Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017

Other States beat Kerala in emigration to Gulf

If you assume that it was only people from Kerala and Andhra Pradesh who emigrate to Gulf countries in large numbers, you are probably wrong. Recent statistics indicate that the stereotype no longer holds.

In the last two years, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal, Punjab and Rajasthan have been the top six States sending people to the Gulf. In this period, emigration from India increased by 24 per cent.

Statistics released by the External Affairs Ministry during a session on ‘Managing the Emigration Cycle: Streamlining and Supporting Indian Workers’ Emigration to ECR countries’ at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here show that these six States led the list from 2013 to 2015, and 90 per cent of the emigration was to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

Currently, there are 8.54 million workers in 17 Emigration Check Required (ECR) countries around the world. They remit $69 billion annually, which constitutes 3 per cent of the GDP. As per MEA statistics, 40 per cent of the total remittances come from the GCC countries.

However, many have to deal with unscrupulous recruitment agents, officials said. A model work contract is being drafted and competitive labour agreements are being negotiated with ECR countries to protect Indians, an official said.

“Domestic sector workers are not covered under labour laws. In many countries, they are under the Ministry of Home Affairs. They are a very vulnerable section,” the official said.

The Ministry has asked States to set up an NRI department to protect the interests of their citizens.

Tracking issues

Addressing a press conference, Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (retd.) V.K. Singh said that an e-migrate system had been operational for the last 18 months. It records details of those going to ECR countries. “But the problem is that this data will remain incomplete because a large number of people go through devious routes. Neither we nor our consulates know about them. Till the time they get into trouble, they do not approach us. We are addressing the lacunae.”

Anti-trafficking pact

Over the next four months, India will be signing deals with GCC nations to prevent human trafficking. According to MEA officials, the drafts have been shared with the Ministry of Home Affairs and GCC countries. The aim is to prevent unscrupulous recruitment agents from trafficking people from India.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 11:16:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Other-States-beat-Kerala-in-emigration-to-Gulf/article17014350.ece

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