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Consul General of India Dr Aman Puri joins workers for breakfast. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: It was an unprecedented start to the New Year during the COVID-19 pandemic for around 200 Indian workers at a construction company in Dubai.

The blue-collar workers had a special breakfast session with the Consul-General of India in Dubai, Dr Aman Puri, where they had fun and learnt financial lessons.

Dr Puri visited the workers’ accommodation of Larsen and Toubro Limited in Dubai Investment Park for the first “Breakfast with the Consul General”, a community outreach programme that will be held on the first Friday of every month in association with the Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK).

A festive atmosphere prevailed while the diplomats and other officials were welcomed with a traditional drum performance to a specially arranged tent, where everyone was seated as per social distancing norms.

Workers were given a platform to show their talents. Those presented their performances and others chosen through a lucky draw were given gifts. Workers also joined the diplomats in cutting a cake and having breakfast.

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Puri presenting gifts to workers. Image Credit: Supplied

A free medical camp was organised by NMC Healthcare and workers were given lessons in financial literacy by executives from State Bank of India.

Saving for future

The Consul General urged the workers to keep aside small amounts of money each month and start saving for retirement. “You send most of your salary to your families back home and that’s how they survive, but you must also think about your future,” he cautioned. “There will come a time when you will have to leave and you must have savings to survive then,” he said, thanking them for continuing to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Indian government and the rest of India have immense respect and value for workers living in the UAE. You have left behind your families and have come here to work. The entire country is in your debt,” he added.

Officials also urged workers to save the PBSK hotline number 80046342 on their mobile phones so that they can reach the Indian authorities in case of any concern and encouraged them to join India’s National Pension Scheme.

According to Neeraj Agarwal, consul (Press, Information, Culture), the main objectives of the programme were to take first-hand feedback from the workers, especially about the issues they are facing.

Senior diplomats from the consulate, Rajesh Kumar, UAE Country Head, L&T Power Transmission Distribution and other senior officials of the company also attended the event.

Your CG Speaking

In another initiative launched in the New Year, the Consul General of India will be attending a monthly programme titled “Your CG Speaking” on local channel NTV to interact with Indian expats.

In a tweet, the consulate said Indians can “send queries on or WhatsApp 0582677771 and CG will be happy to answer them every month”.