8 Jan : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the govt was conscious about the adverse effect of economic crisis on Indians employed abroad and was working on a project to provide social security net for the workers returning home.
Inaugurating the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations here, he said security of overseas Indian workers and students was a top priority of his government.
“About 40 per cent of the total remittances of over 50 billion US dollars in 2007-2008 came from skilled and semi-skilled overseas Indian workers. Many of them have been badly affected by the economic crisis,” Singh noted at the function.
“We are conscious of the need to structure an appropriate Return and Resettlement Fund and we are working on a project to provide a social security safety net for the returning workers,” the Prime Minister said.
He said India has been negotiating with countries with large emigrant Indian populations to improve the welfare and protection offered to our workers.
Over the last year, India signed labour agreements with Malaysia, Bahrain and Qatar that create institutional frameworks to look into issues such as recruitment, terms of employment and workers welfare, Singh pointed out.
“We also signed social security agreements last year with Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands and are now negotiating such agreements with a number of other countries,” he said.