Companies hiring Indians for work in Afghanistan will have to ensure "full and appropriate security" for them and will have to provide a special insurance cover.
According to the guidelines, fixed at a meeting taken by cabinet secretary BK Chaturvedi recently, the contracting company needs to register details of its employees with the Indian Embassy in Kabul or consulates in Kandahar, Herat, Jalalabad and Mazar-I-Sharif.
They also make the company responsible for "appropriate security" of the employee. Also, private companies must provide a special insurance cover, at the cost of the employer, before the worker leaves for Afghanistan. The quantum of insurance can vary depending on the category of the worker, an official said, but must be "reasonable".
The meeting came in the wake of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, particularly the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, where law and order is "merely a concept," a senior official said. Not only is the threat from stray elements of the former Taliban regime very real, the government is also not taking lightly a threat issued in April - purportedly by the Taliban - to Indians to leave that country.
The government does not want a repeat of what foreign secretary Shyam Saran has called "premeditated and brutal acts of terrorism" like the one in which K Suryanarayana, an Indian working for a Bahrain-based private telecom company, was abducted and killed on April 30 in Zabul.
In November, M Raman Kutty, a Border Roads Organisation employee, was killed in Afghanistan. His family was given Rs 10 lakh, while the government said it would pay for the education of his children.
There are around 50 Indian companies in Afghanistan, employing around 3,000 Indian workers. Among them are several public sector enterprises like the Powergrid Corporation and the Central Public Works Department. Telecom and information technology, infrastructure like roads and power, health and education are the key areas in which Indians are involved.