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AP reprieve for Gulf NRIs soon

Indians from the Gulf lamented the step-motherly treatment meted out to them, reports Sajjan S Thakur.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2006 21:21 IST

Any society which scorns plumbing will soon realise that there are neither any pipes nor any water to drink.

The observation by a Dubai-based NRISuresh Kumar, quoting a Greek philosopher, set the tone at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2006 in Hyderabad on Monday.

At an open session on the Indians in the Gulf, the NRIs lamented that despite being the "real freedom fighters", espousing the cause of all Indians, they get a raw deal not only at the hands of the government of the countries for which 'they live and die' but also from their motherland.

It's always the 'celebrity overseas Indians from the UK and the US' who get all kinds of attention and walk away with dual citizenships, they deplored.

Andhra goes Kerala way

So, before the inane discussion on the oft-quoted problems, being faced by the Gulf NRIs could turn into a free for all -- a few media men, especially from the Gulf, were livid at the on-going sessions with no roadmaps and absence of the minister concerned -- it was left to Andhra Minister for Information and Public Relations and Energy Ali Shabbir Mohd to announce some mega plans, the proposals for which have been submitted to the Andhra Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy. The Chief Minister is due to launch a separate department for the Gulf NRIs.

The four lakh Gulf NRIs from the state are second only to the Keralite NRIs in the Gulf. Kerala was the first to launch a separate department and as well as the ministry for its NRIs in the Gulf whose number have gone up to six lakh.

The measures for Gulf NRIs

Some measures were suggested by a committee, headed by the minister that toured the Gulf nations, which was witness to the abysmally low wages, sexual harassment of NRI women, poor health facility for them, mental and physical torture of Indian workers inter alia.

These include a single window system for the investors and property purchases (It will take a maximum of 150 days, with no further NOCs), simplification of immigration facilities, setting up of agencies for suggestions on bonds and bank insurances, Osmania University's online courses, for higher degrees for Gulf NRIs, further training for skilled and unskilled workers, housemaids, nurses, and an awareness campaign through media (which will emphasise on work visas and not visiting visas).

MOIA under flak

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs was criticised for not doing anything tangible despite the gravity of situations and crisis plaguing the four-million strong Gulf NRIs 'who are not really NRIs'.

As Suresh Kumar explained, "They are Indians working in Gulf." He also rued the presence of only 20-25 Gulf NRI delegates, and suggested such PBD could also be held "in Jeddah and Muscat, why only in Delhi", adding, Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC)which he heads was read to host the next event in Dubai.

First Published: Jan 09, 2006 14:06 IST