Fake marriages are rampant among NRIs. Are you planning any legislation to curb this menace?
Not a legislation, but we are planning to set-up a special cell in several countries, which will probe the background of the prospective brides and grooms — like if they are already married or whether the individual has a proper job. We will charge a nominal fee for this service. I hope this facility will give some respite to prospective brides/grooms and their families.
Nurses are reportedly being trafficked from India to work as bonded labour in Scottish nursing homes. A research commissioned by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), to be published later this year, has also found widespread abuse among overseas nurses in Scottish care homes. What is the NRI ministry doing to tackle this issue?
We are coming-up with a comprehensive policy for workers and labourers working in foreign countries, which will safeguard their interests.
The government has allocated a paltry sum of Rs 7 crore (Rs 70 million) to NRI Affairs Ministry. Considering that even Delhi Police’s annual budget is Rs. 700 crore, do you think it erodes the importance given to Indians abroad?
The ministry’s job is not to construct schools or generate jobs in India. This sum is given to set-up an office here. As of now, the amount allocated to us is sufficient. If we conduct any offshore activity, we will be granted more funds.
What are the other initiatives being planned by the ministry?
Lots of things. We plan to invite young people of Indian origin from different countries to visit India under a new programme called "My Village My Pride". It is modelled after a highly popular Israeli scheme meant for people of Israeli origin living abroad.
Then there are events like the Festivals of India, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman... We are still in the process of finalising the agenda for the ministry.