Bahrain, India to sign key labour deal
Kochi, April 26, 2008
Bahrain Labour Minister Dr Majeed Al Alawi said he would sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with India on labour and manpower co-operation during his five-day visit to India.
The minister received a grand and traditional welcome in Kerala at the start of his official visit to India on Friday.
Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi received him at Cochin International Airport when his nine-member delegation arrived here from Colombo.
Also present at the airport to welcome the Bahraini delegation were Indian Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty, Bahrain's Ambassador to India Mohammed Ghassan Shaikho and a group of Indian businessmen in the Gulf, including Nasser Al Hajri Corporation (Saudi Arabia) managing director Dr Ravi Pillai, Emke Group (UAE) managing director MA Yusuffali, Al Noor International School chairman Ali Hassan, Moozhikkal Consultancy managing director Razak Moozhikkal and Lulu Hypermarket regional director Juzer Taher.
Traditional drums played a welcome tune as they were garlanded and a decorated elephant put on a special welcome show.
The delegation later drove to Kumarakom, one of the most popular tourist centres in Kerala.
Addressing a Press conference at Kumarakom Lake Resort, Dr Al Alawi said he was extremely delighted to make his first official visit to India, which is the world's emerging superpower.
'Keralites form the second largest group in Bahrain's population after Bahraini nationals,' he revealed.
'Indians are the most peaceful, hard-working and intellectually interactive expatriate group in Bahrain.'
On the key labour deal, Dr Alawi said, 'The MoU will help further strengthen the ties between Bahrain and India in labour and manpower areas.'
'However, I believe that the relations between our two countries go beyond just labour matters.
'Historically and culturally we are strong partners. Every effort should be made to take this relationship to new heights.'
Ravi welcomed Dr Majeed Al Alawi and his accompanying delegation to India. He said the MoU would lay down the necessary framework for labour mobility from India to Bahrain.
'Bahrain becomes the fourth country in the Gulf with which we have an MoU on labour matters, after the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait,' said Ravi.
'The MoU will help save our workers from exploitation at various stages of their recruitment and stay abroad.'
Ravi said the signing of such an MoU is significant at a time when both Bahrain and India are implementing major labour reforms.
'When Bahrain is implementing the reforms through the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), India has initiated labour reforms as part of its e-governance,' he revealed.
Shetty said the visit is extremely important as it would pave way for opening a new chapter in labour relations between India and Bahrain.
'The MoU will have some clauses aimed at further improving the working and living conditions of Indian workers in Bahrain,' he added.
'The memorandum is also aimed at enhancing the safety, health and well-being of Indians in Bahrain.
'The MoU will also have provisions to ensure that the right people are recruited for the right job, with proper salary.
'Workers thus recruited should add value to the labour market and the Bahraini economy. It also helps enhance productivity in all sectors.'
Dr Al Alawi met Mr Ravi in Abu Dhabi earlier this year during a meeting of labour exporting and receiving countries.
Ravi then stressed the need for Bahrain to sign the MoU.
The delegation attended a luncheon reception hosted by Yusuffali on board a luxury cruiser which took the Bahraini delegation on a two-hour backwater ride.
Ministers, top government officials, business leaders and media representatives attended a dinner reception hosted by Ravi in honour of Dr Al Alawi at the Radisson Hotel in Kumarakom<