– Syeda Amtul
JEDDAH — Indian expatriates, particularly from the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, all over the Kingdom welcomed the launch of a web portal by the Andhra Pradesh government to deal with various issues faced by the Andhra Pradesh NRI’s here.
The website apnri.ap.gov.in. will deal with online registration for authentication of educational certificates and online application for attestation of personal documents.
This initiative was taken by the state government in the response to the continuous demand of many political parties and NRI communities.
Jeddah based Mir Gazanfar Ali Zaki, general secretary Indian Youth Welfare Association (IYWA), told Saudi Gazette: “It is a good initiative by the Southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and I hope it will benefit the NRI’s of Andhra Pradesh and play a crucial role in coming years.
“The government of Andhra Pradesh should seriously consider to solve the problems of the NRI’s, draw up plans to resettle them, especially those working in the Middle-East, Gulf states and the third world countries. “Migrant workers are major contributors to India’s economy and have to return home at the end of their contracts or termination of their jobs or for various other reasons.
“Repatriation of dead bodies of NRIs hailing from Andhra Pradesh is another major problem that has to be solved by the government. Losing a loved one is difficult and there is no need for added stress.
“The Andhra Pradesh government should create funds for extending financial assistance to the legal heirs of Andhra Pradesh NRIs for repatriation of the bodies of their loved ones who die abroad.
“Financial assistance for repatriation of dead bodies and subsequent settlement of claims is a primary need of the majority. Along with this a Relief Fund Scheme should also be launched for them in distress.”
According to Zaki, the scheme should cover those who are living below the poverty line, meet financial requirements for marriages, medical treatment, children’s education and aid, to provide social security to the families of those who die abroad. “The plight of many migrant workers, particularly in the labor category, is pitiable when they lose their jobs as they have several dependents.”
Zaki said: “On behalf of Andhra Pradesh Youth Welfare Association and Telugu Academy, my appeal and request to all people of Andhra Pradesh residing in the Gulf, specially Saudi Arabia, is to register themselves as early as possible on this web portal and utilize the benefits, services and address issues related to them.
“I also welcome the decision of Andhra Pradesh government for considering to send an official delegation for the first time to Saudi Arabia to study the NRI issues faced by the Andhra Pradesh community in the Kingdom.”
United Andhra Pradesh Forum (UAPF) chairman, Aijaz Ahmed Khan said: “I have sent a detailed report about the NRI problems to the prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Minister for Foreign Affairs Salman Khursheed, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs E.Ahmed, Indian NRI’s Affair Minister Vayalar Ravi and Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N. Kiran Kumar Reddy through Mohammad Khaleequr Rahman, a senior congress leader.”
He added: “The NRI Affairs Minister of Andhra Pradesh D. Sridhar Babu aunched the web portal www.apnri.ap.gov.in with the objective of providing opportunity to NRI’s from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to register online and fill the forms of their valid documents to rehabilitate them after they go back home. He also announced a three-men delegation to tour Saudi Arabia to meet the representatives of the (NGO’s) Non Governmental Organizations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
The representatives, Khan said, will announced shortly. Earlier, three official were also sent to coordinate the Nitaqat effected NRI’s from the Hyderabad.
Andhra Pradesh constitutes of the second largest Indian community in the Kingdom. Khan said they will feel safe after the swift action of Babu and Abid Rasool Khan.
This initiative has been hailed by Andhra Pradesh expats here. Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Shuja M Sheriff, president of Indian Engineers Forum Dammam Chapter, said: “We welcome the prodigious initiative taken by government of Andhra Pradesh to launch the website and provide services to NRIs. The highlight of the website is online attestation of documents, although online forms are available for submission but still it is not clear how it works and whether the Saudi governmen will accept the attested copies which we might receive by mail after attestation.
“Government of Andhra Pradesh intends to gather the data base of NRI’s working abroad, especially in Saudi Arabia in order to achieve this goal.
Government should make registration mandatory to the new comers before leaving the country by implementing some sort of legal binding. This will ensure exact information after the launch of the website or at least from a certain date. For the existing NRIs they should encourage registration by announcing some online raffle draws or some sort of incentives to register.”
He added: “Government’s proposal to send ministers should ensure that they meet the community leaders and take the grievances, not only take up but safeguard the interest of NRIs who are major contributor to the development of the economy.
“Further they can develop pension schemes to the retiring NRI’s by seeking contribution in the similar model of Kerala state.
“This will not only generate the foreign revenue to the government of Andhra Pradesh but will also help in doing mega project and sharing the benefits.”
Syed Ziaur Rahman, CEO of YaHind.com, an NRI portal a Riyadh based expatriate said: “It is a good initiative to start a website for NRIs for the people of Andhra Pradesh. The chief minister and Government of Andhra Pradesh’s online congratulatory one-liner message and inactive ‘Contact Us’ page shows how serious our government is in solving the problems of Gulf NRIs.
“This website should be more interactive to help the NRIs. There is no information about rehabilitation of NRIs returning from Gulf countries and also not a single word to written on the site to guide NRIs for investment opportunities.
“They should also put Charminar’s picture on the front page, which is the landmark for people of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. I believe if they improve this website with seriousness, it is going to be very useful site for government as well as for NRIs in general.”
Ahmeduddin Owaisi, president of Bazme-Ittihad Saudi Arabia and Toranto living in the Kingdom for more than three decades, said: “The launch of website by the government of Andhra Pradesh for the help and support of NRIs is a good step; we hope the government will continue it’s assistance to help NRIs.”
Dr.Mohammed Ashraf Ali, president of Andhra Pradesh United Society from Riyadh, said: “It is a good initiative and we are looking forward for further rehabilitation plans by the government.”
Aleem Khan Falaki, a social activist and president socio reform, applauded the government efforts. He said: “We warmly welcome this initiative and we hope it will develop more and help us.”
Syed Khaja Viqaruddin, trustee of Khak-e-Taiba Trust-Jeddah, said: “I am very pleased to note that the government of Andhra Pradesh is going to facilitateits E-services for instant solution of AP NRIs at their desks. In fact It was a long outstanding requirement and need of Andhra Pradesh NRIs. We must be thankful to those organizations’ hard efforts through which this was brought up.”
Muhammad Quaiser, president of Tanzeem Hum Hindustani association Riyadh, said: “The launch of website is good news; we all welcome this decision. This website should include some guidelines for the Saudi Arabian NRIs and we hope government will provide all necessary help through it.”
Sharief Aslam, president of Zinda Dalan-E- Jeddah, said: “Launch of website for our help is truly a commendable effort of Andhra Pradesh government. We welcome this initiative and we hope and wish our government will take more steps to help NRIs like other state governments.”