Govt mulls benefits for NRIs
with ‘Goa Card’
KUWAIT : In a move aimed
at giving faster access and attention to Goan expatriates at government
departments, the office of the Commissioner for NRI Affairs is issuing
them what is termed as “Goa Card”. This was revealed by the NRI Commissioner,
Eduardo Faleiro to the Arab Times in an interview recently in his office
at the Goa Legislative Assembly. “Goan expatriates usually come to Goa
once a year and these visits normally last for about 10 to 15 days before
they return to the country they are gainfully employed,” he added. Faleiro
extolled the initiative of the Goan chief minister and the chief secretary
for issuing a circular urging all heads of departments to present the Goa
Card holders with expeditious access and attention as and when they call
on the concerned departments for redressal of their grievances. The card
in question contains particulars of the concerned individual, including
the photo to make the identification process easier. The NRI Commissioner
went on to explain that several commercial establishments including hotels,
travel agencies, and hospitals will offer discounts on the Goa Card ranging
from 10 to 40 per cent.
The “Goa Card” can be obtained
upon a payment of Rs 250/- which can be paid in Cash or Demand Draft drawn
in favor of ‘Overseas Employment Agency of Goa’ payable at Panaji.
Faleiro observed that a
total of 25 establishments are offering discounts and that several other
establishments have expressed interest in replicating the initiative.
Faleiro recently concluded a
tour of the Gulf countries in an effort to have a first-hand interaction
with Indians and study the labour market in those countries. Faleiro later
submitted a report to the Indian Minister of Overseas Affairs.
||Taking umbrage at the unscrupulous
recruiting agents, he observed agents who dupe overseas workers will face
full force of the law. “Recruiting agents are mainly responsible for problems
involving workers. They recruit people without assessing their skills and
when such workers are sent abroad they fail to accomplish their tasks,
thus they are left to fend for themselves.”
Towards this end, he said,
the Indian government will amend the Emigration Act with an aim of regulating
the recruitment process. Noting that the government will set a minimum
wage for its overseas workers, he said the wage structure will differ from
country to country but refused to be drawn into the details..
The NRI Commissioner expressed
hope that the government of India would soon come up with a mechanism to
regulate recruitment of its overseas workers in India in order to provide
its workers higher wages and improved working and living conditions.
Speaking about his Gulf
tour, he said he met with the labour ministers of the Gulf countries and
members of Indian organizations. “I had fruitful discussions with the ministers
who extended me their cooperation and we are constantly striving to address
the problems of our overseas workers.”
He was of the view that
the Gulf countries have taken some positive steps to address the problems
facing expatriate labour community.