UAE - A total of 379 air tickets were issued this year by the Consulate-General of India in Dubai with funds from the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) for distressed Indians, including seafarers, people with medical issues and stranded workers.
A large number of the tickets issued included Indian nationals who had arrived in Dubai on a visit visa, and could not convert that status into an employment visa, said Consul-General of India to Dubai Vipul.
Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of an awareness event for blue-collared workers, Vipul stressed that workers must try and be aware, and get their visas processed by a government-approved agent in India and refer to the e-migrate system as well.
A large number of people who come here on visit visas are fleeced by agents, stated Vipul. Before recruitment, workers must also check the job designation and minimum wage criteria, added Vipul. Over 500 workers thronged at the Amana Workers Accommodation, Al Qouz, on Friday morning to learn about issues related to financial fraud, alcohol and tobacco abuse, the National Pension Scheme and several other issues that commonly affect the workers community.
The event was organised by the Indian Workers Resource Centre (IWRC) and it is the first time that a consul-general attended an awareness workshop for workers. Vipul spoke about the several facilities offered by the consulate to the workers in trouble. Bertie Sawhney, a spokesperson for Alcoholics Anonymous, and Dr TC Satish, a doctor with Swantatara, also spoke to workers the ill effects of consuming tobacco and alcohol. Swatantara is an initiative by the consulate, supported by Indian doctors. Aim of the initiative is to raise awareness about the ill effects of tobacco, alcohol and drugs among the students and the Indian community, said Dr Satish.
National Pension Scheme
Dubai-based social worker Kusum Dutta informed the workers on the benefits of applying for the National Pension Scheme, and provided them with the details of the application processes as well. Most workers are completely unaware of the pension scheme, and they must be informed that NRIs too can avail it, she added.
Neeraj Rakesh, manager of Corporation Bank, Dubai, and Binoy Sashi, IWRC legal consul, told the workers about how they must never share their banking and personal information. Families too must be made aware of the dangers of sharing their debit card number, PIN code, passwords and other sensitive information, said Anish Choudhury, manager, IWRC.
Anish added: Were speaking to the workers about issues faced by them and how to get out of troubled situations. For example, worker Manoj Singh Shekhawat has never smoked or consumed alcohol in his life. We gave him an award for his sobriety.
Camp manager Karunakaran Aravindakshan Pillai stated that a similar event took place two years ago. Workers also enjoyed a free health check-up. Dheeraj Sharma, an employee at the camp, said: Its a very good session, and I am glad that they spoke about the National Pension Scheme.
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