x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

UAE expats from Kerala can fill in state census online

Keralites make up one of the UAE's largest expatriate communities, with about 875,000 in the UAE.

DUBAI // Expatriates from Kerala can register online to take part in an Indian census to determine how many people from the state live abroad.

Keralites asked the state government for online access to the non-resident Keralite survey that began on May 1, and the sixth economic census that covered all households in the southern state.

“People can go to the websites and fill in their details this month,” said Noyal Thomas, chief executive of the Non-Resident Keralites’ Affairs Department, a government agency that protects migrant rights.

“We had started the door-to-door census but there were complaints that many people could not give their details, because so many houses are locked in Kerala since the entire family is abroad.

"This will give all non-resident Keralites the chance to register whether they reside in the Arabian Gulf, Europe, America or the Far East.”

Keralites make up one of the UAE’s largest expatriate communities, with about 875,000 living here.

About 2.2 million of the state’s 33.3 million people are believed to live and work overseas.

Figures from the census will be released by the end of the year.

“We hope to get reasonably accurate figures, although there may still be many workers without access to the internet,” Mr Thomas said.

Expatriate Keralites have welcomed the move.

“It’s a positive move and we appreciate that our suggestions have been accepted,” said KV Shamsudheen, chairman of social group Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, who had appealed for the online access to the state’s chief minister, Oommen Chandy.

“It will help because before, without proper estimates, the government was not in a position to make efficient rehabilitation schemes for those returning home.”

Keralites can fill in details including their family name, occupation and the number of years they have worked abroad on two websites – www.norkaroots.net and www.ecostat.kerala.gov.in

This must be done for all family members, including children, by September 20.

rtalwar@thenational.ae