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Gulf NRIs' appeal

RIYADH. The Riyadh-based NRIs Gulf Forum ( NGF) has urged the Indian government to provide equal educational opportunities for the children of the Non-Resident Indians( NRIs) and not to discriminate against them on the score of their parents' overseas employment.

The appeal was made by the President of the NRIs Gulf Forum , Syed Ahmed Ziauddin, at the start of the three- day Gopio Convention, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas which is being held in New Delhi . The conference has been organized by the ministry of external affairs in conjunction with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The NGF is a non-profit NRIs'organization run by Indian expatriates in the Gulf. Ziauddin, who has also submitted a written representation to the India's President A.P.J.Kalam and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was speaking at the conference to highlight the plight of the NRIs in the Gulf, on Friday. An advance copy of his speech was released to YaHind.Com before his departure.

Ziauddin, who is a senior executive at the Saudi Hollandi Bank, pointed out that they have to face the ordeals of the NRIs quota system in local and non local categories, “ The great stumbling block is the exorbitant fees NRIs have to pay in admitting their children to the educational institutions in India.” , he noted. He further indicated that the NRIs are not in a position to pay even the tuition fees prescribed by the self financing private institutions.

After the completion of Grade 12 there are no colleges in the Gulf countries for the NRI students. Indians are able to get admission in the colleges of their respective native states, but the children of the NRIs have to face the stiff quota system, he alleged.

There are 3.5 million Indian sworking in the Middle East out of whom 1.6 million are based in the Kingdom. These Gulf NRIs annually remit around $ 8 billion to the national coffers of their country out of which 50% is from the Kingdom alone. This remarkable contribution, Ziauddin said , should be appreciated and reciprocated in terms of reasonable facilities and privileges from the Indian government . He also said that the Gulf NRIs Forum does not seek any preferential treatment for them but they do not want to suffer any form of discrimination against them in violation of the basic principles of the Rule of Law.

The other demand put forward by the speaker included voting rights for NRIs, establishment of a ministry at the Central and State levels and employment opportunities for Gulf returnees.

By: Syed Zia ur Rahman
Exclusive to YaHind.Com

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