Indians demand wider ICWF role

Updated 04 May 2013
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Indians demand wider ICWF role

A group of Riyadh-based Indian organizations have urged India’s Minister of Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi to enhance services offered by the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) through the missions in Riyadh and Jeddah.
Representatives from the Federation of Kerala Associations in Saudi Arabia (FOKASA) and Pravasi Legal Aid Cell presented a petition to the visiting minister at the state guest palace in Riyadh during his visit to the capital. They also presented the Right to Information (RTI) reports about the collection and disbursement of the ICWF from both missions along with the comptroller and auditor general’s report.
FOKASA President R. Muraleedharan told Arab News that only 41 percent of the fund has been utilized for the welfare of distressed Indian expatriates.
ICWF’s primary aim is to provide food and shelter to distressed overseas Indian workers in domestic sector and unskilled laborers, extend emergency medical care to those in need, provide air passage to stranded overseas Indians, provide initial legal assistance to deserving cases and bear the expenditure on airlifting the mortal remains to India or local cremation/burial of the deceased Indians.
They said that overseas Indian workers duped by unscrupulous intermediaries in the host countries, runaway housemaids, those who become victims of accidents, deserted spouses of overseas Indians or undocumented overseas Indian workers in need of emergency assistance or any other overseas Indian citizens who is in distress should be the main beneficiaries of the fund.
Under the program, the ICWF in Riyadh Embassy has been facilitating the repatriation of around 600 mortal remains of Indian workers in the Kingdom annually and a large number of workers benefit from compensation scheme which offers supplementary funds to those employees who are paid less than their due compensation from their Saudi sponsors. Muraleedharan said that providing board and lodging to distressed overseas Indian workers in domestic sector and unskilled laborers, extending emergency medical care to those in need and providing air passage to stranded overseas Indians in need, are some of the activities that are currently funded by the ICWF. He said that the mission does not provide legal aid to the distressed workers, who cannot financially afford such a service. Paying the fines of distressed workers is also one of the services not offered by the ICWF.
The delegation complained that the Riyadh mission does not recognize social groups which looks after the interests of the distressed workers in the Kingdom. “We are just helping them on a voluntary basis. Support from the mission would boost the morale of the workers who dedicate themselves to serve their fellow countrymen,” he said.

Muraleedharan said: “FOKASA is one of the most genuine organizations in Saudi Arabia.” It has been actively involved in the Indian community affairs since 2006. In the past, he said, FOKASA was instrumental in identifying many community issues which were brought to the notice of the authorities (both Saudi and Indian) for amicable solutions.


Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

Updated 25 April 2018
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Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

  • The Privatization Program is one of 12 key elements of the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
  • The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs on Tuesday approved the Privatization Program that is one of 12 key elements of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals, attracting the latest technologies and innovations, and supporting economic development.

It encourages both local and foreign investment in order to enhance the role of the private sector, with government entities adopting a regulatory and supervisory role. The aim is to increase the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40 percent to 65 percent by 2030. 

The program will aim to reach its objectives through encouraging the private sector to invest in establishing new schools, universities and health centers, while the government pursues its organizational and supervisory role in health and education.

The privatization program aims to benefit from previous success stories, with the private sector’s collaboration in the development of infrastructure, and its involvement on a large scale in sectors such as energy, water, transport, telecommunications, petrochemicals and finance.

The program sets out a series of objectives in three areas: Developing a general legal framework for policies related to privatization; establishing organizational foundations and dedicated institutions to execute the policies; and setting a timescale for their delivery. 

The Council of Economic and Development Affairs is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.