Loka Kerala Sabha: NRKs worry over job prospects

Localisation policies being initiated by various Gulf countries create far-reaching consequences to job prospects of Malayalis abroad.

Thiruvananthapuram: Concerns over the overseas job prospects of Indians echoed right from the inaugural session of the Loka Kerala Sabha, a forum of non-resident Keralites formed by the state government to ensureparticipation of NRKs in Kerala's policy-making process.

Leading NRI businessmen M.A. Yusuff Ali and Ravi Pillai, who spoke about the problems during the inaugural session here on Friday, also stressed the need for ease of doing business and better investment opportunities for NRKs in the state. They said that the government should initiate skill development activities for overseas job aspirants.

"The localisation policies being initiated by various Gulf countries are creating far-reaching consequences to the job prospects of Malayalis abroad. The state government should initiate steps like single window clearance for ease of doing business in the state and come up with investment opportunities for NRKs that offer better returns," said Mr. Yusuf Ali.


Mr Ravi Pillai said that the overseas job scenario was alarming owing to the falling oil prices, localisation and tax being introduced in countries like Saudi Arabia. The future opportunities would be restricted to skilled employees and hence the government should initiate skill enhancement programmes for the overseas job aspirants.

Most of the participants in the panel discussions on the West Asia region expressed concerns over the shrinking job scenario and urged the government to offer enough support systems in Kerala. "By the end of this year, many NRKs in Saudi Arabia would be shifting their families back to Kerala as the localisation and new tax regimes are posing serious threats to the job scenario. In such a situation, the government should offer support like preferences in school admissions," said Shefeek from Jeddah. M. A. Vahid, another NRK from Saudi Arabia, demanded that the government should offer jobs to the dependants of deceased NRKs.

While many NRKs urged the government to ensure ease of doing business in the state, V.T. Vinod, an NRK from Oman, said that his plans to start a business in the state were pending for more than three years owing to red-tapism and demand of briberies. "I have been successfully doing business abroad for many years and giving employment to many. I do not want to start a business here by giving bribes," he said and added that the government should promote small investors also.

The 351-member LKS comprises MLAs. MPs, state cabinet members, union ministers from the state, representatives of NRKs in various regions across the world and eminent Malayalis settled in other Indian states. The main objective is to give an opportunity for NRKs to convey their concerns and suggestions to the government as well as to tap NRKs' resources and skills for the state's development. The suggestions gathered at the two-day meeting being held in Kerala Legislative Assembly complex would be considered by the government in its future decision-making processes.

Eminent Malayalis, including former chief justice K.G. Balakrishnan, scientist M.S. Swaminathan, actors Revathy, Sobhana and Asha Sarath and singer K.S. Chitra attended the event.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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