When the pension plan for widows and retired mariners is about to expire in November, seamen worry about its future and wonder if the government will maintain its pledge to make the plan permanent or grant it another extension.
The Goa Welfare/Pension scheme, 2021, according to informed sources, has been presented to the Home department by the office of the NRI Commissioner.
According to further sources, State Home Secretary Sanjit Rodrigues is aware of the situation and plans to meet with representatives of sailors to discuss their concerns.
Sanjit is likely to talk about matters such as whether the seafaring community receives welfare benefits and whether shipping corporations and unions deduct money from seafarers.
We’re aware that the government is considering paying pensions through the Social Welfare department after the NRI Affairs office submitted the dossier to the Home department to make the scheme permanent.
An official hurried to add that the NRI Affairs office will continue to manage the programme because the office is responsible for protecting the interests of the maritime industry.
When Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas presented the idea in the Assembly, the government gave an assurance that it would become permanent, according to an official.
An official pointed out that the scheme may be made permanent after the government assured in the Assembly when Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas had tabled a resolution. “The government has not yet decided whether the pensionary benefits will be provided to the beneficiaries through the social welfare department. However, the scheme will continue to be run by the office of NRI Affairs,” the officer said.