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Home > News > Report

Embassies to have 'Pravasi centres'

George Iype in Kochi | February 16, 2006 13:32 IST
Last Updated: February 16, 2006 23:14 IST


The government willsetupfacilitation centers for overseas Indians at all its missions abroad. Called 'pravasi centres', they will be used to address problems faced by overseas Indians across the globe.

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, who is in charge of the project, says this will also speed up the implementation of the dual citizenship programme.

"The proposed pravasi centres will provide unique and focused services toNRIs. My priority is to attend to the issues that Indians living abroad face. Thesecentres will ensure that the Indian government stays aware of their problems and issues," Ravi told rediff.com.

Overseas Indians in 71 countries to get benefits

The pravasi centres, he said, would also address grievances regardingviolation of labour laws. "These centres will also liaison with NRI organisations, so that we will be able to provide them with more focused services," he said.

The governmentalso plansto amend the Emigration Act to check illegal recruitment for jobs abroad, he said.The amended Act will give more clout to agencies monitoring recruitment agents, andhave provisions forstringent punishmentfor those involved in illegal recruitment.

Harnessing the power of NRIs

The amendment followsinnumerable complaints about illegal recruitment, especially to the Middle East.

The Ministryis also in the process of computerising allemigration offices across India. Recruitment agencies would be directed to provide details of the place and nature of employment provided to jobseekers andthese will be filed.

Observing that about 25 million Indiansare currently working abroad,Ravi said many of them, particularly in Gulf countries,face problems.

Ravi said he would also speed up the process of dual citizenship, which the government launched last month at the fourth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas inJanuary.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had handed over the first Overseas Citizenship of Indiacardsto two Indian Americans atthe Pravasi Divasin Hyderabad.

Ravi said his Ministry will soon complete the process of rationalisation of categories for the OCI cards and ensure convergence of benefits.The Ministry has already released an OCI handbook that gives guidelines for getting the OCI cards.

The first OCI card grantsa multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa for visiting India, andexemptsregistration with local policefor the duration of their stay.The card holder will have parity with Non-resident Indians in respect of economic, financial and educational fields, except in relation to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

Other benefits to OCIs will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs under Section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, Ravi said.

Pravasi Divas: complete coverage: 2006 | 2005 | 2004| 2003





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