Indian expats in UAE welcome Pravasi Divas initiatives

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Dubai, Jan 10 (UNI) Indian expatriates in the UAE have expressed confidence that the launch of the Overseas Workers Resource Centre (OWRC) and the Prime Minister's Global Advisory Council (GAC) by the Indian government would help the cause of migrant workers.

The initiatives were announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in New Delhi.

The resource centre would provide vital assistance to migrant Indian workers settled abroad, while the advisory council would engage successful overseas Indians in the country's socio-economic growth.

The OWRC would operate as a multi-lingual helpline for grievance redressal and interventions for overseas workers in distress.

Welcoming the move, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Talmiz Ahmad told Khaleej Times, ''The resource centre would be an advisory body for workers wanting to migrate and also intervene and address their grievances. It would act as a 24-hour helpline for workers. It will coordinate with the embassies and the consulates in the field. This is a centralised institution with a positive, global mandate.

''The government is looking into the mechanism of contracting and recruitment at home. They are also addressing the issue of exploitation of women workers in foreign lands,'' he said.

Ram Buxani, Group Executive Vice-Chairman of ITL Group, Cosmos, described it as a positive announcement.

''The Prime Minister has acknowledged that 26 billion dollars are contributed by blue-collared workers. These workers go through many hardships in order to give their families a comfortable living.

It is the nation's job to see that they are not exploited. We have to find the mechanisms that can be good and effective,'' Mr Buxami was quoted by the paper as saying.

''This is a step in the right direction,'' he added.

Representatives from Ascon, an India-based construction company with operations in the UAE, also noted that a regulatory body will streamline procedures and ensure that workers were not exploited.

UNI XC YA BST1246

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