In an apparent criticism of the protectionist measures built into the US government’s multi- billion corporate bailout package, India on Friday said these were “worrying signs” from the world’s biggest economy.
“We are already witnessing worrying signs of protectionism in the world’s biggest economy. We need to argue against this trend at the international fora,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said inaugurating the 42nd Indian Labour Conference.
He was apparently referring to Washington’s bar on firms receiving bailout money from hiring foreign workers if they are to replace Americans at work, though he did not make any direct mention.
Industry estimates suggest nearly 100,000 Indians were among the 163,000 that had applied for non-immigrant skilled workers visa (H1-B) in FY’09. The US has capped the number of H1-B visas at 65,000 a year.
The bailout condition could affect Indian skilled workers.
In the wake of the global financial meltdown, Mukherjee said, “We will need to press for trade and aid flows to developing countries and look at regional cooperation to strengthen defences against such crises”.
Mukherjee said there was a need to invest more in infrastructure, provide adequate credit support to the poorer sections of the society and create better facilities for upgrading skills and re-skilling of the workforce.