New Delhi : Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi has called upon recruiting agents (RAs) for workers seeking jobs abroad to go for self-regulation in order to keep the emigration process from India orderly and humane.
In a meeting between the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and eight associations of RAs here Monday evening, Ravi said that the government will always help those RAs who are honest and good, but will come down with a heavy hand on those who are on the wrong side of the system.
"I told them, 'If you are good and honest, we will encourage you'," Ravi told IANS after the meeting. "But if they adopt wrong means, we will take serious action against them."
"I also told them that we are going for an amendment of the Emigration Act (1983)."
The meeting assumes significance in the light of the incidents of fake visa travel and human trafficking in recent times.
According to a senior MOIA official, Ravi, during the meeting, highlighted a number of instances of false documentation by RAs, misuse of visit visas, inactive RAs undertaking benami transactions and exploitation of Indian housemaids employed abroad, especially in the Gulf nations.
In the course of the meeting, the minister stressed on the government's policy on emigration: "We want orderly and humane migration and we want to protect the interests of Indian workers abroad. You must self-regulate."
The eight associations in Monday's meeting represented the states of Punjab, Delhi , Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
On being asked what action his ministry is taking in the case of the 39 Indians caught traveling on fake visas in Dubai April 23, the minister said, "We have got the report (from the Indian mission in Dubai) and we are proceeding against them (the perpetrators behind the incident). We will act against the travel agent (in Chandigarh) behind this."
The government has been taking a number of steps to streamline the process of emigration. It has signed labour agreements with several Gulf nations to protect the interests of Indian workers in those countries. There are around five million Indians working as contract labourers in the Gulf.