West indian people

India has spent $457.80 million on the welfare of its people residing in the Gulf: S Jaishankar in RS

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday informed the Rajya Sabha that India had spent Rs 45.78 crore ($457.80 million) on the welfare of its citizens, mostly Gulf workers during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years.

The Minister’s response came in response to a question posed by MP Loktantrik Janata Dal MV Shreyams Kumar when he asked how much Indian Missions Abroad have spent over the past two years to assist and facilitate non-resident Indians who suffered in foreign countries due to the COVID situation.

“We have spent Rs 45.78 crore on the welfare of our citizens, mainly Gulf workers during the COVID period using the Indian Community Welfare Fund,” the minister said.

Responding to another question on loss of wages for Indians working overseas, the minister said pending wage data is not available but he is taking up the issue with the Gulf countries.

“Government does not have the exact figure of workers whose wages are pending, but has assured that Indian missions in the Gulf are guaranteeing the maintenance of employment, ensuring payment of wages and ensuring the welfare of workers. priority at the highest level,” Jaishankar said.

The minister also said, “We are engaged on this issue and we have regularly discussed with Gulf governments at my level and at ambassadorial level.”

Referring to the Indian government’s engagement with Gulf governments on the issue, Jaishankar said “that engagement is led by the Prime Minister himself.”

“Over the past two years, during the COVID period, the Prime Minister had sixteen telephone conversations with his counterparts, the leaders of the Gulf countries. I visited the Gulf countries thirteen times during this period. My colleague Muraleedharan said I went there four times, I also had 27 telephone conversations with our colleagues,” the minister said.

“Our goal is to get as many workers as possible, as many of them, back into their old jobs.”

The minister said India had also “established a development center in Dubai for our workers and all missions consider the welfare of workers as their number one priority.”

In response to another question, Jaishankar said “we have a provision in the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) to immediately respond to situations, especially unfortunate situations like death of people.”

“The use of the ICWF was expanded in 2017, and it has been a very useful mechanism to deal with it. In the Gulf countries, wherever we have had unfortunate events, we have also encouraged payments on account gracious either by the Government or the employers.”


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