The government said Thursday the crisis triggered by a loss of jobs of several thousand Indians in Saudi Arabia has been resolved.
“The matter has been satisfactorily resolved,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in both Houses of Parliament. “I am happy to inform the House that the King of Saudi Arabia has taken note of the plight of Indian workers… the king has instructed his officials to resolve the issue in two days.”
Describing the understanding reached with Riyadh, she said the Saudi government would give exit visas to the stranded Indians and provide free medical facilities, basic amenities and food to the workers living in camps. Those rendered jobless will be permitted to seek re-employment with other companies. The Saudi government will transport Indians who wish to fly back home. “The Government of India will not have to spend a penny on that,” she said.
Sushma said Indian workers could file claims of unpaid salaries with the Labour Office of Saudi Arabia. Those returning could do so before departing; the Indian Embassy there would follow up with the Labour Office.
For all this, Sushma credited the Prime Minister’s efforts at forging strong personal ties with the Saudi king and also between the two countries during a recent visit there. She said Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, camping in Saudi Arabia since Tuesday evening, will return after putting in place necessary arrangements.
In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress) complimented the Indian and Saudi governments for reaching a solution to the issue.
In the Lok Sabha, Congress chief whip Jyotiraditya Scindia took a potshot at the government. He lauded Sushma and said other ministers should follow her practice of responding to concerns raised in the House. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said there should not be politics on every issue and if something good has happened, it should be praised. “You should at times compliment them [the government],” she told Congress leaders.