New Delhi: Indians pink-slipped in the Gulf
region following the Dubai debt crisis may look for some
breather on their return to India with the Centre deciding to
soon announce a special fund to rehabilitate overseas
returnees who has lost jobs due to economic downturn.
A top official of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs
said the Government has already decided to announce a
comprehensive package to rehabilitate the Indian workers who
have returned to the country following job losses due to the
"The fund will primarily help those Indians who have lost
their jobs abroad and came back to the country," Secretary in
the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs K Mohandas told a news agency.
He said Government was framing the modalities of the
`Return and Resettlement Fund that will primarily be used to
rehabilitate the mid-level workers who have lost their
livelihood in the Gulf region.
Sources in the Ministry said the decision to set up the
fund was taken a couple of months back but Dubai debt crisis
has triggered a sense of urgency in the Government to make it
functional as soon as possible.
They said the fund may come into force within next one
"Large number of Indians staying in Dubai has been
engaged in the realty sector which has been hit hardest by the
crisis. So we cannot rule out surge in number of returnees to
India from Dubai," they said adding that the Ministry was also
in touch with several state governments for working out a plan
to rehabilitate Indian job losers on their return from abroad.
As per estimates, nearly four lakh Indians returned to
the country in the last one year and the number is likely to
go up dramatically following the debt debacle in Dubai which
mostly affected the real estate sector in the Gulf city state
besides plunging stock markets world over including in India.
Global financial markets plunged late last month after
Dubai World, the government investment firm burdened with USD
59 billion liabilities, requested for deferment of the debt.
Asked whether the debt crisis would impact the
remittances, Mohandas said there may be some kind of impact
but it will not be too significant.
Indians living in Gulf had remitted USD 27 billion in
2007 to make India the top receiver of migrant remittances.
The United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is one of the
seven emirates, has nearly two million Indian population and
is the country`s largest export destination with shipments of
about USD 24 billion in fiscal 2008-09.
As per estimates nearly 65 per cent Indians residing in
the country are blue-collar workers.
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has already set
up `Indian Community Welfare Funds` in all the Missions in
Gulf countries to provide support to immigrants in distress.
Key services like toll free help line, counselling
facility, emergency relief and shelter for distressed people
are being facilitated using the fund.
To further assist Indian workers with employment
opportunities, the Government has also decided to set up
Indian Workers Resource Centres in all the Emigration Check
Required countries very soon.