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Indian workers in Saudi Arabia praised by PM Modi

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Image source: pmindia.gov.in The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi sharing snacks with workers
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Riyadh: The large number of Indian blue collar workers in Saudi Arabia on Saturday came in for much appreciation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the hard work they have put in for the development of the Gulf kingdom.

“It is your sweat and toil that has brought me here,” Modi, who arrived here earlier in the day, said while addressing workers of Indian engineering and infrastructure major L&T at their residential complex.

“Your happiness is my happiness and when you are not happy, I also feel the pain,” he said.

Modi told the workers that India has the kind of manpower that the world needed today.

“When in the times to come, people will see the work you have done, you will realise the importance of your efforts,” he said.

The prime minister also told the workers that they have made India proud for the discipline they have shown in their work.He assured the workers that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the entire team of officials at the ministry were ready to help if any of them got into any trouble.

He also highlighted the various steps taken by his government for the convenience of Indian workers abroad.

“There are forums like MyGov and Narendra Modi Mobile App through which you can reach me and I can communicate with you,” he said.

Modi also said that the government was working to regularise migration, and also promised more Indian worker resource centres and a second 24/7 call centre.

Earlier, the workers gave Modi two safety helmets to sign, one of which they gave him and the other they kept with them.Modi also shared a meal with the workers after his speech. After his arrival at the complex, the prime minister was given a presentation on the work on the Riyadh Metro Project for which the workers have been employed.L&T is doing around $2 billion worth of work on one line of the $600-billion Riyadh Metro Project.

Prior to this event, Modi addressed members of the Indian community and said that political stability was behind the economic growth story of India.

“In a very short span of time, India has once again given rise to new expectations at the world stage,” he said in a short speech.

Apart from a large number of blue collar workers, Indian doctors, teachers, engineers and managers have made immense contributions to Saudi Arabia’s development, something that has been appreciated by the country’s rulers on numerous occasions.

Indians in Saudi Arabia make an important contribution to their homeland sending around $10 billion in remittances every year. Earlier on Saturday, Modi was received at the King Khalid International Airport by Governor of Riyadh Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Al Saud.

Saudi Arabia is the third and last leg of Modi’s three-nation tour which also took him to Brussels where he attended the 13th India-European Union (EU) Summit and held a bilateral meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and then to Washington where he participated in the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by US President Barack Obama.

This is the first prime ministerial visit from India to the oil-rich Gulf kingdom since the visit of Manmohan Singh in 2010.

“Reached Saudi Arabia. I look forward to a productive visit that will strengthen our bilateral relations,” Modi tweeted on arrival.Ties between India and Saudi Arabia are expected to be further elevated from the current strategic partnership to a more broad-based one.

Apart from the community interactions on Saturday, Modi also visited the Masmak Fortress here which is a monument of historical importance for Saudi Arabia.

Saud bin Sultan bin Abdullah Al Saud, a member of the royal family and a researcher at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, accompanied him around.Modi will be accorded a ceremonial welcome on Sunday afternoon at the Royal Court here by King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who will also host a lunch in honour of the visiting prime minister.

This will be followed by delegation-level talks and the signing of agreements.The prime minister will leave for India late Sunday afternoon.(IANS)

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  • sudheer naik

    This is a good sign that modi met indians in saudi arabia and also communicated with them about the problems faced by them and also talked about migrations issues.

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Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

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1300 applicants after the new rule came in. Wikimedia commons
1300 applicants after the new rule came in. Wikimedia commons

In India, earlier it was mandatory for Muslim women to travel with mahram if they wanted to go for Haj. However, now Muslim women aged above 45 will now be allowed to go for the pilgrimage without ‘mahram’ in a group of at least four.

“1300 Muslim women have applied to perform Haj without ‘mahram’ and women from different parts of the country from Kerala to north India, have expressed their wish to go for the Haj pilgrimage,” said PM Modi on Mann Ki Baat.

A five-member panel

Earlier too, Centre had recommended women above 45 years to embark on haj pilgrimage in a four-member group without a male relative.

A committee was formed by Union ministry of minority affairs to review the existing haj policy and suggest a framework for new rules for 2018-22. It listed several recommendations which included permitting women to go for the pilgrimage without a male relative.

1.4 lakh people from India participate in Haj every year. Pixabay
1.4 lakh people from India participate in Haj every year. Pixabay

Controversy

In his last Mann Ki Baat address of the year on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to Muslim women, highlighting his government’s attempt at facilitating women’s travel for Haj pilgrimage without a male companion.

“For decades, injustice was being done to Muslim women but there was no discussion on it. Even in many Islamic countries, this practice does not exist,” the PM said.

“Our Ministry of Minority Affairs issued corrective measures and we eased this restriction by phasing out a tradition that had been in practice for the past 70 years,” Mr. Modi pointed out.

However, many claims that these rules are made by Saudi Arabia, not the Indian Government.

“It is the Saudi Haj authorities that have allowed any Muslim women above 45 years from any country without a Mehram to do Haj. It does not behoove the PM to take credit for what a foreign govt has done,” said AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi.

Saudi Arabia had updated the rules on haj back in 2015, as their embassy website shows.