The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) constituted a high-level committee headed by retired judge Arvind Kumar Goel to consider the legal challenges faced by women who are harassed or deserted by their Non – Resident Indian (NRI) spouses.
To assist overseas Indian nationals in times of distress and emergency in the most deserving cases, the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) was set up in 2009. The ICWF underwent a recent expansion and as of October 1, 2017, Indian women deserted by their husbands in 13 countries are to receive financial aid of up to USD 6,000 to help the women avail of legal services and counselling if they have been abandoned, cheated or abused by their spouses and have no means of livelihood.
The countries where this scheme is set to be operational include:
- United States of America;
- United Kingdom;
- New Zealand;
- Saudi Arabia;
- Oman; and
- United Arab Emirates
The panel has also recommended that a special provision be made to impound or cancel the passport of the husband if the wife is subjected to abuse or is deserted.
Ashwina Pinto, Associate