NEW DELHI, March 31, 2013
As the Saudi Arabia government’s decision to strictly implement the ‘Nitaqat’ (naturalisation) law, under which 10 per cent jobs would be reserved for Saudi nationals , caused much worries among the Indian expatriates there, particularly those from Kerala, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his immediate intervention .
In a letter to Dr. Singh, with a copy marked to External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Mr. Venugopal said that considering the friendly ties New Delhi had with Riyadh, the PM could take up the issue through a high level diplomatic mission.
The Minister, elected from Alappuzha on a Congress ticket, told The Hindu that he had instructed the Air India chairman and the managing director to keep in touch with the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia in order to meet any emergency , in case there was a mass exodus of Indian expatriates.
The ‘Nitaqat’ policy of the Saudi government has caused great concern here and it might have an impact on Kerala’s economy , and also India as a whole as many of Kerala’s development issues were planned with the support of NRIs, Mr. Venugopal said.
As many as 5 lakh people from the State were working in Saudi Arabia alone, he said, adding that job losses could cause great social unrest in the State.
The issue would get more complicated if other Middle Eastern countries start following the Saudi model, the Minister said
Chandy to meet PM
Meanwhile, informed sources here said Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy would lead a high-level delegation to meet Dr. Singh on April 2, and seek his immediate intervention.