Tytler discusses Indian diaspora in Oman
The issues of 4,000 Indian illegal workers in Oman, non-compliance with contractual obligations by Omani employers and issues pertaining to the transport of mortal remains of deceased expatriates were discussed by Indian Minister of State for Overseas Indian Affairs Jagdish Tytler in his meetings in Muscat.
Tytler visited Oman on a two-day visit Monday in connection with the 3rd Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to be held in Mumbai Jan 7-9, 2005.
Earlier Monday he met Juma bin Ali bin Juma Al Juma, Oman's Minister of Manpower. While informing him of the Indian government's decision to create a ministry to look after matters pertaining to overseas Indians, he expressed appreciation of Oman having provided opportunities for a large number of workers and professionals from India.
Manjeev Singh Puri, charge d'affaires at the Indian embassy in Oman, was also present during the meeting.
The Omani minister termed Indians as "partners" of Omanis and was most appreciative of their role in Oman's development.
In the meeting, the Indian minister raised matters of concern regarding Indian workers in Oman, including the question of "outpasses", non-compliance with contractual obligations by Omani employers and issues pertaining to the transport of mortal remains of deceased Indians were also discussed.
The Omani minister agreed that the high level committee set up by the Omani government to examine various aspects of contractual obligations of Omani employers would receive representatives of the Indian Embassy in the coming days so as to obtain inputs regarding Indian workers in the Sultanate and issues of concern pertaining to them before finalizing its report to their Government.
The minister also agreed to have the "outpasses" cases examined in a positive light and wanted all future labour contracts to include a clause clearly specifying the responsibility of the sponsor for the transport of mortal remains in case of death and the attendant costs.
Earlier Tytler said the manpower minister has shown great interest and has "agreed to solve three main problems which I presented to him."
With regard to the people who have illegally entered the country and want to leave now, Juma said the list of such people should be given to him so that the proper documentation could be made.
Juma said the undersecretary at the manpower ministry would head a high-level committee that will look into the problem of non-payment of salaries and also see how best the court cases which have gone in favour of the workers could be implemented.
On his part, Tytler promised to punish the "unscrupulous (Indian) agents who are duping young Indians with false job promises and disappearing with the money". He said the Indian government was planning to completely "overhaul the system".
Tytler said he will come to the Gulf states and other countries, on a labour-centric visit and meet the ministers concerned.
Addressing a large gathering of Indian community in Oman, Tytler said: "Pravasi Bharatiya Divas brings together the largest gathering of the global Indian family with a vision to develop a robust and rewarding relationship between India and its diaspora. And I invite all of you to be present for the third Bharatiya Divas in Mumbai, from January 7 to 9."
Tytler noted that the Overseas Indian Ministry was constituted for the first time by an Indian government to look into the problems faced by overseas Indians.
There are 25 million Indians settled abroad. All of them may have direct or indirect connections back home, but they have been very disappointed because they have no means to communicate or follow up regarding any problems that they may face. This was the reason why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh constituted this ministry, he said.