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Gulf returnees voice concerns at PBD
Friday January 9, 2015 7:47 PM, IANS

The issue of higher education for children of expat Indians, skill development of Gulf returnees, the plight of overseas Indians in jail and safety of fishermen from Tamil Nadu were some of the concerns raised by diaspora members at the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention here Friday.

At the session on Issues of Labour and Employment in Gulf Countries, session chair Minister of State for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs Gen V.K. Singh (retd.) and Indian envoys to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries lent a sympathetic hearing to the delegates and assured them of the government's full support in resolving issues.

It was pointed out that there were very few universities in the Gulf region where overseas Indians could send their children for higher education, while India's University Grants Commission had stopped distance education programmes while the higher education experiment by BITS Pilani did not take off.

The government held out the assurance that the UGC would be engaged to looking to the issues to resolve them, said a release by Ficci, one of the partners of the PBD.

The government also said it would consider seriously a suggestion to set up skill development centres for Gulf returnees.

The delegates were informed that while some of the prisoners in UAE jails had been released, the process of transfer of others to Indian jails was on.

As regards formulation of rules and regulations for fishermen before they leave Indian shores, it was clarified that the problem was one of classification. The fishermen travelled on tourist visas to Bahrain but fished in Qatari waters, only to be apprehended or shot.

The solution lay in classifying them as Emigration Check categories to prevent such occurrences, said the statement.

The suggestion for certification of skilled workers for employment back in India was also well taken, with the minister holding out the assurance that the matter would be taken up with the skill development ministry.


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