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Indian staff at US missions say they’re underpaid

world Updated: Dec 31, 2013 01:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Some of the Indians employed with the US embassy and its four consulates have complained to the government that they were underpaid, overworked and given lower wages than their American counterparts, HT has learnt.

Upset over the ill-treatment of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade who was arrested and later released on bail on charges of visa fraud and underpaying her domestic help, New Delhi had asked for the details of Indian staffers at US missions.

Though the US authorities are yet to submit all the information, complaints have begun to trickle in at the ministry of external affairs.

In one such complaint, a clerk drawing 1.54 lakh annually has said he was grossly underpaid. A visa officer said a US national holding the same position was being paid Rs 1.10 lakh a month while his salary was Rs 17,000 a month.

A security guard is paid Rs 8,000 per month for an eight-hour daily shift. The US authorities have accused Khobragade of not paying the mandatory $9.75 per hour wage to her domestic help.

US embassy spokesperson Peter Vrooman told HT he didn’t have "any comments to make" on the allegations made by Indian staff.

A special group set up by the foreign secretary met here for the first time to scrutinise the wage details of Indian staffers made available so far and indications are that these may be violating laws. Experts from legal, financial and human resources departments of MEA are part of the group set up in the aftermath of Khobragade’s arrest.

The diplomat’s humiliation sparked outrage in India which has sought an apology and dropping of all charges against her. The stand-off continues.