The Seafarer's Welfare Fund Society is a Central Organisation for Welfare of Indian seafarers and their families. It is registered under the societies Registration Act 1960 and as a Trust under the Bombay Public Trust Act 1950.
The main objects of the Society are as under:-
To provide and maintain a fund by the name of the Seafarers' Welfare Fund;
To provide welfare facilities in general to seamen at ports in India and to seamen engaged as per provisions of section 101 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, while at ports abroad;
To sanction expenditure from the Fund as necessary subject to such limitations as the Central Government may from time to time impose;
To prepare the annual budget of income and expenditure in respect of the Fund.
To acquire any movable or immovable property by purchase, lease, hire, exchange, gift, or otherwise subject to such limitations as the Central Government may from time to time impose;
To sell, all or any part of the movable or immovable property belonging to the Society by lease, mortgage, surrender, exchange, dispose or otherwise deal with subject to such limitations as the Central Government may from time to time impose;
To borrow or raise money with or without security with the previous approval of the Central Government.
To invest in any security or keep in deposit with any bank and otherwise deal with any money of the Society in such manner as may, from time to time, be prescribed by the Central Government.
To appoint, remove or suspend such manager, officers, clerks, agents and servants of the Society, from time to time as may be considered necessary.
To give pensions, gratuities or charitable aid to employees or ex-employees of the society & their next of kin.
To draw, make, accept, endorse and discount cheques, Notes or other negotiable instruments;
For the purposes of aforesaid, to sign execute and deliver such assurances and deeds as may be necessary.
The Society represents various interests connected with Indian shipping, which includes representative of Indian and foreign shipowners, representatives of Seafarers' Unions separately for officers and Seamen and the Government nominees. As per the Memorandum of the Association of the Society there are 16 members of the Committee of Management of the Society appointed by the Government including the Director General of Shipping as Chairman, one Dy. Director General of Shippin. as Vice Chairman, two Government nominees, two persons representing Indian shipowners, two persons representing Foreign Shipowners, one person representing Indian Public Sector Shipping Co., four persons representing Indian Seamen, one person representing Merchant Navy Officers, one Secretary and one Treasurer of the Committee.
The initial corpus of the Society's funds was formed by way of wage differential received from foreign shipowners between the international wage and Indian wage for seafarers. This initial corpus together with other income received by the society by way of transfer of fines imposed on seamen and other voluntary donations, viz. levy, fees from Government, welfare contributions/Unemployment Relief Contributions received from shipowners by virtue of the Agreement under the National Maritime Board etc. has substantially increased the funds of the society. These funds are invested and the interest earnings thereon are utilised for meeting the commitments of various welfare schemes operated by the Society.
The Society at present runs the following welfare scheme:-
Grant of monthly Ex gratia Monetary Assistance (MEMA) of Rs. 200/- to nearly 17,000 registered seamen who have superannuated, have been declared medically unfit and to the widows/dependants of deceased seamen. Every year there is an increase of about 1200 persons under this scheme.
Adhoc Exgratia one time financial assistance of Rs. 5000/- in respect of foreign-going seamen and Rs. 3000/- in respect of Home Trade seamen in the event of their death while in service.
Educational scholarships to children of seamen.
Grants to various Seafarers Clubs/hostels/Homes for recreational and other welfare facilities.
Financial assistance to distressed seamen affected by natural calamities like cyclone/floods/riots, etc.
Advance of wages to seamen including to the vessels of ex-shipping companies who could not meet their liabilities due to financial strain or who have gone into liquidation or otherwise closed down.
Death compensation to the widows/dependants of deceased seamen. A sum of Rs.40,000/- is paid to each widow/dependant of deceased seamen.
The Society has been engaging itself in purely charitable and welfare activities devoted to seamen and their families spread all over the country.