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Govt to tighten rules for workers in Gulf countries

The move is to protect over 400,000 workers in the Gulf from exploitation both from dishonest agents as well as other problems.

india Updated: May 05, 2006 14:00 IST

Holding the "nexus" between agents responsible for the "exploitation" of Indian workers in Gulf countries, New Delhi said on Friday that it will tighten rules for their recruitment.

India, which has over 400,000 workers in the Gulf countries, is keen on their protection from exploitation both from dishonest agents as well as other problems, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said on Thursday.

"We have to tighten rules for recruitment of workers in India," Ravi, on a visit to three Gulf countries to study the condition of the Indian workers, said adding many fraudulent agents in India exploit workers.

On the nexus of dishonest agents, the minister said he is aware of how the unskilled and semi-skilled Indian labourers are being duped by dishonest agents.

"My priority is to break this racket. This can be achieved if governments of various countries work in close cooperation," said Ravi adding he was in contact with various state governments to check the problem.

The government will take every measure to stop the exploitation.

The Gulf region is important for the overseas Indians ministry since it has one of the largest concentration of Indian workers, Ravi said.

As part of his Gulf tour, the minister has already visited Bahrain and is now in the UAE and from here go to Saudi Arabia.

The minister visited the Indian consulate in Dubai yesterday and went around the premises and talked to many Indians who had come to avail of the services. The minister said in his impression people were happy with the services offered.

Later he told an Indian community meeting that the consulate was run in an efficient manner and praised the work of the Indian consul-general, Yash Sinha.

The Dubai consulate is one of the busiest among Indian missions in the world with over 2,500 transactions every day. "For issuing a passport, it takes around a month in India, but it takes just four days," he said.

A four-page memorandum outlining issues like the need for identity cards for Gulf Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), return air tickets for stranded and destitute NRIs against the deposit given to the Immigration Department in India, and the need to launch a self-employment scheme for Gulf returnees was also presented to the minister.

"I have also received feedback on the issues faced by Indian nationals by the Indian missions overseas," he said.

On Indian labourers going on the rampage, he said, "Violence of any sort is not welcomed. The Indian workforce enjoys a reputation of being peace-loving."

On granting voting rights to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the Gulf, Ravi said that the Bill granting voting rights is already introduced in the Parliament.