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Govt to amend 1983 Immigration Act

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi aims to curb the illegal recruitment of workers.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 16:03 IST

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi has said the government is planning to amend the 1983 Emigration Act to curb illegal recruitment of workers to foreign countries.

Mr Ravi, who arrived in the Qatari capital of Doha yesterday to attend the meeting of Indian ambassadors from the Gulf region, said the mission heads would discuss problems faced by the Indian community, including the plight of those who are languishing in jails on various charges.

He said the meeting would seek effective solutions to such problems, especially those concerning the low-paid Indian workers in the Gulf.

"I believe the provisions in the existing Act are not enough to curb such practices since the punishment is limited to cancellation of licenses. I am for imprisonment of such recruiting agents," Ravi added.

The government has implemented an insurance scheme that offers an insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh which includes medical facilities for the workers and their family when they return to India.

On the proposal to grant voting rights to NRIs, Mr Ravi said the bill provides facility for the enrollment in the voting list enabling the Indians overseas to exercise franchise if they are in India during the elections.

First Published: Mar 20, 2006 16:03 IST