UAE | Society

High-profile meeting will discuss Indian expats

Thousand delegates will attend Overseas Indian Cultural Congress in Abu Dhabi

  • By Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 21:00 April 8, 2013
  • Gulf News

Oommen Chandy
  • Image Credit: Gulf News archive
  • Oommen Chandy, Kerala Chief Minister

Abu Dhabi: A global meeting of an Indian expatriate organisation will discuss the problems being faced by expatriates in the presence of senior ministers from India.

The Global Meet of Overseas Indian Cultural Congress (OICC) to be held at Indian Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) in Abu Dhabi from Thursday to Saturday (April 11 to 13) will discuss all problems being faced by Indian expatriates, the organisers told Gulf News yesterday.

Senior Indian officials including Chief Minister of Southern Indian State of Kerala Oommen Chandy, three ministers from the Indian government and several members of the Indian parliament and Kerala State will attend the meeting.

“There will be special sessions to discuss the problems of expatriates. Considering the presence of senior ministers in the meet, the suggestions and recommendations can be brought to their attention for immediate solutions,” said Manoj Pushkar, General Convenor of the organising committee.

About 1,000 delegates from more than 15 nations, who are the office-bearers of the organisation in their respective countries will join the three-day meeting.

OICC is an umbrella body of various expatriate organisations, having affiliations to the Kerala unit of India’s ruling Indian National Congress party.

Although the meeting begins Thursday, its official inauguration will be done by the Kerala Chief Minister on Friday morning, said MG Pushpakaran, the chairman of the organising committee. Oommen Chandy will attend the meeting the whole day and he will fly back to India by Friday night, he said.

Chandy will be accompanied by his cabinet colleague KC Josep who is in charge of department for Non-Resident Keralites.

Indian Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi will attend the meeting on Saturday. Shashi Tharoor, the Indian minister of state for human resource development, and KC Venugopal, the Indian Minister of state for civil aviation have also confirmed to attend, the organisers said.

Ramesh Chennithala, the president of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) had told the media that the main focus of the discussions at the meeting will be the problems faced by the Indian diaspora, especially the Keralites, and also finding solutions.

A memorandum submitted by the KPCC to the Indian government in January had listed ten demands to solve the problems such as the difficulties related to air travel in the Gulf-Kerala routes, mistreatment by customs and immigration officials at airports, raising the ceiling of gold permitted to be brought by expatriates to India, and legal help to prisoners in Gulf countries etc.

Comments (3)

  1. Added 14:33 April 9, 2013

    I am eagerly looking forward for some better changes for the NRIs. This is a positive step for the masses. Although I have spent 20 years in UAE, I havent gotten any benefits from their previous meetings. I would like to see my children and the next generation benefit from such meetings. My appreciation to the leaders who have spent time and efforts for the benefit of the NRIs.

    Nizam, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 11:38 April 9, 2013

    Non Resident Indians (NRIs) from UAE keenly observe and participate in all progressive activities happening in India. It can be visibly observed by the number of print, online and electronic media and associations that are operating within this region actively discussing the day to day actions. Economic air travel facility is the first and foremost item of interest for the middle and lower income class population of the NRIs. The government operated airlines have turned out to be not reliable due to several reasons. At times, they have seen to be operating at costs higher than the competing airlines. To ease up travel tensions to Kerala, the promised Air Kerala is looked up on by all malayalees. The assurance of having it set up and operated by Vishu (Malayalam new year) is two days from the date of this meeting, there are no signs of it taking up. Probably the CM of Kerala cleverly did not mention the year it will begin. So, how and when it will materialize and how far it will effectively reduce the cost of travel is to be seen as it happens. Voting rights for NRIs from their country of work, if given will definitely bring about a phenomenal change to the outlook towards their demands and actual requirements. Abolishing strikes or stoppage of educational hours should be a solution thought about and promoted by OICC and sold across to all parties to bring in a smooth flow of classes and curriculum once a student is enrolled. Peaceful protests and expression of freedom of thoughts should be allowed without interruption of classes should be implemented by bringing out an all party consensus to the current situation. OICC should also work on measures to bring strict legal frame work to have a strict no-no to public damaging of properties by any protesters. This should be enforced by a joint political consensus discussed and finalized within shortest time of legal and legislative framework. A single window processing channel for NRI investments which monitors the entire life span of each project and assist them till it become a success and after should become a reality. Road, transport and infrastructure facilities are in pathetic conditions in several parts for a long time. Considering the plight of Kerala roads, conditions of the roads connecting border states are deplorable causing huge loss in terms of time, safety and convenience of lakhs of commuters every day. On the health sector, NRIs and general public look forward to availability of quality medical services. Medical assistance for emergency and critical care illness should be made available at affordable cost and guidance cells should be created to route patients to such facilities with least hazzles. Quota for NRI students in educational institutions should be increased and appropriate measures to safeguard them during the initial years to better adapt them to their home country should be taken care by Human Resources Development. Hygiene issues and waste management problems in all major cities. As this forum is being lead by Kerala Chief Minister and as Kerala State government is promoting various lotteries for developing different projects. Why not a lottery specific for the welfare of NRKs? It could be sold at all Airports and regular distributors and funds could be utilised for the overall welfare of activities aimed at NRKs and NRIs in general. Collection centres should be opened within UAE for the processing of Pravasi Identity cards. On a lighter note, through his Janasamparkam programme, we wish to see the Kerala CM periodically to interact and familiarise himself the actual problems related to NRIs/NRKs.

    Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 11:27 April 9, 2013

    We women keep gold in our posession as we are wearing it in our home country or in Gulf. That is why when we are travelling to India we are keeping it in our bag. Please consider this gold as our personal things like sarees or dresses. The customs should watch the people who keep gold coins or bars as it is for commercial purpose. When we are going to India for our children's marriage or other occassions, we have no time to change the gold ornaments from India, we changed it from here itself and are taking with us. In my experience, I have some jewellery exchanged by the old and we told the customs official as it is for the marriage of our daughter, they told us to pay some money as duty, I am really upset as last 30 years I am collecting the same as an ant collecting rice.

    Reena, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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