, the temporary scheme has got another six-month extension in December.