Cries for a permanent pension scheme for retired seafarers and widows reverberated around Salcete countryside on Tuesday, with the opposition making a fervent plea to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to notify a permanent scheme for the seafarers.
While Leader of Opposition Yuri Alemao appealed to the Chief Minister to notify the permanent pension scheme for the seafarers and clear all the pending dues, Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas reminded Sawant to honour his assurance given to him on the floor of the House to unveil a permanent scheme for the seamen.
Yuri pointed out that a permanent scheme for seafarers was a promise of the Congress in Roadmap for Goa Vision 2035.
While stating that the government must respect the contribution of seafarers towards the development of Goa, Yuri appealed to the Chief Minister to notify a permanent pension scheme for seafarers and clear all pending dues immediately.
“Most of the seafarers return to their homeland Goa during Christmas,” he said while urging the Chief Minister to bring smiles to their faces by notifying a permanent scheme and also releasing the pending dues of the last two months.
He added: “The government needs to simplify the process of applications for availing benefits under the scheme. Most of the seafarers and widows of seafarers are not tech savvy, and hence find difficulties in submitting various documents. NRI Affairs office should hold camps in coastal areas to facilitate the submission of applications, uploading of documents etc, which will come as a huge help to the beneficiaries.”
He also appealed to the government to give recognition to the Goan Seamen Association of India and provide them with logistical and infrastructural assistance, said Yuri Alemao.
“Seafarers remain miles away from their homeland, earn foreign exchange and contribute to the economy. They have played a huge role in the overall development of Goa,” Yuri added.
Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas recalled that he had moved a Private Member’s resolution on the floor of the House to make the pension scheme for retired seafarers permanent, adding that the resolution was withdrawn based on the assurance the pension scheme would be made permanent by the government.