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State mulls institutional mechanism to deal with emigrants’ issues

 Odisha Government is mulling to set up an institutional mechanism to handle the problems of emigrants moving to foreign countries and facing harassment.

While several State Governments have set up Non Resident Affairs Department to manage the problems of these workers, similar requirement is felt here in the State, said a senior Officer in the Department of Labour & ESI.

ACS Home Asit Tripathy recently held a review meeting as Odisha is in the list of top ten labour sending states in the country. Sources said a large number of highly skilled, semi-skilled, skilled manpower is moving to Gulf and other foreign countries from Odisha.

Principal Secretary Labour & ESI Gudey Srininvas, Special DGP Crime Bijaya Kumar Sharma, Special Secretary Home Lalit Das, Additional Resident Commissioner Tribikaram Pradhan and several senior officials attended the meeting.

State governments like Kerala, Punjab and several other States have already set up Non Resident Affairs Departments to handle the issues of non residents there.

Notably, the Department of Non Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA) is operating successfully.

Keeping this in view it has been suggested by the experts and officials to set up a new department on the lines of NORKA in Odisha.

Recently Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had advised the State Government to set up a nodal agency to deal with growing problems of the workers moving to foreign countries for jobs and facing tough time in work place.

MEA had advised the State Government to take several measures including setting up government recruitment agents to prevent illegal agents from taking advantages.

The External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj while chairing a meeting of the Overseas Employment Mission recently stressed taking action against illegal agents and urged State governments to take immediate action against such agents duping job seekers abroad.  

MEA has also advised the State administration to launch a web-portal with complete online information on safe emigration through registered recruitment agents (RRA) in the State.

This will help both the State and Union Government to rescue the emigrant in a crisis period. In absence of detailed data Indian Missions are facing tough time to rescue the emigrants, when they register complaints, admit officials.

Even as over 12000 labourers from Odisha were officially issued emigration clearance for working in foreign countries per annum, the number is much more and both the State Government and Union Government have little data about them.

While only 7290 Labourers were provided emigration clearance in 2011, every year it is on the rise, and in 2016 there are 12,320 labourers were issued such clearance from the State.

According to unofficial sources over 50,000 emigrants from Odisha are moving to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sudan, Bahrain, Thailand, Oman and Qatar as mason, plumber, carpenter, electrician, welder, labourer and even housemaid.

And number of complaints is received as some of these emigrants are harassed and tortured in the work place with most of them moving with tourist visa, that too through illegal agents.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is also concerned as a large number of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers from Odisha are employed in different parts of the world, particularly in Middle East and South East Asian countries and many a times immigrants from Odisha face difficult situations including exploitation by employers, economic hardships and accidents, etc.

The State Government does not possess elaborate information on persons from Odisha working as skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labourers abroad and most of the time, the government is reached by family members, informal contacts or by media persons whenever any immigrant faces a problem, pointed out officials.


Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.


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