Any issue pertaining to Indians abroad is dealt by the mission on priority basis, Muraleedharan said

Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan on Friday told the Lok Sabha that the total number of PIOs and NRIS living in foreign countries till December 25, 2021 was 3.22 crore and of this total, 1.87 crore were PIOs, while 1.35 crore were NRIs.

In response to members’ questions, the MoS for External Affairs also told the House that Indian Missions and Posts abroad are dedicated to the overall welfare including ensuring safety and security of Indians abroad.

He also said that any issue pertaining to Indians abroad is dealt with by the mission on priority basis and that missions/posts conduct open houses for NRIs to discuss issues related to their safety and security.

These issues are further highlighted and taken up with the host government wherever necessary for action on priority basis, the Minister said.

To ensure overall safety and security of NRIs, some more steps are undertaken by the Ministry of External Affairs and these include, organization of awareness workshops on safe and legal migration for the welfare of Indian workers.

A Pre-Departure Orientation Training (PDOT) is imparted to the workers before they migrate to foreign countries, the Minister informed the House.

Also a PDOT manual for prospective emigrants has been prepared, including its translation in regional languages, he said.

Online PDOT has also been launched to reach out to women and prospective migrants from remote areas and the Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojana (PBBY) provides insurance for workers, Muraleedharan maintained.

To facilitate the return of Indian nationals stranded in various countries due to restrictions imposed in the wake of the pandemic, the Vande Bharat Mission was started on May 7, 2020, the Minister told the House.

“During COVID-19 pandemic, our missions/posts abroad proactively helped distressed/stranded Indian nationals in terms of providing food, shelter, medicine and return back to India,” Muraleedharan said.

Some other initiatives like MADAD Portal, Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF), E-migrate Portal, Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayta Kendra (PBSK), Rishta Portal help NRIs to get assistance and address their grievances and ensure their safety and security, he added.

Grievances are also registered and responded through various channels like calls, walk-in, e-mails, twitter, whatsapp, 24 x 7 helpline and other social media accounts of missions/posts, the Minister said.