An official team will shortly visit Singapore, Qatar and Portugal to identify areas with potential for employment to skilled people and prepare the ground for signing of MoUs with their governments/agencies.

Next to the Middle East, these three countries are found to be in need of skilled hands in various sectors, particularly construction activity which is in boom there now. Employment through official channels is insisted on to avoid middlemen and ensure that the person is engaged in the stated job and not used for any other purpose. The government will intervene when employed person is deceived and his/her safety is in dander.

Labour Minister D. Nagender said there is a heavy demand for construction workers and even domestic servants in these countries. “We want to send as many workers of these categories as possible there through Overseas Manpower Company of Andhra Pradesh (OMCAP),” he said.

Explaining the activities of his department at Prajahitham media conference here on Thursday, Mr Nagender said the welfare board formed for construction workers in the State had mobilised a sum of Rs 900 crore by collecting one per cent cess from builders. Welfare measures planned for them included payment of ex-gratia against accidental/natural deaths, pension after retiring from work and assistance for education of children and construction of houses.

Over 30,000 labourers migrating to Ranga Reddy district from Orissa every year to work in 400 odd brick kilns during November-May were better placed now, as steps had been taken under a pilot project being implemented as per a tripartite agreements signed by the AP, Orissa and Central governments to ensure proper wages to them and end exploitation by their owners.

A Rashtriya Swastha Bhima Yojna pilot project was being implemented in Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Ranga Reddy, Chittoor districts to provide healthcare to workers with the benefit extended to five members of the family, each up to Rs 30,000.

He said a Centre-sponsored vocational training centre for girls was being established soon at a cost of Rs 10-15 crore at Hyderabad along with new ESI hospitals at Ongole, Vizianagaram and Siddipet.

An ESI medical college was being established at Erragadda.