India, Bahrain finalise MoU on labour mobility, protection

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Kochi, Apr 26 (UNI) India and Bahrain will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on labour mobility and manpower development, Overseas Indian Affairs (OIA) Secretary K Mohandas said today.

Addressing a press conference here after two days of talks between the two countries, led by OIA Minister Vayalar Ravi and Bahrain's Labour Minister Majeed Bin Al Alawi, Mr Mohandas said the MoU had been finalised and is to be approved by the respective governments.

''I expect the MoU to be signed very soon after the Indian Cabinet and the Bahraini government clear it,'' Mr Mohandas said.

The talks, conducted in the backwaters resort of Kumarakom since yesterday, saw both sides expressing a resolve to combat malpractices like non-payment of wages and physical abuse of workers.

In a major step, the Bahrain government has agreed to put in place a legal framework to bring immigrant Indian labourers under the protection of the country's labour laws.

This would help domestic workers and others in the informal sector who are not protected under the labour laws, Mr Mohandas said.

Another salient feature of the MoU was the Bahraini government would authenticate all job contracts.

The two countries would also facilitate manpower recruitment and mutual sharing of information and experience.

They will also ensure that recruitment was in conformity with the laws of both the countries.

A joint working group, comprising three members from each country, will oversee the implementation of the MoU. They will meet alternatively in each country once in six months.

Nearly 2.8 lakh Indian nationals presently work in Bahrain, almost 70 per cent of them hail from Kerala.

India's Ambassador to Bahrain Balakrishna Shetty and Joint Secretary in the OIA Ministry G Gurucharan were also present on the occasion.

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