Kerala to have a diaspora survey

Thiruvananthapuram, April 17 (IANS) Kerala will conduct a survey on the state’s diaspora next month in association with the Indian government, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Wednesday.

“Today we do not have any proper statistics on the diaspora and hence with the Centre (Directorate of Economics and Statistics) deciding to do a survey on the diaspora, we have decided that the NORKA (Non-resident Keralite Affairs Department) will also join hands with them in the survey,” Chandy told reporters after a meeting of the state cabinet here.

The state government has allocated Rs.1.95 crore to NORKA for the survey.

“The Centre will do the survey based on a questionnaire and what the NORKA will do is that they will have an additional list of questions. The survey would be done by school teachers and each and every household would be covered,” added Chandy.

The Kerala diaspora is said to be close to 2.5 million and living mostly in the Middle-East. However, there has been no comprehensive study or proper statistics with regards to the actual number. So far, the study that is always referred in the state is the sample survey done of around 15,000 households across the 14 districts in the state at 300 localities conducted by the research unit on international migration at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) here.

“I appeal to all the people in the state to cooperate with the survey and whenever information when asked about the diaspora, many people feel that the data shared with the survey would be used against them, especially to questions asked on finances. No such thing would happen and none need to have any fear in taking part in the survey,” said Chandy.

The survey is expected to be completed in a month’s time.

The Chandy government is concerned as there are fears that a mass exodus from Saudi Arabia would take place after the west Asian country tightened its labour laws, leading to socio-economic problems in the state.

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