Jul 11, 2008

Closer To Social Security Treaty With India

The possibility of a U.S. Social Security treaty with India is not much of a story in the U.S., but it draws a lot of attention in India. From the Indian Express of Mumbai:
... A long-standing Indian demand for a social security pact that allows Indian workers stationed in the US to bring back their contributions to the US Social Security system on their return to India, is close to being met.

Over $1 billion of contributions to the US Social Security Fund are made annually by an estimated 80,000 “detached workers” from India working on consultancy and onsite assignments — each one has to contribute at the rate of 15% of basic salary. However, when they return to India, these contributions are forfeited as the minimum period to qualify for pension benefits in the US is 10 years (the same is true of India as well).

After a series of meetings between Indian officials and the US Social Security Administration as well as a senior White House official in Washington last week, Indian workers’ annual donations to the US social security fund — which currently has a $4.1 trillion deficit — may finally come to an end.

“We are close to sealing the pact. Indian workers who spend three years in the US would get a refund of their contributions to the US pension system. Moreover, the pension will also be portable — once a worker completes the qualifying period of 10 years, the pension will be payable in either country,” a senior government official said. ...

Between December 2007 and now, India has made some progress on this front which it convinced the US administration about. The Unorganised Sector Workers’ Social Security Bill has been introduced in Parliament as well as reviewed by a standing committee. ...

“It has been an intractable wall we have been chipping away at for years, but this time, we feel they are convinced that there is a sound social security sytem in India,” the official said. ...

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