Memorandom to Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
Sub: Government support to Indian Expatriates in under threat of Covid-19 in Gulf
In the context of Covid-19 pandemic that has affected the whole world, it is a matter of satisfaction that we the people of India are fighting together this severe threat to our lives. When compared to many other countries, we could so far prevent social spreading of the virus to a great extent due to the care and support available to the people through various means by government and voluntary agencies. But we are in receipt of reports and complaints about the distressing condition of the Non Resident Indians who are put in other countries. We feel that since the priority of each nation will be their own citizens, those Indian expatriates living in foreign countries also deserve adequate attention of the Indian government.
This is to bring your notice that more than 60% of the total Indian expatriates are in GCC countries such a Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain etc. In many Gulf countries they even exceed the local population. For example, it is estimated that in UAE Indians constitute nearly 30% of the entire population. Moreover, in many regions of our country, the foreign exchange earned by them is instrumental in sustaining and developing our economy as well. Hence, they deserve our equal attention and support at this time of the present global calamity.
As is the case with any group staying away from their homes, the Indian expatriates also put the demand to arrange flights to India since they are not getting adequate attention in their respective countries. Many people who are house quarantines could not get timey medical care. Most of them who are working as casual labours and salesmen could not even arrange daily meals because of lockdown. There are also limitations for them in helping each other. In this situation, on behalf of the millions of Indian who are held up in GCC countries due to Corona spread, I request you to arrange the following services to them with immediate effect.
1. Please explore with the concerned Gulf governments, the feasibility of operating special flights at the earliest for the deportation of Indians held up there. We have already provided the same services for foreign nationals who were stranded in India and also to deport Indians who were held up in Wuhan, China.
2. I request that a regular system should work in our Ministry of External Affairs to daily address and monitor the issues related to expatriates in each foreign country separately. Also it is requested that the Prime Minister may directly talk to each head of GCC state requesting to ensure the safety of Indians there.
3. In this emergency situation, the Indian Embassies and Consulates in those countries shall play a more pro-active role in support of our citizens there. I request you to give the following instructions to all our GCC embassies in this regard:
• Arrangement of food kits to all needy Indian families, bachelor accommodations and labour camps on a regular basis.
• To ensure that adequate and timely medical care is not denied to any Indian especially those who have symptoms of the epidemic or those who are tested Covid-19 positive.
• Indian nationals are in the forefront of medical services in Gulf countries as operators and health workers in large numbers. Since they are at a higher risk of contamination, necessary protection for them is to be ensured by our embassy.
• The services of different Indian expatriate associations should be properly utilized and coordinated by our embassies and consulates because the tasks are so heavy that they cannot be fulfilled with our government staff only.