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Welfare scheme for Indians in UAE

November 23, 2007 15:57 IST

The Indian Embassy in the United Arab Emirates is working out a comprehensive scheme, including setting up of a grievance redressal mechanism, for the welfare of Indians living there.

"Besides reviewing the existing contracts, we want to reform the entire process of contracting and look into the issue of female household workers," Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Talmiz Ahmad said on Friday at a meet-the-press programme organised by the Calicut Press Club in Kozhikode.

He said the Indian expatriates outnumbered others in all the Gulf countries, especially in the UAE. The Embassy was therefore keen to attend to the community's 'reasonable' and 'legitimate' concerns, he said.

"In respect of the existing contracts, we will ascertain if they are fair as we have reports that a section is still engaged as daily wages," Ahmad said, adding the entire process of contracting would be reformed to ensure transparency.

The Embassy would also hold dialogue with the UAE government on a monthly basis to redress the grievances of the Indians, he said.

Regarding female household workers from India, he said: "Unfortunately many of them were illegals" having no access with the Embassy resulting in their exploitation and abuse. Making use of the recent amnesty, about 70,000 Indians had left the country, of which 60 per cent were from Andhra Pradesh and 20 per cent from Kerala, he said.

Ahmad said, "Though the amnesty period had ended in the UAE, the Embassy will take steps to arrange the return of Indians staying illegally without severe penalty."

With the Keralites upgrading their skills, people from Andhra Pradesh were landing in the Gulf in large numbers now to take on unskilled jobs, he said. On the reported exploitation of Indian women in the Gulf, he said it was true that female household workers were more insecure.

On bilateral trade with the Gulf countries, Ahmad said the total economic relations were valued at over $75 billion and India wanted to further improve the ties by focusing more on investments and joint-ventures.

"India is for promoting a multi-faceted and strategic partnership with the Gulf nations and the welfare of the community is quite significant for achieving it," he said.

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