8 August :India has clinched labour agreements with Malaysia, Oman and Bahrain for protection and welfare of Indian emigrants in these countries. The agreements negotiated by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (OIA) will be signed soon. India has already signed such labour agreements with Jordan, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait.
The agreements aim to secure Indian emigrants against exploitation and abuse in the host countries. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs also proposes to sign MOUs with important labour receiving countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Finalization of these agreements have significance in the wake of reports of maltreatment of Indian workers in the Gulf and other countries. The agreements are also designed to forge bilateral partnerships to expand overseas employment market for Indian workers.
There are about 4 to 5 million migrant workers from India in the Gulf countries. Out of them, 1.2 million are in the UAE, 0.5 million in Kuwait, about 0.4 million in Oman, about 0.2 million in Qatar and 0.2 million in Bahrain.
In the direction of welfare of professional and highly skilled workers, the government has finalized social security agreements Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech republic, The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs is negotiating similar agreements with France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Norway and Cyprus. The Ministry has already signed a bilateral social security agreement with Belgium. The agreement protects the interests of expatriate workers by providing for exemption from social security contribution, allowing exportability of pension etc.