As part of an ambitious plan to improve the conditions of its
workers in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, the Indian
government has teamed up with the Center for Development Studies
(CDS) on a pilot project to study the working and living
conditions of its nationals in the region, reports Arab News.
“The project has already been kicked off in other Gulf states
except Saudi Arabia,” said R. Muraleedharan, president of the
Federation of Kerala Association in Saudi Arabia (FOKASA).
According to the Arab News, this
study is expected to be conducted by the CDS team in
cooperation with Indian diplomatic missions in the GCC countries.
Muraleedharan pointed out that the Ministry of Overseas Indian
Affairs had established a unit at the CDS campus in the south
Indian city of Thiruvanathapuram to study various topics and
issues related to the foreign migration from India.
The CDS study, according to the ministerial communication, would
go a long way in formulating appropriate policy measures for
workers, including the policy of rehabilitation for the Gulf
Referring to the problems faced by the workers, the FOKASA chief
said the number of Indian workers in the Gulf exceeds 5.5 million,
of which about two million live and work in Saudi Arabia alone.
The problems range from nonpayment of salaries by the Gulf
employers to irregularities committed by recruiting agencies,
exploitation and abuse of workers as well as lack of proper
This is in addition to the problems faced by
Indian expatriates in sending back the mortal remains of their
kith and kin, who die in the Gulf. Only in 2009, about 610,000
Indian workers emigrated from India and 90 percent of them went to
the Gulf countries, said a report published recently.
The CDS, which has undertaken the project, is a an autonomous
institution of India with a mandate to promote research, teaching
and training in disciplines relevant to development. The CDS draws
financial support from the Indian Council of Social Science
Research (ICSSR) and the government of Kerala.
The Reserve Bank of India and the Indian Planning Commission have
also instituted endowment units for research in selected areas at