India will make greater efforts to protect the interests of the increasing number of unskilled workers serving in Gulf countries, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said while on a visit to Qatar.
"Efforts will be initiated at higher levels to secure a better deal for the unfortunate sections," Ravi said on Wednesday.
India Tuesday signed a labour pact with Kuwait to ease problems faced by its nationals working in that country.
"The signing of labour protocols with the UAE and Kuwait signals a new beginning and similar accords are likely to be reached with other GCC (Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf) states, including Qatar, in the next few months," he said.
All activities relating to recruiting agents had been shifted from the Indian labour ministry to his department.
He added that steps had been initiated to bring fraudulent recruiting agents to book.
Ravi also strongly advocated a jail sentence for agents violating labour laws, the Gulf Times reported.
"Nothing less than jail for corrupt recruiting agents will help protect the migrants, especially workers," he said.
When the Indian Immigration Act (1983) is amended shortly, it will be possible for the government to act against violators among recruiting agents, he noted.
There are at least 150,000 Indians in Qatar, many of whom work as contract labourers.