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Overseas Indian doctors may be allowed to practise in India
January 07, 2007 18:30 IST
Announcing the new benefits on the first of the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said the government was also likely to sign Social Security Agreement with countries like Netherlands, France, Sweden and Norway which have significant Indian population to ensure protection of their interests.
Labour pacts are also being negotiated with Gulf countries and Malaysia, which are host to a large number of Indian workers, to provide for specific steps to ensure their protection and welfare.
The MoU was signed with UAE recently and similar pacts are expected to be inked with Kuwait, Bahrain and other countries in the next few months, Ravi said.
"We have decided to extend a wider range of benefits to Overseas Citizenship of India cardholders," he said. These are parity with NRIs on 'Inter-country adoption', parity with resident Indian nationals in domestic airfares and parity with Indian nationals in entry fees for national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
Ravi said the OCI card scheme, launched by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2006, has met with overwhelming response and 90,000 such cards have been issued so far.
"We hope to step up our efforts and cover a much larger number of overseas Indians in the ensuing year," the minister said.
"There are a host of other benefits that we are working on and will be pursued over the next few months," he said, adding these include allowing overseas Indian doctors to practice in India.
"Our endeavour is to promote, nurture and sustain a strategic and mutually-rewarding relationship between India and its diaspora, as partners in progress," he said.
Towards this end, focus is on policies and programmes that will best serve India's development effort and meet the expectations of the Indian diaspora as a significant constituency across the world, the minister said.
Noting that the emerging job opportunities will require skilled workers, he said the Centre, in partnership with states and apex Industry associations, has launched a National Skill Upgradation Programme for emigrant workers.
It is to better prepare overseas Indian workers for emerging opportunities in various fields, he said, adding the target is to train 50,000 workers annually.