New Delhi, May 2: Overseas Indian Affairs (OIA) Minister Vayalar Ravi will begin a week-long tour of the Gulf Countries from tomorrow to study the problems being faced by the predominant Indian diaspora there.
''The visit is intended mostly to interact with the Indians in Gulf countries to understand their grievances so that they are redressed,'' OIA Ministry sources told UNI here today.
The Minister would spend sizeable time to understand the condition of the Indian workers and discuss with the Indian community and the government the ways to improve their lot. ''This will be his first priority,'' the sources said.
Mr Ravi will start his tour with a visit to Bahrain on May 3. His day-long engagement there includ participation in a seminar organised by the Indian embassy to discuss labour-related issues and a meeting with Labour Minister Majid bin Muhsin Al Alawi.
He will also have an audience with Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown prince and chief of Economic Development Board- In charge of Labour Market Reforms and Bahrainisation.
In the evening, he would attend a public meeting at the Indian Club organised by the Coordination Committee of Indian Associations.
The second leg of his tour will take him to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he will attend a series of programmes in the next three days up to May 6.
Mr Ravi will launch computerised consular-passport services in the embassy of Abu Dhabi on May 4. He will hand over the first Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card at the function at the Abdu Dhabi Embassy auditorium in the evening.
He would receive community leaders and delegations at the premises of the Consulate General of India. He would then devote nearly two hours to meetings with presidents and secretaries of all the Indian Associations.
The Sources said May 6 is earmarked exclusively for meeting the government functionaries in Dubai. OIA Ministry sources said he is likely to call on Finance and Industry Minister and Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, Labour Minister Dr Ali Bin Abdullah Al Kaabi and Social Affairs Minister Mariam Mohammed Khalfan Al Roumi.
Mr Ravi would leave for Jeddah the same night for a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia.
In Jeddah and Riyadh, he will meet representatives of various community leaders, apex Indian associations and representatives of the Indian workers.
During his May 7-9 stay in Saudi Arabia, he is likely to meet the Saudi Labour Minister. However, the meeting is yet to be confirmed, the sources added. He would return to Delhi on May 10.
Mr Ravi was to visit Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia early last month. But he had cancelled his programme at the last minute on the advice of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh because of the continuance of the Budget session of Parliament.
He, however, visited Qatar in the second week of March.
The present visit is the first elaborate tour of Mr Ravi after his induction into the Union Cabinet during the reshuffle about three months back.