India urged to repatriate undocumented IndiansMarch 1st, 2010 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS
Jeddah, March 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been urged to ensure the repatriation of Indians who are living without legal documents here in Saudi Arabia.
A memorandum presented to Manmohan Singh by the editor of a Gulf-based daily has called New Delhi to take immediate action to repatriate undocumented Indians living under the Kandara Bridge in Jeddah.
“We request our government to take immediate action to repatriate these poor Indians to avoid possible deaths and the spread of chronic diseases among them. They are living in terrible conditions in harsh weather without food or shelter,” said Hamza Abbas, chief editor of Gulf Madhyamam.
Saudi Arabia is home to some 1.8 million Indians.
The memorandum also calls on the Indian government to make necessary amendments in the banking law to introduce interest-free banking in India, Arab News reported.
State Bank of India’s branches in Saudi Arabia should also be given permission to open Islamic banking windows like other conventional banks, Abbas said.
The memorandum requested the Indian government to issue travel documents to people whose passports have been confiscated by sponsors and also give voting rights to NRIs.
“We request you to exempt remittances by NRIs from taxation and encourage investment of these funds by providing a five-year tax holiday,” the memorandum said.
In a separate document, the Navodaya Cultural Center called on the prime minister to take steps to make the Indian embassy a party to employment contracts between employers, employees and recruitment agencies.
“Any violation of the contract should be dealt with effectively. Severe action like cancellation of licenses should be taken against recruiting agencies that violate the terms,” said Pradeep Kottiyam, president of Navodaya.
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