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Expats expect online voting rights, price control and better ties with region.

Many expatriates said their long-pending demands could now be revived with the new government.

Narendra Modi fans in Dubai celebrate the victory of the National Democratic Alliance.

Irrespective of their political allegiance, the landslide victory of the BJP-led NDA has prompted the Indian expatriates in the UAE to expect a stable government at the centre to bring in major changes in governance that will be of benefit to them as well.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, many expatriates said their long-pending demands could now be revived with the new government and hoped that a new minister will bring in more financial power to the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) to support the migrant workers.

K. Kumar, convener of the Indian Community Welfare Committee, said the fact that one single party has won the majority gives hopes for more stability and better economic policies which will also give a bigger share to address the problems of Indian labourers in the region.

"The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was launched during the last tenure of the NDA government," he pointed out.

"I hope that they will now appoint a suitable minister who can realise the real problems of and connect with the overseas Indians, especially the expatriates in the Gulf countries."

Padmakumar Patni, BJP supporter in Dubai, said the pro-technology government of Modi could end the long-pending demand of NRIs to exercise their voting rights from abroad. "I hope the new government will make legislation to approve online voting, which will make the election process more democratic and less expensive."

Other demands that he put forward for the new government included employment insurance coverage for overseas workers, strong relations with the Arab region and all neighbouring countries of India. "Education and employment are the foundation stones for the development of the nation and I am sure the Modi government will give emphasis on that."

Deepika Sajnani became the voice of the Indian women when she said better education and a safer society for women were the main things that they are expecting from the government. "We no longer want our country's name to be spoiled due to the atrocities against women. I hope the new government will make tougher laws and revamp the judicial system to implement them faster to curtail crimes against women."

Since the NDA had enough majority to make decisions without any pressure, social worker K. V. Shamsudheen said Modi would make visible changes immediately in commodity price control, poverty alleviation, infrastructure development, foreign investment, as well as control of terrorism and corruption.

"We NRIs kept on presenting to the UPA government our grievances but we never got any result," said Shamsudheen, who is also the chairman of Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust.

"The Indian diaspora remitted more than $70 billion last financial year. Our contribution is equal to 2.5 times of the FDI, 25 per cent of the exports and 6 per cent of the GDP. The exporters and foreign direct investors are getting many concessions and special treatment for bringing foreign currency to the country. Indian diaspora had given massive support to Modi, so I am sure that he will try to address our problems," he said.

P.K. Anwar Naha, president of Dubai KMCC, said the Modi government's policy related to the Arab region was something he would watch with anxiety. "One main concern is about India having closer relations with Israel which would not be good for its relations with Arab countries. Also, we can mostly expect a new face as the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs. We will have to wait and see what more the new minister can do for the welfare of the Indian expatriates, especially the labour class."-- sajila@khaleejtimes.com

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:May 17, 2014
Words:632
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