ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
January 10, 2008
India Tuesday expressed its keenness to seal a labour agreement with Malaysia to safeguard its workers' welfare, mostly those employed in the informal sector.
India's Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said an estimated five million Indian workers are now working abroad, mostly in the Gulf states and Malaysia.
To safeguard their welfare, the Indian government had signed bilateral instruments with the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar on labour employment.
"A similar agreement in principle with Malaysia has already been reached and I hope to be able to sign it soon. I'm confident that we will conclude and sign similar bilateral labour agreements with Oman and Bahrain this year," Vayalar said at the 6th Privasi Bharatiya Divas Tuesday.
Indian workers are the third largest foreign workforce in Malaysia, numbering almost 140,0000, mostly engaged in the restaurants.
In his address, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the government would start a nationwide skill upgrading training programme for potential migrant workers.
"The scheme targets training of nearly two lakh (200,000) emigrant workers over the next five years. This will help create a strong cadre of highly skilled workers," he said.
Close to 1,500 delegates from nearly 50 countries are participating in the three-day annual Indian diaspora conference.
Speaking to journalists after the opening of the conference, MIC president S.Samy Vellu suggested that India send more of its education experts overseas.
"India has a large number of experts in the education field and it should disperse them overseas to help other countries.
"This will help students who can't afford to come here to study," said Samy Vellu who is Malaysian Works Minister.