New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) About 7,000 Indian professionals and self-employed persons will benefit from the signing of a social security agreement between India and Belgium, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said here Thursday.
'The union cabinet has given its approval for the signing of a social security agreement between India and Belgium,' Chidambaram told the media here after the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
India and Belgium signed a historic social security agreement - the first such agreement New Delhi has with any foreign country - during the visit of Belgium prime minister Guy Verhofstadt here last week.
'This decision would benefit the Indian workers, especially professionals employed overseas. There are about 7,000 Indian professionals and self-employed persons working in Belgium,' the minister said.
'It would serve as a model for entering into similar agreements with other countries.'
The bilateral agreement would allow Indian professionals on short-term contract of up to five years the option of not paying social security in Belgium provided they do so in India.
While India has no social security scheme for workers, some companies provide employees with health and other insurance packages, apart from provident fund and family pension schemes.
The agreement would allow Indian workers to bring back the social security benefit if they relocate to India after completing their service in Belgium. This would be applicable even if the Indian professional has been relocated in Belgium after stay in a third country.
In the case of self-employed Indians in Belgium as well, the provision of repatriating the social security benefit on return to India will be allowed, the finance minister said.