Indian Community Welfare Fund to be Extended to all Missions: Shri Vayalar Ravi

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The Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) will be extended to all the Missions around the world. Addressing the two-day Conference of Head of Missions of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries as well as Jordan, Libya, Yemen, Malaysia & Maldives here today, Shri Vayalar Ravi, the Union Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs said that the ICWF scheme is found very useful by the Indian Missions in mitigating the suffering of Indians, therefore, it has been decided that this scheme will extend to all the Missions. He said the fund which was originally made for all the Emigration Check Required (ECR) countries has been extended to 48 countries.

Shri Ravi said that the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has several measures for the protection and welfare of Overseas Indian workers. The Ministry has established an Overseas Workers Resource Centre (OWRC) which is a 24×7 hour telephone helpline which provides information to intending emigrants as well as emigrants on all aspects of emigration. Complaints can also be lodged through this helpline. He further said that the Ministry has also signed MoU on labour with five GCC countries and Malaysia an. Negotiations are in progress with Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Yemen and Libya for singing of MOU. He said a Nation wide Awareness-cum-Publicity Campaign through media has been launched to educate the intending emigrants about legal emigration procedures, risks of illegal migration and precautions to be taken during emigration.

The Minister said that that Conference of Heads of Missions of the GCC countries is an important initiative to discuss various issues and problems relating to the Overseas Indian Community, especially the expatriate workers numbering nearly five million in the Gulf Countries.

Addressing the conference, Smt. Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs said that around 5.3 million Indians live in the GCC Countries out of which about 65 to 70% of them are workers. In this context, the role of Indian Mission becomes very important. She said the Indian Mission have a proactive role to play towards welfare and safety of Overseas Indian Workers and to understand the issues faced by the Indian community. Dr. A Didar Singh, Secretary, M/o Overseas Indian Affairs was also present on the occasion.

The Conference is attended by Heads of Missions of 11 countries, senior Officials from other Ministries including the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and representatives from the major labour sending States such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The Conference would deliberate on various issues and problems relating to overseas Indian workers both at the source and destination points and how the institutional engagement between our Missions and other stakeholders in India can be strengthened for better regulation of Labour Mobility.

The Agenda of the Conference will include the new initiatives in the Emigration Policy being framed by the Ministry, review of various welfare measures at the Mission level, strengthening Grievance Redressal Mechanism at the Mission level, follow up on the Joint Working Group meetings decisions, pursuant to labour MoUs with five GCC countries etc. Several important decisions taken by the Ministry for the protection and welfare of migrant workers will also be discussed for effective implementation and follow-up.

(Release ID :67762)


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