Dubai: The Indian Consulate in Dubai will resume a monthly open house to address the grievances of community members, especially the Indian workers.
The mission will also form a committee of community leaders and volunteers to extend its welfare outreach programmes, the Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul said on Tuesday night.
He was speaking at a celebration of the 16th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (NRI Day) jointly organised by the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Indian Consulate in Dubai.
The Consul General said the mission had made sustained efforts to reach out to the community through social media and through volunteers and labour camp visits. He said the mission also organised engagements with the community through various cultural events.
The open house was a regular event held at the consulate till some years ago. It was discontinued since the consulate officials were made available every morning to address the issues of community members.
Vipul said the need for dedicating a day for an open house was again felt as many Indian workers were not able to visit the mission during working days.
“We do not refuse any meetings. But sometimes we feel that the Indian labourers may be missing out as consulate is not working on Fridays. So, for redressal of their problems we have decided to designate one Friday every month for an open house.”
“We hope to begin with the last Friday of this month which is January 26, an auspicious occasion [as it is the Republic Day of India],” he said.
To enhance the welfare outreach programmes through the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) and beyond, he said, the mission has also decided to form a committee of community leaders and volunteers.
He said their role will be purely advisory and specific to various issues related to labourers, seafarers, and educational and cultural issues.
“We already have a pool of volunteers. We will have a systematic way of meeting with them. They can help in spreading awareness about ICWF and also help through the community members when the government cannot assist [the needy] through the ICWF, for example in payment of school fees etc.”
The mission has also decided to enhance its engagement with the Indian student community in the UAE. In February, a day will be dedicated to address issues and concerns faced by university students here, Vipul said.
Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri urged the Indian community leaders who attended the event to devote their time and resources to help the needy members of the community.
He noted that almost 70 per cent of the nearly three million Indians in the UAE are blue collar workers who need help from the community and urged the community leaders to take a pledge for setting aside at least a few hours of their time to serve the workers.
From a time their engagement with the Indian community was limited to the elite members, Suri said, Indian diplomats are now rendering 24×7 services, attending to cases reported through social media and addressing community issues even on holidays.
The ambassador also highlighted the deepened political relationship between the UAE and India that has enhanced the countries’ partnerships in various fields and boosted the profile of India in the UAE.
The senior diplomats honoured the previous winners of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award from the Indian government at the event.
Since 2003, India observes January 9 as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to celebrate the Indian diaspora across the world. The day commemorates the return of India’s Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to Mumbai in 1915.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to over 100 Indian- origin parliamentarians held in New Delhi as part of the PBD celebrations on Tuesday was screened at the event held in the Indian consulate auditorium. A short film on the government’s achievements in supporting the Indian diaspora across the world was also shown.
Consulate’s welfare programmes in 2017
Air tickets issued — 403
Mortal remains repatriated — 39
Subsistence allowance issued for –300 workers
Penalties paid for — 50 people
Labour complaints handled –1100
Hospital cases assisted — 86
Sailors repatriated –230