By Shane McGinley
Dr Manmohan Singh says welfare of Indian workers in Gulf region is matter of 'high priority'.
The Indian government is in the process of taking steps to ensure better regulation of the recruitment of Indians to the Gulf region, the Indian prime minister told Saudi reporters ahead of his visit to Riyadh, which begins Monday and is the first by an Indian leader in 28 years.
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said the welfare of Indian workers in the Gulf region was a matter of "high priority" and the Indian government was taking steps to address some of their grievances.
"At the Indian end, we are in the process of reforming our own procedures, including better regulation of the recruitment process," he told the Daily Excelsior newspaper.
There are over five million Indian workers in the Gulf region out of which almost two million live and work in Saudi Arabia alone.
"We are extremely proud of the fact that the Indian community in the Gulf region has been contributing to the socio-economic development of the region. The welfare of such a large overseas Indian community is a matter of high priority for my Government," Dr Singh told reporters.
"We have also put in place arrangements in all Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, to respond to workers’ grievances," he added. Some of the facilities put in place include a 24-hour helpline, temporary shelters and counseling centres.
Last month, a Dubai-based recruitment company told Arabian Business that there had been a sharp decline in the number of workers being recruited from India and Pakistan to the UAE.
A spokesperson from the Dhoria International Job Centre said the company was recruiting between 200 and 400 workers a month last year, but in the last four months it had only recruited a total of four workers.
However, while the emirate may be seeing a drop off in recruitment, the company said it was seeing an increase in demand for workers in Saudi Arabia and it has been contracted by a large Saudi construction company to recruit 1,500 workers for a project due to start in March.
Indian PM comments are nothing but another set of poltical coustomery statement prior to visit. Indain Poltical class and bureaucrates are not at all intrested in welfare or betterment of blue collar workers. They are in fact part & parcel of Recuritment Mafia, which yeilds them loads of money.Embassies are one such part of this process. they are only intersted in amount of transfers made from these workers.Shame on the system and keepers of it.
It is a shame on the part of the Indian Govt. that since 1975 they are trying to work out a strategy to protect Indian workers in the GCC region and other areas. Is there a political will to do it? Only they are concerned about inward forex remittances! Please answer which Labour Minister ahs looked SERIOUSLY into this matter? They are only making their network strong-the POE and The Labour Ministry! But in the end the Recruitment Agents are blamed! Why??
About time , don't you think Mr. Prime Minister ?