States asked to do more for overseas IndiansJuly 10th, 2008 - 9:31 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) has asked the state governments to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to facilitate legal emigration and take stringent action against unscrupulous recruitment agents. This message was put through at the ministry’s two-day consultation meeting which was attended by officials from 14 states.
According to the ministry, the Punjab government has already signed the first such MoU with the ministry.
One of the most important steps would be to set up a nodal cell in the state capitals to deal with the issues of overseas Indians.
“One of the main problems was that the states do not have any dedicated person or department dealing with Indian nationals abroad. So, we had to carefully choose the right officials to come here - most of them are from the labour departments,” a senior MOIA official said Thursday.
A MOIA press release said a “nodal department or a nodal cell would be constituted by the states to bestow mainstream attention to these issues”. Punjab and Kerala are the exceptions who have already established a separate department for NRI affairs.
Besides, the states will also create a database of overseas Indians from their territory.
One of the important points of an MoU would be an undertaking from the statss to monitor prosecution of offenders under the Emigration Act.
Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi had said Tuesday, the first day of the meeting, that there had not been a single conviction under the Emigration Act so far, despite the ministry forwarding its sanction for prosecution to the states.
Besides, the states will set up an Overseas Workers Resource Centre and undertake awareness campaigns.
It was also decided during the course of the consultations that the ministry and the state government would work to develop a platform to help overseas Indians trace their roots.
They would also consider the possibility of setting up fast-track courts for speedy disposal of cases of Indian women duped or abandoned by their NRI husbands.