Special fund soon to rehabilitate overseas job losers

Special fund soon to rehabilitate overseas job losers 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 economic recession.

"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 month.

"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.