Staff Reporter

Indian Emigration Act to be amended: Ravi

KOCHI: The Centre will have labour agreements with other countries in West Asia for the welfare of emigrant labourers, as it had with the United Arab Emirates, said Vayalar Ravi, Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs.

Addressing mediapersons here on Wednesday, Mr. Ravi said that agreements would be reached soon with Qatar and Kuwait.

Mr. Ravi said that the legislation wing of the Union Law Ministry was giving final touches to the amendments being made to the Indian Emigration Act, for the first time since it was enacted in 1983.

"The idea is to increase accountability of overseas recruiting agencies and stringent action will be initiated against those found erring. Provisions will also be there for Indians going abroad to adhere to the regulations mentioned in their respective visas, including nature of visit and period of stay."

Discussions were on with insurance companies for evolving packages for covering the safety of those going abroad for employment, he said.

"The Union Government is ready to start `pravasi university' if any State Government comes forward with offers of free land," he said.

Referring to the Assembly resolution on the A.K. Balan issue, Minister for Welfare of Backward and Scheduled Communities and Electricity, he said that the tendency to pit the Legislature against the Judiciary would weaken democracy and lead to the public losing faith in democracy.

"The right thing to do is to appeal to a higher court, which has already been done, and so the Assembly procedure could have been avoided," Mr. Ravi said.

In response to a query on the remark made by CPI leader Veliyam Bhargavan on contributions of the former minister K.R. Gouri, he said that contributions to the nation's development by senior leaders should be acknowledged without being biased by political ideologies.