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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

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)

  • 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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No More Segregation on the Basis of Gender in Restaurants in Saudi Arabia

Saudi restaurants no longer need to segregate women and men

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Saudi Arabia
Restaurants and cafes in Saudi Arabia, including major Western chains like Starbucks, are currently segregated by “family” sections allocated for women. Lifetime Stock

Women in Saudi Arabia will no longer need to use separate entrances from men or sit behind partitions at restaurants in the latest measure announced by the government that upends a major hallmark of conservative restrictions that had been in place for decades.

The decision, which essentially erodes one of the most visible gender segregation restrictions in place, was quietly announced Sunday in a lengthy and technically worded statement by the Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry.

While some restaurants and cafes in the coastal city of Jiddah and Riyadh’s upscale hotels had already been allowing unrelated men and women to sit freely, the move codifies what has been a sensitive issue in the past among traditional Saudis who view gender segregation as a religious requirement. Despite that, neighboring Muslim countries do not have similar rules.

Restaurants and cafes in Saudi Arabia, including major Western chains like Starbucks, are currently segregated by “family” sections allocated for women who are out on their own or who are accompanied by male relatives, and “singles” sections for just men. Many also have separate entrances for women and partitions or rooms for families where women are not visible to single men. In smaller restaurants or cafes with no space for segregation, women are not allowed in.

Reflecting the sensitive nature of this most recent move, the decision to end requirements of segregation in restaurants was announced in a statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The statement listed a number of newly-approved technical requirements for buildings, schools, stores and sports centers, among others.

Saudi Sex Segregation
A woman leaves a ladies only service area at a restaurant in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. VOA

The statement noted that the long list of published decisions was aimed at attracting investments and creating greater business opportunities.

Among the regulations announced was “removing a requirement by restaurants to have an entrance for single men and (another) for families.”

Couched between a new regulation about the length of a building’s facade and allowing kitchens on upper floors to operate was another critical announcement stating that restaurants no longer need to “specify private spaces”— an apparent reference to partitions.

Across Saudi Arabia, the norm has been that unrelated men and women are not permitted to mix in public. Government-run schools and most public universities remain segregated, as are most Saudi weddings.

In recent years, however, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed for sweeping social reforms, with women and men now able to attend concerts and movie theaters that were once banned. He also curtailed the powers of the country’s religious police, who had been enforcers of conservative social norms, like gender segregation in public.

Two years ago, women for the first time were allowed to attend sports events in stadiums in the so-called “family” sections. Young girls in recent years have also been allowed access to physical education and sports in school, a right that only boys had been afforded.

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In August, the kingdom lifted a controversial ban on travel by allowing all citizens — women and men alike — to apply for a passport and travel freely, ending a long-standing guardianship policy that had controlled women’s freedom of movement.

The new rules remove restrictions that had been in place, but do not state that restaurants or cafes have to end segregated entrances or seated areas. Many families in conservative swaths of the country, where women cover their hair and face in public, may prefer eating only at restaurants with segregated spaces. (VOA)