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Help centres for overseas Indians

india Updated: Feb 28, 2008 03:47 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Indians living abroad will soon get legal and medical services and financial advice from the local missions and embassies. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) has begun implementing a proposal to set up Overseas Indian Centres in Washington, Dubai and Kuala Lampur to look after Indians staying and working in the region.

While the Dubai centre will look after Indians living in the entire Gulf region, the one in Kuala Lumpur will cater to the diaspora in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. The Washington centre will perform similar functions for the Indians living in the United States and Canada.

The idea behind setting up the OICs was to ensure that Indians staying abroad were not exploited and to make them aware about their rights and obligations.

“Legal services are required both to make them aware of their rights and obligations and advise them in cases of disputes with employers. Health services, including psychiatric counselling, are needed particularly for the women emigrant workers. Most overseas Indian workers also need financial advice on transfer of funds, savings and investments,’’ the MOIA minister Vyalar Ravi told Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

The Minister added that the stations would guide NRI women, who are victims of fraudulent marriages and require legal and other forms of assistance. Since the inception of the Ministry in 2004, it has received 230 complaints from Indian women against their husbands in divorce and desertion cases.

Ravi said that to make the centres functional, six posts at the Consulate General of India in Dubai and High Commission in Kuala Lampur have been created. At the Indian Embassy in Washington, five such posts have been created as well. These include a post of a director, an assistant and three posts (two in Washington) of professionals with legal, medical and financial expertise.